The 2017 Global Day of Jewish Learning is Sunday, November 12
The 2017 Global Day theme is:
Beauty and Ugliness
This year’s curriculum includes:
UNITS FOR ADULT PARTICIPANTS
- Appreciating Beauty and Art
There is a rich and varied tradition of Jewish art rooted in our history, culture, and religion. How can art enhance your relationship with Judaism? What doors are opened? Whether in the Mishkan, ancient synagogues or art in homes today, the beauty of Jewish art can connect us with the human experience and open our eyes to see beyond the object.
- Beauty, Power and Temptation*
Is being beautiful a requirement to achieve positions of power? Can beauty ever be a disadvantage? We will examine some stories of Biblical characters to explore the ways in which beauty and power are intertwined.
- The Good and the Beautiful
We use the words “beautiful” and “good” in our everyday lives, but when we try to define them we are less certain of their meanings. We’ll take a close look at the story of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and find ways to see these concepts in a fresh light.
- Hiddur Mitzvah: Beauty, Awe and Action
In performing mitzvot (commandments) one can abide by the letter of the law, or in a way that shows special reverence to God. The Talmud urges us to do mitzvot the latter way – beautifully, even if simply. This is known as hiddur mitzvah: beautifying the mitzvah. This session looks at connections between beauty and the Divine, through individual actions.
- “The Mirrors of the Women”: Beauty, Desire and the Divine*
Exodus records a strange donation to the Tabernacle – a set of women’s’ mirrors. Who were the women behind this unusual gift and what is their story? Why did Moses want to reject their donation? This session addresses the place of beauty, and whether sexuality and sanctity can coexist.
- The Ugly Vessel and the Craftsman
Is there value in appreciating both the vessel and what it contains? We will explore different ideas of how to assess beauty and ugliness and their sources. We will dive into some interesting, and perhaps even humorous, stories from the Talmud.
UNITS FOR MIDDLE AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PARTICIPANTS
- Embracing a Beautiful World (Elementary School)
What is something beautiful that you own? What makes it beautiful to you? What is something beautiful that you cannot own? We will explore beauty in our world and look together at how Judaism and beauty connect.
- Looking Beyond the Surface (Middle School)
We will explore some texts that challenge our understanding of what it means to be beautiful or ugly. This session includes some stories from the Talmud that offer insights into inner and outer beauty and challenge us to look beyond the surface.
MATERIALS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD PARTICIPANTS
PJ Library Programming Units – Family Engagement Ideas for Learning about beauty in the world and in how we treat each other.
“Each one of the various kinds of good – the aesthetic, the functional, and the moral – has a different set of rules with its own compelling inner logic, and unfortunately, the categories are not interconnected. Thus, beauty can be morally wrong, impractical, or even dangerous. Most poisonous mushrooms, for instance, are much more beautiful than the edible ones. Conversely, something that violates the laws of aesthetics is not necessarily immoral: an ugly person can be deeply righteous.”
Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, “Good”, from Simple Words
Interested in hosting a community event in November 2017? Sign up now and get started!
You can also learn any time throughout the year! Check out year-long learning resources here.
The full 2017 curriculum, videos, resources and guides are available to registered communities, in the toolbox.
Have questions? Email us for more information.
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Past Years’ Curricula
2014: Heroes & Villains
2013: Creating Together
2012: Blessings & Gratitude
The 7th annual Global Day of Jewish Learning took place on November 20, 2016. The theme was Under the Same Sky: The Earth is Full of Your Creations, which explored our world and nature.
The 6th annual Global Day of Jewish Learning was on Sunday Nov 15, 2015. The theme was Love: Devotion, Desire & Deception, focusing on the many facets of love, in our Jewish texts and in our modern lives.
On Sunday November 18, 2012, 350 Jewish communities across the world joined together for the third annual Global Day of Jewish Learning. The theme of the Global Day and curriculum was Jewish concepts of blessing and gratitude.
Would you like to learn more? Click here to download the cumulative Global Day 2012 Report.
Global Day 2011 was an astounding success, uniting 250 Jewish communities across 40 countries in a day of Jewish learning. The theme of Global Day 2011 was the Unity of the Jewish people, as seen through the Shema prayer. In the words of Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, “For the Jewish people, the Shema is a call, a slogan, a sign of identification and an expression of great emotions. It is a declaration of bond, principles and identity.”
The Global Day of Jewish Learning was conceived to mark the completion of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s monumental translation on the Talmud. Thanks to your astounding level of participation, the inaugural 2010 Global Day was a historic achievement. It reached every corner of the Jewish world and – perhaps, for the first time – brought Jews across the spectrum of beliefs and backgrounds together in a day of study and unity. You then truly went “a step ahead” by calling for an annual event.
The Global Day’s annual live video learning series is a now ready-to-use resource for adult Jewish learning. Make Jewish texts accessible to your community, any day of the year with video content.