The Complexity of Jewishness: Perspectives on Material, Ritual, and Space

Our GTUx Original, Worlds of Corporeality: Judaism and the Material World, offers a series of lectures that provide a montage of perspectives on Judaism in its material expression. Religion is often thought of as something pertaining to the realm of the spirit, in contrast to the material world. These lectures present an alternative perspective and examine the material, linguistic, and social forms that have manifested as Jewishness over time. Each lecture in this series, in its own way, addresses the material, spatial, ritual, and relational elements that constitute Jewishness.

As you watch these lectures, please consider the following questions:

  • What is the role of repeated ritual actions in shaping Jewish identity?
  • How does storytelling contribute to the construction of the Jewish Self?
  • What defines a Jew? Do metaphors like family, blood, and kinship provide valuable insights? What might be problematic about these metaphors?
  • How do place and space influence the development of Jewish identity, especially in the context of diaspora Jewish life?
  • Who are the key contributors to the formation of Jewish culture?


If you wish to delve deeper into this content, we invite you to join us on Thursday, February 8th, for a corresponding GTUx Live event, where you’ll have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about the GTUx Original and the topics discussed with Drs. Deena Aranoff and Sam Shonkoff. You can register for this GTUx Live here.