Betty Friedan: Jews and American Feminism

A presentation on the life and work of Betty Friedan, a prominent American Jewish feminist leader. The author of the landmark The Feminine Mystique (1963), she later became the Founder of the National Organization of Women, and an important political activist for women’s rights.  The lecture was held at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour on May 29, […]

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Excerpt from The Kabbalah of Forgiveness Now Online

  An excerpt from The Kabbalah of Forgiveness: A Reader’s Guide to Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s The Palm Tree of Devorah, a new translation and commentary on the 16th-century classic of Kabbalistic musar, is now available online.  Anticipated publication date is August 2013.  The Palm Tree of Devorah first appeared in 1588 and became and instant classic. […]

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Stephen Samuel Wise and the Jews of America

A presentation on the life and work of Stephen Samuel Wise (1874-1949), an important American communal leader. The lecture will take a broader focus, looking at the history of Jewish settlement in the United States during the 19th century and the major issues facing this immigrant community through the middle of the twentieth century.  The […]

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Mitnagdim, Hasidim, Maskilim: The Cultural Geography of Jewish Eastern Europe

This lecture presents a broad overview of the three main intellectual-religious trends present in 19th century Jewish Eastern Europe: the traditionalist Mitnagdim, the innovative Hasidim, and the modernizing Maskilim. Good as an overall introduction, although I go into more detail on all of these movements in other lectures on this website.  Taped on April 21, […]

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Golda Meir and the Foundations of Israel

A presentation of the life of Golda Meir (1898-1978), spanning her immigration to Israel in 1921 through the end of her term as the fourth Prime Minister of Israel in 1974. The lecture will discuss the foundations of the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community, and touch on the major social and military conflicts that Israel […]

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Emanuel Ringelblum: Heroic Scholar of the Warsaw Ghetto

An examination of the life and work of Emanuel Ringelblum (1900-1944), the heroic Polish scholar who organized the underground Oneg Shabbat society in the Warsaw Ghetto. Ringelblum recognized the extreme and unprecedented nature of the Nazi onslaught early in the war, and brought together a group of highly dedicated volunteers who recorded every aspect of […]

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Solomon Mikhoels: Jews and Jewish Art in the USSR

Part I: Part II: Part III: Solomon Mikhoels (1890-1948) was one of the most prominent actors and directors in early Soviet Russia. His career coincides with the brief flourishing of Yiddish culture under the policy of korenizatsiia, or “indiginization,” when the Communist authorities sought to develop folk culture as a means of developing loyalty to the […]

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Shimon Dubnow: The Politics of Jewish Identity in the Modern World

Shimon Dubnow (1860-1941), a noted historian and activist whose theories of Jewish survival in the diaspora were extremely influential in the shaping Jewish identity in the modern world, from the future of Russian Jewry to the establishment of the modern Federation movement in the United States.  Dubnow’s scholarship was inextricably intertwined with the effort to […]

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Moses Mendelssohn and the Haskalah Movement

Moses Mendelssohn was a hugely influential thinker in 18th-century Germany.  An unusually gifted intellect, he became the primary spokesperson for the emancipation of Jews in the 18th century, and his cause was championed by many non-Jewish liberals of the era. Heralded as the founder of the Reform movement even though Mendelssohn himself maintained an observant […]

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Nathan of Hanover and the Ukrainian Revolution of 1648-1649

Nathan of Hanover is best known for his moving chronicle of the Khmel’nyts’kyi (Chmielnicki) Rebellion. Entitled Yeven Metsulah (“The Abyss of Despair”), it records with remarkable fairness the social, political, economic and religious background of the mid-17th century Ukrainian movement against the Poles, along with the horrible pogroms perpetrated in the context of that violent […]

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