INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM COURSE SYLLABUS
Please obtain your books prior to the first session. Books are available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com or other venues, new or used.
Living Judaism, by Rabbi Wayne Dosick
Jewish Literacy, Revised edition by Joseph Telushkin
For students considering conversion: 1 book on conversion. Suggestions:
Choosing a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant, Choosing Judaism by Lydia Kukoff or Embracing Judaism by Simcha Kling, or other
Read: It will be assumed that you have read the assigned material and are ready for class discussion.
Post: Post at least one question, comment, response or assignment weekly on the class mailing list, IntrotoJudaism5773@googlegroups.com“>IntrotoJudaism5773@googlegroups.com. To view attachments and other documents, log onto http://groups.google.com/group/introtojudaism5773
Ask questions: Questioning is fundamental to Jewish learning.
Shabbat services: Attend at least 4 Shabbat services, including both evening and morning – following each, write a ½-1 page journal entry with questions and reflections – e-mailed to the group. At least one of these services should be prior to Nov. 13. We recommend attending together in small groups
Shabbat dinner with class: Friday evening, Nov. 16 held at Congregation Beth El, Troy.
Project: small group or individual mitzvah project, d’var Torah, brief research on topic of choice, hosting a Jewish event, etc. summed up in 2-3 pages and presented at end of course.
NOTE: Certificates will be granted to all who attend regularly and complete course assignments.
Oct, 16: Introductions and Expectations.
UNIT 1- Some Fundamental Concepts:
Oct.23: Fundamental Concepts-Brit
Brit – God and Israel
Kidusha – Kidoshim tihiyu, ki ani anonai el Kadosh
Mitzvah (Mitzvot) – doing God’s will
Torah, Avodah, Gemilut Hasadim
Tikkun Olam, Tzedakah
Theologies in modern Jewish thought
Readings: Dosick, pgs. 7-42; Telushkin, look up and read sections on italicized terms
Oct.30: Fundamental Concepts – Jewish Home
Mezuzah and Chanukat haBayit
Dietary practices – Kashrut
Readings: Dosick, pgs. 247-8, 256-268; Telushkin, read sections on italicized terms
Nov.6: Fundamental Concepts – Torah – Jewish texts and halachah
Tanakh and its components – the Jewish narrative and source texts
Talmud, Halachic literature and the chain of Jewish law
Readings: Dosick, pgs. 73-100; Telushkin, 146-8, 153-7
Nov.13: Fundamental Concepts-Synagogue
Siddur, Jewish services, reading of the Torah, synagogue and ritual objects
Will be conducted at Ohav Shalom (tent.) with presentation on worship by Rabbi Ornstein, and discussion of synagogue services with instructor.
Readings: Telushkin, pgs. 717-750
(Fri. Nov. 16 – Erev Shabbat dinner)
Unit 2- History
Nov.20: Jewish History – Biblical, Rabbinic History
Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Exodus from Egypt, Priestly cult, The Temple Period
(Kings Saul, David, Solomon), 1st and 2nd Temple, Divided Kingdom, Babylonian Exile, Mishnaic and Talmudic periods
Readings: Become familiar with the above through Telushkin, pgs. 3-5, 11-15, 21-25, 27-42,
45-50, 61-68, 70-75, 79-86, 104-106, 109-112, 114-121, 127-144, 146-152
Nov.27: Jewish History – Middle Ages to mid-20th c.
Spread of Jewish life, Golden Age of Spanish Jewry, Inquisition, Enlightenment, Early Zionism – founding of the State of Israel, Holocaust
Readings: Telushkin, pgs. 161-166, 171-2, 175-199, 203, 210-211, 215-218, 229-232, 235-238, 271-316, 383-404
Dec.4: Jewish History – Modern Jews
Who is a Jew, Ancestral and cultural groupings
Overview of modern movements
Gerut – conversion
Readings: Dosick, 55-72; Telushkin, pgs. 437-450, 455-461, 471-476, 480-495
Dec.11: Jewish History – Modern American Movements-Presentations by rabbis from each of Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, modernOrthodox (NOTE: 7-9:15 PM)
Readings: Related sections from Telushkin for Dec. 4
Dec. 18: Jewish History – Modern Israel
History, government, politics, culture, issues
Readings: Dosick: Chapter 8; Telushkin, 318-380
Unit 3- Jewish Year
Jan. 8: Jewish Year- Calendar and Shabbat
Introduction to Shabbat practices
Readings: Telushkin, pgs. 630-633, 673-680
Jan. 15: Jewish Year –Fall
Rosh haShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah
Readings: Dosick, Pgs, 130-150; Telushkin, pgs. 634-646
Jan.22: Jewish Year –Winter
Chanukkah, Tu b’Shevat, Purim
Readings: Dosick, pgs. 151-161; Telushkin, pgs. 646-651
Jan.29: Jewish Year-Spring-Summer
Pesach, Yom Hashoa, Yom Ha`atzmaut, Shavuot, Tisha B’av
Readings: Dosick, pgs. 162-200; Telushkin, pgs. 652-669
Unit 4- Jewish Life Cycle
Feb.5: Jewish Life Cycle 1
Birth, coming of age, weddings, divorce.
Readings: Dosick, pgs. 285-302; Telushkin, pgs. 683-700
Feb.12: Jewish Life Cycle 2
Illness/bikkur cholim, death and mourning
Readings: Dosick, pgs. 303-312; Telushkin, pgs. 594-5, 703-709
Visit with 2 gerim (male/female)
Review of process
Readings: Selected book re: conversion, Telushkin, pgs. 700-702
Feb.26: Project presentations/discussions. (Any written material circulated in advance.)