What is Chanukah, and How Do You Spell it? This Week in Jewish History

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What, exactly is Chanukah (or is it Hanukah, or Hannukkah)? This short video describes the historical origins of the holiday, notes the ironic nature of its observance in the American context, and has a couple of jokes besides.

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Suggested Holiday Gifts (Maybe for people you don’t especially like).

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Many titles available as eBooks.

The Chofetz Chaim (This Week in Jewish History)

Israel Meir Kagan (photo courtesy Baruch Chafetz via Wikimedia Commons)
Israel Meir Kagan (photo courtesy Baruch Chafetz via Wikimedia Commons)

Brief video highlighting the life and work of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan (1838-1936), one of the most influential Rabbis of the 20th century.  Better known as the Chofetz Chaim (*one who desires life,” taken from Psalm 34).

 

 

Free Download of The Kabbalah of Forgiveness (Expires October 19, 2014)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC7HkJWBorE

Please visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/464044 and enter coupon code YT52E (Expires October 19, 2014).

Please click here for excepts and supporting videos.

 

 

Rabbi Moshe Isserles (The Rema) This Week in Jewish History

Rabbi Moshe Isserles via Wikimedia Commons
Rabbi Moshe Isserles via Wikimedia Commons

Rabbi Moshe Isserles was an exceptionally important Polish Jew of the 16th century.  His commentary on the Code of Jewish Law brought Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewry together to an unprecedented degree, and established the ascendancy of Polish Jewry over the older German community.

Sarah Schenirer and the Revolution in Jewish Education for Women (This Week in Jewish History)

Sara_schenirer

Sarah Schenirer (1883-1935) founded the Bais Yaakov (Bet Ya’akov) school system for women. One of the most visionary educators of the twentieth century, her movement had global impact.

To view the Prezi associated with this lecture, please click here.

 

Mass Jewish Politics in the Modern Era (Essential Lectures in Jewish History)

Letterhead of Der Arbayter (1905). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Letterhead of Der Arbayter (1905). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This lecture briefly covers the rise of mass Jewish politics at the turn of the 20th century, looking at the rise of Jewish Socialism, Zionism, and other movements. Part of the Essential Lectures in Jewish History series available at http://www.jewishhistorylectures.org.

To view the Prezi associated with this lecture, please click here.

L.L. Zamenhof and Esperanto (This Week in Jewish History)

L.L. Zamenhof (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
L.L. Zamenhof (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

L.L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) was a Polish Jew who invented the world’s most successful artificial language, Esperanto.  Conceived as a vehicle for world peace, Esperanto is even regarded by the Oomoto religion of Japan as the “language of heaven.”

Origins of Polish Jewry (This Week in Jewish History)

Jan Matejko (1838-1893), "Reception of the Jews in Poland in 1096,"
Jan Matejko (1838-1893), “Reception of the Jews in Poland in 1096,”

This week marks the death anniversary of King Boleslaw V (The Chaste) in 1279.  Boleslaw followed the tradition of his predecessors in Poland by creating incentives for Jewish settlement in Poland, including the establishment of Magdeburg Recht.  Ultimately, these policies proved extremely attractive to Ashkenazi Jews from the Rhineland, making Poland a great center of Jewish civilization by the early modern period.

Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky (This Week in Jewish History)

Ze'ev Jabotinsky Source: Wikimedia Commons
Ze’ev Jabotinsky Source: Wikimedia Commons

Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940) was one of the most influential political thinkers in the first half of the twentieth century, founder of the Revisionist movement.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3sOw0UUB9c]

The Pale of Settlement (This Week in Jewish History)

Emil Flohri, "Stop Your Cruel Oppression of the Jews" (1904).  Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Emil Flohri, “Stop Your Cruel Oppression of the Jews” (1904). Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Officially banned in 1479, no Jews lived in the Russian Empire until Tsarina Catherine II conquered a major portion of Polish territory, instantly inheriting the largest single concentration of Jews in the world. Under her rule the Pale of Settlement was established, determining the region where Jews were allowed to reside, however tenuously, until the 20th century.
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