Global Day of Jewish Learning 2017 | Reconstructing Judaism

Global Day of Jewish Learning 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017 10:00am – 1:30pm
1360 Oxford Valley Rd, 
  View Map

Join us for the Global Day of Jewish Learning!

This year’s theme: Beauty and Ugliness

Photo of Lori Lefkovitz, Ph.D.

“The earth is full of Your creations” (Psalm 104:24) is one of many references in Jewish texts to the beauty and vastness of our world and nature. Over the course of 24 hours, Jews from around the world will explore nurturing and nourishment, ecology and the environment, cycles and seasons.

A full program flier is available here: PDF icon 2017_global_day_of_jewish_learning.pdf

Lori Lefkovitz, Ph.D. will lead one of the teachings. She will be live-streamed around the world from Kol Emet in Yardley, Penn. starting at 11 a.m. on November 12, 2017. 

Click here for her program page on the Global Day’s website.

The video can be watched live here, or viewed after the program’s completion:

Congregation Kol Emet
1360 Oxford Valley Rd
Morrisville, PA 19067

The day’s program schedule is as follows:

  • 10:00 a.m.           Brunch
  • 11:00 a.m.           Lori Lefkovitz: “A Beautiful Man?” Joseph and the Character of Masculinity in Judaism and Islam.
  • 12:20 p.m.          Workshop Choices
    • Rabbi Anna Boswell Levy: #MeToo: On Beauty and the Objectification of Women
    • Rabbi Dan Grossman: Special Needs: Beauty or Ugliness

‘A Beautiful Man?’ Joseph and the Character of Masculinity in Judaism and Islam.

Joseph (favored son of Jacob, the last of the Biblical patriarchs) is famously beautiful, “of fine face and figure” (Genesis 39:6). He is also one of the shared heroes of Judaism and Islam, though his beauty comes to say different things about his masculinity in the two traditions, beginning with the scriptural texts themselves and in centuries of subsequent midrashic and other narrative expansions.

We will begin by thinking about ethnic constructions of beauty and ugliness: What is Jewish beauty? What is masculinity and what is Jewish masculinity? What is femininity and Jewish femininity? We will then carry out a textual twin experiment, treating Yosef (Hebrew) and Yusuf (the Arabic pronunciation) as genetically identical characters, so to speak, who were raised in disparate (if contiguous) cultural and textual home environments. We will see how Yosef’s beauty became a source of ambivalence in Jewish sources, a site of projective anxiety about Jewish masculinity, while Yusuf embodies a more secure masculinity, in which male chastity and male authority are more comfortably compatible. 

This session will be brought to you courtesy of the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities and Global Day of Jewish Learning (A Project of the Aleph Society)