Simultaneously in North America, 3 distinct denominational approaches to modern Jewish existence emerged: Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism. Each came into existence before either the Holocaust or the founding of the Jewish state, and eventually contended with these momentous developments. Reform and Conservative Judaism remain largely North American phenomena; Orthodoxy has a more global reach.
The course begins with a brief survey of Jewish history in Europe, culminating in an extended discussion of modern anti-Semitism. We will then examine how Jewish thinkers confronted the freedom of Emancipation and the threat of race and national hatred. After this introduction, in the first unit of the course we will examine the Holocaust and the destruction of European Jewry. We will then look at some of the representative Jewish theological responses to the Holocaust.
The second and final unit will examine the development of the modern state of Israel. Attention will be paid to current internal developments in Israeli secular and religious thought, as well as some of the representative theological interpretations of the founding of a third Jewish commonwealth.