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.
Initially a movement largely of the poor and uneducated, Hassidism emphasized spirituality in everyday life. The Hassidic movement ― the movement of the “pious ones” or Chassidut, in Hebrew ― was founded in the 18th century in Eastern Europe by Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, who became known as the Ba’al Shem Tov, which means “Master […]
David established Jerusalem as Israel’s capital over 3,000 years ago. King David is one of the most important figures in Jewish history. Born in 907 BCE, he reigns as king of Israel for 40 years, dying at age 70 in 837 BCE. There is so much that can be said about him. Some people like […]
The Assyrians conquer northern Israel and vanquish the nation with exile. At a time when the Jewish people of the northern kingdom of Israel are weakening spiritually, as well as physically and militarily, the Assyrians are growing stronger. The Assyrians at this time occupy the territory immediately north — what is today’s Syria, Iraq, and […]
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 […]
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 […]
Four thousand years of Jewish history at a glance. Easy print PDF version of this timeline 12k We have now reached the conclusion of this series and before we wrap up it is fitting for us to put into perspective the ground that we have covered. Note that we are following the Jewish calendar for […]
At a time of cruel oppression, splinter sects spring up in belief that the apocalypse is at hand. The century and half that follows the completion of the Mishna corresponds to period in history when the Roman Empire adopts Christianity. The empire’s “conversion” from paganism to Christianity will have a severe impact on the Jews. […]
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 concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. You can, perhaps, get something, but only by force of your […]
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 represented a unique event in world history. Unlike other countries where democracy evolved over a period of hundreds of years, the […]
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. But they had done so at a great price to themselves as well. The Roman historian Dio Cassius writes that over half a million […]
Extraordinary sages define the essence of Judaism for the Jews of Israel and the Diaspora. The Men of the Great Assembly — in Hebrew, Anshei Knesset HaGedolah — was an unusual group of Jewish personalities who assumed the reigns of Jewish leadership between 410 BCE and 310 BCE. This time period follows the destruction of […]