“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.Read More Who Was King David?
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 […]Read More Who Was Joshua?
Rabbi Chaim Vital (1542-1620) was the principal disciple of the great Kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Arizal). Three days after the death of his master, Rabbi Vital received a vision in a dream that consumed his scholarly life for decades: preserving the mystical heritage of the great Safed tradition. Please click here for the Prezi.Read More Who Was Rabbi Chaim Vital?
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 […]Read More Jewish History in the Sixteenth Century (Essential Lectures in Jewish History)
Claiming descent from the long-lost Ten Tribes of Israel, Eldad was a ninth-century traveler with a fantastic story: beyond the “River Kush” lay an intact civilization of Jews who enjoyed political sovereignty, in preparation for their eventual return to the Land of Israel in messianic times. Surviving shipwreck, cannibals and attack from fire-worshipping pagans, Eldad’s […]Read More Who was Eldad ha-Dani? Jewish Biography as History by Dr. Henry Abramson
Emerging from a cave after twelve years of isolated Torah study, Rabbi Shimon Yohai went on to become one of ancient Israel’s most celebrated Kabbalists and leaders of the Jewish people. Dr. Abramson in Print (and eBooks!)Read More Who Was Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai? Jewish Biography as History Dr. Henry Abramson
“Akiva, grass will grow from your cheeks,” said the talmudic Rabbi Yochanan ben Torta, “and still the messiah will not have come.” A stinging rebuke for the most prominent supporter of Bar Kochba’s would-be messianic leadership of the Jewish people in his 2nd-century rebellion against the Roman oppressors. Who was Bar Kochba, and what did his […]Read More Who Was Bar Kochba? Jewish Biography as History Lecture by Dr. Henry Abramson
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 […]Read More Who was Salome? Jewish Biography as History lecture by Dr. Henry Abramson
New for the Season of Repentance: a translation and modern commentary on Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s classic of Jewish ethics, the Date Palm of Devorah (Tomer Devorah). Learn the Thirteen Levels of Mercy and discover how to forgive others (and yourself). Please visit www.jewishhistorylectures.org and click on “The Kabbalah of Forgiveness” for excerpts and videos. Publication date: […]Read More The Kabbalah of Forgiveness Coming in Time for Rosh Hashanah
Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) celebrates the unification of Jerusalem in the context of the Six-Day War of June 1967. This dramatic military achievement represented a victory that was both political and symbolic, giving Jews control over the the Old City and the Temple Mount after nearly 2000 years of exile.Read More Jerusalem Day (This Week in Jewish History)