return to front page

Topics in Jewish History:

  1. What's in a Jewish Name? Our Link to Destiny
  2. What is Kabbalah?
  3. A Journey to Heaven: The Jewish Search for Life Beyond
  4. The Jewish Messiah: A Historical Perspective
  5. Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?
  6. Is Abortion Murder?
  7. To Cover or Not to Cover: That is the Question: Jewish Hair Laws Through the Ages
  8. Hannah's Prayer: Rabbinic Ambivalence
  9. Serah and the Exodus: A Midrashic Miracle Serah
  1. What's in a Jewish Name? Our Link to Destiny
    What's in a name?  A name is a word that announces it has tales to tell.  Names have great importance to people; indeed, we know and recognize each other by name. I see names as important symbols serving as magical keys by which we understand the nature and essence of a person. Read more...

  2. What is Kabbalah?
    What is Kabbalah?  And what has made Kabbalah so popular today? Because we see so many variants of Kabbalah practiced today, I wanted to present the history of Kabbalah and to contrast it with the popular and trendy brand marketed today in various Kabbalistic centers. Read more...

  3. A Journey to Heaven: The Jewish Search for Life Beyond
    The question of what happens after death is one that has perplexed humanity from the beginning of civilization. People throughout the ages have made great efforts to unravel the mystery of death and discover what lies beyond this life. Why this constant interest in the afterlife? We struggle to understand this altogether mysterious realm because death is a very real part of the human condition. Read more...

  4. The Jewish Messiah: A Historical Perspective
    Within Judaism the term Messiah has many connotations. In the Hebrew Bible the term referred to an "anointed one," a divinely chosen figure who would bring to fruition God's plan for his people and for all humankind. The term also conjured up images of a future world filled with peace and divine tranquility. Read more...

  5. Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?
    Fifty years after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the scholarly world is still deliberating about who the people of the scrolls were and how they fit into the landscape of ancient Jewish history. Read more...

  6. Is Abortion Murder?
    The question of whether abortion is murder is one of the most divisive issues in America. Participants in such debates may cite a generic religious authority but rarely acknowledge that the Jewish and Christian traditions are grounded in the Bible, so how did these differences arise? Read more...

  7. To Cover or Not to Cover: That is the Question: Jewish Hair Laws Through the Ages
    What does Jewish law say about women and hair covering? The topic deserves attention, particularly in light of the renewed observance of this practice among resurgent Orthodoxy and the BaaleiTeshuva ("reborn" Jews).  My interest in studying the historical and religious sources of the practice was evoked both by stimulating halakhic exchanges I came across in various Jewish publications, and by my own experiences within the Jewish community. Read more...

  8. Hannah's Prayer: Rabbinic Ambivalence
    Our first glimpse of Hannah is of a woman distraught over her childlessness. She has come with her family to sacrifice at the shrine at Shiloh, but instead she weeps, declines to eat the sacrificial meal, and goes alone to the shrine, where she prayed to the Lord, weeping all the while. Read more...

  9. Serah and the Exodus: A Midrashic Miracle Serah
    The period of the Exodus was a time of crisis in Israelite history and also a time of impressive women. In the Scriptures, many women play crucial roles in saving the Israelites from extinction under the cruel edicts of Pharaoh, and the Midrash (the rabbinic retellings and lore on the Hebrew Scriptures) embellishes the deeds of the women of the time of the bondage in Egypt and the Departure. If we read only the Scriptures, we would not count Serah bat Asher among these women, but the Midrash invents a number of stories that credit Serah with a role in facilitating the Exodus. Read more...