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Sacred Objects in Judaism 4 Part Class

Monday, February 21 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 6:00 pm on Monday, happening 4 times

In the Jewish tradition, we often focus on sacred times and sacred places, our sacred rituals and our sacred texts. And the relationship between human beings and the divine is essential to Jewish tradition. But Jews also have an important and ever-evolving relationship with our sacred objects.

Over the course of four 1-hour Zoom sessions, this class will explore Judaism from the point of view of objects, led by instructor Josh Platt. 

Suggested contribution: $10-18 per session for TIG members; $18-36 per session for non-members. If contributing in this range presents a barrier to your participation, we invite you to offer what you can, even if that number is zero. We are committed to providing Jewish education regardless of financial means.

Advance registration required. To register: email [email protected] and include which sessions you plan to attend and what you can contribute.

Class One

  • Working from our own intuitions and experiences, what do we already know about “the sacred”?
  • How and why do Jewish objects become Jewish symbols? We’ll consider the Shofar and the Star of David.

Class Two

  • What happens when we tell the story of the Jewish people from the point of view of a sacred object? We’ll look at the journey of the tablets of the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai to Indiana Jones.

Class Three

  • What have secular Jews made of the sacred object concept? We’ll consider sexual fetishes and their place in human development (Freud); “commodity fetishism” under capitalism (Marx); and the “aura” that accumulates around art objects in the age of mechanical reproduction (Walter Benjamin).

Class Four

  • Can we arrive at a common definition of what a Jewish sacred object is, based on the tradition and our intuitions?
  • Does that definition need to be changed in the digital age? How can we re-sacralize objects for Zoom practice, and for the 21st century in general?

Optional readings — mostly scholarly — will be available online. Key passages will be made available by audio recording as well. All readings will be in English. 

Although anyone is welcome to enroll, students who already have some knowledge and/or experience of Judaism will get more out of the class.


Monday, February 21
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Temple Israel of Greenfield
27 Pierce Street
Greenfield, MA 01301 United States
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