You have three options for this assignment. Please answer one of the following three questions:
1) Prothero concludes his Judaism chapter with a section titled, “Contemporary Controversy: Women in Judaism.” Related sources are the Moodle articles by Shimron (“US Jewish Movements ‘Outraged’ by Israeli PM’s Decision to Quash Western Wall Deal”) and Shimron and Ben Zion (“More Orthodox Jewish Wome Are Ordained; Change Is Uneven”). Please note that, in studying the status and role of women within this religious tradition, we are considering an issue (i.e., patriarchy and modern reconsiderations of it within religious communities) that we will see all semester. Your task here is to identify three “take-away” lessons from these sources that seem most important or surprising to you, explaining why they are important or surprising.
2) Prothero mentions on p. 203 that different Jewish groups “differ especially over the observance of Jewish law and the 613 commandments. They also disagree over whether and to what extent Jews should remain a people set apart or whether they should mingle with non-Jews.” Start your homework response with this quote and then note how the Moodle articles by Markoe (“Orthodox Jewish Commencement Speaker . . .”), Cohen and Levitt (“Marry a Jew and You’re One of Us”), and Salkin (“Should Religion Be Easy?”) illustrate these issues. What values, goals, or visions of Judaism seem to be at stake in these matters?
3) Jewish identity has been a fraught and complex issue. Please consider carefully: Prothero’s comments on p. 188; and your Moodle readings by Husain (“Are Jews White?), Zauzmer (“Is Judaism an Ethnicity? . . .”), and Shimron (“Michael Twitty’s . . .”). But let’s focus on Michael Twitty. What does the Shimron article about Twitty mean by persons having “braided traditions?” In what ways does Twitty have a “braided” identity? Do you have a braided identity? Twitty says, “I want people to understand that tradition is what you make.” That can’t be right, can it? Isn’t tradition something you’re given by others?
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