Me’ah Select: Modern Jewish Experience Through Short Stories

January 30, 2020 Marblehead $300.00
(Photo: Max Pixel)
(Photo: Max Pixel)

Most of us learn the history of Jews and Judaism in the modern period from scholarly texts and original documents. This invaluable view of the big picture leaves out the lived dimension of the events.

How did Jewish individuals in widely separated and quite different communities experience the challenges and changes of modernity? How did these experiences, and the feelings they evoked, shape new Jewish hopes and projects?

This course uses Jewish short stories, beginning in the late 19th century, from England, Russia, Eastern Europe, Israel and America.

The stories give us unique insights into generational struggles, changing gender roles and the search for “authentic Judaism” outside the precincts of religion. The most recent stories highlight the fear that traditional forms of Jewish memory and identity may be disappearing entirely, and ask whether these can be replaced with a commitment to social justice or with “Israeliness.”

Writers include Mizrachim and Ashkenazim, a European Christian, Christian Arab and Muslim Arab citizens of the state of Israel, Eastern European and Russian Jews, British Jews, American Jews and Jewish Israelis. A partial list of authors includes: Grace Aguilar, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Chaim Grade, George Eliot, Nathan Englander, Michal Govrin, Dara Horn, Franz Kafka, Sayeed Kashua, Amy Levy, Savyon Liebrecht, Bernard Malamud, Arthur Miller, Amos Oz, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Philip Roth, Mendele Mocher Seforim, Yaakov Shabtai, Moshe Shamir, Anton Shammas, Ayelet Tsabari, Israel Zangwill and Stefan Zweig.

With instructor Dr. Jacob Meskin.

This 11-week course will meet weekly on Thursdays from Jan. 30 to April 30 (except for holidays).

For financial aid and other questions, contact

Me’ah Select is a one-semester, in-depth exploration of a specific theme, text, personality or slice of Jewish history, taught at the college level but without papers and assignments. It is led by outstanding instructors from the Me’ah Classic faculty.

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Fact Sheet
Thursday, January 30, 2020, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jewish Community Center of the North Shore
4 Community Road
Marblehead, MA 01945
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