The World of Early Judaism

Lawrence SchiffmanIn this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we discuss the evolution from early Judaism to modern observance, as well as the outcomes of superimposing ancient Judaism onto our present day understandings.

  • Who is a “common Jew”?
  • Is Jewish disunity as modern as we think it is?
  • Why would one cling to modern Judaism despite its evolution over history?

Tune in to hear a conversation on the development of Judaism and how faith must be the answer when history fails us.

Interview begins at 23:48.

What’s Really in the Vatican Library?

Vatican LibraryDisspelling some misconconceptions about the Vatican’s collections of Jewish manuscripts

I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked whether the Vatican has the menorah from the Beis Hamikdash. (The answer is no.) But I am never asked about the more then 600 Hebrew manuscripts they do have, which have been available to the scholarly community for years.

Read the rest of What’s Really in the Vatican Library? in Ami Magazine.

Clues from the Past

Clues from the Past - Hamat Teveryah

By Bukvoed – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

The ruins of ancient synagogues reveal secrets that explain our traditions

The story of archaeology in Eretz Yisrael began in 1920-21 when Nahum Slouschz (1872-1966), under the auspices of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society, undertook the excavation of one of the two ancient synagogues at Hamat Teveryah, just south of the city of Tiberias. This was a watershed event, as it was the first archaeological dig conducted under Jewish auspices. Yes, the first Jewish dig was a shul! This synagogue stood at the southern end of the city on the shore of the Kineret. It may have been built as early as 250 CE but was expanded in the fourth to fifth centuries and seems to have been in use up until the 11th century. Today, the remains of this synagogue are under a hotel.

Read more of Clues from the Past in Ami Magazine.