F604 Winter 2020 Exploring Judaism’s Denominational Divide
Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 29–Feb. 19
Instructor: Brett Isserow
Viewed from the outside, Judaism is often considered to be monolithic. However, in reality several major religious issues have divided the Jewish community into diverse streams. Although most of these denominations took their modern form in the past 200 years, they have deep roots in the past. We will trace the historical origins of these denominational streams and the differences in their ideology, practice, and belief systems. We will also examine how they have developed and changed over the decades and attempt to assess where they are headed. Conflicting attitudes towards revelation, providence, messianism, ritual, women, homosexuality, and modernity characterize the divide and are some of the contentious topics we plan to discuss.
Rabbi Brett Isserow served as senior rabbi at Beth El Hebrew Congregation from 2002 to 2018. He is a board member of the Pozez Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia and is on the INOVA Alexandria Ethics Committee. He has taught at OLLI and widely in the northern Virginia community.