Barbara Spectre
12 teaching hours, equivalent to 2 ECTS

Barbara Spectre is the Founding Director of Paideia. She was formerly on the faculty of the Hartman Institute of Advanced Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where she taught Jewish Thought. She was among the founders of the Seminary of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem where she served as the founding Chairperson. Her area of research is in models of inference in Christian and Jewish post-Holocaust Theology, for which she received a research grand from Yad V’Shem Institute. Her publications include “A Theology of Doubt” (Hebrew) and together with Noam Zion the two-volume “A Different Light: the Hannukah Book of Celebration. In 2007 she received the Max M. Fisher Prize for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, in 2014 the Abraham Geiger Prize from Potsdam, and in 2018 was awarded The King’s Medal from the King of Sweden for “Outstanding Contributions to Jewish Culture in Sweden and Internationally”.

How a people organizes its calendar, how it celebrates and mourns, how it understands time, are signposts that can serve as indicators of a cultural perspective. These indicators can then serve as a platform by which to build an understanding of the celebratory and ritualistic aspects of Judaism. The course will analyze a series of concepts that stand in a paradoxical relationship one to another, for example: accident/fate; obedience/responsibility; faith/doubt. The ways in which these paradoxes are incorporated into the Jewish calendar will be studied, utilizing a wide variety of sources, including the Bible, Midrash, Talmud, Maimonides, Kabbalah, and contemporary literature. Comparisons will be made with various philosophic and religious traditions.