Rabbi Hayim of Volozhin (This Week in Jewish History)

The Yeshiva of Volozhin via Wikimedia Commons
The Yeshiva of Volozhin via Wikimedia Commons

Founder of the famous Yeshiva of Volozhin, Rabbi Hayim ben Yitshad was one of the most influential proponents of traditional Talmudic study of the early 19th century.  The author of Nefesh haHayim, he articulated a cogent response to the growing Hasidic movement.

Nicholas Donin and the Disputation of 1240 (This Week in Jewish History)

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In 1240 Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, engaged in a public debate with his former teacher, Rabbi Yechiel of Paris. Donin charged that the Talmud was a noxious document that prevented the Jews from embracing Christianity, and brought a total of 35 distinct accusations against this ancient holy text. Ultimately, 24 carriage loads of Talmuds, representing 10,000 priceless manuscripts were burned in Paris on June 6, 1242.

Personal note to my subscribers: I was so impressed with the NCSY Learnathon that my son Alexander completed, that I decided to join on my own! Please visit http://learn.ncsy.org/learner/hmabramson/ to support this great organization that does so much for Jewish youth (and encourage me to study more Talmud)!

Jerusalem Day (This Week in Jewish History)

Jerusalem Day, 2004 via Wikimedia Commons
Jerusalem Day, 2004 via Wikimedia Commons

Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) celebrates the unification of Jerusalem in the context of the Six-Day War of June 1967.  This dramatic military achievement represented a victory that was both political and symbolic, giving Jews control over the the Old City and the Temple Mount after nearly 2000 years of exile.

Rabbi Moshe Isserles (The Rema) This Week in Jewish History

Rabbi Moshe Isserles via Wikimedia Commons
Rabbi Moshe Isserles via Wikimedia Commons

Rabbi Moshe Isserles was an exceptionally important Polish Jew of the 16th century.  His commentary on the Code of Jewish Law brought Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewry together to an unprecedented degree, and established the ascendancy of Polish Jewry over the older German community.

Jacob Rodrigues Pereira, Jewish Teacher of Deaf-Mute People (This Week in Jewish History)

Pereire with a student. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Pereire with a student. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Jacob Rodrigues Periera (1715-1780) was the inventor of dactylology, a method for teaching deaf-mutes to communicate. A crypto-Jew from Portugal, his first student was his sister. His methodology received phenomenal acclaim, he received honors from the King of France and was named to both the Royal Society of London. This video is part of This Week in Jewish History videos by Dr. Henry Abramson, available at http://www.jewishhistorylectures.org.

To view the Prezi used in this video, please click here.

Sarah Schenirer and the Revolution in Jewish Education for Women (This Week in Jewish History)

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Sarah Schenirer (1883-1935) founded the Bais Yaakov (Bet Ya’akov) school system for women. One of the most visionary educators of the twentieth century, her movement had global impact.

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

 

The Beilis Affair of 1911-1913 (This Week in Jewish History) by Dr. Henry Abramson

Mendel Beilis via Wikimedia Commons.
Mendel Beilis via Wikimedia Commons.

The discovery of the mutilated body of a young boy in Kiev led to the false arrest of a Jewish laborer named Mendel Beilis. Ignoring the argument of investigating officers, the Russian government under Tsar Nicholas II pressed ahead with the prosecution of Beilis, arguing that the boy was murdered as part of a Passover-related Jewish plot. After two years’ imprisonment, Beilis was freed by a Ukrainian Jewry that could not be persuaded to agree with the Russian prosecutor. Part of the This Week in Jewish History series by Dr. Henry Abramson.

“Purimfest 1946:” Julius Streicher and the Ten Sons of Haman (This Week in Jewish History)

Germans read Streicher's propaganda. Sign reads "With The Sturmer Against the Jews." Source: Bundesarchiv via Wikimedia Commons.
Germans read Streicher’s propaganda. Sign reads “With The Sturmer Against the Jews.” Source: Bundesarchiv via Wikimedia Commons.

In October of 1946, ten Nazi defendants were hung on gallows erected by the International Military Tribunal. One of the most notorious, the propagandist Julius Streicher, uttered the phrase “Purimfest 1946” moments before his death, unconsciously echoing a mysterious passage in the Biblical book of Esther itself. Fascinating footnote in Jewish History!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMhqEiu1p4s

The Incident at Inmestar (This Week in Jewish History)

Obliterating Haman's Name, early 18th century. Public domain: Jewish Encyclopedia via Wikimedia Commons
Obliterating Haman’s Name, early 18th century. Public domain: Jewish Encyclopedia via Wikimedia Commons

Murder on Purim? That’s the charge of Socrates Scholasticus, whose lone account of an alleged Purim celebration that got out of hand in the year 415 has become part of the historical record, for good or ill.  Although the validity of the accusation is highly questionable, the incident at Inmestar had a larger impact centuries later as the myth of ritual murder gained popularity in medieval Europe.

Dr. Bernard Lander and Touro College (This Week in Jewish History)

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Dr. Bernard Lander (1915-2010) was one of the most influential Jewish educators of the 20th and 21st century. Scholar and social activist, he founded Touro College in 1971, which now serves almost 19,000 students world wide. This short video was prepared to commemorate the recent anniversary of his passing.