The Jewish (Re)Discovery of Chanukah

Strange but true: Jewish sources largely ignored the history of Chanukah until the 10th century! Here’s a quick review of the major works, and how they affected the Jewish memory of this remarkable period in Jewish history.

Here’s a few Sefaria links to texts mentioned in the video:

Relevant section of Talmud, Tractate Shabbat

Megilat Ta’anit

Megilat Antiochus

Josephus, Antiquities 12

First Book of the Maccabees


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History and Practice of Eating Donuts on Chanukah: A Book Review

Review of Reuven Melekh ben Binyamin Yitzhak Schwartz, Emek Ha-Sufganim: Iyunim u-beiurim be-inyan minhag akhilat sufganim be-yemei hanukah Israel: Sh. Vaynraikh, Hanukah 5780 (2019), 431 pages.

For a copy, please contact your local Jewish bookseller or the phone numbers listed on the copyright page: (718) 253-2804; (516) 581-3597; (718) 501-3165.

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Elazar Maccabee and the Battle of Bet Zekharya; The Shtadlan in Jewish History

A brief look at the depiction of the heroism of Elazar Maccabee in medieval art, with emphasis on how artists struggled to represent a war elephant.

The Misnagdim Strike Back!

Part II of the series on Hasidim, Mitnagdim and Maskilim: The Formation of Jewish Identity. Open to the Community at Beit Midrash of Teaneck, 70 Sterling Place, Teaneck NJ. Tuesday, November 30 at 11:45 am. Please write for Zoom links.

Click here to read the article at Jewish Action

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The Origins of American Jewry

Something appropriate for Thanksgiving: an account of the migration of Jews to the Americas in the 17th century, culminating in the 23 bedraggled refugees from the Portuguese inquisition who sailed into New Amsterdam harbor to form the nucleus of the mighty New York Jewish community.

For recommended readings related to this video, please click here.

Enjoy in good health!

New Online Course!

Biblical Jewish History: From Abraham to Bar Kochba. Please click here for course information and registration. Join us!

A Thousand Years of Ashkenaz: An online course. Please click here for course information and registration. You are welcome to join our learning community!

Hasidim, Mitnagdim and Maskilim: The Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity

Three live lectures at Beit Medrash of Teaneck, 70 Sterling Avenue, Teaneck NJ 07666.

Tuesdays November 23, November 30, and December 7. 11:45 AM ET.

Please write for Zoom information.

Shabbetai Tsvi, False Messiah (Jewish History Lab)

A brief look at the life and times of one of the most notorious false messiahs of Jewish history: Shabbetai Tsvi, who led a major Jewish movement in the 17th century. After confronting the Ottoman authorities with his demands to take Jerusalem from them, he ultimately chose to convert to Islam, taking hundreds of his followers with him. Please join me at 12 noon today for a premiere of this video, with a live chat!

Recommended Reading:

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A Thousand Years of Ashkenaz

New Course! Biblical Jewish History

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Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Wisdom (Torah and Science Conference Dec 8-11)

The Torah and Science Conference will be virtual this year, please visit for details. I’m looking forward to speaking on “Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Wisdom: Postmodernism and the Digital Age,” Thursday December 9 at 1:45 pm ET.

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