Jewish Texts that Didn’t Make it into the Bible

What happens to our ideas of the present when we shift our perspective on the past?  What do the little-known Jewish texts that didn’t make it into the Bible as we know it today teach us about Jewish life in the pre-Rabbinic period? See the highlights of an interview on The Jewish Channel’s Up Close. (The complete episode is available at TJC on-demand on cable. Complete audio is available on the TJC website.)

Interview begins at approximately 4:50.

New Order in the Neighborhood

Collapse of Iraq has changed Israel’s position on the Middle East chessboard

New Order in the NeighborhoodWhile the ongoing rocket fire from Gaza and the Israeli military operation intending to stop it and to protect the citizens of Israel are apparently moving toward a denouement, it is important to remember that this struggle is part of a wider process of geopolitical change going on in the Middle East. Israelis often say that “we live in a dangerous neighborhood,” but what they perhaps need to add, at least now, is that they live in a neighborhood in which a tremendous amount is changing.

Read the rest of this article from the Long Island Jewish World.

The Jewish-Christian Schism

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Schisms in Jewish History
Jewish Christian Schism, Paul of Tarsus

Rembrandt’s Paul of Tarsus

It  was not long, however, until a different schism was  to have markedly different results. Among the sects of the Second Temple period, one of the major controversies concerned the Messianic idea.  Whereas many Jews saw the Messianic age as coming in the far off future, others took a more apocalyptic view, expecting the end of days to emerge very soon out of the struggles and suffering of the present age. Such tendencies ultimately helped to foster the conditions necessary for the rise of Christianity.

Early in the first century C.E. there coalesced around Jesus a group of disciples attracted to his teachings and to his expectations of the dawn of a new age. His crucifixion at the hands of the Romans transformed him in the eyes of his disciples into a Messianic figure, whose death in some way paved the way for redemption. As such, his followers, still living as Jews and basically following the mandates of Jewish law, were distinguished only by their belief that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus.

In  the aftermath of the destruction, the tannaim attempted to draw… Continue reading