• February 28, 2024
  • 19 5784, Adar I
  • פרשת כי תשא

The Best of Both Worlds

The Best of Both Worlds

What can we learn from pop culture? What is the value of stories, especially the fantasy stories that have become so popular over the last century? Each week, join Rabbi Uri Cohen and discuss the heroes and icons of a popular series (books, films, or comics) and examine it through a lens of Mussar and Torah. Topics include the significance of secret identities in superhero comics, Emunah in Mashiach as expressed in the Matrix films, and the unusual attitude towards death in the Harry Potter series.

November 5, 2020 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Best of Both Worlds: Storytelling and the Value of Fantasy
Class description

The Value of Stories

The Appeal of Fantasy

Should Adults Read Children’s Books?

How Did Fantasy Become a Children’s Thing?

Actually, (Almost) All Fiction is Fantasy

November 12, 2020 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Best of Both Worlds: Superheroes as Role Models
Class description

The Heroism of Self-Control

The Heroism of Helping Others

The Value of Never Giving Up

Reading Superheroes as an Adult

The Great Burden

Chasid vs. Kovesh et Yitzro

Superman as Chasid

Superman as Survivor

Batman as Kovesh et Yitzro

Batman vs. Superman


November 19, 2020 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Best of Both Worlds: Masks and Secret Identities
Class description

Masks on Purim

Masks Can Be Liberating

Two Types of Secret Identities

Deciding Who You Are

Batman Vs. Bruce Wayne

Why Superman’s Secret Identity is Safe

He’s Really Superman

He’s Really Clark Kent

Both Identities Are Essential

We All Wear Masks

November 26, 2020 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Best of Both Worlds: The Matrix and Mashiach
Class description

Is There Judaism in “The Matrix”?

What’s Real? Thinking About It in Pop Culture

And How Do You *Know* What’s Real and True?

Wake Up!

Insights Into Geulah and Mashiach

December 3, 2020 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Best of Both Worlds: Harry Potter and the Acceptance of Death
Class description

Some Good Middot and Lessons in the Series
Acceptance of Death
Should We Be Worried About Kishuf?

December 10, 2020 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Best of Both Worlds: The Mixed Messages of Barbie
Class description

A Torah Approach to Female Beauty

Barbie’s Materialism

The Body Image Problem

Is Barbie Part of The Problem? Yes

Why Does Barbie Look Like That, Anyway?

Is Barbie Part of The Problem? No

This Doll Was Innovative: A Woman, Not a Baby

A Woman’s Independence According to Halakhah

A Woman’s Independence According to Handler

December 17, 2020 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Best of Both Worlds: The Greatness of (Charlie Brown and) Peanuts
Class description

The Middah of Sticking to It

Schulz’s Monumental Achievement

The Football Joke and the Middah of Naivete

Unrequited Love

It’s Dark and Bleak

Survival: Jewish Strategies

Survival: Peanuts Strategies

Charlie Brown


The Cartoonist and the Rabbi

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.