Why do great athletes, great teams, and great victories against all odds inspire us? Drawing upon great films (like Chariots of Fire), short videos of exceptional athletes (like Michael Jordan), ancient texts, great speeches, and modern stories, we will try to make sense of the deeper meaning of sport: the natural gifts, the competitive drive, the agony of defeat, the glory of victory, the nature of sportsmanship, and the humility and gratitude that many great athletes demonstrate for what they achieve. We will also look at some of the darker sides of competitive sports—including the use of performance-enhancing drugs and the transformation of athletics into mere spectacle and entertainment. Should we admire athletic excellence as an example of human beings at their best? What does the Jewish tradition teach us about the human significance of sport?
The Tikvah Fund
Eric Cohen has been the Executive Director of the Tikvah Fund since 2007. He was the founder and remains editor-at-large of the New Atlantis, and he serves as the publisher of the Jewish Review of Books and Mosaic. Mr. Cohen has published in numerous academic and popular journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Weekly Standard, Commentary, The New Republic, First Things, and numerous others. He is the author of In the Shadow of Progress: Being Human in the Age of Technology (2008) and co-editor of The Future is Now: America Confronts the New Genetics (2002). He was previously managing editor of the Public Interest and served as a senior consultant to the President’s Council on Bioethics. Mr. Cohen currently serves on the board of directors of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Witherspoon Institute, and National Affairs and on the Editorial Advisory Board of First Things.
Stephanie Cohen is a writing and literature teacher for elementary- and middle-school students at Westchester Day School in New York. She is also the school’s librarian. She has been a writer and editor for over two decades. Her love of books and writing—and her kids’ ravenous appetite for great books—led her to create the Lions of Literature blog. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and international newswires including the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe Magazine, the New York Post, the Christian Science Monitor, U.S. News & World Report Magazine, Bloomberg BNA, Bloomberg Law, Mosaic, CBS MarketWatch, and others. She has also taught journalism and media ethics at the college level.
Meet the Instructors
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.