1) The Kaddish as Sacred Trance
Sun, Oct. 22 • 10:30am on Zoom
After the Shema, the Kaddish is probably the most familiar short Jewish prayer. Although it was not originally connected to the dead, over time it evolved to the point where today it is still an identifying marker for even barely-affiliated Jews.
Jews find the Kaddish meaningful mainly as an acknowledgment of loss and a means of creating connection to community. These are accomplished through the poetic qualities of the prayer, whose rhythm envelops the worshiper in a kind of trance. We’ll look closely at this aspect of the Kaddish.
2) How to Read a Biblical Story
Sun, Oct. 29 • 10:30am on Zoom
The great stories of the Bible are memorable because of the characters and the challenging situations in which God places them. But they are often difficult to penetrate. Fortunately, many biblical texts provide clues to help the reader focus on important themes. These mainly involve sound: repetition, allusion, word-play, and other techniques. Using the great story of Yaakov’s theft of his brother’s blessing in Genesis 27, we’ll see how biblical tales, read attentively, may yield their ambiguities and their secrets.
Everett Fox is Allen M. Glick Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Clark University. A native of New York City, he received his undergraduate and graduate training at Brandeis University, and taught at Boston University before coming to Clark in 1986. He is the author of a number of studies on biblical narrative and translation, including The Five Books of Moses: A New Translation with Introductions, Commentary, and Notes, which was published by Schocken Books in 1995, and The Early Prophets, which appeared in 2014. He is currently working on the Haftarot, and has also completed a draft of Isaiah.
In addition to his academic duties, Prof. Fox served as a religious consultant to DreamWorks on the animated film The Prince of Egypt, and has written introductions for a number of special exhibits on Jewish subjects in New York and London.
Prof. Fox lives in Newton, MA with his wife, Rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox, and has three grown children and two grandchildren.