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In Judaism, one of G-d’s names is Hamakom, “The Place.” To have a conscious relationship with G-d, one must have a deep understanding of place. On the one hand, this means perceiving the place where one stands as part of The Place. On the other hand, one cannot fully grasp where one stands until one understands the miraculous workings of the earth that lies, quite literally, beneath our feet at whichever place we find ourselves.
Jeremy Benstein, a leading expert on Judaism and the Environment, has written,
“Deeply rooted local environmentalism begins with the knowledge and caring that can only come from that natural sense of place, including the technical knowledge and familiarity with the ecology of one’s ‘bio-region,’ as well as a spiritual connection and sense of belonging. which informs a cultural language and perspective that shapes and is shaped by that place.”
Simply put, our understanding of The Place enriches our appreciation for our place. And a deep understanding of our place helps us approach The Place.
On Wednesday night, Feb. 11, after minyan at 8 PM we will explore how theology and ecology are intricately, and elegantly, interwoven. Please join us.
One of the greatest distortions of historical perspective is the claim that the Muslim world was "tolerant." Although life for Jews was almost always better in the medieval Muslim world than in the Christian world, a high price had to be paid. Jews were defined as "dhimmi" ("protected people"), which in effect turned them into permament second class citizens. We will explore the role of "dhimmi" in Muslim theology, and its implications for Jews even to the present day.
Seventh in a series on Anti-Semitism.
Mel Brooks' takeoff from History of the World notwithstanding, the Inquisition and the expulsion from Spain were together one of the great nightmares of the Jewish people, rivalling the destruction of the Temple in significance. We will examine both the Inquisiton and the expulsion, and consider their consequences both as regards anti-Semitism and as regards Jewish self-definition in the aftermath of the catastrophe.
Do Jews Have Horns?
Find out the truth at our next class on anti-Semitism, February 19 after evening minyan.
From the time of the Crusades, medieval Christians developed one bizarre fantasy after another regarding Jews. From the sophisticated theological critique that characterized the anti-Judaism of the Church father, hatred for Jews devolved into the anti-Semitism that saw Jews as fundamentally alien, and evil. We will discuss the origin of these fantasies, and the impact they had during the Crusades.
The Empire Strikes Back
Christianity began as a religion of humility and martyrdom. Within a matter of centuries, it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The sudden infusion of imperial power, combined with a profoundly negative attitude toward Judaism, proved toxic and destructive. In this session, we will examine the impact of Christian anti-Jewish legislation on the Jews of Israel and the Jews throughout the diaspora.
Handout materials at http://bnaitikavh.org/rabbivideos.html
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