History: Jewish History

Dr. Stuart Apfel

Stuart Apfel is an Associate Professor of Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and at Downstate Medical Center, and has recently become an adjunct faculty member at Yeshiva University where he teaches an undergraduate course in neuroscience. His scientific research has largely focused on the potential clinical application of neurotrophic factors for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy and other neurodegenerative disorders, and on other aspects of translational medicine. He is a founder of Parallax Clinical Research, a consulting firm that works closely with biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies assisting them with advancing potential therapeutics from the laboratory to clinical trials, and ultimately to approval. Dr. Apfel is a popular lecturer at Einstein and Downstate, and has won teaching awards. In addition to his scientific activities, he gives regular shiurim in his community of West Hempstead, and has lectured widely on a variety of Torah related topics, mostly focused on Science and Judaism, Jewish History, and topics in Tanach. Sample Titles The Evolution of the Human Brain Repairing the Nervous System Why do we age, and what can we do about it? Alzheimer’s disease – Can we reduce our risk? From a Single Cell to the Most Complicated Structure in the Known Universe – Embryonic Development of the Brain Our Aging Brain – Can We Keep it Young? Sleep and Dreaming – How and Why Learning and Memory – How it Happens and How to Improve It Understanding Modern Medical Research The Torah Perspective on the Inflationary Universe and Dark Energy Adam and Chava and the Origins of Humanity Talmudic Medicine and other forms of Alternative Medicine Does God Play Dice with the Universe? – Understanding Chance from a Torah Perspective Should a Jew Believe in Evolution? The Mind / Brain / Soul – A Torah, Scientific, and Philosophical Perspective Torah Perspective on the Human Genome Project Orion and the Pleiades from the Perspective of Chazal The God Gene – Are we Genetically Programmed to Believe in God?...

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Rabbi Mordechai Becher

Rabbi Mordechai Becher, originally from Australia, an instructor at the James Striar School of Yeshiva University and a senior lecturer for the Gateways Organization. Rabbi Becher received his ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He taught at Ohr Somayach, Neve Yerushalayim and Darchei Binah in Jerusalem for 15 years, served in the Israel Defence Forces and taught in a number of Rabbinic training programs. His latest book, Gateway to Judaism, published by Shaar Press, is now in its sixth printing. Rabbi Becher has lectured for the UJA, Jewish Federations, the Zionist Organization of America, Hillel and is on the speakers’ bureau of the Israeli Consulate in New York. Rabbi Becher has answered thousands of questions on the Ask-the-Rabbi website, and has taught in Canada, the United States, England, Israel, South Africa, Australia and Russia. Sample Titles “An Eye For An Eye”: What Does it Really Mean? What If We Found Moshe’s Tefillin – Archaeology and Halachah Occupied or Liberated: Whose Land Is It Anyway? Jewish State or State for Jews? The Ideal of a Jewish State in Jewish Thought Cloning in Halachah “Triage” Rationing Resources, and Priorities in Medical Emergencies The Sabbath : Who Invented the Weekend Anyway? Exile of the Body, Exile of the Soul: The Exodus as a Metaphor. Freewill and Conditioning: A Delicate Balance. Jewish Law in a Non-Jewish Society Strings Attached: The Mitzvah of Tzitzit From Cairo to Cambridge: Jewish Treasures of Egypt (Cairo Genizah A/V) A Prophet for Our Time: The Life and Philosophy of Rabbi Samson Raphael...

