This course draws on Gershom Scholem’s dazzling and groundbreaking work Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, to explain the deep influence that mystical thinking had on shaping some of Jewish liturgy’s key prayers. Study with Rabbi Joel Chazin, who served as chaplain and director of religious services at Montefiore.
Messianic figures have appeared among the Jews since biblical times. The Renaissance period, however, saw a dramatic increase in the frequency of messianic episodes.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, leading 20th-century Jewish theologian, taught that “Judaism revolves around three sacred entities: God, Torah, Israel.” In this series of discussions, we will explore the way these three elements offer an organizing principle for understanding Jewish holidays, prayer themes, aspects of the commandments, and more.
Terse and often mysterious, the stories of the Bible contain gaps and unanswered questions. Why did Lot’s wife turn into a pillar of salt? What did Cain say to Abel in the moments before murdering him? How did Abraham discover God? Trying to make sense of these puzzles, sages of the Rabbinic period recorded details to flesh out the texts.
This course examines some of the little-known or untold stories of women who defied Nazi ideology. Specific attention will be given to women who were partisans and women who used their traditional gender role expectations to disguise their actions against the Nazis.
This course will discuss why we need orchestra conductors, some history of the development of modern conducting, and present musical examples (mostly in video format) of some of the greatest conductors of this and the last century.
Depicting the Holocaust and narrating the events around it raise difficult moral and philosophical conundrums. Yet, artists, photographers and architects have not shied away from the challenge.
This course examines the story of the Maharal of Prague and his Golem—a clay man animated through Jewish mystical wisdom. The story of Jews and artificial men, however, is both older and newer, deeper and more popular. We will discuss the idea of the magical man from the Talmud until the 20th century in rabbinic literature, fiction, and film.
Books today serve as a dominant form for disseminating and consuming information. But the book—as a platform for writing and reading—is relatively new, and it may one day become obsolete. The bound and printed paper book was preceded by tablets, scrolls and manuscripts, and it may become a historical relic as electronic media takes over.
Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal, premiered at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882, was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1903, and found its way to the New York Yiddish stage in 1913. Despite Christian symbolism and possible antisemitic suggestion, the opera has inspired Jews to listen, perform, and promote a work of genius.
This seminar considers the work of two of America’s most celebrated Jewish literary figures, who represent very different strands of American Jewish writing. Philip Roth’s assimilated characters seem cut off from the wellspring of Jewish identity, and even actively rebel against the tradition.