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.
Herzl launched the political framework for the modern State of Israel. We cannot study Zionism without studying Theodor Benyamin Ze’ev Herzl (1860-1904). We already saw in Part 59, as a correspondent during the Alfred Dreyfus affair, he was shocked to hear the civilized French screaming “Death to the Jews!” He determined then and there that […]
Terror reigned — women were killed with babies tied around their necks. Alexander’s vast empire did not survive his death in 323 BCE, but fragmented into three large chunks centered in Greece, Egypt, and Syria and controlled by his former generals. These three smaller empires were known as: Seleucid or Syrian Greece Ptolemian or Egyptian […]
In the final analysis, Jewish history makes no rational sense. On January 16, 1996, then President of Israel, Ezer Weizmann, gave a speech to both Houses of Parliament of Germany. He gave this speech in Hebrew to the Germans, fifty years after the Holocaust, and in it he beautifully summed up what Jewish history is. […]
The Europeans didn’t know what caused the bubonic plague, but had no trouble blaming the Jews. In the 14th century the bubonic plague ― known as the “Black Death” ― hit Europe. At that time, people had no idea of the causes of diseases and no idea that lack of hygiene caused the spread of […]
Early Christianity attracted those unwilling to take on all of Judaism’s precepts. The Jesus sect in Jerusalem remained small and was simply not spreading among the Jews. Indeed, it had become offensive in Jewish eyes and the Jesus followers were considered heretics1)The negative attitude of the rabbis toward these splinter sects (including Judeo-Christianity) is reflected […]
A feast celebrating God’s abandonment of Israel puts into motion Haman’s plot to annihilate the Jews. The armies of Medes under Darius and the armies of Persia under Cyrus march into Babylon and conquer it. The Babylonian Empire ceases to exist and it is now absorbed by the new Persian Empire. So what do we […]
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 […]
The Kingdom of Judah lasts another of 134 years before it falls. The southern kingdom of Israel ― called Judah ― lasts almost 134 years longer than the northern kingdom. This is largely because it is nowhere near as unstable or corrupted by idolatry. In the north there was a king every dozen years on […]
The amazing story of Jewish influence on the founding fathers of American democracy. The creation of the United States of America represented a unique
The Age of Reason gave Jews civil rights, but its emphasis on a Godless society was bound to backfire. The middle of the 17th century marked the end of the Renaissance. The new ideology that emerged in the post-Renaissance period ― as a result of what came to be known as the Enlightenment ― is […]
The Jewish nation fights to save its spiritual center. The might of Rome could not be challenged. In response to the revolt of the Jews, in 67 CE Rome sends out the empire’s most experienced commander, Vespasian, at the head of four legions. This is a massive force. Each legion had 6,000 fighting men plus […]