Articles on Jewish history

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The biblical book of Ezekiel describes a vision of the divine that medieval philosophers understood as revealing the connection between religion and science. By Matthaeus Merian (1593-1650)

When religion sided with science: Medieval lessons for surviving COVID-19

Those experiencing stress and uncertainty amid the coronavirus may find guidance in medieval responses to plagues, which relied on both medicine and prayer.
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man is arrested by Israeli security forces for resisting efforts to shut down a synagogue in the Me’a She’arim neighborhood in Jerusalem, April 17, 2020. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

Jewish history explains why some ultra-Orthodox communities defy coronavirus restrictions

Persecution is central to Jewish collective memory. So when armed police entered ultra-Orthodox areas of Jerusalem to close synagogues due to COVID-19, some residents reacted with fear and suspicion.
George Dreyfus, centre, holding a bassoon and Walter Wurzburger, far left, holding a clarinet. JC Williamson production 1949

Loss, trials, and compassion: the music of Australia’s Jewish refugees

In the late 1930s, Australia sought to restrict the flow of refugees, ruling that musicians were 'unsuitable' as migrants. Yet some talented Jewish musicians did arrive here and their work has enriched our cultural life.
Ted Cruz speaks at a rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Randall Hill/Reuters

Ted Cruz’s linguistic chutzpah

Is 'chutzpah' actually – as Ted Cruz claimed – a New York word? And what's with the candidate's insistence on distancing himself from New York City?
Otto Dov Kulka in Terezín, 1960s. Archive of Security Services (ABS), Czech Republic

Can we question Holocaust memoirs?

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, the victims of the Holocaust stand, with a good reason, at the centre of our attention. It is survivors’ memoirs that shaped…
Instead of dying out, Anti-Semitic myths have withstood the test of time.

The greatest zombie lie ever told

Eight hundred years ago, a monk named Thomas of Monmouth wrote a bogus account of the life of St. William, a Christian boy supposedly abducted by “the Jews” of Norwich. A boy – “like an innocent lamb…
Historical records will be vital in deciding who has a Sephardic Jewish heritage and is therefore potentially eligible for Spanish citizenship. Flickr/michalska1

Spain moves to right a 522-year wrong, but still overlooks some

The Spanish government has approved a draft law that grants citizenship to Jews whose ancestors were expelled over 500 years ago. This follows the approval of a similar law in Portugal last year. In 1492…
Schama’s controlled emotion made for gripping viewing. Financial Times photos

Story of the Jews: Schama got it in the neck, but got it right

In nearly 40 years of teaching Jewish Studies at university the course I found hardest to deliver was my first-year “Introduction to Judaism”. It didn’t get any easier: the more I learned, the more I agonised…

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