Important?
Important?
I am teaching Jewish history in its entirety in the course of one semester. I’ve created a syllabus, arranged an anthology of major texts and met my students. As we speak, we dwell in the Rabbinic period, discussing Hekhalot mysticism, Roman imperialism and halacha. Now I engage in a small cyberspace experiment.
If you had to condense Jewish History, Culture and Ideas into a one-semester undergraduate seminar, which events, ruptures and continuities would you stress? Your students have little background, and for many this is their first introduction to Jewish culture. Some bring Islamic and Christian education with them, others are interested in understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How do I construct a narrative that leads students from the Near Eastern context of the Hebrew Bible to a present in which diasporic Jewish identity is oriented towards modern Israel, and how do I emphasize divergent expressions of Jewish identity in a time of astonishing conformity?