Understanding the World
through the Prism of Jewish History
Rabbi Ken Spiro’s quick-paced, humorous style catches and keeps an audience’s interest; his ability to explain deep concepts clearly makes an impact that lasts long after the presentation.
Rabbi Spiro is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem. 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 Discovery 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, Crash Course in Jewish History published by Targum Press and Destiny – Why a tiny nation plays such a huge role in history published by Geffen Publishing House. His writings and seminars can be accessed on www.kenspiro.com 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 in Jerusalem .
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.
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 […]
To the Greeks, what was beautiful was holy; to the Jews, what was holy was beautiful. These views were bound to clash. The 4th century BCE has been eventful for the Jewish people: Exiled to Babylon, they witness the fall of a mighty empire before their very eyes as the Persians invade. Permitted to return […]
Only a tiny portion of Jews participate in worshiping the golden calf. So why blame the whole nation? The day for this infamous event is forever marked in the Hebrew calendar — 17th of Tammuz. This would be the day later in history on which the walls of Jerusalem would be breached by the Babylonians […]
After the British turned away Holocaust survivors from Israel, the UN voted to partition the land. The British broke their promise to the Jews while they created new Arab countries out of the land of the former Ottoman Empire. In addition, because of Arab revolts and pressure, the British even barred entry to the land […]
God gave Abraham and his family the Land of Israel as a laboratory where his descendants are supposed to create the nation that’s the model for the world. The early history of the Jewish people begins in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 12, when God first speaks to Abraham, and continues through to the end […]
This is no typical war of conquest. The Book of Joshua begins: And it was after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, that the Lord said to Joshua the son
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 […]
In a time when many things were going wrong for the Jews, the sages Hillel and Shammai defined what was going right. We have discussed the rift between the Pharisees (the mainstream Jews) and the Sadducees (the Jews who only followed the Written Torah, making up their own interpretations). We also explained how Herod’s massacres […]
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 […]
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 […]