Academic Programs 
      

Holiness in Time and Space: A Jewish Approach to Spirituality   (WS-623)
Fall 2006

The Jewish people are called to consecrate both time and space, the two pillars of a this-worldly spirituality. After an introduction to Jewish identity and vocation, the focus will shift to the Sabbath and other holy days in the Jewish calendar. The metaphysical dimension of these holy times will be examined along with the behavioral norms and rituals associated with the festivals. Next, the sacred dimension of space/place/land will be addressed, with specific reference to the “Holy Land,” Jerusalem/Al-Quds, and Hebron/Al-Khalil. The political disputes over holy places and cities in Israel/Palestine will be considered from a spiritual perspective linking the Jewish experience with Christian and Muslim sensibilities.

 

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., beginning September 14     



Yehezkel Landau
Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations

Contact Information:
phone: 
(860) 509-9538
email: ylandau @hartsem.edu

 


Course Syllabus

 

Course Rationale and Goals:

This course offers an introduction to Jewish tradition and spirituality. Study of the Hebrew Scriptures is not sufficient as an exposure to basic Judaism. Post-Biblical sources, as well as the lifestyle of contemporary Jews, should also be studied in order to understand how Jews apply their faith in practice. The Jewish people is called to consecrate both time and space, the two pillars of a this-worldly spirituality. With the course structured around these two parameters, students will be able to compare their own faith orientations with that of the Jewish tradition.

The goals of the course are:

1. To introduce students to the self-understanding of contemporary Jews
2. To give students a foundation for appreciating the spirituality of their Jewish neighbors, both women and men
3. To help students see the connection between the ritual and the metaphysical dimensions of Jewish holy days
4. To approach the issue of disputed “holy land” from a spiritual perspective that is Jewish, yet sensitive to Christian and Muslim sensibilities--as one way of healing the tragic conflict over Israel/Palestine

ANTICIPATED LEARNING OUTCOMES:

1. Understanding the particular features of Jewish spirituality, as traditionally defined and as assessed by a feminist critique
2. Appreciating the commonalities with Christian and Muslim spiritualities
3. Understanding how ritual/deed and metaphysics/mysticism/messianism are linked
4. Appreciating how a spiritual perspective, consecrating both time and space, can help heal interreligious conflict, especially in the Middle East

TOPICS TO BE COVERED:

1. Jewish identity and lifestyle: covenanted peoplehood, orthopraxy (deeds) rather than orthodoxy (creed)
2. Images and Attributes of God in Judaism
3. The Written and Oral Torahs: Scripture and Rabbinic Tradition
4. The Dynamics of Jewish Prayer
5. Shabbat and the pattern of 7’s programmed into Creation
6. The High Holydays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and the process of teshuvah (return, repentance)
7. The Three Pilgrimage Festivals: Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks), and Sukkot (Tabernacles)
8. Other holidays: Chanukah, Purim, Tu b’Shevat, Tisha b’Av
9. Consecrating relationships: Jewish ethics, marriage and divorce, parents and children
10. The Shoah (Holocaust), Zionism, and Israel
11. Theologies of Land and History in Contemporary Israel
12. Faith-Based Peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine
13. Jews and Judaism in America

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Students are urged to purchase the following books (supplemental readings, recommended for preparing final papers, are listed at the end of this syllabus):

Telushkin, Joseph, JEWISH LITERACY (New York: William Morrow and Company,
2001)
Steinberg, Milton, BASIC JUDAISM (San Diego and New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1975)
Fishbane, Michael, JUDAISM (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1987)
Adler, Rachel, ENGENDERING JUDAISM (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999)
Heschel, Abraham Joshua, THE SABBATH: ITS MEANING FOR MODERN MAN
(New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1975)
Greenberg, Irving, THE JEWISH WAY: LIVING THE HOLIDAYS (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993)

METHODS OF ASSESSMENT: Classroom participation (20%), Grasp of course material as demonstrated in a 15-page final paper (50%), and three 2-page reflections (10% each x 3 = 30%) on how Jewish tradition and practice compare with your own on issues of: (1) Identity and lifestyle (due October 5); (2) Prayer and theology (due November 2); (3) Sacred Time/Calendar (due November 30). The final paper is due by December 21. Students should communicate with the course instructor, in person, by phone, or by e-mail, about the final paper a few weeks before it is due, to get feedback and approval for the topic.

 

SCHEDULE OF TOPICS AND READINGS

Readings indicated should be read for that particular session.

September 14: Jewish Identity and Lifestyle
Telushkin, pp. 671-702 (#320-332); Steinberg, pp. ix-17, 125-129, 132-142;
Fishbane, pp. 3-9, 11-24, 101-113

September 21: Images and Attributes of God
Telushkin, pp. 599-615 (#284-291); Steinberg, pp. 31-58;
Fishbane, pp. 58-76; Adler, pp. viii-19

Note: Rosh Hashanah begins Friday evening, September 22, and lasts until Sunday
evening, September 24

September 28: The Written Torah: The Hebrew Scriptures
Telushkin, pp. 3-44 (#1-23); Steinberg, pp. 18-30; Fishbane, pp. 26-30

Note: Yom Kippur begins Sunday evening, October 1, and lasts until Monday evening,
October 2

October 5: The Oral Torah: Rabbinic Tradition
Telushkin, pp. 148-159 (#82-84); Steinberg, pp. 143-149;
Fishbane, pp. 25-58; Adler, pp. 21-59 FIRST REFLECTION DUE

Note: Sukkot/Tabernacles begins Friday evening, October 6, and lasts until Friday
evening, October 13; Shemini Atzeret begins Friday evening, October 13,
and lasts until Saturday evening, October 14; in the Diaspora Simchat
Torah begins Saturday evening, October 14, and lasts until Sunday evening,
October 15 (in Israel Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are the same day,
October 13-14)

October 12: The Dynamics of Jewish Prayer
Telushkin, pp. 705-738 (#333-348); Steinberg, pp. 116-125;
Fishbane, pp. 83-94; Adler, pp. 61-103

October 19: Shabbat and the Sabbatical Rhythm of 7’s in Creation
Heschel’s THE SABBATH; Greenberg, pp. 17-23, 127-181;
Telushkin, pp. 661-668 (#316-319); Steinberg, pp. 129-132

*NO CLASS OCTOBER 26*

November 2: The High Holydays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Teshuvah
Greenberg, pp. 182-215; Telushkin, pp. 619-629 (#292-296);
Fishbane, pp. 94-101 SECOND REFLECTION DUE

November 9: The Three Pilgrimage Festivals: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot
Greenberg, pp. 34-118; Telushkin, pp. 629-634 (#297-299), 641-647 (#304-
306), 653-655 (#311)

November 16: Other holidays: Chanukah, Purim, Tu b’Shevat, and Tisha b’Av
Greenberg, pp. 217-303, 411-420; Telushkin, pp. 111-114 (#64-65),
102-103 (#60), 634-639 (#300-302), 655-657 (#312-313)

*NO CLASS NOVEMBER 23* (THANKSGIVING, READING WEEK)

November 30: Consecrating Relationships: Jewish Ethics and Family Life
Telushkin, pp. 545-595 (#255-282); Steinberg, pp. 59-90;
Adler, pp. 105-215 THIRD REFLECTION DUE

December 7: The Shoah (Holocaust), Zionism, and Israel
Telushkin, pp. 373-422 (#182-203), 273-369 (#133-181)

December 14: Theologies of Land and History in Contemporary Israel
Essays by Andre Neher, Pinchas Peli, Uriel Simon, and Yehezkel Landau in
Burrell and Landau, eds., VOICES FROM JERUSALEM: JEWS AND
CHRISTIANS REFLECT ON THE HOLY LAND; Y. Landau, “Healing the
Holy Land: Interreligious Peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine” (all on reserve)

Note: Chanukah begins Friday evening, December 15, and lasts until Saturday evening, December 23

December 21: Jews and Judaism in America: The Challenge of Pluralism
Telushkin, pp. 425-487 (#204-229) FINAL PAPER DUE

 

Suggested Supplemental Readings (recommended for preparing final papers):

TO BE A JEW by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin

THE LIFETIME OF A JEW THROUGHOUT THE AGES OF JEWISH HISTORY
By Hayyim Schauss

ANCIENT ROOTS AND MODERN MEANINGS: A CONTEMPORARY READER
IN JEWISH IDENTITY edited by Jerry V. Diller

