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Shavuot Budget #3: Six Hours
Want to engage with Shavuot through one of our six-hour budgets? Here are some options (all located on this page)!
10 Minutes: Consider the following two questions.
1. Richard Elliott Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? plays a key role in Episode 2, as Dan and Lex discuss the transformative role it played in their lives. Does the idea of the Torah being written by human beings have a strong affect on you? In a positive or negative sense? For people who accept the ideas developed by academic Biblical scholars and the discoveries of archaeologists over the last 100 years or so, what kind of meaning can they make of this holiday and of Judaism more broadly?
2. What does the phrase "Judaism Unbound" mean to you? Are you persuaded by the co-hosts' arguments for an "unbound" Judaism? What role should boundaries play in the lives of 21st Century Jews? One meaning of "unbound" that was not discussed on the episode was the idea that, because of the internet, Judaism may no longer be bound by geography. Does participating in an online Shavuot experience inspire thoughts in you of where things might go in the future?
10 Minutes: Consider the following two questions:
1. Do you agree with Benay Lappe's theory that rabbinic Judaism is experiencing a "crash" (Episode 3)? If so, do you think of yourself as an Option One, Option Two, or Option Three Jew (or perhaps a combination of these responses)? If Option Three is desirable, what can we do today to increase the likelihood that people will develop something new that is resonant and profound?
2. In episode four, Dan and Lex discuss "disruptive" vs. "sustaining" changes, and apply the ideas of Albert Hirschmann's Exit, Voice, and Loyalty to today's Jewish world. Are there any "disruptive" changes you would especially like to see occur in American Judaism? Any "sustaining" ones?
10 Minutes: Consider the following two questions:
2. In episode six, Lex and Dan put forth the idea that having less knowledge about Judaism might actually be conducive to creating the kinds of innovative changes that could be compelling to 21st Century Jews. Do you find this idea persuasive? How can bold creativity and deep knowledge both be achieved?
45 Minutes: Listen to Episode 10 of the podcast. Show notes here.
10 Minutes: Consider the following questions:
1. Throughout these episodes, Dan and Lex have emphasized the distinction between the American Jewish institutional community and the broader population of American Jews. Have you experienced a disconnect between Jewish institutions you are connected to and the needs of Jews in your area?
2. What is one idea from these episodes that you found particularly thought-provoking? Is there a particular topic that you wish to explore more after listening to these podcast episodes?
5 Minutes: Send an email to Dan@NextJewishFuture.org and Lex@NextJewishFuture.org with any thoughts or feedback you have on the podcast.
Track 2 - The Whole Torah (and more) with BimBam
This 6 hour track has so many awesome videos that it needed its own page on our website! Learn your way through the entire Torah, plus some awesome stories from the Talmud, all through videos from BimBam. The video below, a rap corresponding with the Torah portion Vayeshev, is a sample of what you'll experience if you choose this track. Some videos, like this, are songs, but many others are simply beautifully told stories. Experience them all by clicking here (the page may take a few seconds to load due to the high quantity of videos)! As you watch the videos, reflect on ways in which studying the Torah this way produces new thinking that you may not have done had you simply read the text.
Track 3 - Quadruple Feature (Four Movies in a Row!)
One movie in this track is free. The other movies in this track are available to rent on Youtube for $2.99 apiece or on Amazon or iTunes for $3.99 apiece.
100 minutes: Shavuot represents the end of a journey that begins on Passover. Therefore, start your movie binge by watching the The Prince of Egypt, a 1998 animated film about the story of the Exodus from Egypt. How does this accessible form of storytelling enhance or detract from your ability to think deeply about the story and its meaning for us today? Click the image below to visit its Youtube page, where you can rent and watch it by clicking "from $2.99."
120 Minutes: Next watch Life is Beautiful, the Oscar-nominated 1997 film about a father and son who experience the Holocaust. The idea of telling the story of the Holocaust as a comedy was controversial when this film came out, but the Jewish tradition of exploring pain through humor is a long one. The Book of Esther is one example, but there is a fair bit of humor earlier in the Bible as well. With regard to the Holocaust, is it "too soon?" How much time has to pass before it is no longer "too soon?" Click the image below to visit its Youtube page, where you can rent and watch it by clicking "from $2.99."
Question to consider: Both The Prince of Egypt and Life is Beautiful look back at important events of Jewish collective memory (the Exodus narrative and the Holocaust). Both have, likewise, been criticized for being historically inaccurate and even "unholy." To what extent is it important for films to stay true to the facts of history as best as they can, and to what extent should film-makers feel free to exercise artistic license in ways that stray from historical accuracy?
15 Minutes: Watch the short film Shabbat Dinner, available on Youtube for free, by clicking the image below. Contains a sexually explicit scene, not appropriate for children.
Question to consider: A dialogue occurs in the film between the four parents of the two main characters. One's father indicates that he would never allow his son to marry someone who is not Jewish ("Jesus, no, I would not let my kid marry a goy!") and the mother of the other child responds that she "thinks that's racist." How should we engage with the issue of intermarriage in the Jewish community?
105 minutes: Close out your "quadruple feature" by watching Footnote, a 2011 Oscar-nominated Israeli film. Click the image below to visit its Youtube page, where you can rent and watch it by clicking "from $2.99."
Question to consider: Eliezer Shkolnik is not particularly religious in the traditional sense. Yet he devoted his life to deep engagement with Jewish texts from a scholarly vantage point. What role(s) can Jewish text (Jewish legal texts, but also "texts" like these movies) play in Jewish lives even for Jews who don't see any of those texts as infallible?
5 Minutes: Consider the following question:
Had you read the books of Joshua, Judges, and/or Samuel before? If so, how was engaging with them through a podcast different from doing so in written form? If not, what did you think of them? Do you see relevance of these books to our time -- arguably also a time of instability and change in the nature of Jewish life?