Deep Ecumenism

The course begins with the questions raised by a close reading of Reb Zalman’s writings on “deep ecumenism.”  We study comparatively the spiritualities / mysticisms of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism utilizing insights from Ken Wilber's writings to help our comparisons.  Each student partakes in an ecumenical experience and reports to the class.

Modern Jewish Thought

Modern Jewish thought began with Spinoza (The first secular Jew) to Nachman Krochmal (according to Reb Zalman the first Jewish Renewalist) to the mysticism of the early Martin Buber, and to Franz Rosenzweig—arguably the most influential Jewish Philosopher of the 20th century. We will examine the roots of our contemporary Jewish thought.  Rabbinic Pastor students may choose this course OR Jewish Feminist Thought.

Ve-yesh Sod La-Davar: Themes of Jewish Mystical Tradition (Readings in English)

This course is an engaged study of the development of Jewish mysticism, its symbolic universe, meditation practices, and social ramifications. While we will survey Jewish mystical traditions from the early Rabbinic period through the modern, the heart of the course is that many-branched (post)-medieval stream known as kabbalah.

Hasidic Texts and Spiritual Practice

This course examines Hasidic approaches to the major ideas and pathways of Judaism.  We will explore the central themes in Hasidism through studying selected texts authored by great Hasidic masters from the 18th century to the present.  This journey will lead to an in-depth understanding of the unique Hasidic approaches to Jewish values and practices and an appreciation of Hasidism’s profound theological and psychological insights.