Certainly one of the greatest Rabbis of the entire Talmud, Akiva son of Joseph did not begin his study of Judaism before adulthood. His trajectory of incredible spiritual growth was punctuated by moments of great personal tragedy, and his martyrdom at the hands of the Romans after the failed second-century Bar-Kochba revolt has an enduring legacy in Jewish history.
One of the greatest builders of ancient Israel, King Herod exploited his power as a Roman-sponsored ruler to develop the Temple, yet earned a reputation as a feared tyrant responsible for horrific massacres. HIs rule set the tone for the political climate in the Land of Israel during the tumultuous decades prior to the growth of Christianity.
Born in the times of the Hasmonean rebellion celebrated with the holiday of Chanukah, Yohanan Cohen Gadol was one of the most prominent Jewish leaders during the brief period of Jewish freedom in the 2nd century BCE. Caught in the swirling controversy of internal religious debate, in his old age he abandoned his Pharisaic roots orientation to join the Sadducean movement, prompting the Rabbis to issue the adage, “do not trust in yourself till the end of your life.”
“Sweet singer of Israel,” David was the poet-warrior King who led the Jewish people to political and cultural prominence. Denied his most cherished goal of building the Temple, he lived a life of great personal challenge and heroic resurgence from tragedy, and his biography left an indelible mark on the Jewish understanding of leadership.
The Bible describes how the Jewish people, emerging from Egyptian servitude and decades of wandering in the Sinai desert, followed Joshua’s military leadership to conquer the Land of Israel and establish the ancient foundations of their Torah-centered society. This lecture will survey the archeological and historical record to understand the larger context of the Biblical account. Part II of Israel: The Land and its People.
The Bible describes how the Jewish people, emerging from Egyptian servitude and decades of wandering in the Sinai desert, followed Joshua’s military leadership to conquer the Land of Israel and establish the ancient foundations of their Torah-centered society. This lecture will survey the archeological and historical record to understand the larger context of the Biblical account.
Part II of the lecture series “ISRAEL: The Land and its People” offered during the Spring 2017 semester at the mighty Avenue J campus of Touro College. Free and open to the community. Sponsorships are available at bit.ly/thefriendsofjewishhistory.
Mystic and early Zionist, Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook’s challenging and eclectic philosophy has inspired generations of Jews since his passing in 1935. Often misunderstood, Rav Kook’s role as one of the principal Rabbinic figures of the era was foundational for establishing a religious ideology for the the modern, secular and democratic state of Israel.
Titled “poet of shame and guilt” by a recent biographer, Franz Kafka’s early twentieth-century writings have challenged generations of readers worldwide. Inspired in part by his early infatuation with his Jewish background, his haunting and opaque tales continued to be studied as statements of the modern condition.