Shul School Continues – More Thinking Matters

ThinkingMattersWe're excited to share the winter and spring line-up for our popular Thinking Matters: Modern Jewish Philosophy mini-course series.

Below, we provide an overview of February – May 2017 Thinking Matters course offerings. (The full 2016–17 mini-course overview can be accessed by clicking here.)


Join our impressive line-up of local star teachers and CBS experts to wrestle with today's urgent questions of Jewish philosophy. Can there be such a thing as a Jewish philosophy, or a philosophy of Judaism? How does Judaism relate to the broader question of the relationship of ethics, religion, and theology to philosophy? (For an introduction to Jewish modern thought and philosophy, we recommend Steven Katz's essay, "Eliezar Berkovits & Modern Jewish Philosophy.")

All classes meet on Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 8 p.m. All sessions are FREE for CBS members, but students are encouraged to make a donation to CBS. For nonmembers, each single session is $12. Alternatively, nonmembers can purchase an 8-session pack for $84, or the full semester subscription for $180.


Facebook_ArendtOrigins Of Totalitarianism From Hannah Arendt To Today
February 9, March 9, April 6, & April 27
(4 sessions w/ Dr. Michael Loebs)


Course Description: Join Dr. Michael Loebs for a re-evaluation of the famed German Jewish political philosopher, Hannah Arendt. This four-session mini-course will involve much interactive discussion about the diverse themes in Arendt’s political philosophy, including authority, legitimacy, popular sovereignty, and its moral implications throughout the world and at home.

Readings: from The Portable Hannah Arendt, "Perplexities of Rights of Man" and "Little Rock"
Session 1: Click here to download
Session 2: Click here to download
Session 3: Click here to download
Session 4: Click here to download


REGISTER BELOW



Thinking Through Halakhic Mind/Man In Soloveitchik
February 16 & TBD (due to postponement)
(2 sessions w/ Dr. Adrian Mirvish)


Course Description: What exactly is the status of Jewish law or Halacha? Is it a set of sometimes arcane laws that have simply, historically, over time, evolved to stand as commandments? Is this set of laws obeyed on a subjective basis, because of what Jews over the ages have come to feel and experience - both communally and personally - or is the Halacha rather in some sense truly objective, and if so how exactly does it affect our lives? Another question that can be asked in connection with these positions: is there is any viable connection or relation between objective and subjective poles of religious experience?

Soloveitchik deals with all these issues, setting up a fascinating dialectic between objective and subjective forms of experience plus the phenomenon of revelation. We will explore these topics in the two classes dealing with his thought.

Readings: The Lonely Man of Faith, by Joseph Soloveitchik

REGISTER BELOW




Introducing Zion(ism) Matters

facebook_zionismmattersThis year, our popular Thinking Matters: Modern Jewish Philosophy mini-course series is introducing an offshoot series dubbed Zion(ism) Matters!

Although we think we know what Zionism means, it is always helpful to revisit its past and present, as well as to consider its future. This exciting new series will explore Zionism through lectures, celebrations, and art exhibits.

Details and readings for upcoming Zion(ism) Matters single classes and mini-courses are included below. (The full 2016–17 course overview can also be viewed as a simple .pdf file by clicking here.)

All classes meet on Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 8 p.m. All sessions are FREE for CBS members, but students are encouraged to make a donation to CBS. For nonmembers, each single session is $12. Alternatively, nonmembers can purchase an 8-session pack for $84, or the full semester subscription for $180.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR ZION(ISM) MATTERS ONLINE


On Love Of Israel
November 10, December 8, January 26, & February 23
(4 sessions w/ Ephraim Margolin, Esq.)


Course Description: Ephraim Margolin is a longtime professor of law who, before moving to the United States, served as Secretary to Menachem Begin, leader of the Irgun. He is a Hebrew University and Yale Law School graduate who has a rich knowledge of Israeli politics and culture.

His four-session mini-course will consider Israel through a contemporary lens, drawing on the country’s remarkable history and much Jewish thinking.

