When Mr. Spock meets Moses?

I’m not one to advertise things, but I saw this and needed to share. I’ve commented before on how much of a sci-fi fan I am (especially Doctor Who– just can’t get enough of that show) and so to mix my two favorite topics would be a dream come true:

The Final Frontier: How Science Fiction Can Teach Us Jewish Philosophy
With Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz
Begins Sunday, October 7, 2012 through Nov 18.
Sundays, 9:15 am – 10:15 am – First Semester
Free for CBS Members $36 Non Members

Registration Required

Join Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz as we boldly go where no one has gone before… as we explore Science Fiction TV episodes and their surprising connection to Jewish thought. Who are we? Why are we here? What is the soul? What is the source of Good and Evil in the world?  We’ll explore these questions and more as we travel several million light years together. No previous knowledge of Sci-Fi required!

This is at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough, MA. Address is in the above link.

To be clear: I have never been to this schule (and can I really commute 45 minutes on a Sunday morning?), but for any Boston-based Jewish geeks out there, this may be for you.

Much Ado About Camels… in the Bible

Somehow in all my reading of Genesis, I missed one of the great controversies of the bible: camels. Dromedaries appear in several Genesis stories, but most notably in the story of Isaac and Rebekah. In this story, Rebekah waters Abraham’s camels and fulfills a prophecy to be Isaac’s wife. I never thought twice about camels in biblical times, but science disagrees. Robert Alter summarizes the controversy best:

Archeological and extrabiblical literary evidence indicates that camels were not adopted as beasts of burden until several centuries after the Patriarchal period, and so their introduction to this story would have to be anachronistic.

Robert Alter, The Five Books of Moses

Rather than point at camels as an indication that the bible is “wrong”, I argue that the rarity of camels fits the biblical narrative. The authors may even connect Abraham to the rise of camels in all of Canaan. Read on for more.

Continue reading Much Ado About Camels… in the Bible