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CLE Lunch and Learn

CLE Lunch and Learn

  • CLE Lunch & Learn

  • Topic: Great Debates in Jewish History 
    Thursdays, biweekly 2017-2018 
    Lunch at 11:45 AM 
    Class begins 12:00 Noon and ends at 1:00 PM

    at the office of Ed Kress, Dinsmore & Shohl, Fifth Third Center, 
    One South Main St., Suite 1300 - Reception on 12th Floor

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  • Please call us at 937-643-0770 for more information or e-mail us at

  • Course Overview


    Unlock the secret of the Dead Sea Scrolls by contrasting their writings with Talmudic texts, and unearth a fundamental debate about rabbinic authority and interpretation. What led the Dead Sea Sect to break away from the Temple and the Jewish establishment? What were their theological views? And why were they so opposed to the Pharisaic approach?


    Glimpse into the minds of those who took their lives at Masada in 73 CE. Discover a view of Judaism that believes it cannot survive without autonomy in Israel and prefers to die rather than live under a foreign nation’s rule. What role does
    nationalism play in Judaism? What is the Jewish perspective on taking up arms when defeat is inevitable?


    In the 13th century, Maimonides’s major philosophical work, the Guide for the Perplexed, was banned and even burned. Condemnation of his writings divided the Jewish world: Is rationalism an acceptable approach to Divine worship? What role does reason play in Judaism? And how do we resolve the conflict between faith and reason?


    In the wake of Spanish expulsion came a proposal to reinstate the Sanhedrin, in an effort to herald the messianic era. The idea catapulted the Jewish world into a frenzy: some with jubilation, others with uproar and outrage.
    Can we force the Divine hand to hasten the redemption? Should we? And what about recent attempts at renewing the Sanhedrin?


    In the 1700s, the Ba’al Shem Tov introduced a focus on joy, prayer, and the simple Jew’s relationship with G-d. But this endeavor was met with resistance. What motivated Chasidism’s opponents? What issues lay at the heart of the debate? And what historic tensions set the stage for this upheaval that divided families and communities?


    A 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, permitting public menorah displays, deeply divided the Jewish world. Is religion designed to be a personal and private affair, or one to be paraded in the public domain? What presents a greater challenge to Judaism: the supremacy of a conflicting religion, or the predominance of irreligiosity? Where does Judaism stand on the separation of church and state?

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