History for the Curious - The Jewish History Podcast

History for the Curious - The Jewish History Podcast

History for the Curious The most talked-about Jewish History Podcast History for the Curious features the dynamic historian and famous tour guide & lecturer: Rabbi Aubrey Hersh, live from the JLE in London, hosted by myself: Mena Reisner Join us as we cross continents, sail through the centuries, tracing lives, uncovering events and following epic journeys, to reveal the untold stories, the scandals, and the mysteries, that have impacted our history and shaped us into who we are today. Encounter leaders, visionaries, spies, heroes & traitors and unpack 2,000 years of Jewish heritage. Go back to the story of Jews in the Temple of Jerusalem. Confront the dilemmas of the Holocaust. Visit Paris, Prague, Vilna, London, Venice, New York & the Cairo Geniza. Meet The Russian Czar, Ramchal, Maharal, Maimonides, Churchill, Shabbetai Zvi and the Hapsburgs.


June 14, 2024 61 mins

Unraveling the Mystery  - Who was Moshe de Leon? How did the Zohar impact Jewish history? Is there a deep divide between Academics & Kabbalists. What did Rav Yaakov Emden write? And how was Marriage seen in 13th century Spain?



00:00 Introduction: The Mystery of the Zohar

13:09 The Historical Context of Spain in the 13th and 14th Centuries

30:42 The Impact of the Zohar on Jewish History and Thought

31:12 The Complexit...

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In the 1200s Spanish Jewry faced great challenges within the community including Murder, Immorality & Defection.   This was exacerbated by dangerous teachings within Kabbalah which had to be rooted out by the Rashba and banned. But 700 years later a pathway was found to Redemption. 



00:00 Challenges of 13th-Century Spain: Tensions, Wealth, and Power

03:06 Controversies in Jewish Scholarship: Philosophy and Kabbalah


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The Golden Age was over but what drove Jews to settle in Christian Spain? What is the true story of the pirates in Cordoba? Why was the commentary of the Rif so vital and why did the Ba’al HaMaor critique it? Who controlled the Jews: The Church or The Kings?  


00:00 Introduction and Background

03:05 Legends and Stories in Jewish History

08:50 Prominent Jewish Scholars and Physicians

16:30 Transition from Muslim to Christ...

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A unique world existed for two centuries in which a  Jewish general lead Moslem armies into battle and authored 1,500 poems while Chasdai, the most famous Jew, discovered the antidote to poison and oversaw the creation of Jewish grammar.

Was Yosef Hannagid responsible for the death of an Arab prince? And how did Spain over-rule Babylonia?



00:00 Introduction to the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry

14:18 The Achievements and In...

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The history of the Jews in Spain has always been part of our collective memory. But the real story starts 1,000 years earlier.   Long before the Rishonim, flourishing communities existed. What were their lives like? Why do we not know more about them? And what happened in 711CE?   For the trip, please email: giana.elav@gmail.com  


00:00 The Visigothic Period: Anti-Jewish Legislation and Forced Conversions

15:40 The Muslim...

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April 24, 2024 34 mins
Do synagogues have rights over membership? Why did a Chazan risk excommunication in Perpignan? Why were responsa printed in defiance of the author’s wishes? And the 1708 Chametz glue on a Pesach document…    


00:00 Excommunication and Imposing Bans

06:18 Excommunication and Scholarly Disputes

13:28 The Role of the Chazan in the Synagogue

26:04 Insights from Historical Responsa

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For centuries Jews faced restrictions building their shuls.   Halachic questions arose across Europe concerning rights, ownership and use. And closer to our day, when communities split, the assets would often be fought over.   For the trip, please email: giana.elav@gmail.com    


00:00 Introduction and Overview

07:41 Shul as a Place of Assembly and Governance

14:13 Challenges in Shul Expansion and Renovation

29:14 Owners...

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In times of war and peace and throughout the centuries, Jews have asked questions. Some became the foundations of halacha, others were forgotten. In this episode we trace back through the ages to find that the new is often very old.   To purchase Dayan Hools book, click here - Beth Din Commercial Arbitration:  https://amzn.eu/d/hSkOB53  


00:00 Introduction and Urgency of the Question

03:04 The Importance of Responsa i...

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Unlike the secular worldview, Jewish history looks at individuals and at details. And although we have closely followed the general conflict in Israel, we are at arm’s length from the war.

Hearing first-hand some of the challenges that Yona Pinchos Gedalia ben Soroh Chana faced, will thereby give a deeper perspective to what Israel is experiencing.



