While we of the modern world scoff at the ancient alchemists who tried to turn lead into gold, many alchemical practices are at the root of today’s scientific experiments. Ironically, the fate and condition of alchemists in ancient and medieval society was often similar to that of the Jews–at the whim of the city rulers.
Born to a Chassidic family in Romania, Solomon Schechter (1847-1915) grew up to be a great scholar whose work had a deep and profound impact on Jewish life. After following the traditional Jewish path of study, Schechter studied at universities in both Vienna and Berlin, before eventually taking an academic post in the Judaic Studies department of Cambridge University. Through his academic work, Schechter was introduced to the “Historical Judaism” movement, which asserts that Jewish law was not static, but rather has always developed in response to changing conditions.
In their natural habitats, every creature on earth helps create a balance that allows the environment to flourish. This biological fact is part of the mechanics of Planet Earth. But the animal world offers humankind another benefit, for animals can be powerful examples of behavior.
It is nearly time for Thanksgiving, and throughout the United States communities are putting up posters for holiday food drives.
Few rabbis have been honored with having a mountain named for them. But, tucked away in the Laurentian range of Quebec, Canada, stands Mont le Rabbi-Stern (Mount Rabbi Stern). This 2,250 foot (above sea level) topographical feature was named in 1985 in honor of Rabbi Joshua Stern (1897-1984), the late Rabbi Emeritus of Montreal’s Temple Emanu-El.
The Dadist Cultural Movement created works so far from conventional art as to appear absurd, in order to create a new sense of reality for the audience. The movement incorporated all aspects of artistic life. Of the artists associated with Dadism, Man Ray (1890-1976) is one of the most famous.
Hachnassat Orchim, welcoming guests, is one of the better known mitzvot. For many, this is also one of the easiest. After all, who doesn’t enjoy having people over, acting as host, and sharing a hearty meal.
The Book of Obadiah is the shortest book of Tanach (Biblical canon), only one chapter long. It is directed at the nation of Edom, not at either of the Jewish kingdoms.Obadiah spoke out against the great arrogance of Edom, descendants of Jacob’s brother…
Quick quiz: Who were Abraham’s sons?
Most people probably answered Isaac, and, of course, they are correct. Others might have said Ishmael, and they are also right. Few people, however, are likely to have said, Zimran, Yakshan, Medan, Midian, Ishak or Shuah–but, if they had, they too would have been correct.
The great World Wars, both involved armies of nations from all across the globe. But, in both wars–historians would agree–the balance of power shifted when America joined the allies. And while historians may quarrel over whether America’s entry into World War I was good or bad, at the time of the war, that decision was in the hands of the politicians. For Jewish Treats, it is intriguing to note that, during the course of the war, the House Military Affairs Committee was chaired by Julius Kahn.