Posts Tagged ‘Judaism’


Darío Fernández-Morera on Andalusian Spain

From approximately 711 A.D. to the end of the 13th century, the majority of Spain was ruled by Muslims, with Christian rule finally unifying the country in the late 15th century . Prof. Darío Fernandez-Morera examines the history of al-Andalus and argues that this historical epoch was not necessarily a time of religious harmony and “convivencia” that many contemporary scholars claim. We examine the political, economic, and social status of Christians and Jews, as well as women, during this time period.

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Elie Estrin on the History and Traditions of Chanukah

With Chanukah season upon us, we invite Rabbi Elie Estrin, director of the University of Washington’s Chabad, to explain the history, meaning, and traditions of the holiday. We cover recent archaeological discoveries in Israel, different ways Chanukah has been celebrated over time, and what it is like celebrating Jewish holidays in a predominately Christian nation. For those not familiar with Chanukah, this is a wonderful introduction and Rabbi Estrin also connects it to the importance of religious liberty in our contemporary world.

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Daniel Libenson on Present and Future Judaism

In a wonderful complement to last week’s episode, Daniel Libenson — creator of jUChicago and The Institute for the Next Jewish Future — discusses the religious challenges facing Judaism in contemporary America and what might need to happen in the future. We explore these issues through the lens of his work with Hillel and his other institutional creations, and how he is using “design thinking” to provide creative ways to engage secular Jews in their historical faith.

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Carmel Chiswick on the Economics of Being Jewish in America.

How does an economist discuss being a religious minority in America? Prof. Carmel Chiswick returns to the podcast to discuss her new book “Judaism in Transition.” Using the tools of economics — particularly the concepts of full price, time costs, and human capital — explains the challenges American Jews face in a Christian culture and how Judaism has changed over time to reflect responses to various costs and benefits. We also talk about some of the newer demographic challenges facing Jews, including intermarriage, later marriage, and empty nesters.

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Jim Papandrea on Christianity’s Seven Revolutions

Author and professor Jim Papandrea returns to our podcast to discuss his new book “Seven Revolutions,” explaining how Christianity helped to alter our perceptions of, and actions toward, the human rights, community responsibility, and governance. We discuss what historical changes occurred in Christianity’s first four centuries and what that historical experience can tell us about religion’s role in the “post-Christian era” of today.

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Carmel Chiswick on the Economics of American Judaism

Carmel Chiswick (University of Illinois, Chicago and the George Washington University) discusses the economics of American Judaism, showing how higher wage rates and the “cost of time” shaped the way that Jewish immigrants practiced their faith. We look primarily at the German and Russian/East German Jewish immigration of the 19th century and how the socio-economic circumstances of those groups shaped the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements. Our conversation also covers the issues of immigration, education, and assimilation, ending with a discussion of what America Judaism looks like today, what it is likely to become, and how it is influencing Judaism worldwide.

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Timothy Shah on the Case for Religious Liberty

What case can be made for promoting religious freedom worldwide? Prof. Timothy Shah discusses the moral, political, and strategic reasons why religious liberty is a crucial human right and why it is often called “the first freedom.” He reviews the justifications for religious freedom from three different faith traditions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — as well as the ontological reasons why religion should be considered for special consideration in debates about human rights. Tony even uses the word ontology in the discussion, but don’t let that scare you off since he didn’t know what it meant until very recently and our conversation is both enlightening and extremely accessible.

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Rodney Stark on the Triumph of Christianity, Part 1

How does a small group of invididuals in a religiously-hostile environment build a sectarian movement of Judaism into the world’s largest faith tradition? Prof. Rodney Stark (Baylor) discusses the important sociological ingredients for Christianity’s success in the first three centuries of its existence. We examine the religious landscape at the time of Jesus’s birth (including both paganism and Judaism), as well as the sometimes surprising role of that mercy, persecution, wealthy individuals, and gender played in the growth of Christianity.

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Mark Glickman on the Cairo Genizah

It is amazing what can be found hidden in plain sight! Rabbi Mark Glickman recounts the tale of the discovery of valuable Jewish documents located in the genizah of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt during the late 19th century. While many individuals knew there was a storehouse of old documents in this synagogue, it wasn’t until Rabbi Solomon Schechter of Cambridge University got hold of a snippet of the Ben Sirah manuscript that anyone realized how remarkably valuable these documents “hidden in plain sight” were. Rabbi Glickman takes us on the journey of discovery, reveals the treasures contained in these documents, and tells his own story of his visit to the Cairo Genizah. A “must listen to” podcast for those interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Brant Pitre on the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

Noted Catholic theologian Brant Pitre examines the roots of the Eucharist, taking us back to the time of Exodus and revealing how various Jewish rituals played an important role in the Last Supper. This podcast offers an interesting blend of Jewish & Christian theology with lush historical description regarding what religious rituals looked like at the time of Christ.

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