Rabbi Dalia Marx, PhD., Lecturer of Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, is the guest professor of the German Academic Exchange Service at Abraham Geiger College/Potsdam University for the 2007-08 academic year. She follows Rabbi Sam Joseph, who taught for several months there this past spring, as part of a new agreement fostering academic exchange between HUC-JIR and the Geiger College.
Dr. Marx will be teaching three courses, Jewish Women Piety, From Cradle to Grave - Jewish Life Cycle Events, and an advanced course in contemporary Hebrew. Her courses will explore women's historical Jewish rituals, the way various streams of Judaism observe life cycle events, and the Hebrew language:
Traditionally, women were excluded from leading ritual and liturgical roles. Through out the ages, many women didn't attend services at the synagogue. However, women were active in praying and creating liturgical pieces. Today, we are witnessing an immense female religious creativity. One may say that in many ways women take the lead in liturgical innovation and creativity. This course will deal with Jewish women piety throughout the ages and in contemporary Judaism. It will explore prayers and rituals that Jewish women have been created, such as prayers for brides, expecting women, lighting Shabbat candles and New Moon celebration.
This course will explore the Jewish rituals and ceremonies of the major life cycle events: Birth, Circumcision, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Betrothal and Wedding and ceremonies related to death.
We will discuss the evolvement of these rites and the variety of diversion of their celebration in the different streams of Judaism, that is to say, Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform as well as among secular Jews.
If time allows, we will explore new life cycle events, commemorating events such as the first menstruation, menopause, miscarriage and wedding anniversary.
The Abraham Geiger College is the first liberal rabbinical seminary to be established in Germany since the Holocaust. Established in 1999 at the birthplace of the Reform Movement, this academic institution is affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism and is an institute at the University of Potsdam, just outside of Berlin. It was named after a founder of Reform Judaism in Germany, whose call in 1836 for the establishment of a Jewish theological department at a university inspired the founding of the Jewish Theological Institute in Breslau in 1854 and the Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Higher Institute for Jewish Studies) in Berlin in 1870 -- both of which were closed down by the Nazis. Its mission is to educate rabbis for Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe, and its first-year students spend their first year of study at HUC-JIR's Jerusalem campus together with HUC-JIR's first-year rabbinical, cantorial, and educational students and the London-based Leo Baeck College's first-year students.