Online Friday Noon Study Group

December 4, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

The Noon Study Group will NOT meet on Friday, November 27

Last Friday, our study group completed its most recent exploration of JEWISH SENSIBILITIES with a discussion of a concept that governs a good deal of our thought and practice:  

Havdil | הַבְדִיל | Distinctions/Jews and Distinctiveness.

Looking at various Jewish practices that emphasize binary oppositions and distinctions that have firm laws about boundaries–milk from meat, Sabbath and weekdays, male and female roles, Israel from other peoples, the holy and the everyday–we agreed with Rabbi Vanessa Ochs that ”the sensibility of difference-making is critically and essentially Jewish” and with Rabbi Ochs’s claim that such a concern for differences ”has a powerfully destructive potential.”  We explored this topic, especially when it led to ”us vs. them” polarization, but we also explored the importance of maintaining a distinct Jewish identity as a means of connecting with others.

Following a one-week break for the Thanksgiving holiday, our group will resume our discussions on Friday, December 4 when we’ll begin with a new topic:


This movement for the development and protection of a Jewish nation in Israel has been a source of great pride and a subject of much criticism.  In our discussions of Zionism, we hope to cover such topics as

  • Zionist ideology from its origins to the present
  • the emergence of modern Jewish nationalism in early nineteenth century Europe
  • the founding of the Zionist movement by Theodor Herzl in 1897
  • the Balfour Declaration
  • the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion
  • the Six Day War in 1967
  • the rise of the “Peace Now” movement
  • the election of conservative prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • the long-term viability of Zionist ideology in a rapidly destabilizing Middle East

Our discussions will be informed by Michael Stanislawski’s ZionismA Very Short Introduction 2nd Edition.  Stanislawski is Professor of Jewish History at Columbia University.  His book is available at a variety of Internet outlets. 

Check this web site next week for a list of resources we will discuss in our inaugural meeting on December 4.

Our informal discussion group is held online every Friday from 12-1.  All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise or attendance at previous noon study group discussions. If you have questions, or would like the Zoom link, please contact Jay Jacoby at


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