The Kabbalah of Forgiveness Coming in Time for Rosh Hashanah

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New for the Season of Repentance: a translation and modern commentary on Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s classic of Jewish ethics, the Date Palm of Devorah (Tomer Devorah). Learn the Thirteen Levels of Mercy and discover how to forgive others (and yourself). Please visit http://www.jewishhistorylectures.org and click on “The Kabbalah of Forgiveness” for excerpts and videos. Publication date: Rosh Hodesh Elul (August 26-27, 2014).

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (This Week in Jewish History)

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Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch via Wikimedia Commons
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch via Wikimedia Commons

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) articulated a strategy to allow Jews their traditional observances while participating actively in the modern world.  Criticized from both the left and the right, his thought remains highly influential into the 21st century.

Rabbi Hayim of Volozhin (This Week in Jewish History)

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The Yeshiva of Volozhin via Wikimedia Commons
The Yeshiva of Volozhin via Wikimedia Commons

Founder of the famous Yeshiva of Volozhin, Rabbi Hayim ben Yitshad was one of the most influential proponents of traditional Talmudic study of the early 19th century.  The author of Nefesh haHayim, he articulated a cogent response to the growing Hasidic movement.

Nicholas Donin and the Disputation of 1240 (This Week in Jewish History)

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1413-disputation (1)

In 1240 Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, engaged in a public debate with his former teacher, Rabbi Yechiel of Paris. Donin charged that the Talmud was a noxious document that prevented the Jews from embracing Christianity, and brought a total of 35 distinct accusations against this ancient holy text. Ultimately, 24 carriage loads of Talmuds, representing 10,000 priceless manuscripts were burned in Paris on June 6, 1242.

Personal note to my subscribers: I was so impressed with the NCSY Learnathon that my son Alexander completed, that I decided to join on my own! Please visit http://learn.ncsy.org/learner/hmabramson/ to support this great organization that does so much for Jewish youth (and encourage me to study more Talmud)!

Jerusalem Day (This Week in Jewish History)

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Jerusalem Day, 2004 via Wikimedia Commons
Jerusalem Day, 2004 via Wikimedia Commons

Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) celebrates the unification of Jerusalem in the context of the Six-Day War of June 1967.  This dramatic military achievement represented a victory that was both political and symbolic, giving Jews control over the the Old City and the Temple Mount after nearly 2000 years of exile.

Alexander’s Learnathon for Israel: Last Week to Participate!

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Alexander Abramson runs the 2013 ING Miami Marathon
Alexander Abramson runs the 2013 ING Miami Marathon

Alexander has done well with his fundraising efforts to participate in the Boys Israel Leadership Training (BILT) program run by the National Council of Synagogue Youth.  He’s already raised $858 toward his goal of $3,000! To all of you who participated, thanks very much.  If you haven’t yet had a chance, please do so quickly, because the Learnathon ends on Friday, May 23!

Here’s a link to his fundraising page: http://learnathon.ncsy.org/learner/Alexander123/

If you prefer to mail a check, please be sure to indicate it’s for Alexander Abramson and send it to:

NCSY

11 Broadway, 14th Floor

New York, NY 10004

Thanks very much!

Henry (Hillel) Abramson

Proud Parent of a BILT participant

Rabbi Moshe Isserles (The Rema) This Week in Jewish History

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Rabbi Moshe Isserles via Wikimedia Commons
Rabbi Moshe Isserles via Wikimedia Commons

Rabbi Moshe Isserles was an exceptionally important Polish Jew of the 16th century.  His commentary on the Code of Jewish Law brought Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewry together to an unprecedented degree, and established the ascendancy of Polish Jewry over the older German community.