Parents' Class: Contemporary Jewish Civilization Syllabus

I. Who Wrote the Torah?

September 30                  


Your Goals; Hillel–Shamai Controversy; Course Objectives and Expectations

October 7                                                 

Contradictions in B'reishit

October 14                         

Sh'mot Chapter 14 and Source Criticism

October 21                         

Four Branches of American Judaism

October 28                                                 

Torah Mi-Sinai Range of Views

November 4                                                   

Text Criticism: Rav Kalman v. Reuven Malter

November 11                                                 

Yom Iyun

November 18                                                 

December 2                                                   

December 9                                                   

Spinoza as Amcha

DBQ Due: Analyze how traditional and critical commentators interpret a Torah passage and explain what difference the approaches make.

 II: Egalitarianism

December 16                         

What Is the Conservative Basis for Egalitarianism?

January 6                                                     

 Is Eyshet Chayil Sexist?

January 13                                                   

Women and Kippot, Men and Candles

Area III: Sexuality

January 27                           

Is the Tanakh Puritanical?

February 3                                          

Translating Shir HaShirim

February 10                           

Yetzer Hara: Rabbinic Sources

February 24                                                   

Yom Iyun

March 2                                                      

Sex as Yetzer Tov

March 9                                                      

Is Abortion in the Torah?

March 16                                                   

Mishnah, Rashi, and Rambam on Abortion

March 23                           

Conservative Halakhah on Abortion and Miscarriage

March 30                           

Tattoos and Body-piercing

April 13                                                   

Same-gender Sex in Torah

April 4                                                      

Trembling Before God, DVD Excerpt

May 11                           

Conservative Decisions on Homosexuality

Opinion Due: Do Judaism’s attitudes toward sexuality accord with your own?