Beyond Tikkun Olam

History, Meaning, and Relevance of Jewish Activism in America

Though the American Jewish community often notes with pride that Jews have been at the forefront of the social movements of the past century, this phenomenon is rarely examined or interrogated. In this five-week virtual seminar, led by Dr. Judith Rosenbaum (Bronfman 1990, Faculty 2013), we will use video, text study, and online discussion to explore the meaning and resonance of the American Jewish activist tradition. How and why have Jews shaped American society through movements such as labor, civil rights, and feminism? What does this tendency towards political activism have to do with Jewish tradition? With Jewish history? With Jewish identity? How relevant is this history to Jews in 21st America?

Week 1: Why Jews and social justice?

Week 2: Jews in the Labor Movement

Week 3: Jewish Views on Multiculturalism

Week 4: Jews and the women’s movement

Week 5: Where are we today?