LECTURE: FROM SECTARIANISM TO CONSENSUS: THE RISE OF RABBINIC JUDAISM

Second TempleThe late Second Temple period was an era of spiritual and religious ferment that manifested itself in a variety of Jewish groups. Each sect had its own approach to Jewish Law, religious and national identity, and social constructs. The competition among these groups eventually contributed to the Great Revolt against Rome (66-73 CE) and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. In the aftermath of the destruction, a consensus eventually emerged around rabbinic Judaism that would sustain the Jewish people for two millennia. Based on both textual sources and archaeological discoveries, this presentation reconstructs the nature and trajectory of this process and its testimony to the vitality of the Jewish tradition.

  B’nai Israel Congregation6301 Montrose RoadRockville, MD, 20852

See the website of Haberman Institute for Jewish Studies for more information.

Masada and its scrolls

Jews? What Jews?When Yigael Yadin began to excavate Masada in 1963, the possibility of finding ancient manuscripts was but a dream. But this dream would be fulfilled in just a few weeks, as excavators combed a room inside the casemate wall of the fortress. When the manuscripts were opened, Yadin realized that he had found a copy of a quasi-mystical text entitled “Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice” or “Angelic Liturgy,” copies of which had been found at Qumran but which still awaited publication.

This discovery led to the obvious question: how did Masada and the texts discovered there relate to the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran?

Read the rest of this article at The Jerusalem Report.

Why Accusations That NYU Is Anti-Semitic Are Unwarranted

Lawrence SchiffmanIn 1974, I came to New York University’s Washington Square campus as a young instructor of Hebrew. With my kipa and beard, it was obvious that I was an Orthodox Jew. Some 45 years later, I can look back and say that I have received all of the respect and friendliness that anyone could expect, never witnessing anything that can be described as anti-Semitism.

So, I was shocked to hear that I was working on a supposedly anti-Semitic campus, a charge stemming from a phony “boycott” of NYU Tel Aviv led by a single NYU department, the department of social and cultural analysis, which has nothing to do with NYU Tel Aviv, and a rogue student address delivered at a graduate school commencement. These actions violate the principles on which NYU was built and have been widely condemned on campus.       

Read the rest of this article at The New York Jewish Week.