Dear PASJE Parents,
We began class today with a discussion of the purpose of religion in human life. Next, using their notes and our text, The Story of the Jews, students wrote to the following prompt: In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and Spain expelled the Jew. I was pleased that most of my students were able to expand on this prompt and write about the Inquisition and the Expulsion of Jews from Western Europe. We then looked at the confinement of Jews to the Ghetto in Western Europe and the rise of the Shtetl in Eastern Europe. We defined Ghetto as an isolated and often walled-in section of a European city and Shtetl as a small town or village in rural Eastern Europe.
Using our Talmudic text, Mah La’Asot, looked at when it is acceptable to take the life of another person. Clearly, we need to protect ourselves from one who is defined as he-rodef, or one who pursues with the intent of harm. However, it is never acceptable to take the life of another if there is no danger, only property loss involved.