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The New Kabbalah: From Jewish Mystics to Madonna (SPJT201/48776)

The New Kabbalah: From Jewish Mystics to Madonna (SPJT201/48776)

July 3 - July 27, 2016
Registration & Dorm Check In: July 3, 2016

Final Day for Dorm Check Out: July 27, 2016

Academic Hours: 45 | Credits: 3

Course codes: SPJT201 / 48776
$1600 | Housing: $715

Class schedule: TBD

For millennia, Kabbalah – the Jewish mystical tradition – was a highly guarded, orally transmitted body of esoteric knowledge. Today, Kabbalah is everywhere, from the Internet to Madonna, to charms and amulets. This course will explore the ways in which Kabbalah has entered into diverse forms of contemporary spirituality, new-age thought, religious cross-fertilization (i.e. Buddhist Kabbalah), art, cinema and even politics.

The course will begin with a brief overview of various Kabbalistic schools of thought, from the theosophic to the ecstatic. Afterwards, there will be an examination of the essential dilemma of Kabbalists, from medieval times until the present, about how much esoteric knowledge can and must be revealed. (“With this Book of the Zohar, Israel will go out of Exile” – Zohar 3:124b.) There will be a discussion on the warnings and restrictions placed on the study of Kabbalah.

The course will then examine the explosion of popular Kabbalistic teachings that occurred in the 18th century, with the Hasidic movement, R. Moshe Hayim Luzzatto and the school of R. Elijah, the “Gaon” of Vilna. Jumping to the 20th century, we will study the writings of R. Yehudah Ashlag and his followers, including the American “Kabbalah Center” and the Israeli “Bnei Baruch.” We will examine the use of Kabbalah by modern Jewish theologians (Arthur Green), progressive Jewish-radicals (Jay Michaelson), right-wing religious Zionists (R. Yitzchak Ginsburgh), artists (Eliah Succot, David Friedman, Madonna, Matisyahu) and literary theorists (Harold Bloom). Various perspectives on G-d and the universe, the human body and sexuality, meditation, ritual, and healing will be also examined.

Throughout the course, the rich picture of the Jewish mystical tradition will be complemented by frequent comparison to other great spiritual traditions of the world.


Recommeded Combinations


If you are interested in this course, you might consider taking it together with another summer course.


 Course 1

Course 2

Area of Study

The New Kabbalah: From Jewish Mystics to Madonna

Collective Memory and Cultural Myths in Contemporary Israel

Sociology and Religion

The New Kabbalah: From Jewish Mystics to Madonna

Militant Radical Movements in Contemporary Islam

Religious Studies



For an overview of which courses can be combined, please take a look at the Course combination chart and at the Summer Courses Weekly schedule 


 When registering for more than one summer course, you will be offered a 10% discount off of the total tuition fee.



Application Information



Applicants currently enrolled in or who have completed an MA program are able to earn graduate credits for their participation in a summer course. More information on earning graduate credits is available on our website.


Take a look at our Online Application Instruction Video and the Overview of the Application Guidelines with useful information on how to complete and submit your online application.


To apply for this program, please click on the following button:



***Please note: The Hebrew University reserves the right to cancel courses for which there is insufficient registration.***


  Course combination chart
   Syllabus 2015 The New Kabbalah From Jewish Mystics to Madonna
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