Judaism's Gifts to the World: How Major Jewish Ideas Evolved Into Universal Values

A new six-session course

Begins on Wednesday, January 29

 

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Lesson Details
Lesson 1The Gift of Social Responsibility

 

To the ancients, poverty and suffering were unfortunate facts of life for the unlucky to bear alone. It was the Torah that introduced the radical concept of social responsibility. So, what’s the true nature of that responsibility? Whose is it? And how should I relate to those receiving my help?

Lesson 2The Gift of A Guiding Purpose

 

Abraham, the first Jew, discovered something that shook the foundations of the pagan society around him: there was one—only one—G‑d, Creator of Heaven and earth. Monotheism drastically changed the way humanity has viewed life, purpose, and progress ever since. Discover how.

Lesson 3The Gift of Respect for Life

 

It might seem axiomatic that human life is valuable, but a hard look at history reveals that the concept was once considered utterly radical. To discover how respect for life became a universal value, we’ll explore the underlying questions: What makes us human? And what are we here to do?

Lesson 4The Gift of Equality and Individuality

 

Mastery over others was long deemed a birthright: some were born to rule; others to be ruled. Today, civil people agree that no one is intrinsically inferior or superior. This shift is thanks to the Torah’s revelation that we are all equally created in G‑d’s image: just as G‑d cannot be redundant, no human can be.

Lesson 5The Gift of Work/Life Balance

 

Originally, those who labored did so endlessly. The Torah introduced us to Shabbat, mandating that Jewish people pause from work for a full day each week to focus on life’s purpose, on worship, and on family. As the modern world begins to recognize the benefits of Shabbat, our call to set aside that time of focus is more critical than ever.

Lesson 6The Gift of Escaping the Cycle

 

Early societies considered human history locked in an endless cycle of war, conquest, peace, and more war. The Torah insists otherwise: we can, must, and will change the world for the better; war will eventually cease; justice and kindness will ultimately prevail. Today’s world is more eager than ever to hear this empowering message. Our closing lesson will suggest ways we can share it.

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