From the earliest times, rabbinic leaders have had to work out how to respond to nonconforming groups within Judaism. Where possible, they have tried to find ways to be inclusive. However, new and evolving social attitudes towards gender
and sexual identity continue to test the resilience of Orthodoxy.
In this course, Rabbi Birnbaum will sensitively and methodically explore this subject and facilitate discussion of three vital questions: What are the key issues of inclusion facing the Jewish community today? Does traditional Judaism contain the resources to respond? Are ‘inclusivism’ and Orthodoxy really compatible?
Medieval struggles: Karaites, apostates and unbelievers
Birth of modernity: how Orthodoxy responded to progressive Jews
Inclusion today: rabbinic responses to less or non-observant Jews
Future Challenges: can Orthodoxy accommodate 21st-century cultural issues and attitudes?