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Dr. David Berger

David Berger is dean and Ruth and I. Lewis Gordon Professor of Jewish History at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University. For many years he was Broeklundian Professor of History at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He was also President of the Association for Jewish Studies, co-chair of the academic advisory committee of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and has served as a member of the academic committee of the Rothschild Foundation Europe and of the executive committee of the American Academy for Jewish Research, where he is a fellow. He serves on the council of the World Union of Jewish Studies and the editorial board of Tradition. Dean Berger is the author of “The Jewish-Christian Debate in the High Middle Ages,” which was awarded the John Nicholas Brown Prize by the Medieval Academy of America, and co-author of “Judaism’s Encounter with Other Cultures: Rejection or Integration?” a finalist for the Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought. His book, “The Rebbe, the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference,” received the 2003 Samuel Belkin Literary Award. He has written numerous articles on medieval Jewish history, Jewish-Christian relations, anti-Semitism, contemporary Judaism and the intellectual history of the Jews. Dean Berger has been a fellow of the Annenberg Research Institute, a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem and a visiting professor at Yale and Harvard universities. Sample Titles The Messiah and the Redemption: Beliefs, Movements and Calculations from Talmudic Times to the Present The Catholic Church and the Jews: From Crusades, Expulsions and Holocaust to Dialogue and Diplomatic Relations A two or three part series called “Christians and Jews: Interfaith Relations from the Crusades to the Jewish State” Halakhah Confronts a Changing Society: Reflections on the Dynamics of Jewish Law Kiddush Hashem and Conversion from Crusades to Inquisition to Holocaust The Jewish-Christian Debate from Medieval Disputations to Modern...

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Dr. Moshe Bernstein

Dr. Moshe Bernstein is a professor of Bible at Yeshiva College of Yeshiva University. He also taught at Stern College for Women for 20 years. His teaching encompasses both basic and advanced courses, ranging from Introduction to Bible, Biblical Hebrew and Classical Jewish Intellectual History to specialized courses in Literary Approaches to the Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Biblical Interpretation. Dr. Bernstein’s research focuses primarily on Jewish biblical interpretation in antiquity, particularly as witnessed in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Aramaic targumim (translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic). His publications in these areas have earned him international recognition as a distinguished scholar. Dr. Bernstein is a member of the international editorial team responsible for editing and publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in 2001 co-edited three fragmentary Dead Sea Scrolls in the official publication series “Discoveries in the Judean Desert.” In addition to his academic and scholarly activities, Dr. Bernstein is a frequent lecturer on a variety of aspects of Tanakh and Judaism in antiquity at synagogues in the New York area and across the country. Dr. Bernstein is a graduate of Yeshiva College and received his semikha (rabbinic ordination) at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He holds MA and PhD degrees from Fordham University in classical languages. Dr. Bernstein also received a master’s degree in Semitic languages from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, where he later did advanced graduate work in biblical studies. Sample Titles Literary Approaches to Tenakh Biblical Thought: Lamentations, Ecclesiastes (Kohelet), Psalms The Text of Tenakh from Before the Ba’alei Mesorah to Printed Editions Translations of the Bible from the Targumim to ArtScroll The Earliest Biblical Interpretation – Reading the Bible Before There Were Commentaries Medieval Jewish Biblical Interpretation Second Temple Jewish History and...

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Dr. Steven Fine

Dr. Steven Fine is the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Chair in Jewish History at Yeshiva College and Professor of Jewish History at the Bernard Revel Graduate School, director of Center for Israel Studies and head of the department of Jewish history at Yeshiva College. Dr. Fine is a cultural historian, specializing in Jewish history in the Greco-Roman world. Dr. Fine’s unique blend of history, rabbinic literature, archaeology and art is expressed in a broad range of publications. The author of academic monographs, museum catalogs, articles and even a book for children, Dr. Fine’s most recent book is “Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology” (Cambridge, 2005, updated edition, 2009). He is an editor of a “IMAGES: A Journal for the Study of Jewish Art and Visual Culture.” Dr. Fine has lectured throughout the United States, Canada, Israel and Europe. His combination of history, Talmud, archaeology and “bonhomie” make Dr. Fine popular with both Jewish and Christian audiences. Sample Titles Jewish Magic and Healing in the Talmudic Period Archaeology and Zionism Kedushat Beit Ha-Knesset: The Sanctity of the Synagogue The Second Temple in Jewish Art and Thought The Da Vinci Code Illuminates Jewish Art: Explorations with a Real-Life Jewish “Symbologist” Is the Vatican Hiding the Temple Menorah? The Tangible Talmud: Archaeology Illuminates the World of the Ancient Rabbis The Sanctity of the Synagogue: Ancient and Modern Where did Jesus Pray?: Synagogues in First Century Judaea Nicanor’s Beautiful Gate: Donation to the Jerusalem Temple The Zodiac in Jewish Art The Samaritans: Portrait of a Biblical People Archaeological Discoveries that have Changed Jewish...

