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.
The encounter between God and the Jews at Mount Sinai was a totally unique event in all of human history. Passover is often described as the holiday of freedom. And in liberal democracies freedom is often misunderstood as the ability to do whatever you like with no oppressive authority telling you what to do. But […]
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. […]
The Inquisition sought to expose Jews who converted to Christianity but were still secretly Jewish. In Part 45, when we discussed the Crusades, we covered the war of the Church against the Muslims in the Middle East. Now we turn to the war of the Church against Muslims in Europe. This war went on for […]
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 […]
While Nazi Germany systematically rounded up and executed Jews, the world closed its eyes and its doors. As we begin to discuss this most painful of subjects to the Jewish people, please keep in mind that this is a vast subject. At the moment there are some 1,200 books in print examining why it happened, […]
On the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, the 9th of Av, the Temple burns to the ground. We left off the story in the last installment with Vespasian being made Caesar and returning to Rome. His son Titus now takes over the siege of Jerusalem. Titus attacks just after Passover in the year 70 […]
The amazing story of Jewish influence on the founding fathers of American democracy. The creation of the United States of America represented a unique
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 […]
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 […]
Spain was the Medieval golden land of opportunity for Jews. As the armies of Islam conquered larger and larger swaths of Europe, the Jews of the Middle East saw new opportunities opening up for them in Muslim Europe. One of the best opportunities proved to be Spain, starting with the Muslim conquest of 711. Indeed, […]
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 […]