Contemporary Jewish Experiences
This course is a survey of the intellectual, historical, and sociological events that have shaped and are shaping contemporary Jewish life. The main focus is on North American Jewry, particularly the United States. However, one cannot meaningfully explore the contemporary American Jewish Community without touching on the relationship between US Jewry and Israel. This course covers the major events that have shaped the past half century of Jewish life: the Shoah, the Rebirth of Israel, the rescue of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and the Feminist and Gay Liberation movements. Students in this course study the unprecedented growth and change in North American Judaism in a period marked by decline in antisemitism and integration of Jews into all strata of American society. Current issues covered include interfaith marriage, non-affiliation, Israel as a source of conflict, Jewish life outside of established institutions, fiscal strain on community resources, the shift to Israel as the center of Jewish life, and Israeli society in flux.