Conflicts within Judaism to be discussed in Coe Thursday Forum

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2017-01-19 09:10:05 - General

Steve Feller

Steve Feller
B.D. Silliman Professor of Physics

"The Conflicted Jewish World of Chaim Potok" will be the topic of the Coe College Thursday Forum series Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23. Conflicts within Judaism will be presented by Physics Professor Steve Feller, based on two pairs of novels by Potok, Coe's Baccalaureate speaker in 1995.

Potok's books will be discussed within the current context of broader Jewish life and moral issues. Beginning with Potok's classic "The Chosen" and its sequel, "The Promise," participants will visit the cloistered world of the Hasidim and its conflict with modern orthodox Jewry. Significant questions of religious and moral behavior will be examined. What means of raising a child are permissible in the case of Danny, the brilliant son of a charismatic Rebbe? What is the role of Reuven, an orthodox Jew and friend of Danny's from outside the sect? Feller will also take a close look at the tribal customs found in these worlds.

The second book pair will be "My Name is Asher Lev" and "The Gift of Asher Lev." Powerful accounts of the fictional Hasidic artist Asher Lev lead to powerful themes that rip apart family and communal life. Is creative art in fundamental and irreversible conflict with deeply religious Judaism?

A film version of "The Chosen" will be shown during the Feb. 9 session, with the lectures resuming in the third week on Feb. 16.

All four of the Potok books are on sale at the Coe College bookstore.

Thursday Forum lectures are held in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with registration and refreshments from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m. An optional luncheon is offered at the conclusion of each series. For February, it will be a delicious and traditional deli lunch.

The Coe College Thursday Forum Series

Coe College Thursday Forum courses are open to all adults. Admission to the entire four-week course can be purchased for $30 for this month’s forum on the first day or in advance. Admission to individual lectures is $12 per week. The closing luncheons cost an additional $8. Payment can be made in person on Thursday mornings by cash or personal check. Credit card payments can be processed online only. For more information about paying by credit card or directly from your checking account, or to order gift certificates, call (319) 399-8523.

For the remainder of the 2016-17 school year, the Thursday Forum schedule includes:

  • "The Lechaion Harbor: A New Excavation in Greece" - March 2
  • "The Drugs We Take: Contemporary Issues Affecting Patients, Doctors, Drug Makers and Regulators" - March 9, 16, 23, 30
  • "Plant Stewardship in the 21st Century" - April 6, 13, 20, 27
  • "The Acts of the Apostles: Luke's Second Volume" - May 4, 11, 18, 25