What is a Synagogue? (3rd in a series). Also, The Premature Burial Crisis of 1772, and the Jewish Catacombs of Rome

What is a Synagogue? 3. A Place of Rejoicing (Dura Europos and YILC)

Thank G-d, the hostages in Colleyville, Texas, have been released to safety. Jews all over the world breathe a sigh of relief, and express gratitude to the law enforcement officers for their protection. After the attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh in 2018 and Poway in 2019, the need for Synagogue security is demonstrated once again. Many thanks to the guards at my Shul. These three videos on the topic of What is a Synagogue? are especially relevant at this moment. Four more are planned for coming weeks.

Moses Mendelssohn, Yaakov Emden, and the Assault on Jewish Funereal Custom

The Jewish Catacombs of Rome

Biblical Jewish History Students: New Draft Chapter now Online

Click here for course information and registration!

Who was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson?

Tomorrow is the tenth of Shvat, an important day of the calendar of Chabad Hasidim. On this day in 1950 the 6th Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, passed away; one year later his son-in-law Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson took over the leadership of Lubavitch Hasidim. His role at the helm of Chabad was truly transformational, not only for his immediate followers but also for the Jewish world as a whole.

Please join me at 12 noon tomorrow (New York time) for a retrospective look at the life and work of this remarkable Jewish leader.

Why were the Works of Maimonides burned in 1232?

Premiering today at 12pm ET

Moses Maimonides was one of the greatest scholars of medieval Jewish history, yet his works were hardly without controversy in his day. This video (48m) surveys his life and work, with emphasis on the subsequent controversies and their resolution.

The Jews of Hungary; Wooden Synagogue of Gwoździec; Aryeh at 29%!

Good morning fellow students of Jewish History!

The Jews of Hungary (A Very Quick Survey!)

Premieres at 3pm Today (ET)

The Remarkable Wooden Synagogue of Gwoździec, Poland

Please click here to participate!

Aryeh at 29%! Great Progress towards his Goal of Representing Team USA at the 2022 Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem!

Please click here to support Aryeh!

YILC Annual Dinner; What is a Synagogue? Birth of Modern Jewish Politics

My wife Ilana and I are proud to serve as the Guests of Honour (note the Canadian spelling, very considerate of them) at the time 41st Annual Dinner of the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, together with the Young Leadership Awardees Gila and Alan Goldberg.

We are enthusiastic participants in YILC, a wonderful community resource under the leadership of Rabbi Ya’akov Trump. Please click here or on the image below to participate!

https://www.yilc.org/form/dinner-2022

New Series: What is a Synagogue?


Birth of Modern Jewish Politics (Jewish History Lab)

Premiering at 12PM ET with Live Chat. Join us!

Aryeh is Making Progress!

Our teenage son Aryeh is 27% of the way to his goal! We are proud that he is training to represent Team USA at the 2022 Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem. Got to love the youthful energy in his promo video. Click here to participate!


Our son Aryeh is 27% of the way to reaching his goal! Click here to participate.

Online Courses Open to All

Click here for course information and registration

Please click here for course information and registration

The Premature Burial Controversy of 1772 and the Perilous Challenges of Modern Orthodoxy (Tonight at 9pm ET)

Proud to address the famous Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst Teshuvah Haburah (at first I thought they were all about repentance, but in reality it’s a group of highly intelligent people who gather to discuss Rabbinic Responsa, also good).

Please join in person tonight at 9pm ET or via zoom: bit.ly/YILCSHUT, passcode is yilctorah.


Premieres today at 2pm ET

Emancipation of the Jews in Western Europe, Aryeh competes for Team USA in Jerusalem! and Biblical Jewish History Course hits registration milestone

European Jews Achieve Citizenship

Good morning fellow students of Jewish history! Please join me at 11:30 am ET for a half-hour discussion of the emancipation of the Jews of Western Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.


Help Aryeh achieve his goal!

I’m very proud of our teenage son Aryeh, selected to participate in the 2022 Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem as part of Team USA, competing in Shotokan Karate. He’s raised almost a quarter of the funds he needs to make his goal. Please visit his fundraising page and help him out!


