With stories about Israel, Jerusalem and Palestine in the news almost daily, many may wonder what issues surround this area and how they started. This semester, Trinity students have an opportunity to get some answers in a new special topics course called Jerusalem: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, taught by associate professor of religion Chad Spigel.

Spigel is an expert in ancient Jewish history, archaeology and worship practices, and has visited Jerusalem several times in recent years. He plans to use this expertise to teach students the significance of the city to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, based on the history of each religion.

“I’ve been going to Jerusalem every year for the past five or six years and when I’m there I can see what the city is like and the different religious communities,” Spigel said. “I thought it would be great to virtually bring that reality as best as possible to Trinity.”

With his expertise focused mostly on the Jewish history in Jerusalem, Spigel says he is excited to learn more about other religions while teaching the class.

“With this course I’m opening myself up to areas I’m not as familiar with, which is why I think it’s really exciting because I’ll be learning along with the students about the time periods and religious traditions I’m not an expert in,” Spigel said.

The course was developed with Trinity’s new curriculum in mind and allows students to explore and implement oral and visual communication techniques to communicate what they learn.

“With the new curriculum, we’re trying to teach students different types of skills, but not in the traditional department where those skills are learned,” Spigel said. “Oral and visual communication you would expect to be in the communications department, but with the new curriculum we’re trying to spread that across disciplines.”

Jerusalem: Judaism, Christianity and Islam is available this semester as a special topics course and will also be available in future semesters.