Exploring what it means for Jews to be American and investigating the nature of our civic obligations to others.
American Jews have thrived in America and embraced the American story as fundamentally compatible with Judaism; American Jewish values, identities, and institutions reflect the negotiation of a public Judaism that aligns Americanness and Jewishness. The covenant between Jewishness and Americanness has been instrumental for the success of Jewish Americans and for America’s ability to live up to its own ideals. And yet, this covenant feels increasingly fragile.
In this seminar we explore basic questions about what it has meant for Jews to be American, investigate different visions of America that have given rise to competing iterations of American ‘Judaisms,’ and probe the nature of our civic obligations to others. We study the effects of American tribalism and polarization on our communities and consider how we can strengthen the democratic systems that have made it possible for American Jews to thrive.
Seminar coordinated by Mijal Bitton