The Torahs of Sound and Movement

Title: The Torahs of Sound and Movement (4 sessions)
Instructor: Hadar Ahuvia
Program: Open Circle Jewish Learning Arts and Culture
Day and time, Tuesdays 8-9:30 pm Eastern
Dates: March 12, 19, 26; April 2, 2024
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $160 Financial assistance available

In this course we will explore a variety of texts from the rabbinic tradition that engage our awareness of movement and our bodies and the world. From the vibration of utterance in creation, to awareness of our body in prayer, to Hassidic teachings about Miriam and dance in the world to come- these texts will ground discussion and creative exploration. We’ll ask, how can notions of movement in the Jewish tradition support our artistic, social and political imagination?

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

Canadian and other registrants from outside of the US: please email Cindy Bernstein to complete your registration. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Who Is A Jew? How Women of Multiple Judaisms connect with G’d

Title: Who Is A Jew? How Women of Multiple Judaisms connect with G’d
(4 sessions)
Program: Open Circle Jewish Learning Texts and Traditions, Arts and Culture
Instructor: Kohenet D’vorah Grenn, PhD, Mashpi’ah
Day and Time: Tuesdays, 10-11:30 a.m. PST, 1-2:30 p.m. EST
Dates: May 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2024
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $160 Scholarships available

How do women of multiple Judaisms connect with God? There are cultural Jews, secular Jews, religious Jews, Jews by birth, Jews of color, Jews by choice, political Jews, Goddess Jews (sometimes called “Jewitches”), Jewish pagans and those who describe themselves as Jews who may not affiliate with any religious organization.

Explore the ways we imagine, construct and connect with God. What rituals, prayers or blessings hold the most meaning for us? Can we define what makes us feel Jewish? What traits give us our Jewish identity? What in our Jewish belief system or practices gives our lives the most meaning?

Readings will include excerpts from Dr. Grenn’s dissertation, “For She Is A Tree of Life: Shared Roots Connecting Women to Deity- an Organic Theological Inquiry Into Identities, Beliefs and Practices Among South African Lemba and European American Jewish Women.” Our other main text will be excerpts from Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s “Judaism Without Tribalism: A Guide to Being a Blessing to All the Peoples of the Earth.”

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

Canadian and other registrants from outside of the US: please email Cindy Bernstein to complete your registration. We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

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

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

 

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.

 For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu

Jewish Life and Thought in Medieval Spain (Al Andalus)

Jewish Life and Thought in Medieval Spain (Al Andalus)

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Rabbi Leonard Gordon  (Read Bio)
Dates: 10 Wednesdays, Winter/Spring 2024: 2/7, 2/14, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3, 4/10 & 4/17
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Course fee: $450, financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Temple Beth Zion, Brookline

During the Middle Ages in Spain — Jews, Christians and Muslims shared a common home and interacted in the realms of medicine, government, philosophy and mysticism. For us, Al Andalus (Spain) offers a model for a pluralistic society where diverse religious communities co-existed, shared space, built institutions, and learned from one another. In this way, the Jewish men and women of medieval Spain were, in some centrally important ways, the first “modern” Jews. They were a religious minority, constantly renegotiating their religious and cultural identities in the face of two vast, overwhelmingly powerful religious empires. We will explore diverse strategies of leading figures who produced lasting achievements in the arts, in religious life, and in Jewish thought including Maimonides (Code of Jewish Law, Guide for the Perplexed), Nahmonides (Commentary to Genesis and the Barcelona disputation), Bahya (Duties of the Heart), Rabbenu Yonah (Gates of Repentance) and Yehuda Halevi (Kuzari). Their legacy continues to have impact today as we re-imagine Jewish life and identity in America. No prior background is assumed.

Suggested Background Readings:

The Jews of Spain, Jane Gerber

The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain, Maria Menocal

NOTE: This course is designed for people interested in learning more about the Jewish experience in Spain and/or interested in joining our Hebrew College Jewish Discovery Tour of Spain in May 2024. This May, in conjunction with Keshet Educational Tours, ME’AH will offer a trip to explore Jewish Spain. Check out the tour details at:  https://www.keshetisrael.co.il/meah

 For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu