Academic Programs 
      

Holiness in Time and Space: A Jewish Approach to Spirituality   (WS-623)
Winter/Spring 2005

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. (Co-sponsored with the Jewish Chautauqua Society) Yehezkel Landau, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
NOTE SPECIAL TIME: Thursdays 10:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m. beginning January 27th 

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 (10%), Grasp of course material as demonstrated in a 15-page final paper (50%), and four 2-page reflections (10% each x 4 = 40%) on how Jewish tradition and practice compare with your own, on issues of:  (1)  Identity and lifestyle (due February 10); (2) Prayer and theology (due March 10); (3) Sacred Time/Calendar (due April 14); and (4) Sacred Space/Place/Territory (due May 5).  The final paper is due by May 12.   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

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

January 27:  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

February 3:  Images and Attributes of God

                     Telushkin, pp. 599-615 (#284-291); Steinberg, pp. 31-58;

                     Fishbane, pp. 58-76; Adler, pp. viii-19

February 10:  The Written Torah:  The Hebrew Scriptures

                       Telushkin, pp. 3-44 (#1-23); Steinberg, pp. 18-30; Fishbane, pp. 26-30

February 17:  NO CLASS

February 24:  The Oral Torah:  Rabbinic Tradition

                       Telushkin, pp. 148-159 (#82-84); Steinberg, pp. 143-149;

                       Fishbane, pp. 25-58; Adler, pp. 21-59

March 3:  NO CLASS

March 10:  The Dynamics of Jewish Prayer

                   Telushkin, pp. 705-738 (#333-348); Steinberg, pp. 116-125;

                   Fishbane, pp. 83-94; Adler, pp. 61-103

March 17:  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

March 31:  The High Holydays:  Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Teshuvah

                  Greenberg, pp. 182-215; Telushkin, pp. 619-629 (#292-296);

                  Fishbane, pp. 94-101

April 7:  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)

April 14:  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) 

April 21:  Consecrating Relationships:  Jewish Ethics and Family Life

                 Telushkin, pp. 545-595 (#255-282); Steinberg, pp. 59-90;

                 Adler, pp. 105-215

April 28:  The Shoah (Holocaust), Zionism, and Israel

                 Telushkin, pp. 373-422 (#182-203), 273-369 (#133-181)

May 5:  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)

May 12:  Jews and Judaism in America:  The Challenge of Pluralism

               Telushkin, pp. 425-487 (#204-229)

 

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

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

“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 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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