The Origins and Development of Jewish Secularism

  • 15 May 2011
  • 16 May 2011
  • New York, NY
The Origins and Development of Jewish Secularism
May 15-16, 2011
New York, NY

The seminar will be held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

What is Jewish secularism? What does it mean for a religious group to secularize? How does this come to bear on modern Jewish identity? The New York seminar provides high school teachers with an opportunity to study the rise and development of secular Jewish history and culture in the West. Through lectures, activities, and group study sessions, the two-day intensive seminar will explore the emergence of Jewish secularism in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. How did the European Enlightenment affect minority cultures? We will examine this question through the twin processes of Jewish Emancipation and Jewish Enlightenment, the impact of Baruch Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn, and other significant thinkers, and the decline of traditionalism in European Jewish society. The seminar will draw on two new important books, Shmuel Feiner's The Origins of Jewish Secularization in 18th-Century Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010; winner of the 2010 Shazar Prize for Best Book in Jewish History) and David Biale's Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought(Princeton University Press, 2011), as well as key historical documents. Teachers will also be given support to bring this important topic back to their own classrooms following the conclusion of the seminar.

For an overview of the seminar, please click here.
Please click here for the New York brochure. To complete the application please click here.
If you have already submitted your application, please click here to be redirected to our secure website for the registration fee.

Deadline for applications: April 4, 2011
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