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.
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 […]
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 reconvene at Usha in 122 CE, and then in a time of quiet managed to re-establish again at Yavneh in 158 CE. […]
Germans emphasized their loyalty to the “fatherland” in order to be accepted in mainstream society. Author’s note: This section on the Reform Movement (and part 58) is meant as an overview of the origins and history of the movement. It is not meant to reflect the modern attitude of the Reform Movement nor its present-day […]
Even in such civilized nations as France and the United States, anti-Semitism never died out. In this installment we will briefly examine the anti-Semitism that ― with the coming of the Enlightenment in the 18th century ― hid itself under the veneer of “civil” society, only to bare its face of evil in the Holocaust. […]
This area of Russia where Jews were most oppressed gave rise to amazing achievements. The Napoleonic Enlightenment, which emancipated the Jews of Western Europe, did not make it to Eastern Europe where most Jews lived in the 18th-19th centuries. The largest concentration of Jews ― about 5 million ― was located there, representing 40% of […]
Jewish guidance came from the “judges,” who were both warriors and prophets. The Talmud calls the Book of Judges, “the Book of the Straight.” Why? Because the ultimate goal of every Jew is to use his free will to work out what is wrong and right, using the Torah as a guide. And this is […]
The 10 northern tribes secede, splitting Israel in two. When King Solomon dies in 796 BCE, Israel is still a united country, but there is some tension between the north and the south. We have to keep in mind that the Biblical State of Israel was comprised of tribes but the king always came from […]
A madman who murdered his own family and many rabbis, Herod was also the greatest builder in Jewish history. Herod, the Great (not to be confused with Herod Antipas who came later) is one of the most important characters in Jewish history. He was ambitious, cruel and paranoid to be sure, but, nevertheless, he remains […]
Mohammed reacted with anger when Jews refused to recognize him as the last of the prophets. In the previous chapter, we discussed at length the Jewish impact on intellectual Rome prior to the advent of Christianity. Similarly, Jews living on the Arabian Peninsula impacted positively on their Arab neighbors. During the days of Jewish clashes […]
This is the 36th installment of this series and it is fitting for us to put into perspective the ground that we have covered, before we begin the story of the next exile of
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 […]