Peril and Protection: Demons and Protective Ritual in the Jewish Collective Imagination


Program: Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning: Texts and Traditions
Sara Klugman (Read bio)
Day and time: Wednesdays 6:30-8pm Eastern Time
Dates: 2/22, 3/1, 3/8, 3/22, 3/29, 2023 (5 sessions)
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $180 Generous financial scholarships available

In this five-week class, we will engage in a study of historical and contemporary Jewish understandings of demons and ancestral practices of ritual protection. Our core questions will be: what are the various roles and functions of demons, in the Jewish collective imagination? How have Jews, throughout history, participated in and understood their own ritual protection? How do these experiences of peril and protective practices reflect and reveal our core needs, fears, and desires? Through close text study, story, poetry, liturgy and practice, we will explore how a Jewish understandings of demons and protective ritual reflect Jewish historical and contemporary resilience and fear. We will trace ancestral understandings of demons and protective practices that emerged — and look at the work of contemporary Jewish ritualists who are unearthing and teaching these practices to the Jewish public. Through study, discussion, and collaborative research, we will work to understand how these beliefs and practices reflect and elucidate our realities. In addition to ancient and rabbinic texts, we will draw on cultural criticism, secular literature, queer/erotic theologies, and artistic inquiry. There will be a studio/making element to this course.

Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning is for learners of all backgrounds.