Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon: Maimonides

Maimonides teaching, 14th c. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Maimonides teaching, 14th c. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135-1204) was a towering figure in medieval Jewish history, and continues to cast a long shadow into the Jewish present.  Nevertheless, the work of the philosopher-physician endured significant controversy, including an especially sad episode in which Jews actually consigned his works to the flames.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ESbeIgl-l_s]

HIS 155 1.6 Jewish Communal Structure: The Kehillah

Jews of Cochin. Source: Jewish Encyclopedia via Wikimedia Commons.
Jews of Cochin. Source: Jewish Encyclopedia via Wikimedia Commons.

To view the Prezi associated with this lecture, please click here.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ghyCKml8I00]

Jacob Frank and the Burning of the Talmud (This Week in Jewish History)

Jacob Frank. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Jacob Frank. Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the more colorful false messiahs in Jewish history, Jacob Frank made a career of conversion–first to Islam, then to Christianity, all the while leading a neo-Sabbatean movement that emphasized antinomian “purification through transgression.” His appeal to the Church in 1757 resulted in a modern-day disputation over the Talmud, and ultimately the burning of tens of thousands of precious volumes.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/lUExCX_yXIY]

The Jews of Khazaria

Khazaria and client states. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Khazaria and client states. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In one of the most bizarre episodes in Jewish history, the Central Asian kingdom of Khazaria converted to Judaism in the eighth century.  Multiple sources confirm the conversion, yet the entire story remains a mystery. What was the nature of their Judaism? More importantly, what happened to them?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWXCLQ3DBqw&feature=youtu.be]

Sa’adia Gaon: Jews and Jewish Philosophy in the Islamic Context

Yemenite Jew (National Geographic 1914) Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Yemenite Jew (National Geographic 1914) Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Sa’adia Gaon was an important Jewish philosopher and communal leader of the 9th and 10th centuries, famous in particular for his massive Book of Beliefs and Opinions. A child prodigy to rose to the highest ranks of Jewish scholarship, his thought left an indelible imprint on the Jewish spiritual tradition.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/tO6xFspygO8]

New Teaching Technologies! A Workshop for Teachers in Jewish Schools

Future Astronaut by Dennis Hamilton. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Future Astronaut by Dennis Hamilton. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Wondering how to harness the power of the Internet for effective teaching? Confused and maybe alarmed by all the talk about using social media as a pedagogic tool? Sign up for these three workshops for teachers by visiting www.miamijewisheducators.org! A project of Touro College South and The Shul.

Eventbrite - New Teaching Technologies for Teachers in Jewish Schools

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75bGXjxeErM]

The Martyrs of Mumbai (This Week in Jewish History)

NYT2008112822242898C

Pakistani terrorists attacked the Chabad House in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, 29th of Heshvan, 5769 (26 November 2008).  Part of a concerted attack that killed 179 and wounded hundreds, they murdered the young Chabad emissaries running the house, Rabbi Gavriel and Mrs. Rivky Holtzberg. Their infant son, who turned two the day after his parents were brutally killed, was heroically rescued by his Indian caregiver.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2LcQh1Sxr4]

Rav Sherira Gaon: The Jews of Babylon (Next Week: Sa’adia Gaon)

Ephraim Moses Lilian, The Talmud Students (1915). Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Ephraim Moses Lilian, The Talmud Students (1915). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Who, exactly, wrote down the foundational texts of the Oral Torah? Who is responsible for the compiling of the Talmud? These were some of the questions addressed to Sherira Gaon, the Rosh Yeshiva of the great city of Pumbedita in Babylon in 987 by a young Rabbi in Tunisia. His famous response, preserved for over a thousand years, is an impressive survey of the Jewish intellectual tradition, leading up to the establishment of the greatest Talmudic centers in Jewish history.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6TYR9fzmr4]

Please click here to view the Prezi.

Hannah Szenes: Poet-Martyr of the Resistance (This Week In Jewish History)

Hannah Szenes on her arrival in Israel (1939).  Source: Wikimedia Commons
Hannah Szenes on her arrival in Israel (1939). Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Hannah Szenes was a young Hungarian Jewish woman who joined the resistance in 1943, parachuting into Nazi-occupied territories with British support. She was captured and tortured, but did not divulge secret information on her colleagues. Her poetry, including the classic “Blessed is the Match,” survive and add to her legacy.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/RK2eYCHZFCY]