The Kaf Hachaim, A Mentor To Chacham Ovadia Yosef

While it is often compared to the Mishnah Berurah, as it served as the alternative to the Mishnah Berurah throughout the Sephardic world, it differs greatly both in structure and approach to halacha.

Mazel Tov Judah!

In honor of my grandson’s bar mitzvah, and in honor of what I hope and pray will be a long lifetime of his putting on tefillin every day, I have selected for this article some of my favorite bar mitzvah and tefillin items from my collection.

The History Of The Codex Sassoon

Despite thousands of years of exile and persecution of the Jewish people, the Tanach we have today is remarkably intact and precise and demonstrably the same text used by our ancestors thousands of years ago.

The Antisemitism And Jewish Origins Of Dracula

By feeding off upstanding English citizens, Stoker’s Dracula maintains the survival of his race, just as Jews newly arrived in Great Britain sustain themselves by usurping money and wealth through devious means, leaving their victims” dry.

Piyutim Longing To Return To Eretz Yisrael

This tome can thus serve as a study of the evolution of the Sephardic Hebrew script, so very different from those used by the Ashkenazi Jews in the nearby countries of Central Europe.

How The Bezalel Academy Was Born

A word of caution to collectors of Bezalel: Beware of forgeries. Since prices for some Bezalel items began reaching five figures at auctions starting in the late 1990s, an entire industry of counterfeit Bezalel items has been created by the unscrupulous...

Ruth And Shavuot

Interestingly, by accepting the Torah, the Jewish people took on 606 new mitzvot – there were already sheva mitzvot B’nei Noach (the seven commandments that had been given to non-Jews at the time of Noah) – and the name “Ruth” in Hebrew has the numerical value of 606.

A Doomsday Prophet In 1934

The author had messianic ambitions and the book contained many prophecies and doomsday projections of what will befall world Jewry if they do not repent.

The Judaism Of Benjamin Cardozo: The True First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice

While Cardozo accepted membership in the Century Club, an elite and exclusive Washington club that discriminated against Jews – for which he was criticized by Felix Frankfurter, his later successor on the Supreme Court, and others – he also proudly joined the Judean Club.

The First Three UN Secretaries-General And Israel: Dag Hammarskjold, Trygve Lie, And U Thant

During his time in office, Thant oversaw the entry into the UN of dozens of new Asian and African states, and he was a steadfast opponent of South African apartheid.

Rabbi Yechezkel HaLevi Landau

The document was written by the Noda Beyehuda, to his employers, the parnassim (community leaders) of Prague, confirming receipt for his salary as Chief Rabbi of the city.

Frankenstein And The Golem

Some critics suggest that the Frankenstein monster was named after Jacob Frank who, at the time that Shelley wrote her novel, was perhaps not only the dominant issue in the Jewish world of Eastern Europe but was very well known in non-Jewish circles as well.

Manuscript Handwritten By The Vilna Gaon

Occasionally there are extraordinary purchases, which cause even an experienced bookseller to get emotional.

The Evolution Of Israel’s Declaration Of Independence From America’s Declaration

In fact, it was not Ben Gurion who came up with the phrase but, rather, he put forth the language that Beham had used in his draft weeks earlier before the politicians became involved in redrafting the document.

A Eulogizer Of Rav Chaim Volozhin And Supporter Of Maskilim

R. Tzvi Hirsch Katzenelebogen was born in to a wealthy family in Vilna, though a rabbi and associated with many of the greatest Orthodox rabbis of the day, he was also from the first to embrace Haskalah worldview.

The Antisemitism Of Roald Dahl

In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the enigmatic factory, which operates behind mammoth locked iron gates – and from where no one ever comes out – continuously belches pillars of smoke out into the air, an unmistakable analogy to Nazi crematoria.

Pesach Art – And A Voice From The Past

For this column, I thought I would share some interesting items relating to Pesach that have appeared at auction, are in a museum, or are from my personal collection.

Emperor Franz Joseph And The Jews . . . And The Shadal

The Shadal’s beliefs, teaching, and writings were characterized by the strictest fidelity to halacha, and he was perhaps the fiercest critic of Jewish Science and higher Torah criticism.

Documenting Life In A Chumash

At the end of Vayikra, several blank leaves were bound, containing eight handwritten pages, with a detailed report of the extreme weather conditions during the autumn and winter of the following years: 1839, 1842, 1844, 1847, 1850, 1852, 1854, 1855, 1856, 1860 and 1861.

Passover Greetings Between Israeli Political Leaders And Leading Rabbanim

R. Auerbach’s recognition of the State of Israel was so profound that he ascribed to it the term “The Kingdom of Israel,” a term which he applied broadly to a broad range of halachic issues, such as the definition of Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Tuvia Yehuda Ben Alexander Tzvi Guttentag, Av Bet Din Of Sochocin

At end of his writings in this volume, R. Guttentag writes in Hebrew "These comments were written in the city of Kolshek, in 1903, in my stay there for a few days while in hiding from the ambushing Russians who were searching for me to conscript me to the Army."

Two Great Jewish Animation Luminaries: Friz Freling And Mel Blanc

Freleng, who was self-taught and had no formal training in animation, began his incredible career at United Film Advancement Services at age 17, where he met a fellow animator who later introduced him to Walt Disney, who invited him to join the Disney Studio in California.

Antisemitism Throughout The Ages

The Jews of Ponovezh were from the first to suffer. In the spring of 1915, the Germans had approached the Baltic coast, Zeimelis and Bauska. Nikolai Nikolaevich, the Tsar’s uncle, had to explain the defeat and he accused all Jews as being spies and expelled them all in 24 hours.

The Dreyfus Affair: A Tale Of Two Graphologists

Carvalho’s broad public fame was not based entirely upon his critical role in the Dreyfus case, which was but one of the many famous cases in which he served as a graphology expert.

A Real Travesty: Forged Hebrew Engraving

They were made in huge numbers – many tens of thousands – and as such, are easily found in the marketplace. Whether Russian or Latvian in origin, the value is the same: $150-$200 per cup.

How Jews In Palestine Helped Their Brethren During The Holocaust

The Jewish Agency has accepted upon itself the responsibility for the children of the diaspora, to bring them to Eretz Yisrael and settle them in Eretz Yisrael.

Purim Miscellany With Intriguing Backstories

Beautiful flowers will grow in the garden, they are the Children of Israel. From the heat of the sun they will swim, from heaven’s dew they will bloom again!

The Rebbe Rayatz’s Role During The Holocaust

His few months in Riga, from Dec 1939 to early 1940 when this letter was sent, found the Rebbe in the midst of a huge displacement of Jews and every attempt was made to ensure the escape of every person possible.

LBJ: An Unheralded Holocaust Hero

LBJ was an important initiator in providing American aid to Israel. As early as 1951, with Israel in desperate need of money and material to settle the massive influx of Jewish immigrants, he successfully lobbied the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for $150 million (equivalent to $1.66 billion in 2022 dollars) in support.

Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Grodzinsky

Omaha's relative isolation as a Jewish community allowed Rav Grodzinsky to focus more of his time on his writings, and in the ensuing decades, he wrote and published an impressive array of halakhic works.


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