Beyond Dispute: Debates That Shape Jewish Life


May 4, 2020    
8:00 pm


Welcome to a series of classical debates, philosophical, spiritual, ethical, and cultural, that are at the heart of Judaism and Jewish life, led by Rabbi Wise. We will explore questions rooted deep in Jewish history that are just as relevant today as when they were first asked. Are religion and reason compatible? Can Jewish law change based on context? How do we teach and talk about the Holocaust and the State of Israel? Should we prioritize Jewish causes or universal causes in our giving? Is Jewish tradition intrinsically patriarchal and ableist? Is our relationship with God defined by human obligation or divine compassion?

Each discussion will begin with a 10 minute video presentation by a member of the JTS Faculty. Rabbi Wise will then lead us in a review of the basic source materials and a discussion of the issues that frame the debate and their relevance to us today. Each session is a stand alone session that includes a 10 minute video by a different member of the JTS faculty, a presentation by Rabbi Wise, and the opportunity for discussion.

  • Meet the JTS faculty.
  • Learn from Rabbi Wise and others.
  • Review the sources.
  • Refine your own opinions.

All sessions are on Monday evenings at 8pm. Light refreshments will be served. Please register with the Center Office, 718 776-3500, as soon as possible so that we can have JTS provide you with all the source materials in PDF. Create a folder with materials for all the sessions on your computer or tablet. For a complete listing of the schedule for all sessions, see the complete schedule on the reverse of this page.

Schedule for Beyond Dispute

III.  Disputing the Essence of Judaism

  • Does the Torah Contain Everything We Need to Know? The Maimonidean Controversy – May 4th
  • Is Judaism a Religion of the Heart or the Mind—and Who Decides? Hasidism and its Opponents – May 11th

IV. Disputing the Jewish Future

  • What Do We Mean by Jewish Continuity? The Legacy of “Be Fruitful and Multiply” – May 18th
  • How Much Should Tragedy Define Us? The Holocaust in Contemporary Jewish Life – June 1st
  • Can Commitment and Critique Coexist? Teaching Israel in the 21st Century – June 8th

Dates of sessions are subject to change

Contact the office at 728-776-3500 to register with JTS. Students must register with JTS to receive access to online course materials. Students may print their own materials, bring a laptop or tablet to class, or purchase a source binder from JTS for $5. Registration will include those options.