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Harem Power
Harem Power

The place: Istanbul/Constantinople. The Time: The Sixteenth Century                       In the sixteenth century, the Ottoman empire was one of the few places in which the Jewish people…

Those Who Can…Teach And Do
Those Who Can…Teach And Do

Among the many wise statements recorded in Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers is the following from Rabbi Ishmael the son of Yochanan: “He who learns in order to teach will be enabled both to learn and to teach. But, he who learns in order to practice, will be able to learn, to teach, to observe and to practice” (4:6).

A Formal Engagement
A Formal Engagement

The picture perfect engagement brings to mind the scene of a sweet young man kneeling on one knee holding out a ring box to his flustered, joyful girlfriend. It’s both a romantic expression of the promise to marry and a verbal contract* between the y…

On the 15th of Av: What Hoshea Did
On the 15th of Av: What Hoshea Did

How can one action be both praiseworthy and unacceptable at the same time? Such was the conundrum of Hoshea ben Elah, the last King of Israel (the Northern Kingdom of Ten Tribes).

No Holiday As Joyous
No Holiday As Joyous

Tu B’Av (The Fifteenth of Av) is no longer the well-known holiday on the Jewish calendar that it was in ancient times. In fact, in Talmudic times it was said: “There were no holidays so joyous for the Jewish People as the Fifteenth of Av…”…

Shabbat Nachamu
Shabbat Nachamu

The Shabbat following Tisha B’Av (the ninth of the Av) is called Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Consolation, referring to the opening words of the haftarah, the weekly reading from the Prophets. It is the first of seven haftarot …

A Whispered Line
A Whispered Line

The Shema is both a prayer and a statement of the most fundamental aspect of Jewish theology: God’s oneness.

Josephus
Josephus

Some historians are scholars, others are propagandists, and still others live the history that they go on to record. Yosef ben Matityahu, better known as Flavius Josephus (or just Josephus), was all three.Born around 37 CE, Josephus was the second son …

The Second Uprising
The Second Uprising

History is a study in cause and effect. Today, on the 9th of Av, the Jewish people mourn two additional tragic events that followed the terrible destruction of the Second Temple: the plowing over of the Temple Mount and the catastrophic defeat of the B…

The Book of Lamentations
The Book of Lamentations

On Tisha B’Av, the ninth of Av, one of the ways that the Jewish people demonstrate their mourning over the loss of both Holy Temples is by refraining from Torah study that brings pleasure to those who study it. Therefore, it is considered app…

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