Arguing with God: Jewish Literary Responses to Existential Crises

Temple Shalom

Dates: Every Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - November 10, 2015
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Lauren B. Strauss

Since the time of Abraham, Jews have not shied away from challenging divine judgement at times of adversity. In some cases, the impulse is to defy God or even question the deity’s existence, but in doing so – paradoxically – the intimacy of our relationship with God is revealed. God has been cursed, questioned, challenged, teased, and even rejected by Jews. Evidence of this unusual relationship exists throughout Jewish literature, and these literary responses can be found in the Bible, modern poetry, short stories, songs, and novels.

This four-session course is based on questions raised in classical Jewish texts like Abraham and Job, but most of our sessions feature modern Jewish fiction and poetry from the mid-nineteenth to the end of the twentieth centuries.  Authors include Sholem Aleichem, I. L. Peretz, Ch. N. Bialik, Franz Kafka, Yitzhak Katzenelson, Kadya Molodowsky, Chaim Grade, Yehudah Amichai, Merle Feld, Philip Roth, and others.  Participants will receive short readings in advance, via email, so that they can be prepared to discuss the readings.  (Of course there’s no “homework” requirement, but our discussions will be richer if people come in having read the material.)

Dr. Strauss has taught modern Jewish literature and history for many years as both a university professor and a teacher of adult education. Each class will combine lecture and discussion, and the sessions are designed to build on the previous classes.

Class will be held October 13th, October 20th, November 3rd, and November 10th.

Please note there is NO CLASS Tuesday, October 27th.

At and Co-Sponsored by:

Temple Shalom
8401 Grubb Road
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

For directions, please click here.

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Friends of the Foundation and Members of Temple Shalom - $44

General Public - $52

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