Classes

Skirball Academy Classes – Spring 2019

Other Gods Before Me

Mondays — 12:00 to 1:30 PM
Apr 8, 15, 29 | May 6, 13, 20

Dr. Diane M. Sharon | $120 members, $240 public

Other Gods Before Me: Ancient Near Eastern Myths and the Evolution of the God of Israel

Wrathful gods, passionate yet vengeful goddesses and divinities of mercy and death dominated religious life in the ancient Near East for thousands of years before evolving into the One God of Israel. In this course, you will meet these divine predecessors where they originated in Mesopotamia and the Levant and discover how they were adapted, transformed, inverted and subsumed into Israel’s One God.

A History of the Talmud

Mondays — 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Apr 8, 15, 29 | May 6, 13, 20

Dr. David Kraemer  | $120 members, $240 public

A History of the Talmud: The Story of Judaism’s Most Influential Book

When the Talmud was completed in 6th-century Iraq, no one could have imagined that it would become the most influential Jewish book ever written. From the Islamic world to the Christian one, from North Africa to North America and the 10th century to the 21st, no written work has had more significance for Jews — and how others see us — than this volume. We will study the Talmud’s reception and impact, exploring the history of the Jews through our most important work.

Moving Images of Hate

Mondays — 6:30 to 9:15 PM
Apr 8, 15, 29 | May 6, 13, 20

Dr. Eric Goldman | $120 members, $240 public

Moving Images of Hate: How Hollywood Tackles Anti-Semitism

Since World War II, Hollywood filmmakers have repeatedly, often reluctantly, explored the hate that will not die, in the American context. But how have those explorations changed over time? To discover the answer, we will begin by watching movies from the immediate postwar period, when anti-Semitism was at an all-time high: Orson Welles’s The Stranger (1946), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) and Crossfire (1947), which together were nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, winning three. We will then fast-forward to modern representations of anti-Semitism in School Ties (1992) and two 2001 films: The Believer, with Ryan Gosling, and Focus, based on an Arthur Miller novel.

The Heart of Kabbalah

Mondays — 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Apr 8, 15, 29 | May 6, 13, 20

Martin Kaufman | $120 members, $240 public

The Heart of Kabbalah: A (continued) Introduction to the Book of Zohar

The textual wellspring of Kabbalah, the Zohar, has long influenced Jewish and Christian scholars, mystics, teachers and laypeople. The wisdom that pours from its pages has been described as written by someone who “experienced the common fears of Mankind as profoundly as anyone.“ In this second part of our Kabbalah course, we begin to explore Zoharic concepts of Divine Thought and Will; Language as the building block of Creation; Man, the centerpiece and purpose of Creation, and the Image of God.

Part one of this course is not required for participation in this class.

Artists’ Beit Midrash

Mondays — 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Apr 8, 15, 29 | May 6, 13, 20

Tobi Kahn, Rabbi Esther Azar, Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses  | $160 members, $320 public

Artists’ Beit Midrash: Biblical Stories Through a Modern Lens

The binding of Isaac can be considered one of the most challenging stories in all of biblical literature. Since Jewish tradition does not shy away from controversy, we will wrestle with the story to bring our individual understanding of the world to it using Oral Tradition and respond through the creative process in the classroom and in the studio.

Modern Jewish Philosophy in Six Sessions

Tuesdays — 12:30 to 2:00 PM
April 9, 16, 30 | May 7, 14, 21

Dr. Daniel Rynhold | $120 members, $240 public

Modern Jewish Philosophy in Six Sessions

Baruch Spinoza’s excommunication might not have been an auspicious beginning for modern Jewish philosophy, but it has flourished nonetheless as traditional assumptions that had served Judaism well for over two thousand years began to appear far more questionable. While the Medievals were certain that the Torah was written by God, its laws eternal and meant for his chosen people, these axioms became less obvious to modern thinkers.

In this course we will find out what got Spinoza in trouble, and how thinkers like Moses Mendelssohn, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig responded.

