Animals in the Jewish Tradition
In this heart-engaged and text-based course taught by CRRI Deborah Megdal, we'll set a kavannah (intention) of blessing animals as fellow creations with whom we share the world and whose place in our tradition is deserving of study. We will review Biblical and rabbinic texts that see animals as possessing certain spiritual qualities and human traits, as legally responsible for their own actions, and even as sources of prophecy. We will find guidance on how to treat animals today (spoiler alert: with profound mercy) based on traditional texts detailing how to care for working animals and how to capture wild animals; questioning whether we have an obligation to help others care for their animals; and arguing that animal rest is an essential piece of Shabbat practice. We will also discuss the values that underlie the laws of kashrut, including kosher slaughter. All texts will be presented with full English translation alongside the original. No previous background required.
New York, 10001
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