Who Was Rabbi Chaim Vital?

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.

Who Was Rabbi Meir? Jewish Biography as History

Lecture on the great 2nd-century Rabbi Meir, one of the most important figures in the history of Jewish thought in ancient Israel.

Here’s the link to the Prezi.

Rashi (This Week in Jewish History)

Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitshak) was a great 11th century commentator on the Torah. This brief video outlines his major scholarly contribution within historical context.

Who Was Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson? Jewish Biography as History

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, also known as “Der Frierdiker Rebbe” (The Earlier Rebbe) to distinguish him from his successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was the sixth leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Living in tumultuous times, he shifted the center of the movement from its Eastern European origins to its current headquarters in the United States.

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Who Was Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav? Jewish Biography as History

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One of the most creative, unusual, and controversial Hasidic leaders at the turn of the 19th century, Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav (Nachman of Breslov) continues to inspire generations of disciples. Part of the Jewish Biography as History series, more available at http://www.henryabramson.com.

Who Was Joseph Perl? Jewish Biography as History by Dr. Henry Abramson

One of the strongest critics of early Hasidism, Joseph Perl was a fervent advocate of the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, in 19th century Galicia. Part of the Jewish Biography as History series by Dr. Henry Abramson, more available at http://www.henryabramson.com.

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

[youtube=http://youtu.be/hE5emz8XyKo]

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 http://www.henryabramson.com.

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Here are a few of Dr. Abramson’s recent publications. He’s not very funny in print (but taller).

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The Sea of Talmud

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Who was Gluckel of Hameln? Jewish Biography as History by Dr. Henry Abramson

[youtube=http://youtu.be/sHdJTGq1qzU]

Gluckel of Hameln, a Jewish woman who lived in late 17th-century Germany, left a remarkable memoir describing her life. Part of the Jewish Biography as History series by Dr. Henry Abramson, more available at http://www.henryabramson.com.

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 ramifications of the Safed circle.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/v4ZbOcOoaio]

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.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/2Qa3eX-xwEA]

Planning to attend Limmud Miami this year?

I would love to see you at the session on The Kabbalah of Forgiveness! Register here.

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