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.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ZQbN5ZkgRAY]

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

The Sea of Talmud   kof cover DMA_Fotor   Rambam CoverTHUMBNAIL_IMAGE   prayer-for-the-government-cover   art of hatred cover

Many titles available as eBooks.

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.

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.

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.
[youtube=http://youtu.be/Mpd5zslNNew]

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