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New Article: Military Conquest and Private Ownership in Jewish and Islamic Law

This looks like a very interesting article, “The Effect of Military Conquest on Private Ownership in Jewish and Islamic Law.” This article presents the legal outlooks of two fundamental religious judicial systems—the halakha of Judaism and the shari’a of Islam—on the effect of war on private ownership. Specifically, we address the situation in which the […]

History of the Jewish Calendar

Moshe Benovitz has written a nice overview of the history of the Jewish lunisolar calendar. It is true that the ancient Egyptians, Persians and Romans had solar calendars of various types, but the lunisolar calendar was more prevalent: it was common to the Celts of Gaul, most of the ancient Greeks, the Sumerians, the Babylonians, […]

Prof. Aaron Kirschenbaum z”l

The scholar of Jewish law Prof. Aaron Kirschenbaum z”l has passed away. It is difficult to summarize Prof. Kirschenbaum’s scholarly achievements, they range from popular booklets on studying Talmud to a massive tome on self-incrimination in the history of Jewish and Roman Law. A web site dedicated to his scholarship has begun to be built and […]

JTS Booksale December 2015

More MSS from the British Library

The British Library has just uploaded more than three hundred Hebrew MSS. They have uploaded some beautiful medieval Hebrew manuscripts. Details and some images can be found in this post. A list of the Hebrew manuscripts online can be found here.

Today’s Historic Rabbanut Exams

After a legal battle, today four women are taking (H) the Israeli Chief Rabbinate semikhah exam in the laws of kashrut. Last year the religious women’s organization Emunah petitioned the High Court of Justice to force the Rabbinate to allow women to take the exam and become mashgihot kashrut (kashrut supervisors). In December, before the High […]

What’s With Those Hamentashen

David Golinkin has a nice overview of customs relating to different foods that are or were eaten on Purim. One of the foods mentioned by various rabbis was “Purim kreplech”. This custom is first mentioned by Rabbi Yozl Hochshtadt who says that his teacher Rabbi Yisrael Isserlein (d. 1460) did not want to eat kreplech […]

Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef and the Tears of the Oppressed

Yesterday, Rabbi Benny Lau wrote on Facebook a very moving post about Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. The Israel Democracy Institute has translated the post and it is well worth reading. Below is an excerpt that gives a taste of what Rabbi Lau witnessed one day at Rav Ovadiah’s home. The place: The home of Rabbi Ovadia […]

Ladino in the Shulhan Arukh

Have you ever wondered what the word אשטרינג”×” means? If so, read this very useful article that lists all of the Ladino words in the Shulḥan Arukh with translations, אליעזר פאפו, אוצר המלים השאולות מלאדינו בשולחן ערוך. If you were wondering, אשטרינג”×” is from the Ladino word estringra and it is a thread or string […]

Women in the Cairo Geniza

Renée Levine Melammed describes here a new research project that will examine the lives of women as reflected in the Cairo Geniza. [The] plan is to prepare two volumes, one containing the original Judeo-Arabic transcriptions alongside a Hebrew translation, and another with translations of the documents into English. In addition, the material will be organized […]

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