Academic Year 2012-2013
Vered Sakal submitted her Ph.D. dissertation on Religion and Liberalism to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She completed a master’s degree in the Department of Jewish thought at Hebrew University; her thesis topic was Mordecai Kaplan's concept of 'Nationhood'. Vered also completed an M.A. in Nonprofit and Community Organizations from The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work at Hebrew University, and was ordained as a Rabbi by Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. Vered taught in pluralistic 'Beit Midrash' programs and was the Artistic Director of the annual 'Hakhel Festival of Jewish Learning'.
Truth and the Jewish Public Sphere
Liberalism's aspiration to create a neutral public sphere that avoids giving any preference to particular opinions regarding Truth and Goodness deeply challenged Judaism. For if all religious arguments are regarded with equivalence, and sometimes even indifference or irrelevance, can Judaism be considered as 'true' and relevant? Jewish reactions to this political and epistemological challenge vary from rejection and active resistance to complete acceptance of Liberalism's precepts and requirements. This research project aims to analyze these diverse responses, focusing on two sets of concepts which appear to be salient to this discussion:
Private and Public: By differentiating between the powers and roles religious truth has in private and public contexts, this research project will explore whether, and how, truth is a relevant component in modern Judaism.
Coercive and Voluntary: Losing its 'truth claim', Religion's demand for power and sovereignty is undermined. This change transforms religious politics into voluntary politics. The research project will explore the characteristics of such politics and its influence on the way we understand Jewish life.