Session 1: Limits On Criticism of Israel
Session 2: Glorifying & Rejecting Jewish Power
Session 3: Roots Of Peace And Justice In Israel
Session 4: Self-Hate In Modern Israeli Culture

Readings: TBD

Zions: Home & Exile Beyond The Middle East
December 1
(1 session w/ Aaron Hahn Tapper, PhD)


Course Description: Dr. Aaron J. Hahn Tapper’s one-session class will explore Jewish "zions" outside the State of Israel, with special attention to the dominance of the Diaspora/Zion binary and subordination of non-Middle East Jewish homelands. Dr. Hahn Tapper is the Chair of the Department of Theology & Religious Studies, the Mae and Benjamin Swig Associate Professor in Jewish Studies, and the Founder and Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. In June 2016, Dr. Hahn Tapper published Judaisms: A Twenty-First-Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities (University of California Press).

Readings: TBD

Philosophy Of Zionism In Ahad Ha'am
January 5
(1 session w/ Ovid Jacob)


Course Description: Ovid Jacob joined Rabbi Glazer on the Irving Rabin Community Building Mission To Israel last year. Following that trip, he has become interested in exploring novel ways of connecting members of the Bay Area Jewish community to Israel. This single-session class will explore what Zionism meant to Ahad Ha’am, the pre-state Zionist thinker who found himself at loggerheads with Theodor Herzl. Herzl’s priority was political Zionism, whereas Ha’am is credited as the founder of cultural Zionism.

Readings: TBD


CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR ZION(ISM) MATTERS ONLINE

Lead image credit: The background appearing in the Zion(ism) Matters title image is a 1902 illustration by Ephraim Moses Lilien, who was known for fusing Zionist iconography with an Art Nouveau style. Lilien's biographer dubbed him "the first Zionist artist."

Shul School Is Back In Session!

ThinkingMattersOur popular Thinking Matters: Modern Jewish Philosophy mini-course series kicks off a new semester next week!

Below, we provide an overview of September – November 2016 Thinking Matters course offerings. (The full 2016–17 mini-course overview can be accessed by clicking here.)


Join our impressive line-up of local star teachers and CBS experts to wrestle with today's urgent questions of Jewish philosophy. Can there be such a thing as a Jewish philosophy, or a philosophy of Judaism? How does Judaism relate to the broader question of the relationship of ethics, religion, and theology to philosophy? (For an introduction to Jewish modern thought and philosophy, we recommend Steven Katz's essay, "Eliezar Berkovits & Modern Jewish Philosophy.")

Details and readings for upcoming Thinking Matters single classes and mini-courses are included below.

All classes meet on Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 8 p.m. All sessions are FREE for CBS members, but students are encouraged to make a donation to CBS. For nonmembers, each single session is $12. Alternatively, nonmembers can purchase an 8-session pack for $84, or the full semester subscription for $180.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE


Elie Wiesel and the Problems of Holocaust Representation
September 22 & October 27
(Sessions continue in 2017: January 12, January 19, February 2, March 2 & 30, & April 20)
(8 sessions w/ Dr. Michael Thaler)


Course Description: Elie Wiesel is universally recognized as the leading voice of Holocaust commemoration and interpretation. This course will highlight significant differences in content and message between Wiesel's original Yiddish memoir, Un di velt hot geshvign (And the World Remained Silent), which is known only to a handful of scholars, and the universally acclaimed French (La Nuit) and English (Night) versions. Dr. Thaler will also compare Wiesel’s work of Holocaust representation with the accounts of other key witnesses, both Jews and non-Jews, including Jerzy Kosinski (The Painted Bird), Tadeusz Borowski (This Way To The Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen), Charlotte Delbo (None Of Us Will Return), Jean Améry (At The Mind’s Limits), and Primo Levi (Survival In Auschwitz). Additionally, to examine the impact of Holocaust narratives on younger American Jewish writers, we shall look at Nathan Englander's What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, and Jonathan Safran Foer's Here I Am.


Jewish Thinking & Activism In Black Lives Matter
November 3
(1 session w/ Ilana Kaufman)


Course Description: Jewish identity. Jewish values. Black lives. They all matter. Thinking about and reflecting on Jewish identity and values, Ilana Kaufman will present experiences from field work and data, and delve into interesting community dilemmas connecting who we are as Jews and the Racial Justice movement.

Readings: TBD

Ethics In Sacrificing One Life For Another
November 17
(1 session w/ Rabbi Doug Kahn)


Course Description: "Two people were traveling, and [only] one of them had a canteen of water. [There was only enough water so that] if both of them drank they would both die, but if one of them drank [only], he would make it back to an inhabited area [and live]. Ben Petura taught: 'Better both should drink and die than that one see his friend’s death,' until Rabbi Akiva came and taught: 'Your brother should live with you' (Vayikra 25:36) – your life takes precedence over the life of your friend's.'" (Bava Metzia 62a) This one-session class wrestles with the ultimate ethical issue – saving one life at the expense of another. Rabbi Kahn will examine how Jewish law was applied to agonizing life-for-life situations during the Holocaust and continues to be relevant in today’s world.

