Crossroads of Jewish History 

With an emphasis on reclaiming the richness of Jewish history, the chronological exploration investigates significant crossroads where Jews took major decisions that shaped our shared identity and destiny. This course merges the concepts of history and memory in order to better understand how each has shaped Judaism today.

This course is taught in conjunction with Ethics of Jewish Living. (See below)

Table of Contents

Lesson 1 – The Memory of Crossroads

Lesson 2 – From Tribal Society to Kingship

Lesson 3 – Destruction of the First Temple to Ezra

Lesson 4 – From Judeans to Jews

Lesson 5 – Internal Tensions: Controversies of the Sadducees and the Pharisees

Lesson 6 – Destruction of the 2nd Temple to Bar Kokhba: The Making of a Diaspora

Lesson 7 – Confrontation with Early Christianity

Lesson 8 – Internal and External Disparity between Eretz Yisrael and Bavel

Lesson 9 – Confrontation with Early Islam

Lesson 10 – Geonim Consolidate Power

Lesson 11 – Ushering in the Age of Ashkenazim and Sephardim

Lesson 12 – The First Crusades

Lesson 13 – Jews on Trial

Lesson 14 – The Decline and Destruction of the Sephardi Community in Spain

Lesson 15 – A Community Dispersed: Finding Meaning in Mysticism

Lesson 16 – From Despair to Ecstasy to Despair

Lesson 17 – Fighting for the Soul of Eastern Europe: Chasidim and Mitnagdim

Lesson 18 – A Brave New World: The Modernization of Judaism

Lesson 19 – The Jewish Question is Born: Political Emancipation in Western Europe

Lesson 20 – Responses to Political Emancipation With Religious Reformation

Lesson 21 – Answers to the Jewish Question: Anti-Semitism and Zionism

Lesson 22 – Exodus from Europe: The Immigrant Experience in South Africa and the United States

Lesson 23 – The Holocaust

Lesson 24 – The Creation of the State of Israel

Lesson 25 – Arab Jewish Emigration

Lesson 26 – Answers to the Jewish Question: Communism and Anti-Zionism

Lesson 27 – The Ethiopian Journey: From Exodus to Integration

Lesson 28 – Claiming a Jewish Woman’s Voice

Lesson 29 – Religious Authority in Contemporary Israel

Lesson 30 – A Link in the Great Chain

Ethics of Jewish Living 

How do Jewish teachings shed light on contemporary issues such as the environment, inter-personal relationships, end-of-life decisions, and stem-cell research? This course explores the wisdom of ancient and modern rabbis, scholars and thinkers, offering multiple Jewish approaches to conducting our lives in the communal and private spheres.

This course is taught in conjunction with Crossroads of Jewish History.

Table of Contents

Lesson 1 – Equity and Justice: Moral Awareness within Judaism  

Lesson 2 – Jewish Approaches to Making Ethical Decisions (Part 1)

Lesson 3 – Jewish Approaches to Making Ethical Decisions (Part 2)

Lesson 4 – Power of the Spoken Word

Lesson 5 – Social Media Ethics

Lesson 6 – Organ Donation

Lesson 7 – The Significance of Human Life

Lesson 8 – Suicide

Lesson 9 – Personal Virtues

Lesson 10 – Honoring Aging Parents

Lesson 11 – Sexuality and the Institution of Marriage

Lesson 12 – Ethics in Marriage

Lesson 13 – Ethics in Divorce       

Lesson 14 – Fertility Treatment  

Lesson 15 – Abortion

Lesson 16 – Gender Fluidity

Lesson 17 – Euthanasia and End-of-Life Decisions

Lesson 18 – Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Lesson 19 – For You, or For Me

Lesson 20 – Individual or Community: All for One, or One for All  

Lesson 21 – Gemilut Chasadim

Lesson 22 – Ransoming Captives

Lesson 23 – The Imitation of God

Lesson 24 – Tzedakah Priorities  

Lesson 25 – Making an Honest Living

Lesson 26 – Jewish Universalism and the Seven Noachide Laws

Lesson 27 – Jewish War Ethics

Lesson 28 – Environmental Ethics

Lesson 29 – Animal Experimentation

Lesson 30 – A Code of Jewish Living