Abraham-Ibrahim, Moses-Musa: Two Prophets, Two Faiths

Tuesdays — 6:30 to 8:00 PM
April 9, 16, 30 | May 7, 14, 21

Rabbi Leonard Schoolman, Dr. Hussein Rashid | $120 members, $240 public

Abraham-Ibrahim, Moses-Musa: Two Prophets, Two Faiths

Two iconic figures in the Torah, Abraham and Moses, are depicted as prophets in the Quran. We will delve into the differences in the way these two personalities emerge in Jewish and Islamic scripture, what similarities they share and what we can learn about the differences between Islam and Judaism from those depictions.

The Hebrew Conversation: Beginner Course

Tuesdays — 6:30 to 8:00 PM
April 9, 16, 30 | May 7, 14, 21

Yaffa Kaye | $99 members, $99 public

The Hebrew Conversation: Beginner Course

This course will help you acquire enough Hebrew to begin speaking and understanding in a relatively short period of time — even if you have no background in the language. By the end of the sequence, you should be able to engage in basic conversation on everyday topics, including introducing yourself, talking about your family, your work, where you live, the weather and where you study. You’ll also be able to order food in a restaurant and ask for directions.

Arthur Miller: Jewish Writer

Tuesdays — 6:30 to 8:00 PM
April 9, 16, 30 | May 7, 14, 21

Dr. Stephen A. Marino | $99 members, $99 public

Arthur Miller: Jewish Writer

Miller’s Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, among other masterworks, established him as one of the great American playwrights of the 20th century, and no other American playwright has been as prolific in writing about the Holocaust. In this class, we will discuss four of those plays: After the Fall, Incident at Vichy, Playing for Time and Broken Glass, as well as the influence of Judaism on his life and career.

Introduction to Judaism

Tuesdays — 6:30 to 8:45 PM
Mar 19, 26 | Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 | May 7, 14, 21, 28 | June 4, 11, 18, 25 | July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Rabbi Janet Roberts

Introduction to Judaism: A Modern Take on Jewish Life

Ask questions, explore multiple perspectives and discover what is meaningful to you in liberal Judaism. We’ll explore Jewish holidays and life cycle ceremonies, beliefs, values, prayer, texts, Israel and the American Jewish experience. This second half of our 18-session course is designed for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Jewish life, no matter faith, tradition, cultural background or religious upbringing. Interfaith couples are welcome.
For further information visit: www.reformjudaism.org/intro

To register, please email:
Frieda Hershman Huberman,
URJ Introduction to Judaism Manager
fhuberman@urj.org

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Wednesdays — 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Apr 10, 17 | May 1, 8, 15, 22

Dr. Mark W. Weisstuch | $120 members, $240 public

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Meaning and Mystery

The momentous discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls opened a window into the tenets and beliefs of early Judaism at the time they were developing. Who were the authors/transcribers of these manuscripts? Why did they choose to reside in the remote desert? What does the text tell us about the Bible and beliefs about the Jerusalem Temple, evil, the calendar, the end of time and the Messiah? Viewing Judaism through the lens of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the few primary sources from the Second Temple era, will deepen our understanding of Judaism today.

Emmanuel Levinas and Depth Psychology

Wednesdays — 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Apr 10, 17 | May 1, 8, 15, 22

Dr. Lee Robbins | $120 members, $240 public

Emmanuel Levinas and Depth Psychology: The Trace of the Face of God

The Torah commands us to welcome the stranger, care for the widow and orphan and feed the hungry. Emmanuel Levinas incorporated those commandments to protect the “other” — on society’s margins and within ourselves — into his ethical philosophy, as did Carl Jung in his psychology of the unconscious. Both postulated that in the “other,” most alien from who we think we are and from our perceptions of the world, we may encounter the trace of the face of God. We will study primary texts and enter into a dialogue to help us integrate “difference” into our world and ourselves.

The History of the Jews

Wednesdays — 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Apr 10, 17 | May 1, 8, 15, 22

Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot | $120 members, $240 public

The History of the Jews: An Introduction to Jewish History, 1492-1948

A continuation of the Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Jewish History, focusing on the early modern and modern periods. We will read selections from classic texts of Jewish civilization to determine what they teach us about their authors, the times in which they were written and what they have meant to readers both past and present. No prior knowledge of Jewish history or languages is required. Participation in the first semester course is not a prerequisite.