The Ethics of War and the Pursuit of Peace in Jewish Law and Thought – Online via Zoom


The Ethics of War and the Pursuit of Peace in Jewish Law and Thought – Online via Zoom

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Rabbi Benjamin Samuels (Read Bio)
Dates: 10 Mondays, Winter/Spring 2024:  2/5, 2/12, 2/26, 3/4, 3/11, 3/18, 3/25, 4/1, 4/8 & 4/15
Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Course fee: $450, financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Temple Beth Elohim

Jews say hello and goodbye with the word “Shalom – Peace.” Our ultimate prayers (think “Sim Shalom” or the last line of Kaddish, “Oseh Shalom Bimromav”) are likewise blessings for peace. And yet, in the unredeemed world of the Jewish past and present, Jews have had to contend with war, terrorism, and violent persecution. How does a people whose opening words and most ardent prayers are for peace defend themselves from persecution, deal with terrorism, and wage war? Jewish tradition has a rich tradition of considering and debating the ethics of self-defense and the morality of war. These existential issues have become particularly pertinent for the Modern State of Israel in its 75 years of terror-and-war-filled history. In this course, we will study Jewish ethics of war and the pursuit of peace from biblical times to the present in Jewish law and thought. The method of our text-based learning will be to focus on ethical dilemmas born of past Jewish historical circumstances, learn related Jewish views from biblical and rabbinic literature, along with medieval and modern Jewish commentary, and robustly and respectfully discuss their moral applications and historical outcomes.

Note: This course will also be offered In-Person at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley on Wednesday mornings, 9:30-11:30 a.m. on the following dates: 2/7, 2/14, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3, 4/10 & 4/17.  Click here to register for this In-Person class.

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