Overview of Course
This course is an introduction to both ancient and contemporary ideas of what it means to identify as a Jew, including many of the beliefs, doctrines, institutions, liturgies, practices, rituals, and cultural expressions of Judaism from the time of the Hebrew Bible through the twenty-first century. This involves an examination of the globalization of Judaism in terms of how it is expressed in its so-called “birth place” (i.e., the Land of Israel) juxtaposed to its manifestations around the world, including the United States and the countries we visit as part of our Semester at Sea voyage. We will utilize primary and secondary sources, and experiential and historical-critical texts, including works of literature, personal narratives, and documentaries, offering diverse perspectives on Judaism as we seek to understand how Jews view their religious and cultural identities in everyday life. Ultimately, this course aims for students to develop a basic comprehension of and appreciation for the complexities of Judaism, while also developing a more nuanced grasp of each student’s own beliefs and practices in relation thereto, skills critical for engaging the myriad cultural realities found within the Semester at Sea voyage.