Fall 2021 Learning Series

“Six Days Shall You Labor”: Perspectives on Work in Jewish Text and Tradition

Mondays starting October 4, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET

Many of us spend more time at work than anywhere else over the course of our lives—but are we defined by what we do? In this text-based series, JTS scholars will explore ideas about the meaning of work and rest in Jewish tradition, Jewish labor movements, as well as the roles that gender, geography, and shifting economic and social circumstances have played in Jews’ professional paths and our understandings of the meaning and value of work.

The opening session, entitled “Six Days Shall You Labor”: Shabbat and the Meaning of Work, will be taught by Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics. Shabbat, a day on which “work” is forbidden, also offers a commentary on work—on its place in our lives, its importance, and its limitations. In this session, we will explore biblical and rabbinic views of the Sabbath as commentaries on the significance of work.  

The series will take place each Monday from October 4 to December 13, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. 

Sessions and Faculty

October 4   

Six Days Shall You Labor: Shabbat and the Meaning of Work 

With Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics  

October 11  

Even God Makes Time for Leisure: Rabbinic Narratives about God’s Work, Play, and Rest Schedule  

With Dr. Sarit Kattan Gribetz, JTS fellow and assistant professor of Classical Judaism, Fordham University  

October 18:  

The Work of Producing the Bible: Training and Writing of the Scribes of Ancient Israel 

With Dr. David Carr, Professor of Old Testament, Union Theological Seminary and Dr. Benjamin Sommer, Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages  

October 25: 

The Jewish Middle Class in an Age of Social Justice  

With Dr. Nancy Sinkoff, JTS alumna and Professor of Jewish Studies and History, 
Rutgers University  

November 1: 

A Nice, Jewish Teacher: How American Elementary Education Became “Women’s Work”  

With Dr. Shira D. Epstein, Dean, William Davidson School and Assistant Professor of Jewish Education  

November 8:  

Jewish Work and Jewish Identity in the Middle Ages  

With Dr. Jonathan Ray, JTS alumnus and Samuel Eig Professor of Jewish Studies, 
Georgetown University  

November 15: 

If There Is No Bread, There Is No Torah: The Other Careers of the Talmudic Rabbis  

With Dr. Rachel Rosenthal, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics  

November 22:  

How to Make Work Meaningful for Us: Exploring the Value of Work in Biblical and Rabbinic Sources

With Rabbi Eliezer Diamond, Rabbi Judah Nadich Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics  

November 29: 

Maimonides at Work: A Rabbi’s Workday in Medieval Egypt  

With Dr. Tamar Marvin, JTS alumna  

December 6: 

When Matzoh Bakers and Tallis Weavers Went Out on Strike: The Jewish Workers’ Movement in Russia  

With Dr. David Fishman, Professor of Jewish History  

December 13: 

“It is not up to you to finish the work”: On Striving for the Unattainable

With Dr. Alan Cooper, Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies 

Sponsor a Session

Did you know that you can sponsor a learning session to honor a loved one, celebrate an occasion, or commemorate a yahrzeit? To learn more, contact learninglives@jtsa.edu