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Revolutions in Modern American Judaism
This course will enable students of all religions and backgrounds to gain an appreciation of contemporary forms of American Jewish religious, cultural, spiritual, political, and social expression and affiliation. It is premised on the notion that “Jewish Civilization,” as Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan famously named it in the 1920’s, has undergone stunningly disruptive revolutions during the last 250 years, none of them separate from the revolutions that Western Civilization has generated and endured, that these disruptions, disappearances, affirmations and renunciations are still being played out by a people that today rarely if ever knows itself as a single coherent community practicing a single common religion or sharing a single overriding cultural, spiritual or political ideal. This course will explore what it is that these divergent and often exclusive forms of Judaism seem to have in common.
Weekly Readings, Oral Report, Weekly participation in Forum (4 absences), Final Paper
Weekly Reading Response 15%, Participation 15%, Oral Presentation 20%, Final Paper 50%