Hebrew College will be closed Sept. 26 & 27 in observance of Rosh Hashanah. Shana tova u'metukah!

Me’ah Select Fall 2022 Courses

Daf Yomi

Instructor: Layah Lipsker
Dates: Twenty-six sessions, Bi-weekly on Mondays & Thursdays: 9/19, 9/22, 9/29, 10/3, 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/24, 10/27, 10/31, 11/3, 11/7, 11/10, 11/14, 11/17, 11/21, 11/28, 12/1, 12/5, 12/8, 12/12, 12/15, 12/19, 12/22, 1/2, 1/5
Time: 9-9:45 a.m.
Cost: $380, generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Hebrew College
Registration: Register now

Daf Yomi is an international program to study the entire Talmud in unison, one page at a time. Jews around the world from all backgrounds and affiliations join by following a fixed schedule. This course is for people interested in the fascinating world of Talmud, whose varied discussions have broad and universal resonance. Our twice weekly sessions will keep us on the Daf Yomi schedule but we will focus on contemporary relevance of the texts for modern Jewish life. No Hebrew reading is necessary, all texts will
be studied in English. This Daf Yomi course will meet twice per week for 45 minutes each time over 13 weeks.

For more information, contact Rachel Goldstein rgoldstein2000@gmail.com.


Ancient Responses to Modern Challenges

Instructor: Dr. Susie Tanchel
Dates: Six Thursdays, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Cost: $228, generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Hebrew College
Registration: Register now

Many parts of life have shifted since biblical times, yet parts of the human condition have remained the same. Like our ancestors before us, we need to take initiative in some moments and innovate in others. We need to balance responsibility with authenticity, and we need to persuade people of our time to understand and respond to tragedies. During this course, we will explore these topics by reading and discussing selected texts from different parts of the Bible including Genesis, minor prophets, and the Book of Job in order to discover what wisdom and guidance we can learn for our own lives. No prior knowledge of Hebrew is required. Please bring an open mind and heart.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


Love and Marriage in Rabbinic Tales of the Talmud

Instructor: Rabbi Rachel Adelman
Dates: Ten Wednesdays, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14, 12/21, 1/4
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Cost: $380, generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: The Cambridge Collaborative
Registration: Register now

In this course we engage in a close text study of “tales of the sages” concerned with erotic or marital relations in the Talmud. We’ll discuss the stories of Rabbi Meir and Beruria, Akiva and Rachel, Reish Lakish and Rabbi Yochanan, as well as other infamous stories of sex, wine, and women. We will explore themes such as the rivalry between Torah study and marital obligation; birth control and procreation; desire and the repression of sexuality; homoerotic love; and “shalom bayit” (“peace in the home”).

This course will draw on some of the top scholars writing today on gender and sexuality in rabbinic literature: Ruth Calderon, Daniel Boyarin, and Noam Zion as well as others.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


Beyond Statehood: How Early Zionism Transformed Jewish Life & Culture

Instructor: Rabbi Neal Gold
Dates: Ten Thursdays, 10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22, 1/5
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Cost: $380, generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Temple Beth Sholom, Framingham
Registration: Register now

The great Zionist thinker Ahad Ha’am proposed that by creating a Jewish state, Zionism would also recreate the cultural and spiritual lives of Jewish people everywhere. We’ll explore some of the remarkable stories, poetry, and modern midrashim of generations that were determined to express their Judaism in radical new tones, including the writings of Rachel, Bialik, S.Y. Agnon, Yosef Chayim Brenner, and more. Their revolution still reverberates in the Jewish spirit today

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


Crisis and Confrontation: Historical Encounters Between Judaism and Philosophy

Instructor: Dr. Jacob Meskin
Dates: Ten Sundays, 10/23, 11/6, 11/20, 12/4, 12/18, 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 2/26, 3/12
Time: 3-5 p.m.
Cost: $380 for each semester; generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Harvard Worship and Study Minyan
Registration: Register now

This course explores two deeply consequential confrontations between Judaism and powerful non-Judaic systems of thought. The first took place in the twelfth century in Islamic Spain, the second began in the mid to late twentieth century and continues on into the twenty-first, primarily in Europe, America, and Israel. How did Jewish thinkers in medieval, and in modern times respond to the new critical challenge they faced: trying to affirm Judaism, both as a form of thought and as a way of life, in the face of newly ascendant world views at once foreign and hostile to Judaism?

For more information or to receive the full course description, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


MONDAY: The Biblical Book of Judges: Leadership Amidst Lawlessness

Instructor: Rabbi Benjamin J. Samuels, PhD
Dates: Ten Mondays, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19, 1/2
Time: 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Cost: $380; generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley
Registration: Register now

After the conquest and settlement of the Land of Israel (as told in the Book of Joshua) but before the first kings were appointed and anointed (in the Book of Samuel), charismatic leaders arose from time to time to lead the people against adversaries and their own worst natures. In this course, we will study the biblical book of Shoftim (Judges) which tells the stories of this interim period of leadership amidst lawlessness and the heroic age of the Shoftim. Focusing on the narrative text, we will investigate the book’s literary method, character development, political theory, and historical background. Toward these goals we will enlist Midrash, medieval and modern commentaries, as well as Western and Near Eastern thought and literature. Together, we will make meaning out of our people’s history and stories and find contemporary resonance in the ancient words of the Hebrew Bible.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


WEDNESDAY: The Biblical Book of Judges: Leadership Amidst Lawlessness

Instructor: Rabbi Benjamin J. Samuels, PhD
Dates: Ten Wednesdays, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14, 12/21, 1/4, 1/11
Time: 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Cost: $380; generous financial aid is available
Location: In person
Hosted by: Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley
Registration: Register now

