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A full course of jewish history [FREE!]


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AUTHOR

Rabbi Ken Spiro is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah's Discovery Seminar, and a licensed tour guide from the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He 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 and Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem. He is the author of "WorldPerfect: The Jewish Impact on Civilization". Rabbi Spiro lives in Israel with his wife and five children.

1. Why Study History? 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The study of Jewish history is not only to avoid mistakes of the past, but to understand our destiny.
2. The Bible as History 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
An enormous amount of information in the Bible has been borne out by archeology.
3. The World of Abraham 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
By understanding the character of Abraham, the "proto-Jew," one can understand what Jews are all about.
4. Abraham's Legacy 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Abraham gave rise to a nation of Hebrews – people who live "on the other side."
5. The Promised Land 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
God gave the Land of Israel as a laboratory where Abraham and his descendants can create a model nation.
6. Isaac and His Sons 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
History repeats itself. Whatever groove Abraham or Isaac or Jacob are going to carve, their descendants will get stuck in it.
7. Joseph 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The story of Joseph demonstrates a classic historic pattern of the Jew in Diaspora.
8. Reunion 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Joseph sets the stage for a great test in order to heal the divisive hatred among the brothers.
9. Moses 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
In an all-time irony of ironies, the savior of the Jewish people is raised in the house of the ultimate enemy of the Jews.
10. The Ten Plagues 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Most miracles are natural phenomena with awesomely good timing. The Ten Plagues are a notable exception.
11. Mount Sinai 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The encounter between God and the Jews at Mount Sinai was a totally unique event in all of human history.
12. Golden Calf 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Only a tiny portion of Jews participated in worshipping the golden calf. So why does God seem to blame the whole nation?
13. Tragedy of the Spies 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Every major disaster in Jewish history is connected to the 9th of Av. It all began with the incident of the spies.
14. The Conquest of Canaan 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Joshua's conquest of the Promised Land was no typical war.
15. Era of Judges 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
For guidance, the Jewish people turned to "judges," who were both warriors and prophets.
16. King Saul 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
King Saul was a great man who committed one terrible mistake, dooming his reign from the start.
17. David: Shepherd and Warrior 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Too young to fight in the army, David becomes Israel's champion by slaying Goliath.
18. King David 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
David established Jerusalem as Israel's capital, choosing the place that Jacob had called "heaven's gate."
19. King Solomon 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
King Solomon, the wisest of all men, built the Temple in Jerusalem and reigned over Israel's golden age.
20. A Divided Nation 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
In response to the king's arrogance, the ten northern tribes secede, splitting Israel in two.
21. Assyrian Conquest 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Assyrians conquer northern Israel, and introduce a new method of dealing with vanquished nations: Exile.
22. The End of Judah 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Judah lasts another of 133 years before bringing to an end the kingdom of Israel.
23. Babylonian Exile 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Babylonians celebrate, thinking God has abandoned the Jews. But they have a surprise coming.
24. Purim in Persia 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
A feast celebrating God's abandonment of Israel puts in motion a plot to annihilate the Jews.
25. The Second Temple 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The rebuilt Temple is not the same with the Ark of the Covenant missing.
26. The Great Assembly 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
These extraordinary sages defined the essence of Judaism for the coming millennia.
27. The Greek Empire 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Greeks stressed beauty; the Jews stressed holy. These views were bound to clash.
28. Greek Persecution 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Women who allowed their sons to be circumcised were killed with their babies tied around their necks.
29. Revolt of the Maccabees 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Jewish revolt against the Greeks became history's first religious war.
30. The Romans 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
In Jewish tradition, the Romans are descendants of Esau, the bloodthirsty brother of Jacob.
31. Herod the Great 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
A madman who murdered his own family and many rabbis, Herod was also the greatest builder in Jewish history.
32. Hillel and Shammai 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
At a time when many things were wrong for the Jews, Hillel and Shammai defined what was right.
33. The Great Revolt 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
In a seemingly suicidal move, the Jews take on the might of Rome.
34. War for Jerusalem 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Jewish nation fights to the death to save its spiritual center.
35. Destruction of the Temple 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
On the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, the 9th of Av, the Temple burned to the ground.
36. Timeline: Abraham to Exile 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The first 2,000 years of Jewish history at a glance.
37. The Bar Kochba Revolt 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Despite the disastrous results of the Great Revolt, the Jews revolt again and again.
38. Expulsion 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Romans sought to extinguish the Jewish presence in Jerusalem and Israel by giving them foreign names.
39. The Talmud 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
In a time of chaos, the rabbis decide to do the unprecedented – write down the Oral Law.
40. Origins of Christianity 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
During a time of cruel oppression of the Jews, splinter sects spring up who believe the Apocalypse is at hand.
41. From Paul to Constantine 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Christianity attracted people who were partial to Judaism but were unwilling to take on all its precepts.
42. The Rise of Islam 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Mohammed reacted with anger when the Jews refused to recognize him as a prophet.
43. The Jews of Babylon 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
As Muslims swept through the Middle East, Jewish communities were saved from the Christians.
44. The Jews of Spain 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
From the 8th to the 12th century, Spain was the land of opportunity for Jews.
45. The Crusades 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Crusaders came to liberate the Holy Land from the "infidels" – and woe to any Jews who stood in their way.
46. Blood Libel 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Nothing can rationally explain the extreme accusations: Jews killed babies and drank their blood.
47. The Black Death 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
When Europeans didn't know what brought on the bubonic plague, they blamed the Jews.
48. The Inquisition 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The basic accusation during the Inquisition was that Jews who converted to Christianity were still secretly Jewish.
49. The Jews of Poland 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Polish king granted the Jews unprecedented rights and privileges.
50. The Protestant Reformation 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Reformation exposed the corruption of the Church and brought about Protestantism. For the Jews, it was just more bad news.
51. The Kabbalists 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The mountaintop town of Tzfat became the center of Jewish mysticism.
52. The Chassidic Movement 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Initially a movement largely of the poor and uneducated, Chassidism introduced Kabbalah and spirituality into everyday life.
53. The Enlightenment 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The Age of Reason gave Jews civil rights, but its emphasis on a godless society was bound to backfire.
54. Reform Movement 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The goal of the Reform Movement was to be accepted into mainstream German society.
55. Jews and the Founding of America 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The secret amazing story of Jewish influence on the founding of American democracy.
56. Pale of Settlement 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Jewish creativity flourished in the region of Russia where Jews were most oppressed.
57. The Czars and the Jews 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
In Czarist Russia, the corrupt regime deflected criticism by organizing pogroms against the Jews.
58. Jewish Life in America 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Jews gained untold riches in America, but moved away from their heritage.
59. The Face of Anti-Semitism 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Even in such civilized nations as France and the United States, anti-Semitism never died out.
60. The Holocaust 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
As Nazi Germany systematically executed Jews, the world closed its eyes and its doors.
61. The Final Solution 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Hitler was obsessively focused on the goal of eliminating all Jews from the planet.
62. Return to the Land of Israel 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The re-birth of Israel is an unprecedented phenomenon in human history.
63. Modern Zionism 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The 1897 First Zionist Conference was a major step toward establishing the modern State of Israel.
64. The British Mandate 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
The British promised to create a Jewish state. Instead they served their own Arab-linked interests as millions died in the Holocaust.
65. The State of Israel 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
After the British turned away Holocaust survivors from Israel, the UN voted to partition the land.
66. Middle East War 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
Despite Israel's constant state of war, it has achieved great economic success.
67. The Miracle of Jewish History 
by Rabbi Ken Spiro
In the final analysis, Jewish history makes no rational sense.