Sa’adia Gaon: Jews and Jewish Philosophy in the Islamic Context

Sa’adia Gaon was an important Jewish philosopher and communal leader of the 9th and 10th centuries, famous in particular for his massive Book of Beliefs and Opinions. A child prodigy to rose to the highest ranks of Jewish scholarship, his thought left an indelible imprint on the Jewish spiritual tradition. [youtube=]

New Teaching Technologies! A Workshop for Teachers in Jewish Schools

Wondering how to harness the power of the Internet for effective teaching? Confused and maybe alarmed by all the talk about using social media as a pedagogic tool? Sign up for these three workshops for teachers by visiting! A project of Touro College South and The Shul. [youtube=]

The Martyrs of Mumbai (This Week in Jewish History)

Pakistani terrorists attacked the Chabad House in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, 29th of Heshvan, 5769 (26 November 2008).  Part of a concerted attack that killed 179 and wounded hundreds, they murdered the young Chabad emissaries running the house, Rabbi Gavriel and Mrs. Rivky Holtzberg. Their infant son, who turned two the day after his parentsContinue reading “The Martyrs of Mumbai (This Week in Jewish History)”

Rav Sherira Gaon: The Jews of Babylon (Next Week: Sa’adia Gaon)

Who, exactly, wrote down the foundational texts of the Oral Torah? Who is responsible for the compiling of the Talmud? These were some of the questions addressed to Sherira Gaon, the Rosh Yeshiva of the great city of Pumbedita in Babylon in 987 by a young Rabbi in Tunisia. His famous response, preserved for overContinue reading “Rav Sherira Gaon: The Jews of Babylon (Next Week: Sa’adia Gaon)”

Hannah Szenes: Poet-Martyr of the Resistance (This Week In Jewish History)

  Hannah Szenes was a young Hungarian Jewish woman who joined the resistance in 1943, parachuting into Nazi-occupied territories with British support. She was captured and tortured, but did not divulge secret information on her colleagues. Her poetry, including the classic “Blessed is the Match,” survive and add to her legacy. [youtube=]

Paul of Tarsus: The Origins of Christianity in Jewish Context

Credited with the popularization of Christianity, Saul (later Paul) of Tarsus was influential in mediating Jewish ideas to an increasingly Gentile audience. Combining appealing concepts such as life after death and a personal Deity with a relaxed approach to the requirements of Rabbinic Judaism, the former Pharisee succeeded in spreading Christianity well beyond its narrowContinue reading “Paul of Tarsus: The Origins of Christianity in Jewish Context”

Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky (This Week in Jewish History)

Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940) was one of the most influential political thinkers in the first half of the twentieth century, founder of the Revisionist movement. [youtube=]

The Mishnah: Creating a Portable Judaism HIS 155 Lecture 1.5

Compiled by Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi in an exceptionally difficult time for the Jewish people, the Mishnah created the possibility of creating a “portable Judaism.” After the destruction of the Temple in 70 and the dramatic escalation of the diaspora, the Mishnah allowed Jews to define their religion within an intellectual and textual context, outside ofContinue reading “The Mishnah: Creating a Portable Judaism HIS 155 Lecture 1.5”

Philo Judaeus of Alexandria: Jews in the Greek World

Virtually ignored by Jewish philosophers, Philo of Alexandria represented the high point of synthesis between Greek and Jewish thought in the ancient world, and had a huge influence on early Christian thinkers. A prominent representative of the Egyptian Jewish community to the Roman Emperor, and well-respected in his day by his coreligionists, he nevertheless hadContinue reading “Philo Judaeus of Alexandria: Jews in the Greek World”