Readings: None


CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE

Shul School: Spring Thinking Matters Series

Our popular Thinking Matters: Modern Jewish Philosophy
mini-course series continues this spring!

ThinkingMatters
Join our impressive line-up of teachers to wrestle with the exciting and challenging questions of modern Jewish philosophy! How have Jewish traditions participated in the philosophical canon? How are Judaism and Jewish ideas relevant to the modern relationship of ethics, theology, and philosophy? (For an introduction to Jewish modern thought and philosophy, we recommend Steven Katz's essay, "Eliezar Berkovits & Modern Jewish Philosophy.")

Details and readings for the Thinking Matters mini-courses taught in April - June 2016 are included below.


April 7, 14 & May 5, 12
Philosophies of Early Zionism
(4 sessions w/ Ephraim Margolin, Esq.)

Ephraim Margolin's class will meet on Thursday nights in the CBS Board Room from 6:30-8 p.m.
Szyk_Zionism
April 7: Biblical Zionism
Source Sheet 1: In-depth outline, Sessions 1-2
Source Sheet 2: Zionism 1 (w/ imagery)

April 14: 1800 Years of Diaspora; Political Zionism

Reading: Stefan Zweig, In The Snow
Source Sheet 1: In-depth outline, Sessions 1-2
Source Sheet 2: Zionism 2

May 5: Political Zionism, Cultural Zionism

Recommended Reading (Not Required): New Essays on Zionism, Edited by David Hazony, Yoram Hazony, and Michael Oren, 2007

Recommended Reading (Not Required): The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul, by Yoram Hazony, 2001
Reading: Ahad Ha'am
Source Sheet 1: In-depth outline, Session 3

May 12: Socialist Zionism, Birth of the State, & Personal Comments
Source Sheet: In-depth outline, Session 4

June 2
On the Prejudice of Philosophers & the Search For Authenticity
(1 session w/ Rabbi Aubrey Glazer)

Rabbi Glazers's class will meet on Thursday night in the CBS Board Room from 6:30-8 p.m.

June 2: On the Prejudice of Philosophers & the Search For Authenticity

Reading: Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, Amud ha'Emet (selections)

June 16
Interrogating the Academic BDS of Israel on Campus
(1 session w/ Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Russell Berman)

BDSlogoTammi Rossman-Benjamin & Russell Berman's class will meet on Thursday night in the CBS Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED!
June 16: Interrogating the Academic BDS of Israel on Campus
Reading: TBD



Image credits: "Visual History of Nations, Israel (1948)," by Arthur Syzk (CC BY-SA 4.0); the logo of the BDS movement

Shul School: Tikkun Middot Intensive @ CBS

periodic-table-character"By this time I had already come to see myself as a soul. That's one of the first things any student of Mussar needs to understand and acknowledge, deeply and clearly. Each of us is a soul. Mostly we have been told that we 'have' a soul, but that's not the same thing. The first step on the path of Mussar is to unlearn that linguistic misconception and to realize that our essence is the soul… At its core, the soul is pure, but habits, tendencies, and imbalances often obscure some of that inner light.

— excerpt from Climbing Jacob's Ladder, by Alan Morinis

Rabbi Batshir Torchio will be leading a Tikkun Middot Intensive at CBS beginning tomorrow evening, Wednesday, January 6, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Rabbi Torchio's Tikkun Middot integrates techniques of mindfulness with Mussar, a Jewish movement focused on ethical behavior and character development. Tikkun Middot translates from the Hebrew as “repair of a measure,” but we understand middot to mean "traits," so the Tikkun Middot practice is one through which we cultivate and refine fundamental character traits such as forgiveness, generosity, and humility. By cultivating our attention to these core traits, we are better able to acknowledge and reduce negative behavioral patterns, and to respond with deeper wisdom and greater compassion to ourselves and others.

Rabbi Torchio's class will meet 10 times over the course of 2016: January 6; February 10; March 9; April 20; May 11; June 8; July 6; August 17; September 7; and October 5. During each session, participants will sit in silence, learn text, and reflect together on our experiences of the middot in their lives.

To register or for answers to any questions you may have, please email Rabbi Batshir Torchio.

