Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five survivors of the plague that took the lives of 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students. Rashbi was a fiery and fascinating personality.
In honor of Jewish-American History Month, Jewish Treats presents the history of Hebrew Union College.
Rosanna Dyer Osterman (1809-1866) risked her life to act as a courier to the Confederate Army, after the city of Galveston, Texas, was occupied by the Union Army. From Osterman’s perspective, the Union Army were the occupiers. When she learned that the Union knew of the Confederates’ early January attack plan, she managed to get word to the Confederates so that they could attack early and retake the city.
On the first anniversary of the Exodus from Egypt, the Children of Israel prepared to celebrate their first Passover as free people. God decreed that they should eat matzah and maror (bitter herbs) in commemoration of the great event, and, most importantly, that the Israelites should all partake of the Passover sacrifice (lamb).
U.S. politics have never been pretty. Even as the colonists declared their independence from England, they were busy arguing with one another. Rather than Democrats (liberals) and Republicans (conservatives), however, the early Americans were divided between the Republicans (liberals) and the Federalists (conservatives). If you find political fighting today abhorant, just imagine what it was like before political correctness!
Ethics – it’s a big word in our day and age. Between political corruption and financial misdeeds, it is easy to wonder what ever happened to even the most basic ethical standards.
God instructs Moses to tell the Jewish people: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). How does one make oneself holy? The remaining 35 verses of Leviticus 19, however, offer specific mitzvot to help one achieve this goal.
One could easily say that the life of Jiri Mordecai Langer (1894-1943) was lived between the two World Wars. Born in Prague to an assimilated Jewish family, Jiri set off to discover his Jewish roots when he was 19.
The fact that one’s genetic code is a combination of the DNA one inherits from both mother and father is a basic lesson of high school biology. According to traditional Jewish thought, one’s spiritual DNA is also derived from one’s biological background.
Many of the greatest names in Israeli history belong to leaders of military battles and to eloquent spokespersons who rallied the Jewish people to fight for a modern homeland. Chaim Weizmann’s field of “battle” was the game of diplomacy. His great skill in this most delicate realm made it all the more appropriate that his final title was that of the first President of the State of Israel.