Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scholar-in-Residence Topics

Sample Topics for Scholar-in-Residence Programs

Lectures, Interactive Study, and Group Engagement
in Jewish Culture, Text, and Community

Marginal Prophets

How and why seminal contemporary artists use traditional text and vision

to create essential work

Bob Dylan: Rock and Roll Prophet
Explore the religious vision of rock’s greatest poet. Understand Dylan’s use of biblical storiesand parables, his struggle with Jewish religious practice, his ability to integrate religious thought and sensibility into his music, and his long-time cultural role as a post modern prophet.

Leonard Cohen and the Biblical Landscape
Over the course of a fifty year career, Leonard Cohen has been perhaps the most prolific and famous Jewish paytan (liturgical poet) of the 20th – and now 21st – century. Explore Cohen’s understanding of the “biblical landscape” upon which all of his work has emerged – repentant, erotic, spiritual, humble, and real.

Bruce Springsteen and the Promised Land:

A Covenant in Reverse
The concept and key narratives of the biblical Promised Land provide Bruce Springsteen a rich creative opportunity for channeling personal worries and passions into a national, mythic experience of an American covenant grown too narrow to contain the quite reasonable dreams and expectations of a critical mass of its citizens. Encounter Bruce Springsteen’s canon as commentary on the story of Promised Land from 1973 to the present.

Beit Midrash
Tracing traditional texts themes and texts through the contemporary cultural landscape

Exodus: They're Leaving Home, Bye Bye
Before cutting through the Red Sea, wandering in the desert, receiving the Torah, and entering the Land of Israel, the Israelites faced their longest and strangest night.Reflect on how the night of departure from Egypt sets the stage for both Exile and Redemption through the lens of contemporary art, literature, and music about the pain and freedom of leaving home.

Jonah: The Tale of a Boy Who Would Be King
Stephen Hazan Arnoff performs and teaches excerpts from the music and video cycle The Tale of a Boy Who Would Be King, a rock and roll interpretation of The Book of Jonah, one of the most beautiful and strange texts in the Bible.

Little Red Riding Hood, Isaac, and the Carpenter’s Apprentice
How do the motifs and characters of folk music and fairy tales emerge in the world of rabbinic texts? From Mount Moriah to 2nd century Eretz Yisrael to grandma’s house to an empty hollow in Bristol, Tennessee, unravel how sacred stories and myths as well as their heroes and heroines travel from one great culture and language to another.

Jewish Text and Values
Study and conversation on core themes of Jewish life through a core classical Jewish text

Currency Values, Jewish Values
Bavli Ta'anit 23a-b: Abba Hilkiah the grandson of Honi the Circle-Drawer is called to the Rabbis in a time of drought and teaches a lesson about the differences between "workers in the field" accomplishing critical tasks and management as well as how each act within a community requires intense focus on its ethical implications.

Hevruta: The World of the Sages
Bavli Bava Metziah 84a: The Story of Rabbi Yohanan and Resh Lakish is one of the rabbinic world's most famous hevrutot – a fascinating view into the joys and dangers of intimacy and friendship in the academy, the unmatched power embedded in Jewish study, the roles of honor and shame amongst colleagues, and how the rabbinic realm imagined the beit midrash as capable of containing the entire world.

All in the Family
Midrash Tanchuma, Parshat Naso 1: The Sisters Two identical sisters. One is accused of adultery by her husband. Though one sister sacrifices herself in order to save her sister from her fate, it is unclear that even their love for each other can save either of them.

Understanding Israel at 60+
A collection of texts around the theme of Israel's Independence Day revolves around a series of letters written by Yeshayahu Leibowitz on the difference between nationhood and holiness. Additional texts include excerpts from the poetry of Yehudah HaLevi, contemporary Israeli literature and music, the Rambam, and HaTikvah.

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