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Investigating Gender, Sexuality and Society


What does it mean to be a man? A woman? Genderqueer? How much control do we have over our gender and sexual identities and how much is controlled by biology, society or other factors?  This course will delve into questions of gender and sexual identity, studying cutting edge theories in concert with art, literature, religious texts and personal narratives in a safe, supportive and open environment.

Key Questions

· What is gender? How is it different from sex and sexual identity?

· What is at the core of our gender identity?

· What role does society play in our understanding of our gender and sexual identities?

· What role do factors like biology and personal choice play?

You Will

· Critically investigate movies, television, advertisements, and other forms of media that create cultural norms

· Explore Jewish texts (from the Torah to current day Jewish scholars) that look at Jewish views of gender roles and sexuality

· Visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and look at gender expression through centuries of art

· Explore our own identities through storytelling and dramatic improvisation

· Go into Boston and observe the role of gender identity in everyday life

· Meet with Idit Klein, Executive Director of Keshet, the national organization for GLBTQ inclusion in the Jewish world

· Examine laws in the Unites States and other countries related to the criminalization of homosexuality and LGBT rights

Meet the Instructor

Gina Fried has been a theatre director, a yeshiva student, an Equity stage manager, a legal secretary, a Hebrew school instructor, an English teacher, and a French teacher. She is currently a mother, a high school English teacher, a Rebbitzen, a Hebrew school teacher, an anti-bias activist, and a meditator. Gina spent seven years teaching at Boston’s Gann Academy, where she worked with students to form the country’s first GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) in a Jewish day school. She holds a BA in Theatre from Hebrew University and an MA in Comparative Literature from Brandeis University. She speaks (in order of fluency) Hebrew, French, and Spanish, and she has many Jewish homes: She was raised in the Conservative movement, lived in Israel as an Orthodox Jew for almost ten years, taught in the Reform movement, and is currently a proud Reconstructionist Rebbitzen. This year Gina returns to the Genesis faculty after teaching for the program in its inaugural year in 1997.