• December 2, 2023
  • 19 5784, Kislev
  • פרשת וישלח

Middot and Pop Culture

Middot and Pop Culture
What can pop culture contribute to our understanding of Middot (character traits)? Each week, join Rabbi Uri Cohen to compare and contrast how a Middah is addressed in Torah sources and contemporary culture. Examples include immortality in Chazal and Tuck Everlasting, fear in the Machzor and Divergent, and impatience in Jewish history and Amazon Prime.
January 28, 2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Middot and Pop Culture: Instant Gratification and Impatience
Class description

Fictional Fantasies (including High School Musical)
Frum Fantasies
Impatience in Jewish History
Impatience Today: How Did We Get Here? (including Credit Cards and Amazon Prime)
What’s Wrong With Impatience, Anyway?

February 4, 2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Middot and Pop Culture: Confronting Fear
Class description

Fear Can Be Good (including Inside Out and The New Batman Adventures)

But It’s Usually Bad

Pachad vs. Yirah

Don’t Make Yourself Afraid

The Appeal of Horror (including Stephen King)

Overcoming Fear with Laughter (including Boggarts)

Face Your Fears! (including Divergent, Dune, and Defending Your Life)

February 11, 2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Middot and Pop Culture: Loneliness in Pop Culture: The Martian, The Police, and Frankenstein
Class description

Not Good to Be Alone — Torah

Not Good to Be Alone — Today

Being Alone (including The Martian)

Hating Being Alone (including Frankenstein)

Being Lonely — Physical, Psychological

Being Lonely — Existential, Ontological

Positives of Loneliness (including Leonard Cohen’s Book of Mercy)

Everyone is Lonely (including “Message in a Bottle”)

Compensating With Community (including “Piano Man”)

God’s Loneliness

February 18, 2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Middot and Pop Culture: The Appeal of Immortality: Gulliver’s Travels, The Sandman, and Tuck Everlasting
Class description

Tropes of Immortality
Aging Too Would Need to Be Overcome (including Struldbrugs in Gulliver’s Travels)
You Could Be a Repository of Memory
You Could Learn a Huge Amount (including Cinderella in Fables)
You Could Try Everything (including Hob Gadling in The Sandman)
You Would Have No Incentive (including “If We Were Vampires”)
You Would Watch Everyone Die
You Would Hold Back the Next Generation
You Wouldn’t Really Be Alive (including Tuck Everlasting)
The Real Immortality That We Believe in and Pray For

Rabbi Uri Cohen has been teaching at Midreshet Moriah since 2005. He learned at Yeshivat Shaalvim and Yeshivat Hamivtar, and received Semikhah from RIETS (YU) and Yeshivat Hamivtar. He also holds Masters degrees in Medieval Jewish History and Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. For two years, he was an ATID Fellow. Through Torah MiTzion, he and his wife Dr. Yocheved Engelberg Cohen served as the first members of the Syracuse Kollel, and later as the first couple of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) at Princeton University. They now live in Ramat Beit Shemesh. His eclectic lecture topics have included Talmudic Misogyny in Context, Harry Potter and the Value of Fantasy, Contemporary Orthodox Responses to Homosexuality, and How Not to Do Outreach.