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Wisdom From Sinai: Revolutionary Ideas that Judaism Introduced to the World

Course Overview
The Ten Commandments are one of the most well-known passages of the Bible, and are significant to non-Jewish people as well. During the eight weeks of the course, three primary questions will be explored:

1. What, if anything, is Jewish about the Ten Commandments? Aren’t these ethical principles that have been adopted by most religious communities? Does Judaism understand them in a particular way, or is the foundation of the Jewish religion universalistic in its orientation?

2. Why these ten? There are many possible ways to articulate a foundational  manifesto of purpose. Yet the Ten Commandments select only ten of hundreds of possible commandments to be conveyed by G-d directly to the Jewish people. What is special about these ten? In what way do each of them represent a sphere of significance?

3. How does this commandment make a difference to your life? Most of us don’t grapple with whether to murder or not, and idol worship is currently out of fashion. Are these ten still of central relevance to us today? Do they continue to speak to us today?

Course Syllabus

Orientation Session

In this session, you will review the goals and requirements of the program.

Lesson One: If You Were G-d

In this lesson, you will examine the structure and order of the ten commandments, and explore its role as the foundation of Jewish thought and modern civilization.

Lesson Two: Who Am I?

In this lesson, you will examine the Jewish concept of G-d and the nature of Jewish belief. You will also investigate the contemporary relevance of the concept of idolatry.

Lesson Three: To Be or Not to Be

This lesson concentrates on the Jewish idea of the Sabbath and sanctity in time. You will become familiar with the basic practices governing the Jewish Sabbath, and you will look at the interplay between the Sabbath and the other days of the week.

Field Trip One

You will have the opportunity to observe and participate in a Shabbat dinner with your instructor.

Lesson Four: The Creators

This lesson looks at how Jewish law codifies the requirement to honor and respect 

parents, and invites you to consider the significance of this commandment to our spiritual development.

Lesson Five: The Breath of Life

This lesson examines Jewish life ethics governing such issues as murder, suicide, euthanasia, and abortion.

Lesson Six: Born To Marry

This lesson focuses on the Jewish ethics concerning love and marriage.

Field Trip Two

Lesson Seven: For Love or Money ( Do Not Steal; Do Not Covet)

This lesson will explore the relationship between material wealth and how it can be reconciled with ethical values.

Lesson Eight: The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

This lesson focuses on the spiritual meaning of human communication and the
importance of honest and true words. We also examine classical Jewish thinking
regarding the authenticity and truth of the Jewish tradition.

Gala Graduation Dinner


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Requirements & Benefits