David Reubeni: Politics and the Messiah

Signature of Solomon Molcho, Disciple of David Reubeni. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Signature of Solomon Molcho, Disciple of David Reubeni. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

David Reubeni was one of the most colorful messianic figures of Jewish history.  A little person with a shady background, he was received with dignity by Popes and Kings in the fifteenth century, regaling them with tales of the Jews of the east and promising them great military victories should they enlist his service. He gathered Jewish followers around Europe, eventually attracting the unwanted attention of the Inquisition. Part of the Jewish Biography as History lecture series by Dr. Henry Abramson.

Nahmanides: Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman

Nahmanides_-_Wall_painting_in_Acre,_Israel

Nahmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, or Ramban) was one of the most important thinkers of Jewish history. Brilliantly creative and intellectually courageous, his commentary on the Torah is widely studied eight centuries after his passing. Part of the Jewish Biography as History series by Dr. Henry Abramson.

Henrietta Szold: Founder of Hadassah

256px-Henrietta_Szold

American-born Henrietta Szold was an extremely influential Zionist leader and organizer, founder of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.

To view the Prezi associated with this video, click here.

Nicholas Donin: The Dimensions of Medieval Jewish Self-Hatred

12th c. Depiction of Hell by Herrad of Landsberg. Note demons throwing Jews (with conical hats) into boiling vats, lower left. Via Wikimedia Commons.
12th c. Depiction of Hell by Herrad of Landsberg. Note demons throwing Jews (with conical hats) into boiling vats, lower left. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Nicholas Donin was an erstwhile Talmudic scholar who converted to Christianity and made a career of denouncing the Talmud. His charges, brought before the Pope, resulted in a massive destruction of priceless Jewish manuscripts in Paris, 1242. Part of the Jewish Biography as History lecture series by Dr. Henry Abramson.

Rabenu Gershom: Me’or Ha-Golah Jewish Biography as History

Jews in Synagogue, 15th c. Mantua, Italy.  (Codex Rossianus 555, fol. 12v) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Jews in Synagogue, 15th c. Mantua, Italy. (Codex Rossianus 555, fol. 12v) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Rabenu Gershom, Me’or Ha-Golah (Our Teacher Gershom, Light of the Exile) was one of the most influential Jewish legislators of the High Middle Ages, affecting a wide variety of Jewish practices including monogamy, divorce law, and the right to privacy. Part of the Jewish Biography as History lecture series by Dr. Henry Abramson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18xcvrQ5OAs

Yocheved bat Rashi (Jewish Biography as History)

14th century illuminated manuscript. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
14th century illuminated manuscript, Italy. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Yocheved  was the daughter of one of Judaism’s greatest scholars: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, better known as Rashi.  A fascinating woman in her own right, this lecture will survey some of the references to Yocheved (and her illustrious sisters) and what light this sheds on the history of medieval Jewish women.

The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry (History of the Jewish People I)

Sephardic Migrations. By Universal Life (http://michel.azaria.free.fr/History.htm) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Sephardic Migrations. By Universal Life (http://michel.azaria.free.fr/History.htm) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
To view the Prezi associated with this lecture, please click here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OnArXdHQdc

 

L.L. Zamenhof and Esperanto (This Week in Jewish History)

L.L. Zamenhof (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
L.L. Zamenhof (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

L.L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) was a Polish Jew who invented the world’s most successful artificial language, Esperanto.  Conceived as a vehicle for world peace, Esperanto is even regarded by the Oomoto religion of Japan as the “language of heaven.”

Origins of Polish Jewry (This Week in Jewish History)

Jan Matejko (1838-1893), "Reception of the Jews in Poland in 1096,"
Jan Matejko (1838-1893), “Reception of the Jews in Poland in 1096,”

This week marks the death anniversary of King Boleslaw V (The Chaste) in 1279.  Boleslaw followed the tradition of his predecessors in Poland by creating incentives for Jewish settlement in Poland, including the establishment of Magdeburg Recht.  Ultimately, these policies proved extremely attractive to Ashkenazi Jews from the Rhineland, making Poland a great center of Jewish civilization by the early modern period.