Mussar in Jewish History: Crisis and Resurgence?

Is it possible that the classic works of the Jewish ethical tradition are literary reactions to personal crises? Can we approach the great works of Maimonides, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto and others as strong responses to devastating reversals in their personal lives?

Please join me at 12pm (ET, New York Time) for a live chat on this thesis.

Wishing you all a גמר וחתימה טובה, a successful conclusion to the High Holy Days, and all blessings for 5782 and beyond.


Jews in the Byzantine Empire, Elul in Jewish History

Good morning fellow students of Jewish History!

  1. In a few hours we’ll premiere a video on a topic that receives very little attention in Jewish history: the experience of Jews in the Byzantine Empire. Just a brief video for now (12m), but I hope to expand it in the print version. Join me for a live chat today!
Premiering with live chat at 12 noon ET (New York time)

2. I’m pleased that so many people enjoyed my personal recommendations for Elul reading (video below). I plan to expand on this discussion in a Iive class hosted by Beth Jacob congregation. YouTube channel members (Colleagues) are invited to a live lecture on Wednesday night at 7:30 PT (10:30 New York time), details in the channel announcements.

3. Since many of my students at Touro College are signed up for regular updates, I’d like to remind them of our new vaccine mandate protocols. Here’s a quick video with information on what’s involved.

Have an excellent week!


Ethical Literature (Mussar) in Jewish History: A Personal Reading List

Premieres today at 12pm ET (New York Time)

Good morning fellow students of Jewish history!

Today is the Rosh Hodesh Elul, the beginning of the month of Elul, initiating the annual season of introspection leading up to the High Holidays. I’ve prepared this brief video that surveys some of the most important works of the literary tradition that make up the loosely-organized Mussar Canon. It’s a personal rather than exhaustive list, but I hope you find it useful.

Wishing you all a good Hodesh and a successful period of self-development!