What Should a Jew Believe? The Theology of the Siddur

What Should a Jew Believe? The Theology of the Siddur

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Rabbi Neal Gold  (Read Bio)
Dates:  Tuesdays, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9 & 4/16
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Course fee: $270, financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Temple Beth Sholom, Framingham

The Jewish prayerbook is a repository of the most important ideas of classical Jewish thought. This exploration of Jewish belief is not meant to be a history of the prayerbook but rather a springboard for the ideas that the Siddur has codified: about Jewish mission, the meaning of creation, mysticism, the universal vs. the particular, the limits of divine power, messianism, life after death, and the end of days. We will plumb the meanings of familiar texts for nuance and unexpected poetry and power.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Search for Peace -REGISTRATION CLOSED

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Search for Peace -Registration Closed

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Dr. David Jacobson  (Read Bio)
Dates: 10 Tuesdays, 2/6, 2/13, 2/27, 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9 & 4/16
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Course fee: $450, financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Beth El Temple Center in Belmont

Meet the instructor: Dr. David Jacobson

The Israel-Hamas war has evoked intense interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has had a powerful impact on our Jewish community. In this course, we will seek to gain a deeper understanding of the events set in motion by the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 by studying the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and exploring why it has persisted for over a century. We will also consider attempts that have been made by Israeli and Palestinian officials to reach a peaceful resolution, as well as grass-roots efforts by Israelis and Palestinians to transcend their political differences. Course materials will include works of fiction and poetry, films, historical documents, and works of historical analysis. As events in the conflict develop in real time during the course, we will discuss their significance in light of our course readings and discussions.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu

 

And He Created them:
Gender and Judaism
from Genesis to Yentl

And He Created them:
Gender and Judaism
from Genesis to Yentl

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Meredith Reiches  (Read Bio)
Dates: 5 Wednesdays, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20 & 3/27
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Course fee: $225, financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Hebrew College

Meet the instructor: Meredith Reiches

Since 1977, the Chrisitan right has used the rallying cry “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” to anchor rejection of same-sex partnerships in the claim that, in the Book of Genesis, God created two sexes, full stop. But is that really what the text says? In this class, we will look closely at representations of sex (or is it gender?) in Tanakh, starting with the curious invocation of “the sharp one and the perforated one” as the first humans. Our explorations will take us from Biblical verses and commentary to legal disputes in Talmud and to contemporary debates about gendered life cycle rituals like Brit Milah and the wedding ceremony. Alongside religious Jewish texts, we will track the ways gender shows up in popular Jewish books, theater, and film. We will also draw on the history of how biologists, anthropologists, and doctors conceptualize sex and gender. You will leave with an appreciation of how a deceptively simple divide blossoms into a complex, beguiling plurality, with new possibilities for the way we understand our tradition and ourselves.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu

 

Abortion in Jewish Law and Life

Abortion in Jewish Law and Life

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Rabbi Carl Perkins  (Read Bio)
Dates: 5 Thursdays, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11 & 4/18
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Course fee: $225, financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Hebrew College

Meet the instructor: Rabbi Carl Perkins

We will explore both the way abortion has been dealt with by Jewish legal authorities as well as the role Jewish organizations and communal leaders have played in the abortion debates in the United States. Some of the questions that we will explore in this course are:

• What is the origin of the different understandings of the nature and permissibility of abortion within the Jewish and Christian traditions?

• If Judaism is so focused on the preservation and enhancement of life; if life is so valued within the Jewish tradition that the saving of a human life takes precedence over virtually all other mitzvot; then how is it that Jewish legal perspectives toward abortion can be so different from what we understand to be the so-called “pro-life” position in our culture?

• If traditional Judaism is so focused on duties and obligations (mitzvot), how is it possible that a “pro-choice” position – which values individual autonomy — can be understood to be consistent with Jewish law and tradition?

• Much of the discussion in Jewish legal texts regarding abortion focuses on the permissibility of so-called “therapeutic abortions” – that is, medical or surgical steps undertaken to end a pregnancy when the mother’s life, health or well-being is threatened or when the fetus has severe abnormalities and is not expected to survive after birth. What does the Jewish tradition have to say about the permissibility of abortion for other reasons?

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu

 

Zionism Today: Crucial Debates, New Ideas – In Person at Temple Isaiah, Lexington

Zionism Today: Crucial Debates, New Ideas – In Person at Temple Isaiah, Lexington

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Dr. Jacob Meskin  (Read Bio)
Dates: 6 Tuesdays, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9 & 4/16
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Course fee: $270, financial aid is available
Location: In Person at Temple Isaiah, Lexington
Hosted by: The Lexington Collaborative, Temples Emunah and Isaiah

Like any living, vital tradition of thought, Zionism has continued to change over time. In this six-week course we will study recent developments within the tradition of Zionist thought, and also some contemporary critiques of Zionism from outside that tradition. We will be focusing on arguments about the state of Israel, the Jewish people, the Palestinians, and the Middle East more broadly. In addition, we will explore certain currents of thought that inform these arguments, e.g., post-colonialism.

After an overview of the early history of Zionism, and of the continuum of Zionist perspectives, we will move on to examine essential issues and debates that have surfaced in recent Zionist thought.  These include: arguments over the status of Zionism as a species of nationalism; different ways of evaluating the particularism of Zionism in an era of “globalism and cosmopolitanism”; important new approaches to understanding the challenges of the state of Israel’s being at once Jewish and democratic; different assessments of the role of Zionism for Jews living in the diaspora; new, and distinct, views of religion in Zionism and in Israeli life; radically divergent Zionist and Palestinian narratives of the history of Israel, and Palestinian critiques of Zionism, and Zionist responses.

In addition to short excerpts from the writings of a number of famous thinkers, every effort will be made to select essays and articles that are accessible. Moreover, wherever possible, film clips, audio of live interviews (with written transcripts), and other alternative media will be included.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu

 

Immersive Beit Midrash:
Prayers and Texts of
Kabbalat Shabbat and Arvit

Immersive Beit Midrash:
Prayers and Texts of
Kabbalat Shabbat and Arvit 

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Rabbi Allan Lehmann (Read Bio)
Dates: 5 Tuesdays, 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26 & 4/2
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Course fee: $225, financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Hebrew College

What are we saying/praying when we recite and sing the Friday evening Shabbat prayers? Using a Beit Midrash format, we will explore the prayers of the Friday evening services, Kabbalat Shabbat (welcoming Shabbat) and Arvit (the evening service). A vibrant Beit Midrash setting is an exciting and supportive place to engage with the course content, while simultaneously building friendships and community. Learning together in a Beit Midrash format you will have the opportunity to learn from the instructor, explore the weekly class content using guided questions in small groups and conclude each session with a wrap up and final teaching from your teacher.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu