Academic Programs 
      

Holiness in Time and Space: A Jewish Approach to Spirituality
(WS-623-2)   
Winter/Spring 2003

The Jewish people is 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: 
Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 28, February 11, March 11, April 1 and April 29 (D.Min. schedule)

Location: Room 205/Meeting Room 

Yehezkel Landau
Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations and Co-Founder, Open House, Ramle, Israel

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

Course Syllabus
Class web site


Course Rationale and Goals:

This course offers an introduction to Jewish spirituality, a subject with which Christians and Muslims should be familiar in order to engage their Jewish neighbors with knowledge and respect.   Study of the Hebrew Scriptures is not sufficient as an exposure to basic Judaism.  Jewish experience as lived by contemporary Jews should also be studied by Christian and Muslim seminarians as they prepare for ministry in our pluralistic culture. 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, a foundation that combines theoretical and experiential knowledge

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 land/territory from a spiritual perspective that is Jewish, yet inclusive of other sensibilities (Christian and Muslim)--as one way of healing the historic conflicts over the “Holy Land"

Anticipated Learning Outcomes:

1.  Appreciation of the particular features of Jewish spirituality

2.  Appreciation of the commonalities with Christian and Muslim spiritualities

3.  Appreciation of how ritual/deed and metaphysics/mysticism/messianism are linked

4.  Understanding 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 vocation: covenanted peoplehood defined by deed rather than creed, orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy

2.  Shabbat and the pattern of 7’s programmed into Creation:  Sabbatical Year, Jubilee

3.  The Tishrei festivals:  Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

4.  Pesach (Passover), Counting the Omer, and Shavuot (Weeks)

5.  Purim, Chanukah, Tisha b’Av, Tu b’Shevat

6.  The Land of Israel:  History, Theology, Messianism

7.  Jerusalem and Hebron as Centers of Inclusive Holiness

8.  Faith-Based Peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine

METHODS OF DELIVERY:   Lectures, Demonstrations of rituals and prayers, Videotapes, Musical selections, Sharing a Shabbat meal and Tu B’Shevat seder together, and (if possible) synagogue attendance on the festival of Purim


METHODS OF ASSESSMENT:   Classroom participation (20%), Grasp of course material as demonstrated in 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 Session 2); (2) Sacred Time/Calendar (due Session 3); and (3) Sacred Space/Place/Territory (due Session 5).  The final paper is due by May 13.  A 1-to-2-page preview (including preliminary bibliography) is due by April 1 (Session 4).

 

Schedule of Topics and Readings

Note:  Readings indicated should be read for that particular session.

SESSION 1, January 28: 

AM     
Introduction to Jewish Identity, Tradition, and Vocation

Recommended readings:  
TO BE A JEW by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin

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

“Revelation and Tradition as Religious Categories in Judaism,” by Gershom Scholem, in THE MESSIANIC IDEA IN JUDAISM

PM
Jewish Prayer

Recommended readings:  
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

SESSION 2, February 11:  (first 2-page reflection due)

AM
Shabbat and the Pattern of 7’s in Creation

Required readings:  
THE SABBATH:  ITS MEANING FOR MODERN MAN by Abraham Joshua Heschel

THE JEWISH WAY:  LIVING THE HOLIDAYS by Rabbi Irving Greenberg, pp. 121-181

Recommended reading:
A BOOK OF LIFE:  EMBRACING JUDAISM AS
A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE by Michael Strassfeld, pp. 103-134


PM
The Tishrei Festivals and the Challenge of Teshuvah (Repentance/Return)        

Required reading:  
THE JEWISH WAY by Greenberg, pp. 17-33, 182-215,
94-118

Recommended readings: 
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, chapters 1-5

A BOOK OF LIFE by Strassfeld, pp. 260-283

JUDAISM IN A NUTSHELL:  HOLIDAYS by Shimon Apisdorf, pp. 18-19, 42-45, 56-63, 73-80

SESSION 3, March 11:  (second 2-page reflection due)

AM    
Pesach
(Passover), Counting the Omer, Lag B’Omer, and Shavuot (Weeks) 

Required reading:  
THE JEWISH WAY by Greenberg, pp. 34-93, 421-428

Recommended readings:
THE PASSOVER HAGGADAH 

SEASONS OF OUR JOY by Waskow, chs. 9-11

A BOOK OF LIFE by Strassfeld, pp. 227-255

JUDAISM IN A NUTSHELL:  HOLIDAYS by Apisdorf, pp. 9-16, 40-42, 66-69, 83-91

PM    
Purim, Chanukah, Tisha b’Av,
and Tu B’Shevat

(Note:  March 17-18 is Purim, and hopefully we can attend a synagogue service together)

Required reading:
THE JEWISH WAY by Greenberg, pp. 224-303, 418-420

Recommended readings:  
SEASONS OF OUR JOY by Waskow, chs. 6-8, 12

A BOOK OF LIFE by Strassfeld, pp. 256-259, 284-297

JUDAISM IN A NUTSHELL:  HOLIDAYS by Apisdorf, pp. 21-29, 45-53, 63-66, 69-72, 80-82, 91-94

LAMENTATIONS & THE TEARS OF THE WORLD by K. M. O’Connor

SESSION 4, April 1:  (1-to-2-page preview of research paper due)

AM    
The Land of Israel:  History, Theology, and Messianism
  

Required readings:  
ISRAEL:  AN ECHO OF ETERNITY by Abraham Joshua

Heschel, selected readings to be put on reserve

VOICES FROM JERUSALEM:  JEWS AND CHRISTIANS REFLECT ON THE HOLY LAND, edited by David Burrell and Yehezkel Landau,

Preface, Introduction by Burrell, chapters by Neher, Ajamian, Peli, and Dubois

Recommended readings:  
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

PM
Religious Zionism:  Challenges and Choices

Required readings:  VOICES FROM JERUSALEM, edited by Burrell and Landau, chapter by Uriel Simon

RELIGIOUS ZIONISM:  CHALLENGES AND CHOICES, Oz

veSHALOM booklet edited by Yehezkel Landau with articles by Tal, Simon, Aviad, and Kaplan

Recommended readings:  
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

SESSION 5, April 29:  (third 2-page reflection due)

AM    
Jerusalem and Hebron as Centers of Inclusive Holiness

Required readings:  VOICES FROM JERUSALEM edited by Burrell and Landau, Epilogue by Yehezkel Landau

“Sharing Jerusalem:  The Spiritual and Political Challenges” by Yehezkel Landau, from SIDIC Journal, Vol. XXIX, No. 2-3, 1996

THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF JERUSALEM FOR JEWS, CHRISTIANS, AND MULSIMS edited by Hans Ucko

Recommended readings:  
JERUSALEM:  ONE CITY, THREE FAITHS by
Karen Armstrong

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

JERUSALEM IN THE HEART by Ali Qleibo

PM    
Faith-Based Peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine

Required readings:  “Faith-Based Peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine,” report for U.S. Institute of Peace by Yehezkel Landau

HOLY WAR, HOLY PEACE by Rabbi Marc Gopin, chs. 2 and 10

Open House materials to be distributed (see www.friendsofopenhouse.org) 

Recommended reading: 
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

NONVIOLENCE AND PEACEBUILDING IN ISLAM:  THEORY AND PRACTICE by Mohammed Abu-Nimer

           Open Discussion:  How can we apply what we’ve learned?

 

 

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