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Archive for Jewish-Gentile Relations

Panel Discussion at CJH-Not By Bread Alone: How Traditionalists Survived Modernity

This Thursday night, November 14, at the Center for Jewish History will be the following panel discussion: Join a provocative discussion on the resilience and adaptability of traditionalism. During the late 19th century, most East European Jews still consented to rabbinic authority, conformed to traditional gender norms, and remained attuned to the rhythms of halakhah. […]

Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland

Glenn Dynner, the author of Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish Society, has a new book that is available for pre-order, Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland. In nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, the Jewish-run tavern was often the center of leisure, hospitality, business, and even religious festivities. This […]

Book Review: Defining Jewish Difference

Joshua Schwartz has written a very positive review of Beth Berkowitz’s book about Hukkot ha-Goyim (“The Laws of the Nations”) and the history of the interpretation of Leviticus 18:3, Defining Jewish Difference: From Antiquity to the Present. This is an absolutely outstanding work. While the scope and extent of the material studied are amazing, the […]

Eruvin 67-68: Talmudic Manuscripts and the Shabbes Goy

[The following post is a revision of two posts from six years ago.] Followers of Daf Yomi recently read one of the most important Talmudic sources that addresses the question of a Shabbes Goy, i.e. a non-Jew who performs an act on behalf of a Jew that is prohibited for a Jew to do. On […]

Geza Vermes RIP

The important scholar of Ancient Judaism, Christianity, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Geza Vermes (1924-2013) has passed away. Besides his important scholarly output, Vermes has an incredible personal story. He was born to Jewish parents in Hungary, and when he was seven years-old he and his parents converted to Catholocism. His parents were then killed […]

New Book: Socratic Torah

I want to congratulate my friend Jenny Labendz on the publication of her book Socratic Torah: Non-Jews in Rabbinic Intellectual Culture. The relationship of the rabbis of Late Antique Palestine to their non-Jewish neighbors, rulers, and interlocutors was complex and often fraught. Jenny R. Labendz investigates the rabbis’ self-perception and their self-fashioning within this non-Jewish social […]

Fasting on the Minor Fast Days

When addressing the parameters of fasting on one of the minor fast days, we read in the Gemara on Rosh ha-Shannah 18b: אמר רב חנא בר ביזנא אמר רב שמעון חסידא: מאי דכתיב (זכריה ח) כה אמר ה’ צבאות צום הרביעי וצום החמישי וצום השביעי וצום העשירי יהיה לבית יהודה לששון ולשמחה. קרי להו צום, […]

Saadia Gaon and the Quran

The blog of the Revel Graduate School at YU has a very interesting summary of a talk given by Prof. Meir Bar Asher on the relationship between Saadia Gaon, his commentary on the Torah, the Quran, and Quranic interpretation. It makes for a great read on how knowledge of other religious and exegetical traditions can […]

The Legal Allegiances of Christians and Jews under Early Islam

H-Judaic has a review of Uriel I. Simonsohn’s A Common Justice: The Legal Allegiances of Christians and Jews under Early Islam. In the year 1030 CE, Shelomo ben Yehuda, the Palestinian gaon (medieval Jewish religious authority), wrote a letter lamenting the impossible position he and his fellow leaders were in. As someone charged with upholding […]

New Book: Isaac On Jewish and Christian Altars

Devorah Schoenfeld has published Isaac On Jewish and Christian Altars: Polemic and Exegesis in Rashi and the Glossa Ordinaria. Devorah Schoenfeld’s new work offers an in-depth examination of two of the most influential Christian and Jewish Bible commentaries of the High Middle Ages. The Glossa Ordinaria and Rashi’s commentary were standard texts for Bible study […]

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