In this course, we will encounter works of modern Jewish literature that evaluate and debate the respective merits of a secular way of life versus a life of Jewish faith and practice. In some texts, the debate is between a religious character and a non-religious character. Others feature an internal debate within the mind of one person. We will read of a grim mussar scholar who quarrels with a secular Yiddish writer; an Eastern European Rabbi who loses his faith because of the problem of evil, later to regain said faith; a Lubavitch poet who grapples with the upper and lower worlds; and a devout Holocaust survivor whose worldview is pitted against a progressive cosmopolitan interlocutor. We will evaluate these works on literary grounds and discuss the theological and philosophical questions that they raise. Authors will include Chaim Grade, Isaac Bashevis Singer, S. Y. Agnon, Eve Grubin, Yehoshua November, and Moshe Koppel.
Sarah Rindner taught English Literature at Lander College for Women prior to making aliyah with her family in 2019. She writes frequently on Jewish and literary topics and is a regular contributor to Mosaic Magazine and the Jewish Review of Books. She has degrees in English Literature from Stern College and Columbia University and studied for a year at Midreshet Lindenbaum.
Meet the Instructor
Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.