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Introducing Jewish Studies through Jewish Thought and Practice

Geoffrey Claussen
Vol. 32, No. 4, New Approaches to Teaching Jewish Studies (Summer 2014), pp. 60-75
Published by: Purdue University Press
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Page Count: 16
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Introducing Jewish Studies through Jewish Thought and Practice
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Abstract Geoffrey Claussen provides an in-depth discussion of his Jewish Traditions course, taught at Elon University. The course begins with an experiential learning exercise in which students eat honey cake while they read a fourteenth- century account of Jewish boys consuming honey (and other sweet delicacies) while studying Torah for the first time. Claussen outlines the course's learning outcomes, which include students developing awareness of the complexity and diversity of Jewish cultures, learning diverse ways in which Jews have related to non-Jewish communities, and (as the course is a part of Elon's Women's/Gender Studies program) recognizing the importance of gender for understanding the Jewish tradition and people. The course focuses on major aspects of Jewish thought and practice, giving particular attention to influential classical Jewish texts and modern responses to those texts. An abridged syllabus is provided.

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