A group of Limmud eficiandos and Pardes alumni host a weekly class in which teachers volunteer their Torah and participants donate to tzedakah. Meesh Hammer-Kossoy’s class, given at the home of Pardes alumna Sara Argamon, is a discussion of the democratic roots of Judaism, as well as the points of tension.
After looking at the statements of famous moderns about the relationship of Judaism and democracy, the group turns to the traditional sources. Using Talmudic texts, they investigate the Jewish values of separation and balance of power, freedom of speech and multiplicity of voices, majority rule, and limits on power. The final part of the class quickly surveys a retinue of other common values such as freedom and equality, as well as recognizes the major tensions between some Torah values and democracy.