Community Scholar Program: 12th Annual Adult Retreat with Dr. Wendy Zierler
Movies and Midrash: Film and Jewish Religious Conversation.
What religious or theological function can be performed by popular culture? What role can contemporary movies play in a curriculum of Jewish study? Can films really provide occasions of transcendence, divine encounter, and Jewish religious exploration? In this 24-hour retreat, an outgrowth of a course called "Reel Theology," team-taught at HUC-JIR for over a decade with theologian Eugene B. Borowitz, we will engage in a process of inverted midrash, “reading” contemporary movies as an entry point into the study of Jewish text and belief. Each film will provide an occasion for the exploration of a central Jewish theme:
• Truth (""The Truman Show"")
• Tests (“Exam”, 2009, Britain)
• Birthright and Legacy (“The Descendants”)
• Leadership and Speech (“The King’s Speech”)
Cost: Free to CSP 5778 Patrons, $395 per person/double occupancy General Public (on a space available basis).
Dr. Wendy Zierler is Sigmund Falk Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies at HUC-JIR in New York. Prior to joining HUC-JIR she was a Research Fellow in the English Department of the University of Hong Kong. At HUC-JIR she is Head of the Hebrew Department, and teaches courses on Modern Hebrew and American Jewish Literatures, Holocaust Literature, Literature of the Holidays, and Reel Theology, in addition to courses dealing with Gender and Judaism. She received her Ph.D. and her MA from Princeton University, where she was awarded Fulbright and Whiting Grants, and her BA from Yeshiva University, Stern College, where she was a Max Stern Scholar. In December 2016, she also received an MFA in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author Movies and Midrash: Popular Film and Jewish Religious Conversation (SUNY 2017) and of And Rachel Stole the Idols: The Emergence of Hebrew Women’s Writing (Wayne State UP, 2004), co-editor with Carole Balin, of Behikansi atah, a collection of the Hebrew writings of Hava Shapiro, (Resling Press, 2008). The English volume of Shapiro’s writings, also co-edited with Carole Balin, To Tread on New Ground: Selected Writings of Hava Shapiro was published by Wayne State University Press in 2014. Wendy was recently chosen as co-editor-in-chief of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History.
Sponsor: Community Scholar Program (CSP)