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.
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, […]
The re-birth of Israel is an unprecedented phenomenon in human history. The yearning for the land of Israel never left the Jewish people. We see it in Psalms
The Jewish revolt against the Greeks sets a precedent as the world’s first religious war. We know the details of the Jewish fight against the Greeks and Hellenism from the two Books of the Maccabees as well as the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus. These chronicles are not included in the Hebrew Bible because […]
Every major disaster in Jewish history is connected to the 9th of Av. It all began with the 12 spies. After a year at Mount Sinai, the Jewish people pack up their portable sanctuary and come to the borders of the Land of Israel. They should have entered the land at this point, but the […]
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 […]
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 of the Roman Empire, let us step back in time and delve into what Rome was about, and how it became a […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]