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Friday, February 14 • 9:45pm - 10:45pm
The Jewish Pleasure Principle: Sexual Affirmation and Disavowal in the Jewish Tradition

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Against the background of a world consumed by depersonalizing technology Shabbat emerges as the ‘Day of Love and Relationship’. Drawing on the rabbinic and the mystical traditions, this session will argue that this remarkable feature of Shabbat accompanied by a significant array of Jewish texts present Judaism as a distinctive spirituality that consciously affirms physical pleasure, social interaction and love-making. At the same time we will look at sources that call for the primacy of ascetic denial and for an effort to diminish the experience of sexual pleasure. Interspersed between these sources, we will consider the larger context in which religious commitments provoke anxiety and psychological conflict about sexual pleasure and the centrality of the body, as well as their impact on our narratives and behavior today.
Texts that will be studied include Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, Joseph Gikatilla’s Holy Letter (a 13th century mystical ‘love’ manual), the Shulhan Arukh (16th century code of Jewish law) and a 17th century Karaite classic.

avatar for Chaim Seidler-Feller

Chaim Seidler-Feller

Chaim Seidler-Feller spent over forty years working with students and faculty as the Executive Director of the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA. He is currently Director Emeritus. He was ordained at Yeshiva University where he completed a Masters in Rabbinic Literature... Read More →
avatar for Doreen Seidler-Feller

Doreen Seidler-Feller

Doreen Seidler-Feller earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Ohio State University. She serves as Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA where she teaches courses in systems-based healthcare and in human sexuality and sex... Read More →

Friday February 14, 2020 9:45pm - 10:45pm EST

Attendees (4)