teacher and student

Winter/Spring 2018 Me'ah Select Classes

 

| Beverly/North Shore | Boston | Cambridge | Lexington | Needham | Newton | South Shore/Sharon | Sudbury |

Please register for a Me'ah Select class using a non-mobile device.  Thank you!


Beverly, Temple B'nai Abraham

Hasidism: Modern Jewish Mysticism and Spirituality

David Ariel, PhD
Meets Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class begins March 7, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 10 sessions: $250 member (B'nai Abraham, Temple Ner Tamid, Temple Tiferet Shalom), $350 community members

Have you ever wondered what is the appeal of Hasidism? It may appear to us today as ultra-Orthodox fundamentalism, but when it first appeared in the eighteenth century, the followers of Hasidism were considered rogues, renegades, and rebels by their Orthodox contemporaries. In this course, we will explore Hasidism as a revolutionary Jewish revival movement that transformed Eastern-European Jewry. We will explore the spiritual teachings of early Hasidism and their contemporary implications including pantheism, mystical union, ecstatic prayer, self-transcendence, worshiping God through sin, and the role of the Hasidic wonder-rabbi. We will look at Hasidic literature in translation including the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, Nachman of Bratzlav, Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidism, and Martin Buber and consider how these teachers made mysticism attractive in our modern world.  Please click here to review the draft syllabus for this fantastic class!

Register for this class


 Boston, Temple Israel of Boston

Jewish Gastronomy in America

Rabbi Lila Kagedan
Meets Tuesdays, 7:00-9:30 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class begins February 15, to see a class calendar click here

Join us on a culinary tour of the history of Jewish food in America. Jews have in many ways contributed greatly to the American food experience and Jewish food is becoming more and more popular and trendy. This class focuses on both the Jewish history of American Jewish food and offer a very interesting "hands on'" cooking component. We will explore the astonishing stories behind a range of beloved foods from brisket and rugelach to couscous and pickles.

To register for this exciting class, click here


Cambridge, Sponsored by Congregation Eitz Chayim

Muslim and Jewish stories on the Biblical Narratives

Shari Lowin, PhD
Meets Mondays, 7-9:15 pm 
Winter/Spring 2018 class begins January 29, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 10 sessions: $360

As brother religions vying for the same sacred history, Islam and Judaism trace the genesis of their spiritual and biological communities back to the very same founding parents. Yet Islam is not Judaism, Muslims are not Jews, and vice versa. Rather, the two traditions are, and understand themselves to be, distinct entities with distinct value systems. By comparing the Jewish and Muslim accounts of the shared Biblical ancestors, as well the often colorful exegesis on these narratives, this course will investigate various matters of moral and ethical concern to these communities and the lessons thereby imparted by each tradition.


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Lexington, Class meets at Temple Isaiah, co-sponsored by the Lexington Collaborative

Hasidism: Modern Jewish Mysticism and Spirituality

David Ariel, PhD
Meets Thursdays, 9:30 am-12:00 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class begins February 1, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 10 sessions: $350

Have you ever wondered what is the appeal of Hasidism? It may appear to us today as ultra-Orthodox fundamentalism, but when it first appeared in the eighteenth century, the followers of Hasidism were considered rogues, renegades, and rebels by their Orthodox contemporaries. In this course, we will explore Hasidism as a revolutionary Jewish revival movement that transformed Eastern-European Jewry. We will explore the spiritual teachings of early Hasidism and their contemporary implications including pantheism, mystical union, ecstatic prayer, self-transcendence, worshiping God through sin, and the role of the Hasidic wonder-rabbi. We will look at Hasidic literature in translation including the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, Nachman of Bratzlav, Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidism, and Martin Buber and consider how these teachers made mysticism attractive in our modern world.  Please click here to view a draft syllabus of this fantastic class.

Register for this class


Needham, Temple Beth Shalom

The Relationship Between Judaism and Islam

David Ariel, PhD
Meets Tuesdays, 7:30-9:30 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class begins April 2, class ends June 18, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 10 sessions: $300 for temple members, 
 $350 for community members

This course will explore the intertwined destinies of Judaism and Islam including the myth of the Jews and Arabs as cousins, the Jewish background to the Islamic religion, and the Muslim-Jewish symbiosis during the medieval period. Topics will include the influence of Jewish teachings on Muhammad (570-632), the founder of Islam; the relationship between the five pillars of Islam and Judaism; the Qur’an’s attitudes to Jews and Judaism; the status of Jews as dhimmi (“protected minority”) under Islam; the role of the Jews in Islamic societies; the Golden Age of Jewish life in Muslim Spain; the Arabic writings of Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides; the influences of Islam upon Judaism; and the status of Jews living under Islam before the founding of the State of Israel. Please click here to review the draft syllabus for this fantastic class!

Register for this class


Newton, Hebrew College

The History of Now: What Jewish History Teaches Us About Contemporary Jewish Issues

Rabbi Dan Judson, PhD and Jonathan Sarna, PhD
Meets Thursdays, 9:45 am-12:15 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class starts February 1, to see a class calendar  click here
Cost for 10 sessions: $350

This class is full as of 1/11/18, please call us to be put on a waitlist, we do sometimes have openings.

Today, there are several crucial issues facing American Judaism. How much should Israel define American Jewish identity and what should be our attitude towards organizations that criticize Israel? How should we respond to today’s close to 70% intermarriage rate—is this a challenge or a blessing? What should we do in the face of closing synagogues and changing patterns of affiliation among the younger generation of Jews?  How concerned should we be about antisemitism today? This course will examine the contemporary debates around these issues and others as well as looking at the historical development which gave rise to them.