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Dr. Jeffrey S. Gurock

Dr. Jeffrey S. Gurock is the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University. He is the author or editor of 14 books, including “Orthodox Jews in America,” “Judaism’s Encounter With American Sports,” and “American Jewish Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective.” His “A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community: Mordecai M. Kaplan, Orthodoxy and American Judaism” (Columbia University Press, 1997) was awarded the bi-annual Saul Viener Prize from the American Jewish Historical Society for the best book written in that field. Dr. Gurock is chair of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society and served from 1982 to 2002 as associate editor of “American Jewish History,” the leading academic journal in that field. Sample Titles American Judaism’s Contemporary Scoreboard From Ancient Face-Offs through Medieval Time-Outs: Jewish History and the Culture of Sports Jewish Harlem: Past and Present Reaching American Jewry’s Millennial Generation American Orthodoxy’s Era of Non-Observance How Frum Was Rabbi Jacob Joseph’s Court? A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community An American Jewish Conspiracy Theory: Dr. Bernard Revel, Yeshiva and the Jewish Theological Seminary (A Text Study Workshop) The Religious Values of American Jews: Historically Reconsidered (A Text Study Workshop) The Voices of Immigrant Jewish Masses (A Text Study...

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Dr. Stu Halpern

Dr. Stu Halpern is Chief of Staff to Yeshiva University President Ari Berman, responsible for overseeing the administrative, financial and operational affairs of the Office of President. He provides strategic support to the President, develops and coordinates high-priority initiatives, and serves as the primary liaison between the President and University stakeholders. During his 11 years at Yeshiva University, Dr. Halpern has served in various capacities, including in the Office of Student Life, Academic Advising, The Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, The Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, YU Press, and as a professor of Bible. He has edited or co-edited 14 books, including From Within the Tent: Essays by the Rabbis and Professors of Yeshiva University on the Festival Prayers, Torah and Western Thought: Intellectual Portraits of Orthodoxy and Modernity and Books of the People: Revisiting Classic Works of Jewish Thought.  He has lectured in synagogues, Hillels and adult Jewish educational settings across the U.S.  Dr. Halpern received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Psychology in Education from Teachers College at Columbia University, an MA in Bible from Revel, an MBA in Nonprofit Management from Touro University, and an EdD from the Azrieli Graduate School of Education and Administration. Sample Titles Angels and Demons: The Akedah, the Exodus, and a Pre-Rabbinic Midrash Az Yashir and the Creation Stories of Israel’s Ancient Neighbors Passover Polemics – Judaism, Christianity, and the Fight over the Seder Groundhog Day, Megillat Ruth, and Nighttime Seduction Scenes in Tanakh The Lion, the Pit and the Wardrobe: Daniel, Joseph, Esther and the Struggles of Being a Diaspora Jew Ve-nahafoch-Who? Purim and the Unfinished Business of Megillat Esther If I Forget Thee, O Uruk: The Mourning of Megillat Eicha in the Context of the Ancient World You Can’t Handle the Truth: Biblical Secret Identities and the Message of Yonah The Invisible Spy and the Zealot Who Didn’t Die: Two Ways to Read a Strange Tale of Pinchas “No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition”:...

