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Jewish Studies

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Social Movements in Modern Jewish Life (JS2560)

Catalog Description: How social movements shape contemporary American Jewish culture and politics. Explores movements internal to Judaism and those bringing religion into the public sphere.

From the Syllabus: Social movements change worlds. They mobilize and empower people to shape policy and to create new visions for social life. Social movements have toppled governments and built countries. They have liberated some and victimized others. They have overturned traditions and changed values and lifestyles the world over.

For over a century, Jewish life has been and is being molded / buffeted / challenged / invigorated / riven by social movements. Some of these regard the status of Jews in relation to governments and non-Jewish populations. Others focus internally to reshape Jewish institutions and culture. Some do both. It is almost impossible to understand Jewish life today without making reference to movements such as Zionism, socialism, feminism, the Soviet Jewry cause, and the counterculture-inspired “greening of Judaism.”

This class examines the major Jewish social movements of the past century to understand the role they have played in creating the Jewish world of today. Through this, students will come to better understand the nexus of religion and politics in Jewish life, the cultural dimensions of political movements, and the major sociological approaches to the study of social movements.

Next Offered: AXLE Category: Writing Course: Also Eligible for Credit in: Taught by:
Fall 2016 SBS No American Studies Kelner
Religious Studies
Econ/Hist Interdisc.

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