Basic Judaism: An Intro to Jewish Life, Text, and Ideas, with Rabbi Matt Green
This is an overview course in broad strokes about Jewish life, culture, belief, non-belief, and thought. Designed in a 24 week module, this course will attempt to give the participants a solid background to the ideas, practices, and expressions of Jewish life from ancient times to the present.
This course will focus on weekly readings, discussions, and practical experiences for each of the course participants—from basic concepts, historical events, how-to demonstrations with rituals, to an overview of the key texts and traditions of Jewish life. The class will meet weekly in the Study on the first floor of the CBE Temple House and will include optional practical experiences.
Each session will devote the opening 5-7 minutes to a D’var Torah—a small lesson presented by a class participant. The next ten minutes will be devoted to any questions that may have arisen in the past week of participant’s lives/readings. We will have a class Shabbat dinner on Friday, February 21, 2020, following Kabbalat Shabbat services at CBE. In addition to the above stated goals, this class seeks to build a community of learners who share in our struggles, questions, and insights.
We encourage regular attendance although we understand that it may be impossible for participants to attend every session over the course of half a year.
At the beginning of the course, you will receive a full syllabus and access to an online portal for all relevant readings. Please read, throughout the 24 sessions, any one of the following three books: Milton Steinberg’s Basic Judaism, Simcha Kling’s Embracing Judaism, or Anita Diamant’s Living a Jewish Life. We recommend also purchasing a Bible, ideally the JPS Tanakh in English.
|10/29||What is a Jew?|
|11/5||The Jewish Timeline: 5000 Years of History Pt I|
|11/12||The Jewish Timeline: 5000 Years of History Pt II|
|11/19**||Torah: the 5 books of Moses (a journey through the year)|
|11/26||Torah: Law (Halachic literature and the growth of the covenant)|
|12/3||Torah: The stories of our people (Aggadic literature, Midrash, and Jewish historical memory)|
|12/10**||Jewish Belief: One God or Less|
|12/24||No Class – Holiday Break|
|12/31||No Class – Holiday Break|
|1/7||The Jewish lifecycle: Birth, Bar Mitzvah, and Marriage|
|1/14||The Jewish lifecycle: Divorce, Death, and the Afterlife|
|1/21||Introduction to Shabbat|
|1/28||Prayer: An introduction to Services|
|2/4||Prayer: An introduction to Services (Cont.)|
|2/11||Fall Festivals: Elul, Slichot and Rosh Hashanah|
|2/18||Fall Festivals: Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah|
|2/25||Israel-Palestine: The Early Years|
|3/3||Israel-Palestine: 1967-The Future|
|3/10||Purim and the Book of Esther|
|3/17||Memory and Destruction: From the 9th of Av to the Holocaust, tragedy in Jewish historical memory|
|3/24||The Jews in America (Streams and Secularism)|
|4/7||Passover Prep: Seder and Music: Bring any Passover Haggadah|
|4/14||Jewish Symbols and Ritual Objects: Their Meaning and Use|
|4/21||Shavuot: Revelation and Chosenness|
|4/28||Close: Siyyum—An end and a beginning. Developing a ritual for moving forward|