Image credit: Periodic Table of Character Strengths is from Tiffany Shlain’s 2014 film, The Science of Character.

Shul School: "Thinking Matters" Resumes

Our "Thinking Matters: Modern Jewish Philosophy"
course series continues this winter!

thinker Join an impressive line-up of teachers to wrestle with the exciting and challenging questions of modern Jewish philosophy! Can there be such a thing as a Jewish philosophy, or a philosophy of Judaism? How have Jewish traditions participated in the philosophical canon? How are Judaism and Jewish ideas relevant to the modern relationship of ethics, theology, and philosophy?

For an introduction to Jewish modern thought and philosophy, we recommend Steven Katz's essay, "Eliezar Berkovits & Modern Jewish Philosophy."

Details and readings for the "Thinking Matters" mini-courses taught in January - March 2016 are included below.


s51-benjamin-540x304 January 7
People of the Book (1 session w/ Henry Hollander)

Henry Hollander's class will meet on Thursday night in the CBS Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.

January 7: People of the Book, Modernity, & Philosophy of Book Collecting

Reading: Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library: A Talk About Book Collecting," Illuminations, pp. 59-67

January 14, 21, 28, & February 4
Walter Benjamin: A Jewish Nietzsche? (4 sessions w/ Michael Loebs)

Michael Loeb's classes meet Thursday nights in the CBS Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.

January 14: On Friendship As Metaphysics

Reading: Friedrich Nietzsche, "of the Three Metamorphoses," "Of War and Warriors," and "Of the Friend," from Thus Spake Zarathrustra, Part I
450px-Friedrich_Nietzsche_drawn_by_Hans_Olde 
Reading: Walter Benjamin, "Dialogue on the Religiosity of the Present" (1912)

January 21: Morality and the Critique of Violence


Reading: Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, Part I

Reading: Walter Benjamin, Zur Kritik der Gewalt (Critique of Violence, 1921)

January 28: Art, Culture, & Technology

Reading: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (Book 2, pp. 57-59, 78-89, 107)

Reading: Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936)

February 4: Redemption from History & Messianism

Reading: Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Advantage & Disadvantage of History (Forward, Sec. 1-3, 6-7)

Reading: Walter Benjamin, Über den Begriff der Geschichte (On the Concept of History / Theses on the Philosophy of History, 1940), w/ "Theologico-Political Fragment"

February 11, 18, & March 17, 24
Philosophy of Purim: Modernity & Perennial Parody (4 sessions w/ Rabbi Aubrey Glazer)

Rabbi Glazer's classes meet Thursday nights in the CBS Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.

February 11: Philosophy of Purim in Woody Allen, Part I: God, Suicide, & the Meaning of Life
Source Sheet: Beyond Good & Evil: Philosophy of Purim & Hypernomianism
Source Sheet: Source in the Ethical Philosophy of Immanuel Kant

February 18: Philosophy of Purim in Woody Allen, Part II: Zelig, Inauthenticity, & Personal Identity


Source Sheet: Costumes, Masks, & (in)Authenticity

a-texas-judge-cited-the-big-lebowski-in-a-legal-decision March 17: Philosophy of Purim in The Big Lebowski, Part I: “I don’t roll on Shabbos," Jewish Identity, & the Philosophy of History
Source Sheet: Beyond Good & Evil: Philosophy of Purim & Hypernomianism

March 24: Philosophy of Purim in The Big Lebowski, Part II: “That Ain’t Legal Either," Rules, Authenticity, & Hyper-nomianism
Source Sheet: Beyond Good & Evil: Philosophy of Purim & Hypernomianism

February 25, March 3, 10, & 31
Ghetto Thinking: From the First Ghetto in Venice to the Last Ghetto in Lodz
(4 sessions w/ Dr. Michael Thaler)

Dr. Thaler's classes meet Thursday nights in the CBS Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.

February 25: The Venice Ghetto


Source Sheet: Venice: The first ghetto

March 3: The Venice Ghetto


Source Sheet: Venice, 1616

March 10: The Lodz Ghetto


Source Sheet: Lodz: The last ghetto

March 31: The Lodz Ghetto
Source sheet: Lodz ghetto, 1942

Image credits: uncredited photo of Walter Benjamin; Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche by Hans Olde, 1899/1900; Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi, and John Goodman in the Coen brothers' The Big Lebowski (Courtesy of Universal Studios)

Rabbi Glazer's High Holy Days Drashot

cfde8820-d953-48d6-8915-d48578b87f8eWe're realistic. We understand that not everyone can make it to services, classes, or special programs at CBS. Work, travel, family commitments, ill health, a flat tire, or a Netflix binge -- so many things can prevent us from in-person attendance.