THE LONELY MAN OF FAITH by Joseph B. Soloveitchik

ISRAEL IN TIME AND SPACE: ESSAYS ON BASIC THEMES IN JEWISH
SPIRITUAL THOUGHT by Alexandre Safran

BACK TO THE SOURCES: READING THE CLASSIC JEWISH TEXTS,
edited by Barry W. Holtz

THE SEVENTY FACES OF TORAH: THE JEWISH WAY OF READING THE
SACRED SCRIPTURES by Stephen M. Wylen

“Revelation and Tradition as Religious Categories in Judaism,” by Gershom
Scholem, in THE MESSIANIC IDEA IN JUDAISM
DAILY PRAYER BOOK translated and annotated by Philip Birnbaum

TO PRAY AS A JEW by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin

A GUIDE TO JEWISH PRAYER by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

MAN’S QUEST FOR GOD: STUDIES IN PRAYER AND SYMBOLISM
by Abraham Joshua Heschel

YOUR WORD IS FIRE: THE HASIDIC MASTERS ON CONTEMPLATIVE
PRAYER, edited and translated by Arthur Green and Barry W. Holtz

A BOOK OF LIFE: EMBRACING JUDAISM AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
by Michael Strassfeld

DAYS OF AWE by S. Y. Agnon

ON REPENTANCE IN THE THOUGHT AND ORAL DISCOURSES OF
RABBI JOSEPH B. SOLOVEITCHIK compiled by Pinchas H. Peli

SEASONS OF OUR JOY by Arthur Waskow

THE JEWISH HOLY DAYS IN CHASIDIC PHILOSOPHY by Noson Gurary

JUDAISM IN A NUTSHELL: HOLIDAYS by Shimon Apisdorf

THE PASSOVER HAGGADAH

AN INTRODUCTION TO JEWISH ETHICS by Louis E. Newman

RABBINIC WISDOM AND JEWISH VALUES by William B. Silverman

FAMILY REDEEMED: ESSAYS ON FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS by Joseph B.
Soloveitchik

HONOR THY FATHER AND MOTHER: FILIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN JEWISH
LAW AND ETHICS by Gerald Blidstein

THE JEWISH WAY IN LOVE AND MARRIAGE by Maurice Lamm

JEWISH DIVORCE ETHICS by Reuven P. Bulka

DIVORCE IN JEWISH LAW AND LIFE by Irwin H. Haut

STANDING AGAIN AT SINAI: JUDAISM FROM A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE by
Judith Plaskow

ON WOMEN AND JUDAISM: A VIEW FROM TRADITION by Blu Greenberg

REREADING THE RABBIS: A WOMAN’S VOICE by Judith Hauptman

ReVISIONS: SEEING TORAH THROUGH A FEMINIST LENS by Elyse Goldstein

MODERN JEWISH HISTORY: A SOURCE READER edited by Robert Chazan and
Marc Lee Raphael

ISRAEL: AN ECHO OF ETERNITY by Abraham Joshua Heschel

THE JEWISH STATE by Theodore Herzl

THE ZIONIST IDEA edited by Arthur Herzberg

A LAND OF TWO PEOPLES: MARTIN BUBER ON JEWS AND ARABS
edited with commentary by Paul R. Mendes-Flohr

IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL by Amos Oz

THE YELLOW WIND by David Grossman

ISRAELIS AND THE JEWISH TRADITION by David Hartman

MESSIANISM, ZIONISM, AND JEWISH RELIGIOUS RADICALISM
by Aviezer Ravitzky

JUDAISM, HUMAN VALUES, AND THE JEWISH STATE by Yeshayahu
Leibowitz, edited by Eliezer Goldman

JERUSALEM: CITY OF MIRRORS by Amos Elon

JERUSALEM BLESSED, JERUSALEM CURSED: JEWS, CHRISTIANS,
AND MUSLIMS IN THE HOLY CITY FROM DAVID’S TIME TO
OUR OWN by Thomas A. Idinopulos

HOLY WAR, HOLY PEACE: HOW RELIGION CAN BRING PEACE TO THE
MIDDLE EAST by Marc Gopin

AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE GARDEN OF EDEN: A JEW’S SEARCH FOR HOPE
WITH CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS IN THE HOLY LAND by Yossi Klein
Halevi

 


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