General Description of the Course
I have been interested in the Shoah (the Holocaust)
since I was a teenager. However, in the last few years my interest
was renewed after my visit to the death camps in Eastern Europe
in May 2000. After coming back from Poland I started to research
the vast bibliography on the Shoah, focusing mainly on moral dilemmas,
and analyzing first hand testimonies which stressed the complexity
of the Holocaust.
During this course the following questions will be addressed:
-What is a moral dilemma?
-What can we learn from the complexity of the Shoah?
-What role did organized Jewish religion play during the Shoah?
-What role, if any, did religious faith play in the death camps?
The students will be introduced to the study of the Holocaust through
documentary videos, basic texts on the Shoah and explanatory maps
The students will analyze the contributions of Browning, Todorov,
Arendt, Goldhagen, Rubinstein, Levi, Wiesel and Hilberg, among others,
to the study of the Shoah.
The students will receive the visit of one survivor from the Shoah
and one American soldier who was among the first liberators of the
death camp of Dachau and will hear first hand experiences from them.
Finally, the students will be exposed to a singular, not very well
explored, literature on the Shoah. This literature, called “Rabbinic
Response (on the Holocaust)” addresses real questions from observant
Jews facing religious and moral dilemmas, who looked for practical
guidance from leading Rabbis, who were imprisoned with them in the
Please view the syllabus
for information about the class, including assignments and lesson
Rabbi Manes Kogan
Rabbi Manes Kogan was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He holds a degree in Psychology from The University of Buenos Aires, as well as a Masters in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and received his rabbinical ordination from the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano, the Conservative Seminary in Buenos Aires. Rabbi Kogan is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, a graduate of the seventh rabbinic cohort of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and a member of the inaugural cohort of the New York Rabbinic Fellowship for Visionary Leaders. Rabbi Kogan is an adjunct professor at St. Johns University and serves as the spiritual leader of Hillcrest Jewish Center, in Fresh Meadows, New York, where he lives with his wife, Silvia, and their three children: Daniela, Ilan and Abby. Hillcrest Jewish Center is a traditional, egalitarian and participatory congregation, serving 400 families in Eastern Queens.
Rabbi Manes Kogan
Hillcrest Jewish Center
183-02 Union Turnpike
Flushing, NY 11366
Email Rabbi Kogan