We are blessed to be living in a time where an overwhelming number of Jews are able to celebrate Jewish holidays proudly and openly. Professor Renée Levine Melammed takes us back to Spain post-1492, and looks at how the Crypto-Jews there celebrated the Jewish holidays.
On Purim, we are rightly appalled by the fact that Haman wanted to destroy the Jewish people. Yet we seldom notice that we were commanded to do the very same thing to Haman’s people, to Amalek, in Exodus 17, which we read on Purim morning, and Deutoronomy 25, which we read on Shabbat Zakhor.
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Professor. Renee Levine Melammed shares with us the powerful story of influential Jewish women during the Middle Ages.
Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, talks about leadership qualities. Moses was not chosen to lead the Jewish people because of his rhetorical skills, his military prowess or his legislative ability. He was chosen only because he was a pursuer of justice.
One Saturday night in November, 1995, I was making havdala with JTS rabbinical students spending a year in Israel Matt Berkowitz, Matt Eisenfeld z”l and Shai Held in their apartment in Rehavia. The calmness of the evening broke down when an urgent announcement of the tragic and unexpected murder of then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was made on the radio.
Memory or heroism? Victims or heroes? What should a museum commemorate? Professor Doron Bar, President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, shares insights into how Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum, was established. He focuses on the Hall of Remembrance, a less frequented site in the Yad Vashem complex, and its meaning to him and to his students.
Sunday, the 28th of Iyyar, marks the 51st anniversary of Jerusalem’s unification. Professor Doron Bar, President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, and a 7th generation Jerusalemite, tells the story of Jerusalem’s changing population through the lens of his family history. How has Israel’s largest city evolved from a a small group living within the Old City walls to an expansive metropolis?
What happens when the head of a Kurdish yeshiva has no sons? He prepares his daughter to be the next rosh yeshiva of course! Dr. Renée Levine Melammed, Professor of Jewish History, tell the story of Asenath Barazani, scholar and decisor of Jewish law who was a major figure in 17th-century Mosul, Kurdistan.
He said, she said did not originate in the modern era, in fact, in 12th century Cairo, Maimonides hears both sides of the argument settles a dispute between a woman teaching at a yeshiva and her disgruntled husband.
What are the cultural-evolutionary origins of our Holiday of Lights? To be sure, the rabbis of the Talmud tell us in Tractate Shabbat 21a that the miracle of Hanukkah is what we teach our children, and perhaps why we eat latkes and jelly doughnuts, all laden with (way too much) oil. However other accounts of the story, including one other rabbinic source – the Al Ha’Nissim paragraph added to the Amida and Birkat Hamazon during the holiday – make no mention of this miracle.