Judaism and Gender (3 cr.)
JSTU-J 303 Arts & Humanities Topics in Jewish Studies / REL-D 370 Topics in Gender & Western Religions
This course will be devoted to an exploration of a variety of concepts, ideas, and practices related to gender in Jewish religious thought and practice in historical perspective. We will first introduce gender as a category and familiarize ourselves with gender theory. Next we will analyze Jewish classical texts and ask what they say about men and women, differences and relations between them. How various Jewish communities in the past interpreted Hebrew Bible and other canonical texts when they described and express their beliefs about women? How were those beliefs reflected in religious practice? We will also have a closer look at how Jewish communities today approach gender issues and ponder how changes in the understanding of gender and gender roles affect Jewish ritual practices. What kind of theological and practical challenges Judaism has been facing because of the rise of feminism and demands for gender equality? How various branches of Judaism today approach matters related to homosexuality? Can a woman be a rabbi and can a homosexual couple get married in the synagogue? We will ask and try to answer these and similar questions as we explore how Jews have understood and approached the matters of gender.