JEWISH HISTORY @ AVENUE J
A Community Project of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences
Monday Evenings, 7-8 pm, 1602 Avenue J, Brooklyn NY 11230
Beginning October 19, 2015
Open to the Community
All Lectures are Free of Charge
Imagine that, while browsing in the library, you come across one book unlike the rest, which catches your eye because on its spine is written the name of your family. Intrigued, you open it and see many pages written by different hands in many languages. You start reading it, and gradually you begin to understand what it is. It is the story each generation of your ancestors has told for the sake of the next, so that everyone born into this family can learn where they came from, what happened to them, what they lived for and why. As you turn the pages, you reach the last, which carries no entry but a heading. It bears your name.
Jonathan Sacks, A Letter in the Scroll
- that the study of Jewish history adds value and meaning to human existence for both Jews and non-Jews
- that academic Jewish history lectures need not sacrifice content to be entertaining
- that access to high-quality information on Jewish history should be free
- that shared intellectual curiosity about Jewish history is a healthy way to build a community
- that the study of Jewish history is one of many paths that lead to the study of Torah, and that Torah study is enriched by a fuller understanding of Jewish history
At this time of year it’s impossible to escape the ubiquitous holiday music that assults us whenever we turn on the radio or walk through a shopping mall. Few listeners are aware, however, that the syrupy, commercialized versions of holiday cheer have their origins in the musical genius of a Jewish immigrant from Siberia, the phenomenal Irving Berlin. Whatever we may think of the 21st century interpretations of his work, it is undeniable that Berlin had the amazing ability to express the core values of American culture in a way that transcended religious ideology.
Here’s some additional useful comments from Dr. Carl Singer:
Briefly but notoriously mentioned in both Josephus and the Gospels, Salome was the granddaughter of King Herod who is best known for a salacious performance that resulted in the execution of John the Baptist. Who was Salome, and does her bit part play a significant role in the representation of Jews and Judaism in medieval Christian thought? Part of the Jewish Biography as History series by Dr. Henry Abramson at http://www.jewishhistorylectures.org.
Books by Henry Abramson
Murder on Purim? That’s the charge of Socrates Scholasticus, whose lone account of an alleged Purim celebration that got out of hand in the year 415 has become part of the historical record, for good or ill. Although the validity of the accusation is highly questionable, the incident at Inmestar had a larger impact centuries later as the myth of ritual murder gained popularity in medieval Europe.
Dr. Bernard Lander (1915-2010) was one of the most influential Jewish educators of the 20th and 21st century. Scholar and social activist, he founded Touro College in 1971, which now serves almost 19,000 students world wide. This short video was prepared to commemorate the recent anniversary of his passing.
David Reubeni was one of the most colorful messianic figures of Jewish history. A little person with a shady background, he was received with dignity by Popes and Kings in the fifteenth century, regaling them with tales of the Jews of the east and promising them great military victories should they enlist his service. He gathered Jewish followers around Europe, eventually attracting the unwanted attention of the Inquisition. Part of the Jewish Biography as History lecture series by Dr. Henry Abramson.
Pope Gregory I (“the Great”) was one of the most influential Church leaders of the medieval period. His policy on the treatment of Jews in Christian Europe, known by the Latin phrase “Sicut Judaeis,” instituted an official if ambivalent position that lasted from the sixth century to the beginnings of the modern era.