Throughout the year, CJH offers courses on an array of subjects. As part of its commitment to purveying the fruits of academic Jewish research to a broader public, these courses are intended for scholarly as well as lay audiences. Courses typically consist of three or four sessions, in which the professor explores a particular sub-topic in European or American Jewish history. The courses are lecture-oriented, but also include the reading of texts and seminar-styled learning. Our visiting scholars, senior fellows, and other affiliated faculty teach these courses in the spring and fall.
Upcoming this winter: NEH Senior Scholar Shaul Magid is teaching Radical Jewish Politics in Postwar America and Israel in February.
To register for one of our mini-courses, please visit donate.cjh.org/CJHCourses.
Taught by: Shaul Magid (Indiana University), CJH NEH Senior Scholar
Time: 7-9 pm on February 6th, 13th, 21st, and 27th, 2018
Tuition: $250 general; $200 for seniors and CJH members; $50 for university students
In this four-part series we will explore four different visions of postwar Jewish radical politics.
As the multi-volume study The Jewish Political Tradition edited by Michael Walzer and others shows, Jews have had a political tradition in the Diaspora as long as they have lived there. After emancipation, Jews played prominent roles in almost every major political movement in Europe and America, from Marxism to socialism, liberalism, anarchism, and neoconservatism.
In many cases, Jews were especially attracted to radical political alternatives that challenged and contested the liberalism of the societies in which they lived. This course will examine the thinking of four post-war Jewish thinkers, who, different as they may seem on major social and political questions, were united in proposing radical visions of a post-liberal society.
Arthur Waskow is one of the oldest living radical Jewish political activists. Beginning his career in the civil rights movement, in the fall of 1967 he and others founded “Jewish for Urban Justice.” This was perhaps the first expression of what became known as “The New Jews,” or Jewish radicals from the New Left who reconnected with their Jewish identity and began applying Jewish principles to radical forms of social justice. Author of the influential “Freedom Seder” in 1968, Waskow retained a radical leftist approach to political change that was refracted through his reading of Judaism as a revolutionary religion.
Meir Kahane was an Orthodox pulpit rabbi and journalist until he became increasing radicalized in the wake of the rise of the Black Nationalist Movement in the mid-60s and the dangers it posed to elderly Jews living in transitional neighborhoods. In 1968 Kahane founded the Jewish Defense League to protect Jews from the dangers of urban blight. More than that, Kahane began a radical political and cultural program of re-fashioning American Jewish identity in opposition to the liberal Jewish establishment, including the use of violence as a means to defend Jews and instill in them as sense of pride (hadar). Ostracized by most American Jewish leaders, Kahane remained a popular folk hero to many radical Jews who used the tactics of the radical left toward right-wing ends. We will explore how much of his larger program of Jewish identity remains.
Until his death in 1979, Teitelbaum, Grand Rabbi of the Satmar dynasty, was one of the most influential Hasidic leaders in the world. Aside from his erudition, he is best known for his vehement anti-Zionist views. Although he is often cited, few have looked closely at his argument in large part because his work remains un-translated. In this session, we will get a close glimpse of Teitelbaum’s religious anti-Zionist position through yet unpublished annotated translations of some of his writings.
Son of the first chief rabbi of Mandate Palestine, Abraham Isaac Kook, Zvi Yehuda became the architect of what is now known as the settler movement. His interpretation of his father’s romantic and spiritual Religious Zionism led to a messianic fusion of religion and state that has continued to resonate today. We will look at a selection of his work, including a famous sermon he gave on Israel Independence Day in 1967 just weeks before the Six-Day War that suggests that human agency rather than divine fiat is what truly embodies Israel’s messianic vocation. We will conclude with two alternative visions of Religious Zionism built from Zvi Yehuda’s ideology as espoused by two of his student Menachem Froman and Shimon Gershon Rosenberg, (known as Rav Shagar).
Shaul Magid, NEH Senior Scholar at the Center for Jewish History, is the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He has published widely on Kabblah, Hasidic thought, and American Judaism. His current project at the center is an intellectual history of Meir Kahane.