JUDS 1601: Modern Jewish Problems
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GOAL: To critically examine the notion that commitment to a halakhically informed way of life requires engaging Jewish law on two levels: 1) the act or performance of the mitzvah as well as 2) the experience of the mitzvah, what Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik referred to as “formal compliance of the law” as well as the law as “a living experience.” We will underscore the fact that “Jewishness” consists of two dimensions – act and feeling, deed and affect, behavior and emotion. On the one hand, Halakhic commitment is associated with certain actions like sitting in a sukkah, lighting Shabbat candles, drinking Kiddush wine or fasting on Yom Kippur. Yet, actions alone are insufficient. We will affirm that there is a feeling or emotional aspect to Halakhic commitment as well – not just reciting the words of prayer but being transformed through prayer, not just drinking Kiddush wine but experiencing something meaningful about Shabbat.¶ This course will explore the relationship between these two important elements of Judaism. We will analyze various texts, from ancient to contemporary, dealing with this issue, with specific focus on prayer, the holiday cycle and the role it played particularly in the thought of Rabbi Soloveitchik.¶ OBJECTIVES: Students should be able to reflect critically on this issue. They will be expected to appreciate how a more sophisticated and in-depth understanding of it will enhance their ability to engage in their Jewish lives in a more meaningful way. They will also be expected be able to articulate their ideas on these matters, orally and in writing
Schacter, J.J. (2022, Spring). JUDS 1601: Modern Jewish Problems. Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
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