Judaism - Essay Questions
On questions requiring written answers, you should limit your answers to somewhere around 400-500 words for each. There is no limit on the resources you can access, but you do need to avoid plagiarism and appropriately cite any sources of information that you use.
1. The religion of Judaism centers much of its belief upon the idea of the "covenant" between God and the Jewish people. Explain the basics of this idea and provide at least four specific examples from Jewish history, culture, symbols, or rituals to show how this covenant is (or has been) observed.
2. Provide a review of The Longest Hatred. (Focus on its usefulness as an academic tool.) In this review, react to at least three of the specific historical examples of, "reasons for," or "justifications" of anti-Semitic behavior. What do you believe motivated these responses?
3. Discuss the future of anti-Semitism. Do you believe it will become more or less common? More or less dangerous? Refer to specific reasons in your answer.
4. You are the "Editor for a Day" at the StarTribune. You have just been given Johnny Hart's comic strip "B.C." that he wanted printed on Easter Sunday, 2001. (It's on the class blog.) Do you print the strip? Justify the reasons for your decision.
5. You have been asked to speak to a class of third grade students at MPA. You are allowed to discuss (or bring) three specific ideas/ symbols/ rituals/ events that you feel best express the core ideas of Judaism. Describe your choices and explain what you consider their significance to be for the faith.
6. President Obama has appointed you as his Special Envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Being as specific as you can, explain what advice you would offer to Israel to secure the safety of their nation and their faith.
7. We discussed three major "branches" of Judaism: Orthodoxy, Reform, and Conservative. Assume that you have been invited to address the (make-believe) Council for American Judaism's convention. You are asked to recommend one of the three branches as the "best" long-term strategy for American Jews. Using what you know about Judaism and America, explain and defend your choice.
8. It's the year 5770 on the Jewish calendar. You're asked to talk about three specific "times" that you feel most impacted the history of Judaism. Select those three times/ events and explain why you believe they were so important.