This class is full as of 1/11/18, please call us to be put on a waitlist, we do sometimes have openings.


Newton, Hebrew College

From Diatribe to Dialogue: Studies in the Jewish Christian Encounter

Ruth Langer, PhD
Meets Wednesdays, 9:45 am-12:15 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class starts February 28, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 10 sessions: $350

From the birth of Christianity, Christians and Jews have never ignored one another. However, only in our times have these encounters begun to include regular positive affirmations of the other. To provide the student with a background for the contemporary situation, this course will explore various theological and historical facets of this encounter from the diatribes of earliest Christianity through the medieval disputations, concluding with contemporary dialogue and some of the lessons in interreligious understanding that it has taught. Readings will be drawn from Jewish and Christian primary sources in translation.  To view a preliminary syllabus for this class, please click here.

Register for this class


Newton, Hebrew College

The Story of King David

Rachel Adelman, PhD
Meets Mondays, 7-9:30 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class starts February 5, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 10 sessions $350

To see a draft syllabus for this class, click here

King David is one of the most complex figures to emerge from the Bible -- a mighty warrior, famed for his poetry and music, chosen by God to found the Judean dynasty. Yet he commits both adultery and murder, repents, and pays inexorably for his sins. This course explores David as both a historical figure and mythical character. How does the story of David earn its reputation as one of the great masterpieces of world literature? And how did the highly flawed king at its center become the idealized figure celebrated as the author of the Psalms and the ancestor of the messiah? In seeking answers to these questions, we will address several larger issues: the nature of the Bible as a literary work of art; the shifting political and religious roles of prophet, judge, priest, and king over the Books of Samuel; and the meanings projected onto the Bible by later poets, artists, and novelists.

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 Newton, Temple Emanuel

The Relationship Between Judaism and Islam

David Ariel, PhD
Meets Wednesdays, 9:30 am-12:00 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class begins February 7, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 10 sessions: $275

This course will explore the intertwined destinies of Judaism and Islam including the myth of the Jews and Arabs as cousins, the Jewish background to the Islamic religion, and the Muslim-Jewish symbiosis during the medieval period. Topics will include the influence of Jewish teachings on Muhammad (570-632), the founder of Islam; the relationship between the five pillars of Islam and Judaism; the Qur’an’s attitudes to Jews and Judaism; the status of Jews as dhimmi (“protected minority”) under Islam; the role of the Jews in Islamic societies; the Golden Age of Jewish life in Muslim Spain; the Arabic writings of Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides; the influences of Islam upon Judaism; and the status of Jews living under Islam before the founding of the State of Israel.   Please click here to review the draft syllabus for this fantastic class!

Register for this class


Newton, Temple Emanuel

The Passover Seder: History, Ritual, and the Shaping of Jewish Collective Memory
Winter/Spring Class: The Passover Haggadah: Text, Narrative, Ritual Performance

Rabbi Jay Berkovitz, PhD
Meets Monday nights, 7:45-9:45 pm
Winter/Spring class starts January 22, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 10 sessions $275

The Passover Haggadah: Text, narrative, ritual performance

This course involves a 3-part study of the Haggadah, the Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder. First, it will focus on the text of the Haggadah, its formation, structure, and distinctive language, starting from the Mishnaic period through the Middle Ages. Second, it will examine in detail the narrative style of the Haggadah, its thematic content, and will offer cross-cultural comparisons with Greco-Roman sources and Christian polemics. Third, it will look closely at the Seder customs, their historical development, performative features, and cultural meaning in various communities.  The course will conclude with a reexamination of the shaping of Jewish collective memory in light of the rich sources and ideas that were studied.

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South Shore Collaboration, Temple Sinai, Sharon

Jewish-Muslim Relations through the Ages

Alan Verskin, PhD
Meets Thursday nights, 7:30-9:30 pm
Winter/spring class will meet at Temple Sinai
Winter/spring 2018 starts February 1, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 11 sessions $350

The relationship between Jews and Muslims in the pre-Modern period has been described by some scholars as “symbiotic.” We will examine the factors which enabled that symbiosis as well as the factors that threatened it. By looking at case studies of Muslim-Jewish relations in Spain, Iraq, Egypt and Syria, we will try to identify the religious and social factors that led to toleration or persecution of Jews. Finally, we will look at the factors in the 19th and 20th centuries that led Muslim-Jewish relations to unravel. These include Western colonialism, Zionism, Arab nationalism, Islamist movements and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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Sudbury, Congregation B'nai Torah

Crucial Moments in Israeli History through the Lens of Short Stories

Jacob Meskin, PhD
Meets Thursday nights, 7:30-9:30 pm
Winter/Spring 2018 class starts March 8, to see a class calendar click here
Cost for 11 sessions $350

This course aims to introduce students to certain critical moments in the history of the modern state of Israel through short stories. The stories we will read together range from the earliest days of the pioneers to the twenty-first century. Written by men and women, Ashkenazim and Sefardim/Mizrachim, Jews and Arabs, secularists and traditionalists, these stories open up for us uniquely visceral and imaginative windows on many of the compelling events that have shaped the history of Israel. Although our focus each week will be on the stories, excerpts from various academic and secondary sources will also be supplied, in order to provide historical background for the setting of each story.  Depending on logistical considerations we may also screen one or two Israeli films, which tie in to some of the stories. The idea for this course arose from the instructor's observation that busy adult students often find well-written short stories more useful in crystalizing the central conflicts, prevailing dynamics, and crucial issues in Israeli history than academic writings.     

Register for this class


 

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