This year, classes were held on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These holidays are the High Holy Days of Judaism. Yet Stanford decided that classes would be held, and professors would be free to create assignments with no regard for students observing these days.
Leonas Lancelot Burlingame started teaching at Stanford in 1909. His favorite class, which he taught up until his retirement in 1940, was on heredity and social welfare, in which he taught Stanford students on the importance of eugenics, the science of human improvement through restrictions on reproduction.
A week ago in Halle, Germany, a gunman killed two people outside of a synagogue after attempting and failing to gain access to the building, where the congregation inside was just beginning Yom Kippur services. I had left Germany 24 hours before this shooting.
For most of my life, I’ve felt empowered by rap music. Growing up just outside of Detroit, I was motivated by Michigan rappers like Eminem, Big Sean, and NF, all hard-hitting lyricists. I idolized these people, aspiring to their work ethic. But after one last stretch, I’ve come to seriously doubt what they’re saying.
For me, though, this start of the new quarter represents the dawn of year six, and brings to my mind the 1993 film Groundhog Day.
Each of these bills had the potential to provide some benefit to society – some corrected historical wrongs while others aimed to improve government functioning or enhance the lifestyle of certain subgroups. But are they important enough, impactful enough to make the 115th Congress’ top 400 enacted laws? Would you want your representative or party spending their political capital to pass them?
This past Rosh Hashanah, I learned about a concept that seems to have been lost in our postmodernist understandings of religion, and the Abrahamic God of the Bible in particular: God judges.
As such, the classical technical education focuses on teaching techniques that can be used to study the world, without digging into not only how they manifest in real life (a common complaint), but why we should care to study the world in the first place. While a liberal arts education professes to equip students with an appreciation of the humanistic world around them, there is little focus on building an appreciation (not just an “understanding”, whatever that may mean!) of the physical one. So why should we, college educated youth by and large with the privilege and energy to be curious, be curious?