00:00 Introduction and Purpose of the Episode

03:04 The Importance of Ind...

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To Watch This Podcast, click here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRbtzDOtBAY&t=2021s   A wide-ranging discussion with author & international broadcaster Douglas Murray, on the questions: Why the Media Lie - The Liberal Left -  Antisemitism, modern and ancient - The Future in Israel.



00:00 Introduction and Personal Connection

00:38 Interview with Douglas Murray

06:50 Journalistic Bias and Bigotry

09:40 Media Co...

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March 10, 2024 47 mins

The Karaites arrive in Ponovezh, Lithuania; Seraya Shapshal abruptly changes direction; Ibn Ezra writes Zemirot [link below]; the Nazis preside over a Karaite debate; Voltaire quotes a Karaite scholar; The 21st century reconfigures Karaism.


Ki Eshmera Shabbat - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Um8Z5Wdok-WeA7zNmKFkEjG06eH21Sax/view?usp=drivesdk



00:00 Introduction and Background

03:16 Karaites in Ponovitch

04:42 Karaites...

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February 25, 2024 40 mins

Refugees arrived in Egypt from Toldeo in 1459, with ideas of their own.

But as the centuries progressed, the Karaites spread out from the Middle East. Crimea became the headquarters of the movement.

However Abraham Firkowitz had his own ideas about history, in which facts did not necessarily feature. Although St. Petersburg owes him a continuing debt of gratitude.



00:00 Quarrel between Karaites and Rabbinites in 1833


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February 14, 2024 46 mins
1,200 years ago, a new form of Judaism was created, and it has lasted through the centuries. How far did Karaism spread? Did the Rambam allow them to be circumcised? Did Islam bring about the new ideology? And why would they observe Rosh Hashana without a Shofar?   Please email giana.elav@gmail.com for details on the upcoming Vienna Trip.   Chapters  

00:00 Introduction to the Karaites

03:07 Beliefs and Practices of the Karaites


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February 6, 2024 37 mins

When Europe became the battleground between opposing armies, a very unlikely candidate met up with the Pope and proposed a solution.

It would involve the Jews, and start in the heart of Inquisition Portugal.

But it brought about unexpected results.

Ultimately we have a cloak and a flag to reflect upon.



00:00 Introduction and Trip Announcement

01:24 ICJ Case Against Israel

03:16 Ongoing Case and Accusation of Genocide


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A moving, personal first-hand account of trial, tribulation and faith. Recorded live at the JLE.



00:00 The Kidnapping of Ori Danino 03:29 The Search for Ori 05:24 Ori's Heroic Actions 08:08 The Power of Emunah 09:32 Seeing Hashem in Difficult Times 12:12 The Unexplainable Nature of the War 13:47 Praying and Believing in Hashem 15:53 A Message to Ori 17:20 Coping with Disappointment 18:44 The Impact of Ori's Story 19:43 T...

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January 23, 2024 42 mins

In 2004 Israel was prosecuted at the ICJ for building a barrier through the West Bank. But Israel didn’t bother to turn up. What changed in 2024? 

Why did South Africa in particular, take the lead against Israel?

Why does the proportionality argument (regarding civilian casualties) not help Israel’s defense?

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Why was Sir Moses Montefiore in Malta for Tisha B’Av?

Who wrote the poem Bli Mazal (Out of Luck)?

Which British politician suggested in 1841, that the Jews create an independent State?

What made London famous in 1159?

Whom did Rabbeinu Tam bow to?

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January 10, 2024 44 mins
How did a small hole in a parchment create Crusader history? What do Chopin, Karl Marx, Alexander Dumas & Goethe have in common? Why would the Barons of Franconia insist that Jews go to Synagogue on Monday & Thursday? What was life like for Jews in Sicily? Listen to fascinating insights from four very different eras in Jewish History.  
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January 4, 2024 45 mins

Did a Christian censor help the Jews of Bohemia?

Who was Rav Sherira Gaon and why is the letter he wrote over 1,000 years ago, so important today?

What brought Jews to America in the 1600s?

And why did a Rabbi in Indiana write to the US Secretary of State - in Hebrew!?

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Recorded in Jerusalem, this ground-breaking episode includes testimony based on eyewitnesses, linking together Israel’s Past, Present & Future.

Are the Settlements illegal?

Does Islam’s monotheism bring any spiritual benefit to the Jews?

Is Israel imposing Apartheid on the Palestinians in the West Bank?

What does tomorrow hold for Israel?


Link to contact Zevi Kaufman at Cedar Media Studios - https://www.cedarmediastudios.com/


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