This Week in Jewish History

Irving Berlin and the Creation of Popular American Culture

At this time of year it’s impossible to escape the ubiquitous holiday music that assults us whenever we turn on the radio or walk through a shopping mall. Few listeners are aware, however, that the syrupy, commercialized versions of holiday cheer have their origins in the musical genius of a Jewish immigrant from Siberia, the phenomenal Irving Berlin. Whatever we ...

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Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) articulated a strategy to allow Jews their traditional observances while participating actively in the modern world. Criticized from both the left and the right, his thought remains highly influential into the 21st century. E-mail subscribers: Please note that posts today are automatically sent out tomorrow. This function cannot be easily turned off.

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Nicholas Donin and the Disputation of 1240

In 1240 Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, engaged in a public debate with his former teacher, Rabbi Yechiel of Paris. Donin charged that the Talmud was a noxious document that prevented the Jews from embracing Christianity, and brought a total of 35 distinct accusations against this ancient holy text. Ultimately, 24 carriage loads of Talmuds, representing 10,000 priceless ...

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