Get thee out of thy country – Stillness and Movement in Jewish History
With true poetic licence, Yehuda Amichai changed the name of God from 'Makom,' or ‘Place,’ to 'M'komot', or ‘God of the Places.’ Amichai’s use of the plural points to a crucial aspect of the Jewish past, for great controversy has always surrounded the ways Jews viewed the they departed from and the one’s they now call home.
It is clear that places of residence and departure are a key determining features of Jewish identity, as suggested by the terms Israeli, Diasporic, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrachi. Yet, perhaps the real controversy does not lie in the places themselves but rather in the decisions of whether to move from one place to another. Do Jews flourish in the stasis of settled life, in the turbulence of movement, or are they happiest when ’between two worlds'? The course will work through the shelves of the Jewish library, drawing on texts that illuminate the dynamics of Jews and travel, stasis and movement.