Jewish Explorations of Sexuality

Jewish Explorations of Sexuality

Jewish Explorations of Sexuality

Jewish Explorations of Sexuality

Synopsis

Every religious community has been affected by the "sexual revolution". The conflict between contemporary attitudes and traditional practices has led to major divisions and controversies, particularly when focused on issues such as homosexuality. This is the first attempt to take abroad look at both the Jewish pioneers of modern sexual thought and the impact of the revolution on our understanding of past Jewish practices and culture. For the first time the writings of leading scholars in the field from the United States and the United Kingdom have been brought together to explore these topics, and the book is essential reading for those academically or professionally engaged in areas ranging from counseling and pastoral work, to religious and social studies.

Excerpt

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Magonet

This book is based on a series of lectures held at the Leo Baeck College in the autumn of 1993. The model for the series was a regular summer lecture programme at the College under the general title 'Judaism and Psychotherapy'. This had been conceived as a kind of dialogue opportunity for Jews engaged in classical Rabbinic studies and those who worked in the areas of psychotherapy and counselling. For over twenty years the College had pioneered a course in Pastoral Care and Counselling Skills for its Rabbinic students that spanned the whole of their five-year study programme to Ordination. Some graduates had gone on to obtain qualifications as psychotherapists and were either practising in this field or utilising their skills and insights in the counselling area of their congregational work.

From the same group that started the Pastoral Care and Counselling Skills programme had emerged the Raphael Centre, a Jewish counselling service. However in its early days, whenever Raphael advertised for clients, it tended instead to receive applications from psychotherapists, who 'just happened' to be Jewish, who wished to offer a voluntary session to the Centre. Many had felt quite remote from their Jewish roots for much of their lives, had made a contribution to the 'non-Jewish world' through their professional work, but now felt the need to offer some kind of 'service' to the Jewish community, as a possible first step towards re-entering a relationship with it. In some cases it was a kind of late-in-life spiritual quest that could hardly even be expressed. It soon became evident that there was an audience for a dialogue with Judaism, provided that the 'official' Jewish partners respected the skills and breadth of knowledge brought by the therapists and were open to a mutual learning experience. In such a context it became possible to present materials . . .

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