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Text-based study enhances Torah study skills

Developed specifically for online, interactive learning

Taught by scholars with a personal interest in the subject

Engaging topics made relevant to real life issues

About the Course

This course explores the rich and diverse history of Judaism in America, from the arrival of the first Jewish settlers to the American colonies through to today’s thriving Jewish community. Over the span of four lessons, we’ll delve into the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that have shaped the American Jewish experience.

Course Syllabus

Lesson 1: Medina Shel Chessed, Country of Kindness
The Beginnings of American Jewish History
November 2, 2023
What does it mean to be a Jew in a Democratic country? The story of Judaism in America is a long one, full of twists and turns. In this first lesson, we’ll set our sights on the first Jews to set foot in the United States. Together we’ll explore how Jewish life changed and adapted to its new surroundings. Along the way, we’ll encounter Spanish conquistadors, President George Washington, and even a Jewish vice presidential candidate. Join us on our journey into American Jewish history.
Lesson 2: Winds of Change
The Emergence of Liberal Jewish Movements in 19th-Century America
November 9, 2023
With new rights, come new rules. In this second lesson we’ll explore the rise of liberal Jewish movements in the United States. From the early pioneers of the movement to pivotal moments like the infamous traif (non-Kosher) banquet and the Pittsburgh Declaration, we'll trace the evolution of liberal Jewish thought and practice through the end of the 19th century. Along the way, we’ll catch a glimpse of the fault lines beginning to emerge in American Jewish life - questions that sit at the heart of Jewish practice and identity.
Lesson 3: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land
Eastern European Immigration and the Rise of American Orthodoxy
November 23, 2023
As liberal Judaism flourished under American Democracy, Eastern Europe was undergoing seismic political shifts of its own. Under the threat of pogroms, Kantonist conscription, and social revolution, growing numbers of European Jews fled to the West. With them, they brought traditional ideas about Jewish life and culture. In this lesson, we’ll explore the establishment of the first Orthodox Jewish institutions in the United States and unpack how traditional Jewish leaders responded to the assimilation of American Jewry. Together we’ll chart the growth of Orthodox Judaism in the lead-up to the first World War.
Lesson 4: America Iz Nisht Andersh, America is No Different
Postwar Jewish Revival
November 30, 2023
The Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel are the two events that define Jewish history in the 20th century. While neither took place on American soil, their impact on American Jewry was seismic. In this final installment of our series, we’ll explore how Jewish life changed in the post-war era. The rise of Zionism, the breakdown of Jewish communal life, and - ultimately - the birth of a new kind of American Judaism; one less focused on surviving, and more on thriving.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Length/Effort:
    4 weeks / 40 min per week
  • Category: History
  • Institution: Chabad.org / North County Chabad Center
  • Cost: Free
    (Suggested Donation $40)
    Donate Here
    Registration Required

Meet the Instructor

Rabbi David Eliezrie is a Chabad shliach in Orange County, California. He is the author of the bestselling book The Secret of Chabad. He serves on the Internet Committee of Lubavitch World Headquarters, the International Kinus Hashluchim and the JLI Advisory Board, and is president of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County. He is Chabad’s liaison to the Jewish Federations of North America. He lives in Yorba Linda, California, with his wife, Stella; six children; and a growing number of grandchildren.

  • This was an amazing course and well done. I was hesitate at first about the ability to "connect" with the subject and and amazed how my life focus has changed after just 4 weeks. Thank you Rabbi Stein and Chabad.org Courses. Shabbat Shalom.

    Joanne Y. - Israel

  • I loved everything about this course. It was obviously very well planned and delivered. The quality of your online course surpasses those which I have taken from university.

    Terry T. - USA

  • My husband, my son and I listen to chabad.org and these courses are our school. We really thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

    Celia R. - USA

  • The instructor did an excellent job! I really enjoyed this course. I think it's a topic that's relevant to everyone--each of us has a soul, after all. I am looking forward to future offerings!

    Katy C - USA