Who Was King David?

“Sweet singer of Israel,” David was the poet-warrior King who led the Jewish people to political and cultural prominence. Denied his most cherished goal of building the Temple, he lived a life of great personal challenge and heroic resurgence from tragedy, and his biography left an indelible mark on the Jewish understanding of leadership.

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Who Was Joshua?

The Bible describes how the Jewish people, emerging from Egyptian servitude and decades of wandering in the Sinai desert, followed Joshua’s military leadership to conquer the Land of Israel and establish the ancient foundations of their Torah-centered society. This lecture will survey the archeological and historical record to understand the larger context of the Biblical […]

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The Origins of Modern Jewish Humor (Essential Lectures in Jewish History)

This is a more-or-less scholarly discussion of the origins of modern Jewish history in Enlightenment Europe. Warning: there are a few jokes in this video, but they only start around the 15 minute mark. The rest is more theoretical and historical. Part of the Essential Lectures in Jewish History series, more available at www.henryabramson.com. **************** […]

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Jewish History in the Sixteenth Century (Essential Lectures in Jewish History)

The Jewish people experienced dramatic changes in the sixteenth century that reverberate to this day. This lecture discusses three aspects of this century in particular: 1) the demographic upheavals associated with the expulsions from Spain and Portugal as well as the Ashkenazic migration, 2) the impact of the disruptive technology of printing, and 3) the […]

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Who Was Rabbi Shlomo Alkabets? Jewish Biography as History by Dr. Henry Abramson

Famed author of the Lecha Dodi hymn sung on the eve of the Jewish sabbath, Rabbi Alkabets was one of the founding members of the 16th-century school of Kabbalists based in Safed (Tsfat), Israel. Next week’s lecture: Gluckel of Hameln! Love Yiddish culture? Check out the new poster for the 2015 Kultur Festival in Boca […]

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Who Were the Soncinos? Jews and the Gutenberg Revolution(s)

Early adopters of the newest disruptive technology, the Soncino family were the first Jewish printers in 15th century Europe. This lecture discusses some aspects of the early decades of Jewish printing, and meditates on the meaning of the current digital revolution for Jewish culture and society. Planning to attend Limmud Miami this year? I would […]

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