Understanding the World
through the Prism of Jewish History
Rabbi Spiro is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorahs Discovery Seminars. In addition, he is a licensed tour guide from the Israel Ministry of Tourism. Rabbi Spiro graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Russian Language and Literature and did graduate studies at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow.
He has an MA in History from The Vermont College of Norwich University and Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshiva Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem.
He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs such as B.B.C. Radio and TV., The National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, Channel 4 England and Arutz Sheva-Israel National Radio. He is the author of WorldPerfect – The Jewish Impact on Civilization published by HCI books and Crash Course in Jewish History published by Targum Press. His writings and seminars can be accessed on this website and www.aish.com.
Born and raised in the U.S. Rabbi Spiro has lived in Israel since 1982. He served in a combat infantry unit in the IDF. A father of five children, he currently lives near Jerusalem in Givat Zeev.
Crash Course in Jewish History Book
From Abraham and the birth of monotheism to the Holocaust and the creation of modern Israel-Crash Course in Jewish History explores 3,800 years of Jewish existence. Ken Spiro takes the reader on a fascinating and informative journey through time, highlighting the key lessons of Jewish and world history and the profound relevance that the past holds for the future of both the Jewish people and humanity.
We learn Jewish history not only to avoid the mistakes of the past, but to understand where our destiny is taking us. This series is designed as a basic overview of all the Jewish history — all 4,000 years of it. Usually when one mentions the word “history” most people break out in a cold sweat. They remember back to high school […]
An enormous amount of information in the Bible has been borne out by archeology, through indirect or circumstantial evidence. We assume that people throughout human history always studied history, but that’s not true. As a matter of fact, if you go back more than a couple of thousand years you’ll find people had no interest […]
By understanding the character of Abraham, the “proto-Jew”, one can understand what Jews are all about. Jewish history doesn’t happen in a vacuum. No people’s history happens in a vacuum. So before we take a closer look at Abraham, we must first zoom out and get a little understanding of where Abraham fits in the […]
God gave Abraham and his family the Land of Israel as a laboratory where his descendants are supposed to create the nation that’s the model for the world. The early history of the Jewish people begins in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 12, when God first speaks to Abraham, and continues through to the end […]
History repeats: The groove that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob carve will be for their descendants. We will not take the time here to go through stories of Isaac’s life. What we want to focus on is the patterns that are set for the rest of Jewish history, because as we noted earlier, “the actions of […]
Joseph demonstrates a classic pattern: The Jew arrives impoverished, works hard, and rises to the top. Had Jacob married Rachel as he had intended ― instead of being tricked into marrying Leah ― Joseph would have likely been his first-born son. Although he was Jacob’s 11th son, he dominates the narrative of the 12 brothers, […]
To remedy the family animosity, Joseph sets the stage for a great test. An interesting thing happens in the Bible right in the middle of the Joseph story. Suddenly the story stops. We leave off Joseph and return to the land of Canaan to pick up the story of Judah, the fourth oldest of the […]
In an all-time irony, the savior of the Jewish people is raised in the house of the enemy of the Jews. The Exodus story is the central event of Jewish history. It is also a model — in microcosm — for what happens later throughout the history of the Diaspora. We see again and again […]
With the Ten Plagues, the laws of nature are turned upside down to free the Jews. Once the plagues hit Egypt ― blood, lice, frogs, etc. ― the devastation continues for over a year (Talmud – Ediyos 2:10). Each plague is an open miracle, because each one represents a fantastic manipulation of nature. The laws […]
The encounter between God and the Jews at Mount Sinai was a totally unique event in all of human history. Passover is often described as the holiday of freedom. And in liberal democracies freedom is often misunderstood as the ability to do whatever you like with no oppressive authority telling you what to do. But […]
Only a tiny portion of Jews participate in worshiping the golden calf. So why blame the whole nation? The day for this infamous event is forever marked in the Hebrew calendar — 17th of Tammuz. This would be the day later in history on which the walls of Jerusalem would be breached by the Babylonians […]