Sign In Forgot Password

Judaism’s Magical Practices

Past Sessions
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 28 Adar I 5782 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Zoom Room Bet
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 21 Adar I 5782 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Zoom Room Bet
Tuesday, February 15, 2022 14 Adar I 5782 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Zoom Room Bet
Tuesday, February 1, 2022 30 Shevat 5782 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Zoom Room Bet

Please note new meeting dates.


Are you curious and willing to expand your sense of what Judaism is and has been? Do you already have some sense of Jewish practice that could be called magical, non-rational, or pre-Enlightenment?
Or, maybe, you just want to ease the winter doldrums with some new learning?

If any of these are true for you, please join us for an exciting collaborative class–in person!–taught by Oren Kosansky, professor of Anthropology at Lewis and Clark University, and Deborah Eisenbach-Budner, Havurah’s Education Director. 

Many of the “magical” elements of Judaism have dwindled post-Enlightenment and with the modernization of religion in general. However, we can still see traces in religious and cultural practices from Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and other places. This class will touch on several that may be less familiar–amulets, protective jewelry, golems, dybbuks, pilgrimages to the graves of saints–as well practices that are familiar, like mezuzot and Torah sacredness. 

We will enjoy discussions about the underlying questions and relationships between spirituality, everyday practices and human needs, religion, and magic. We will be looking at ritual items and art, as well as primary texts and some secondary analysis.

This class will be in person and hopefully recorded for later viewing; it will not be available by Zoom. Per the Havurah Covid Safety policy, those who are participating in an indoor Havurah event need to be fully vaccinated. Those not medically eligible for vaccination must have a negative COVID test before entering the building.

1/12/22 Update on meeting format: The hope is that we will do this class in person so that we can interact more personally with each other as well as look at and hold some of the ritual objects that we are studying. However, since it is unclear at this point what will actually happen, you can note on your RSVP whether you are able to participate in person, online, or both. The dates are a bit different than previously publicized in HaKol. 

Oren Kosansky is associate professor of anthropology at Lewis & Clark College and the founding director of its Middle East and North African studies program. He has published widely on the history of the Jews of Morocco and directs the Rabat Genizah Project, a digital archive of Moroccan Jewish documents. Deborah Eisenbach-Budner is Education Director of Havurah Shalom. You can find her bio here.

Sorry, Registration has ended.

Share Print Save To My Calendar
Sun, May 29 2022 28 Iyyar 5782