After the conquest and settlement of the Land of Israel (as told in the Book of Joshua) but before the first kings were appointed and anointed (in the Book of Samuel), charismatic leaders arose from time to time to lead the people against adversaries and their own worst natures. In this course, we will study the biblical book of Shoftim (Judges) which tells the stories of this interim period of leadership amidst lawlessness and the heroic age of the Shoftim. Focusing on the narrative text, we will investigate the book’s literary method, character development, political theory, and historical background. Toward these goals we will enlist Midrash, medieval and modern commentaries, as well as Western and Near Eastern thought and literature. Together, we will make meaning out of our people’s history and stories and find contemporary resonance in the ancient words of the Hebrew Bible.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


TUESDAY: The Diverse Cultures of Contemporary Israel: Exploring A Multiplicity of Identities Through Story and Film 

Instructor: Dr. Jacob Meskin
Dates: Ten Tuesdays, 10/25, 11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 11/29, 12/6, 12/13, 12/20, 1/3, 1/10, 1/17
Time: 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Cost: $380; generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley
Registration: Lexington Collaborative: Temple Emunah and Temple Isaiah. Register now

For a variety of reasons most American Jews have learned more about the history of modern Israel, but less about the full complexity of cultures that make up contemporary Israeli society. This course will help participants grasp how that history actually gets lived out in the day-to-day life of a sprawling, vibrant, deeply multicultural, and multi-religious society. Drawing on both popular and more elite media, such as film, short stories, television programs, and popular song videos (all in translation), and also taking advantage of helpful scholarly literature, this course will explore many facets of the contemporary cultural experience in Israel. A great number of very different identities thrive in contemporary Israeli society. This ten-week course will focus on these identities, their histories and politics, and the relationships between them. Some of the identities and topics we will be exploring include:

  • Religious and secular Jews
  • Different Kinds of Jewish culture (Ashkenazi, Mizrachi, Russian, Ethiopian, etc.)
  • Israeli Arab Identities (Muslim, Christian, Druze, etc.)
  • Palestinian intellectual and cultural perspectives on Palestinian identity
  • How Changing Conceptions of Gender Affect Identity
  • The multiplicity of LGBTQ identities in Israel

We will also be looking at popular culture and, in particular, at the growth of satire and humor as responses to and critiques of Israeli society. Students will be asked to watch a few films at home, prior to class. This may require access to free and paid streaming services.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


WEDNESDAY: The Diverse Cultures of Contemporary Israel: Exploring A Multiplicity of Identities Through Story and Film 

Instructor: Dr. Jacob Meskin
Dates:Ten Wednesdays, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14, 12/21,1/4, 1/11
Time: 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Cost: $380; generous financial aid is available
Location: In person
Hosted by: Temple Emanuel, Newton
Registration: Register now

For a variety of reasons most American Jews have learned more about the history of modern Israel, but less about the full complexity of cultures that make up contemporary Israeli society. This course will help participants grasp how that history actually gets lived out in the day-to-day life of a sprawling, vibrant, deeply multicultural, and multi-religious society. Drawing on both popular and more elite media, such as film, short stories, television programs, and popular song videos (all in translation), and also taking advantage of helpful scholarly literature, this course will explore many facets of the contemporary cultural experience in Israel. A great number of very different identities thrive in contemporary Israeli society. This ten-week course will focus on these identities, their histories and politics, and the relationships between them. Some of the identities and topics we will be exploring include:

  • Religious and secular Jews
  • Different Kinds of Jewish culture (Ashkenazi, Mizrachi, Russian, Ethiopian, etc.)
  • Israeli Arab Identities (Muslim, Christian, Druze, etc.)
  • Palestinian intellectual and cultural perspectives on Palestinian identity
  • How Changing Conceptions of Gender Affect Identity
  • The multiplicity of LGBTQ identities in Israel

We will also be looking at popular culture and, in particular, at the growth of satire and humor as responses to and critiques of Israeli society. Students will be asked to watch a few films at home, prior to class. This may require access to free and paid streaming services.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


Profiles in Leadership and Resilience: Exploring Biblical, Rabbinic & Jewish Historical Personalities

Instructor: Rabbi Benjamin Samuels, PhD
Dates: Thursdays, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Cost: $304; generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Congregation B’nai Torah of Sudbury
Registration: Register now

This series seeks to find inspiration and uplift in the narratives of Jewish personalities whose encounters with life’s challenges serve as enduring lessons in leadership and resilience. Over the course of eight sessions, we will interactively study the biblical personalities of Abraham and Sarah; the rabbinic personalities of Rachel and Rabbi Akiva, and Beruria and Rabbi Meir; and the Jewish historical personalities of Moses Maimonides, Gluckel of Hameln, and Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Each session represents a study in courage and determination, and our study of all of them together will help us discover and strengthen our own hidden resources of leadership and resilience.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.


Tradition on the Screen, Part 1: Divergent Images of Jewish Traditional Life in Film

Instructor: Dr. Jacob Meskin
Dates: Wednesdays , 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Cost: $190; generous financial aid is available
Location: Zoom
Hosted by: Hebrew College
Registration: Register now

This course involves screening popular American and Israeli movies in order to study a complex and profound issue in Jewish life today. This issue is the fundamental tension between the lives and attitudes of modern Jews, and the lives and attitudes of traditional religious Jews (also sometimes referred to as hareidim, ultra-orthodox, or hasidim). Designed as the first of two independent courses (each may be taken separately), this course focuses on films that offer starkly different depictions of traditional Jewish life. In particular, these films will help us attend to deep conflicts over issues such as individual self-expression, family, the value of communal life, and the experience of romance and love. Students will screen the films on their own before class; important clips will be shown in class. Carefully chosen academic readings, and short stories will be provided each week, both for background on that week’s film, and to enhance the experience of viewing it.

For more information, contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu.