In the late 18th century, the practice emerged, for the purpose of enlightenment and wisdom, of people going on a special journey, traveling to the ‘sacred’ sites of Western civilisation. This became known as the Grand Tour.
In this series, we adapt the idea to explore the idea of a distinctly Jewish Grand Tour. Where are the places that Jews ‘should’ travel to? COVID restrictions notwithstanding, is ‘travel’ the Jewish practice of our age? On the simple level, this course is a series of virtual Jewish travel journeys, exploring sites and stories of the Jewish People around the world. But really, it is interested in asking what are the important questions Jews should be asking themselves, and what locations around the world provide the best backdrop for discussing them. Suitable for people interested in travel, history and ideas.
Through our new online platform JW3 is delighted to be able to bring you the very best international thinkers and teachers from around the world – Jeremy will be joining us from Israel.
Jewish Grand Tour Schedule■
Jews MUST Go!.... Introducing the Jewish Grand Tour
We open by posing the questions, if there was to be a Jewish Grand Tour, where would it take us? Is there a ‘canon’ of place in Jewish culture or the Jewish imagination? In fact, what do we stand to gain by visiting the sites and stories of the Jewish past? Has the time come to assert with confidence that Jewish travel should be the ritual of our age?
Jews, Power and Places
Despite nursing a self-image of always being victims, such an all-embracing theory does not really hold tight. And so, is there a journey to be undertaken that shines a different light on the topic Jewish power? We will visit the sites of Jewish power and powerlessness, in an attempt to reframe the conversation around the question of whether Jews have the ability to control their destiny.
Redemption politics: Travelling to the places where the Messiah never came
What happens when ‘prophecy fails?’ Despite putting in a fair bit of work to the project, the Jews have not yet found the Messiah or seen the ‘end of days’ – whether in the classic religious version of a Redeemer, or in the more secular versions of ideology. Nonetheless, the Grand Tour travels to those places where all those messiahs presented themselves to reassess, how equipped are we for the real Messiah or the next failure.
Palaces of Jewish Culture
Salonica or Stanmore? This session introduces the question which locations provide the best conditions for Jews to be creative? In all our several-thousands-year-long journeys around the world, the Jews have never really been ‘exclusive’ when it comes to culture, borrowing and sharing along the way. So where do contemporary tourists go to both celebrate Jewish cultural high spots?
‘Everyone Hates the Jews’
On the one hand, this one may seem a bit too easy – a journey to sites of persecution and dislocation should not be too difficult to plan. But wallowing in the stories of our misfortune is not the reason this is on the Grand Tour. Rather, this itinerary leads to sites and stories where history has posed sharper questions of how to interpret our misfortune. And looking at them from the perspective of the present, how does contemporary commentary differ from the past?
It may seem a bit of an odd topic for a Jewish travel journey given that Judaism does not have a very clear religious pilgrimage tradition, but given that this course is about the fundamentals, it is hard to leave God out of things. And in actual fact, once one starts looking, there are no shortage of sites where the profound questions of belief and truth seem the natural thing to talk about.