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Rabbi David Horwitz

Rabbi David Horwitz is a rosh yeshiva and the Rabbi Dovid Lifshitz Professor of Talmud at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. He also is an instructor of Jewish history and Jewish philosophy at Yeshiva College and teaches an advanced shiur (lecture) for the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies. In 1997, Rabbi Horwitz received Yeshiva’s 13th Annual Moshe and Madelaine Baumel Judaic Faculty Incentive Award, which honors outstanding Jewish studies educators at the University and RIETS. Rabbi Horwitz is an alumnus of Yeshiva University High School for Boys (where he won the National Bible Contest, Chidon Hatanach), Yeshiva College, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and received his semikha (rabbinic ordination) from RIETS, where he was a fellow of the Gruss Kollel Elyon. Sample Titles Issues in Sefiras HaOmer Inyanei Pesach Halachic Issues in Japan Sefirat HaOmer – Is Verbalization Necessary? Halakha and the Scientific Revolution Rav Horowitz Sefer Hamadda Human Effort and Determinism in Ralbag Memories of the Rav Torah Umadda Rambam vs The Chachmei Ashkenaz on the Haggadah – some surprising differences An Argument of Rav and Shmuel – Matchil B’Gnut U’Lsayem B’Shevach – Spiritual Redemption and Talmud Torah The Corporate Completeness of Kelal...

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Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel

Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel is the E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law at Yeshiva University. He teaches at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and at Stern College for Women. Professor Kanarfogel is one of the foremost scholars in the fields of medieval Jewish history and rabbinic literature, and is the author five books and more than seventy-five articles. His most recent book, The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz, published in 2013, won the prestigious Goldstein-Goren International Book Prize, along with the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award from the Association of Jewish Studies here in the United States. Rabbi Dr. Kanarfogel has held visiting appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and he has lectured at leading universities throughout the world, including Harvard, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He serves on the Executive Board as Secretary of the American Academy for Jewish Research, the premier scholarly organization for professors of Jewish studies in North America. Ordained at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary where he was a member of the Kollel, he earned his doctorate in medieval Jewish history at the Bernard Revel Graduate School. In 2002, Rabbi Dr. Kanarfogel became the first person to win Yeshiva’s Samuel Belkin Memorial Literary Award on multiple occasions. He is also a winner of the National Jewish Book award. Sample Titles Precedent and Innovation in the Halakhic Process: Conversion and Reversion to Judaism History and Halakhah: Who will Build the Third Beit Ha-Mikdash? Conceptions of the Messianic Age in Medieval Rabbinic Thought Medieval Halakhic Decision-Making and the Implications for...

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Dr. Joshua Karlip

Joshua M. Karlip is Associate Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, where he has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses since 2007.  His scholarship has focused on the relationship between traditional Judaism and modern secular Jewish movements such as Yiddishism.  He addressed this theme in his critically acclaimed book, The Tragedy of a Generation: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe, published by Harvard University Press in 2013.   Karlip’s forthcoming book, Oyfn Sheydveg [At the Crossroads]: Jewish Intellectuals and the Crisis of 1939 is a critical edition of a Yiddish journal that served as a forum for Jewish intellectuals to react to Nazism.  In this book, Karlip will recover this moment of ideological soul searching for the English reading public.  In addition to these volumes, Karlip also contributed a chapter to Jews in the East European Borderlands: Essays in Honor of John D. Klier (Academic Studies Press, 2012).  He has also published articles and book reviews in Jewish Social Studies, the Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook, East European Jewish Affairs, Jewish History, and Polin. In 2009-2010, Karlip served as a Harry Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University.  In 2012, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University.  In 2010-2011, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research awarded Karlip the Natalie and Mendel Racolin Memorial Fellowship.  Since 2011, Karlip has also served as a faculty member in the YIVO-Bard Institute’s Summer Yiddish Program.  Most recently, he was asked to become a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History. Karlip has presented his research to scholars at international conferences in the United States and in Europe.  At the same time, he lectures in synagogues to lay audiences about many aspects of Modern Jewish History, the East European Jewish experience, and the Holocaust. Sample Titles Fiddler on the Roof: Life in the Real Shtetl? The Good Old Days?: Jews in Tsarist Russia Volozhin: The...

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