Emergence of Jewish Historical Consciousness

History is an integral part of conscious experience that binds our present moments of awareness into a coherent pattern that provides a sense of personal and collective continuity that depends upon having an historically bound steam of consciousness. Paradoxically, the Jews came to examine their own history in the 19th century. That was when we came to realize that events and transformational change could be understood only by examining our past in order to appreciate the evolution of ideas, institutions and the changes in the condition of the Jewish people.

Jewish Life in The Middle Ages: In the Worlds Of the Cross and the Crescent

For a thousand years in Diaspora, from about 500 C.E, Jews lived under the domination of the Cross and the Crescent. The focus of this course is the social, religious, economic, political and cultural conditions of life for Jews under Muslim and Christian rule and how they navigated a world that challenged them both internally and externally. Among the topics to be studied are:

Jewish Traditions of Sacred Time

This course will cover shalosh regalim and yamim noraim, paying attention to the ways that seasons give way to seasons and moods and foci shift through time. Course goals:

1. To understand the patterns and moods of the Jewish calendar as they express agricultural, mythic-historical, halakhic, and mystical points of view.

2. To become familiar with the particular practices and liturgies associated with each of the festivals and their seasons.

Introduction to Jewish Renewal & Reb Zalman’s Thought

Crucial to a full understanding of Jewish Renewal is knowledge of the history and development of the movement, its structures, its leaders and their thought, including the principles and development of Paradigm Shift, Integral Halachah, and Davvenology.talmidim will be introduced to the rabbis and teachers who embraced Reb Zalman's thought and invitation to renew Judaism with their own unique gifts. 

Rabbinic Pastor talmidim may choose either this course or Transformative Themes in Reb Zalman's Writings to fulfill the requirement.

Medieval Thought

Jewish philosophy and theology had its greatest flowering in the Medieval period. Philo, Saadia, Maimonides, Albo, Crescas and others laid down the issues, questions, and proposed theologies with which we are still wrestling. This course will explore the most influential writers and leaders of the Jewish middle ages, beginning with Philo and then focusing primarily on Saadia Gaon, Yehudah Halevi,  the RaMbaM and RaMbaN,  contrasting the rationalism of Saadia and RaMbaM with the more mystical approach of Halevi, the poet, and RaMbaN  the mystic.