Going forward, CBS will digitally archive all of our classes, sermons, and lectures. We feel that whether you make it to shul or not, "shul school" should be open for your enjoyment and edification!

We're kicking this project off with recordings of Rabbi Glazer's High Holy Days 5776 drashot (sermons) and divrei torah ("words of Torah"). You can listen just below or visit our Audio Resources page to listen!

Rosh Hashanah Day 1:
Drash -- Homecoming & Displacement
A reflection on teshuvah, diaspora, imagination, memory, and place.
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RH1_5776_Sermon_HomecomingDisplacement.mp3"][/audio]
D'var Torah -- Genesis 21
Poet Mary Oliver, the birth of Isaac, and Jewish practice creating opportunity for renewal.
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RH1_5776_TorahReading.mp3"][/audio]
Rosh Hashanah Day 2:
Drash -- Heroes vs. Heroism
Contemporary Jewish crisis, the Iran Deal, and true heroism.
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RH2_5776_Sermon_HeroesHeroism.mp3"][/audio]
D'var Torah -- Genesis 22
Leonard Cohen, sacrifice, awareness, and the Akedah (binding of Isaac).
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RH2_5776_TorahReading.mp3"][/audio]
Kol Nidre:
Drash -- Recovering the Lost Art of Rebuke
The value of toch'acha, defined as constructive rebuke or "sacred nagging."
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/KN_5776_Sermon_RecoveringLostArtOfRebuke.mp3"][/audio]
Yom Kippur, Yizkor:
Drash -- To a Life of Forgiveness
Daily rites of forgiveness, with Michelangelo, Abraham Lincoln, Joseph, and Immaculée Ilibagiza.
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/YK_5776_Sermon_ToALifeOfForgiveness.mp3"][/audio]

Shul School: "Thinking Matters"

Congregation Beth Sholom's Thinking Matters course series
continues this fall.

Join our impressive line-up of teachers to wrestle with
some of the exciting and challenging questions of modern Jewish philosophy!


thinker
"Thinking Matters: Modern Jewish Philosophy"
Can there be such a thing as a Jewish philosophy, or a philosophy of Judaism? How have Jewish traditions participated in the philosophical canon or in philosophical questioning in modern times? How do Judaism and philosophy relate to the broader question of the modern relationship of ethics, religion, and theology to philosophy? Given that modern philosophy claims universal validity, what does it mean to emphasize its historically or culturally determinate sources?

For an introduction to Jewish modern thought and philosophy, we recommend Steven Katz's essay, "Eliezar Berkovits & Modern Jewish Philosophy."

The dates, topics, and educators of the remaining two sections are detailed below, and the relevant readings for Dr. Berman's section can be downloaded by clicking on the hyperlinks.

October 8, 15, 22, & 29
German Political Philosophy & Jewish Thinking (4 sessions with Dr. Russell Berman)

Dr. Russell Berman's classes meet Thursday nights in the Beth Sholom Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.

October 8: Hannah Arendt, Zionism and Ethnic Politics

Reading: Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

October 15: Eichmann in Jerusalem: Deception and Denial


Reading: the Gershom Scholem-Hannah Arendt exchange of letters
; Hannah Arendt, Reflections on Little Rock



October 22: Hannah Arendt as a Thinking Weapon Against Israel


Reading: Judith Butler, selected chapters from Parting Ways

October 29: Post-Zionism & Thinking against Academic BDS of Israel


Reading: Elkhanan Yakira

November 5, 12, 19, & December 3
Shoah & Postmemory (4 sessions with Dr. Murray Baumgarten)

Murray Baumgarten's classes meet Thursday nights in the Beth Sholom Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.

November 5: Reading Primo Levi, Se questo è un uomo -- Narrator, Character, Identity, & the 'Hier ist kein Warum'



Reading: Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (part 1)

November 12: Primo Levi, the Chemical Laboratory, and the Periodic Table



Reading: Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (part 2)

November 19: Poetry and Hurbn: Speaking Jewish in German, Yiddish, English, & Hebrew



Readings: Paul Celan's poem "Death Fugue," and poems by Pagis, Glastein, and Reznikoff