Biblical Jewish History Enrolls First 50 Students

Very proud that this week marked the registration of the 54th student in the new, experimental Biblical Jewish History course! I am especially grateful to the many students who have made comments on the draft chapters of my forthcoming book, The Jewish People: A History, which serves as the online textbook for this video-heavy course. Thinking of joining us? Click on the image below for more information and registration instructions!

Click here for course information and registration!

Teenage Son Aryeh to Represent Team USA at the 2022 Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem!

Hello fellow students of Jewish history! Here’s something historic, at least in terms of the Abramson family: our teenage son Aryeh has been selected to represent Team USA at the 2022 Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem! His sport is Shotokan Karate.

It’s a kind of a family tradition now: his older sister Aliza competed four years ago and brought home four silver medals in the same sport!

Here’s Aryeh’s promo video:

Please consider sponsoring him! Please click here.

Rabbis Who, If they had the Temerity to Show up in Our Shuls today…(Lecturing in Monsey this Shabbos)

Very honored to serve as a Scholar-In-Residence this Shabbos, parshas Vayehi, at Bais Medrash Ohr Chaim in Monsey, New York. Please view the video for the planned public talks (which will not be recorded, of course).

Friday Night, December 17, 8pm

Rabbis Who, If they had the Temerity to Show up in Our Shuls today…

Shabbos Morning Drasha, December 18

The Aish Kodesh on How to Be Gen-Z (useful for Boomers too)


Profile in Mishpacha Magazine

This week’s Mishpacha Magazine has a kind profile written by Mrs. Barbara Bensoussan. We had a long conversation and I probably overshared stuff, but here’s a link to the online version if you’re curious.


Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the First Jew of Modernity

Congregation Talmud Torah of Flatbush, 1305 Coney Island Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY. 8:15 pm. Please join us!


Click here for course information and registration.
Click here for course information and registration.

Hasidism is born, The Misnagdim Strike Back! and Haskalah Enters the Debate.

Good morning fellow students of Jewish history: please join me for this week’s series of video premieres (with live chat), live in-person and zoom classes. We’ll be looking at the 18th century with some forays into Jewish art history and the controversy that led the Jews of France to torch Maimonides’ works in 1232. Here’s the planned schedule:

Sunday:

The Birth of Hasidism

Premieres Sunday 11am ET with live chat

Monday:

The Misnagdim Strike Back!

Premieres Monday 3pm ET with Live Chat

Burning Maimonides (Live Zoom)

Roundel with Allegorical Scene of Book Burning, ca. 1520-30, at the Met Cloisters. Rhododendrites via Wikimedia Commons

First in a series of three lectures looking at major Jewish leaders who endured intense controversy in their lifetimes (the next two are Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto and the Lubavitcher Rebbe). Sponsored by the Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills, California. 7:30 PM Pacific (10:30 ET), Zoom link is private, available to Beth Jacob congregants and members of my YouTube channel at the Colleague level (see weekly announcements on the Community tab).

Tuesday:

The Haskalah Enters the Debate

Premieres Tuesday 3pm ET with Live Chat

Wednesday:

The Birth of Modern Jewish Politics

Napoléon le grand rétablit le culte des Israélites le 30 mai 1806. Via Wikimedia Commons

Continuation of the Jewish History Lab series, hybrid in-person and Zoom class at Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, 7:30 pm ET. Zoom link is private, available to Beth Jacob congregants and members of my YouTube channel at the Colleague level (see weekly announcements on the Community tab).

Thursday:

The Mosaics of 6th century Bet Alfa Synagogue

Betty Nudler from Jerusalem, Israel, via Wikimedia Commons

YouTube video with live chat, Thursday at 3pm ET (check here for link later this week).

Saturday Night (December 18):

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto: The First Jew of Modernity

Live lecture at Congregation Talmud Torah of Flatbush, 1305 Coney Island Boulevard, Brooklyn New York, at 8:15 pm ET. This lecture will not be broadcast.


Online Course News

Biblical Jewish History

Thank you to all who have supplied comments and edits to the draft chapters on Ancient Israel! Please check in to read the new material.

Open to all! Please click here for more information and registration.

A Thousand Years of Ashkenaz

Students in Hungary: in light of the current surge of Omicron, we have moved the January meetings in Budapest to late March.

Open to all! Please click here for course information and registration.