Spring 2014 courses
RELG 383, Introduction to Judaism, Wardlaw 101, 3:55 pm – 5:10 pm
Why do Jews eat crackers on Passover and why are they square? Is kosher food blessed by rabbis? How is Judaism different from Christianity or Islam? How does the Holocaust impact twenty-first century American Jews? Why are there so many Jewish jokes on the Daily Show? And, in the year 2014, what on earth is a Jew? We will approach these questions through the lens of the Haggadah, a ritual manual Jews read during Passover.
This “living text”, arguably the most popular Jewish book after the Hebrew Bible, will be our key to unlock a number of ideas that have shaped the Jewish experience such as the Oral Torah, the emphasis on prayer and social justice, sanctification of daily life, but also the impact of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and gay and transgender rights. You will notice that the last four classes are TBA. Those are classes whose topics will be determined by you, the students. Suggested topics are: the Ark of the Covenant, conversion to Judaism, Black Hebrews, Jews of color, Israeli music…
RELG 203Z Introduction to Comparative Religion (asynchronous online course)
This course is an introduction to comparative religion. You will think about the role of spirituality and religion in public life, and explore a number of religious traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, as well as Atheism and some more recent religious movements.
Current Project: Transgendered Jews in legal and medical Hebrew texts
My project looks at gender variance in medieval Hebrew texts written by commentators of Jewish law (the Rishonim) who were active in Europe and the Mediterranean between 1000-1500.