History Crash Course #7: Joseph

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 ― [...]

History Crash Course #8: Reunion

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 [...]

History Crash Course #9: Moses

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 [...]

History Crash Course #10: Ten Plagues

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 – [...]

History Crash Course #11: Mount Sinai

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 [...]

History Crash Course #16: King Saul

King Saul was a great man who committed one terrible mistake, dooming his reign from the start. In his farewell address to his people, Moses prophesied: “When you come into the land which [...]

History Crash Course #30: The Romans

Jewish tradition maintains the Romans were descendants of Esau, the bloodthirsty brother of Jacob. Before we tell the story of how the Second Commonwealth of Israel met its sad end at the hands [...]

History Crash Course #38: Exile

The Romans sought to extinguish Jewish presence in Jerusalem by renaming Israel to Palestine. No people had revolted more or caused the Romans greater manpower or material losses than the Jews. [...]

History Crash Course #39: The Talmud

In a time of chaos, the sages do the unprecedented and write down the Oral Law. At various times during the Hadrian persecutions, the sages were forced into hiding, though they managed to [...]

History Crash Course #46: Blood Libel

Christian accusations leveled against the Jews were extreme and irrational. We are about to begin discussing an excruciating period of Jewish history that is marked by constant and unrelenting [...]

History Crash Course #66: War

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has been in a constant state of war, and yet has achieved great economic success. “The Arab world is not in a compromising mood… Nations never [...]

America & Jewish Values

The United States was the first country to be created, from its inception, as a democracy. And the Bible played a major role in the process. The creation of the United States of America [...]