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JST 545 From Ancient Synagogue to Post-Denominationalism: The Transformation of the Kehillah

In this class we will study how and why the Jewish community has changed over the past 2,000 years to see how that transformation has informed the current state of Jewish community dynamics. We will begin with the synagogue in Mishnaic times in the Land of Israel, move to Babylon and the academies of the Geonic times, and then compare the differences between medieval European communities and those in Arab lands. Then we will trace the rise of the modern shul and temple with the advent of the Enlightenment which will bring us to the 20th century and the heyday of the modern synagogue in America. We will end by looking at the different ways that Jews are making community in the 21st century in a post-denominational world.

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