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Jewish History & Philosophy

Jewish History & Philosophy

Department Essential Questions:
 
How has Jewish history impacted world history, & world history impacted Jewish history? 
Why is there tension between exile & sovereignty, assimilation & cloistering in Jewish history? 
Why has the Jewish Diaspora been so scattered & how has it impacted Jewish identity?
How does Jewish history influence our values, moral commitments, & experience of the world? 
 
 Modern Jewish History – 10th Grade

Modern Jewish History continues the exploration of Jewish history that began freshman year. Beginning with the early modern period and the emergence of the Enlightenment, students are introduced to the seminal events, personalities and ideas that have shaped Jewish life in the modern era. Students learn about the cultural, religious, political and economic challenges that Jews have faced over the last four centuries. Topics include responses to Emancipation, the rise of Zionism and the American Jewish experience. The overarching aim of our lessons is to fully appreciate how events in the past impact our lives today. In that way, history is viewed from both an academic and personal lens.

 

Political Theory of the Modern Middle East (SAS) – 11th Grade

This course examines the emergence of the modern Middle East and explores the root causes, evolution and main issues, which comprise the Arab-Israeli conflict. Over two semesters students investigate the foundations of Islam, the colonial legacy, modern Zionism, Palestinian culture, the peace process and American foreign policy in the Middle East.

 

Jewish Philosophy – 12th Grade

Jewish Philosophy is a semester long topics-based introduction to classical Jewish thought. Students are exposed to and draw from a wellspring of classic Western and Jewish philosophical traditions. The aim of this course is to guide Shalhevet seniors in philosophical inquiry and analysis. The units are arranged topically and emphasize the connection between big ideas. Included in each unit are important historical details that provide students with a strong intellectual context for understanding what historical and contemporary thinkers have said about each topic. Learners practice the art of asking formal questions and gain the conceptual tools with which to seek answers. Topics addressed include the existence of God, living a good life, ethics, the purpose of law, and the nature of the spiritual experience.