9:30-10:35 am with Rabbi David
$25 returning students/$50 new students
A) Living with Uncertainty: Risks and Rewards
Today, people are certain about so many things. Impressions are formed and often affirmed, in an instant. What can we learn from the rabbis about the value of uncertainty and how to negotiate it thoughtfully? How does rabbinic thought manage uncertainty when it arises from competing claims from people themselves? We will explore rabbinic sources dealing with conflicting claims and possible solutions.
B) Overcoming the Moral Status Quo: A Torah of Human Agency
Does Judaism care only about what we do, or also about who we are? In other words, what is the place of virtue ethics in Judaism? Does Jewish law exhaust our obligations as Jews? How does a commitment to worshipping a universal God of creation affect our understanding of ethics? Why does Jewish tradition sometimes seem to permit less-than-ideal ethical behavior? What is the ideal motivation when we engage in interpersonal mitzvot – should we care for people because we must, or because we have taught ourselves to want to?
C) Autonomy vs Covenant
The Torah does not leave much room for choice in our relationship with God, at least not in it’s fundamentals. The terms of the covenant are not subject to the line-item veto of individuals, and they span the generations without even soliciting the consent of those born after Sinai. We will conduct close readings of the Biblical passages that lay out this approach, engage rabbinic sources that reveal this perspective and follow up with the radical reevaluation of t his entire framework that increasingly defines contemporary American Judaism.