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.

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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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The Nuremberg Laws

The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 defined, for the purposes of the Nazi regime, exactly who was considered a Jew. This was an essential element in the unfolding of the Holocaust, as the Nuremberg Laws allowed the Nazis to first identify, then exclude, and finally attempt to eliminate Jews from German society.

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The Rishonim

This lecture serves as an introduction to the Rishonim, a body of Rabbinic scholars associated with the 9th through the 15th centuries of the common era. Part of the Essential Lectures in Jewish History series.

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The Chofetz Chaim

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).

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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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