Judaism's Gifts to the World: How Major Jewish Ideas Have Become Universal Values
Dates January-March 2020
Lessons Included 6
Course Overview

By most indications, modern society is a model of moral progress. Yet when it comes to everyday values, we still grapple with the big ones…

  • What are our responsibilities toward the less fortunate?
  • How do we fashion a more moral and equal society?
  • How can we make a move toward more cohesive family living?

Join us to unpack six of the world’s most cherished values and how they were delivered to humankind by the Torah. By tracing their fascinating journey to the mainstream, we’ll discover a timeless core of purpose, integrity, and clarity in each value—a powerful gift of guidance as we navigate our own daily choices.

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Lesson Details
Lesson 1 The Gift of Social Responsibility

To the ancients, poverty and suffering were unfortunate facts of life for the unlucky to bear alone. It was the Torah that introduced the radical concept of social responsibility. So, what’s the true nature of that responsibility? Whose is it? And how should I relate to those receiving my help?

Lesson 2 The Gift of A Guiding Purpose

Abraham, the first Jew, discovered something that shook the foundations of the pagan society around him: there was one—only one—G-d, Creator of Heaven and earth. Monotheism drastically changed the way humanity has viewed life, purpose, and progress ever since. Discover how.

Lesson 3 The Gift of Respect for Life

It might seem axiomatic that human life is valuable, but a hard look at history reveals that the concept was once considered utterly radical. To discover how respect for life became a universal value, we’ll explore the underlying questions: What makes us human? And what are we here to do?

Lesson 4 The Gift of Equality and Individuality

Mastery over others was long deemed a birthright: some were born to rule; others to be ruled. Today, civil people agree that no one is intrinsically inferior or superior. This shift is thanks to the Torah’s revelation that we are all equally created in G-d’s image: just as G-d cannot be redundant, no human can be.

Lesson 5 The Gift of Work/Life Balance

Originally, those who labored did so endlessly. The Torah introduced us to Shabbat, mandating that Jewish people pause from work for a full day each week to focus on life’s purpose, on worship, and on family. As the modern world begins to recognize the benefits of Shabbat, our call to set aside that time of focus is more critical than ever.

Lesson 6 The Gift of Escaping the Cycle

Early societies considered human history locked in an endless cycle of war, conquest, peace, and more war. The Torah insists otherwise: we can, must, and will change the world for the better; war will eventually cease; justice and kindness will ultimately prevail. Today’s world is more eager than ever to hear this empowering message. Our closing lesson will suggest ways we can share it.