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The Talmud (Hebrew: talmd "instruction, learning", from a root lmd "teach, study") is a central text of mainstream Judaism, in the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history.

The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law; and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh.

The terms Talmud and Gemara are often used interchangeably. The Gemara is the basis for all codes of rabbinic law and is much quoted in other rabbinic literature. The whole Talmud is also traditionally referred to as Shas ("), a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, the "six orders" of the Mishnah.

Originally, Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the law (the written law expressed in the Hebrew Bible) and discussed the Tanakh without the benefit of written works (other than the Biblical books themselves), though some may have made private notes (megillot setarim), for example of court decisions. This situation changed drastically, however, mainly as the result of the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth in the year 70 CE and the consequent upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. As the Rabbis were required to face a new realitymainly Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without autonomythere was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.[1][2]The earliest recorded oral law may have been of the midrashic form, in which halakhic discussion is structured as exegetical commentary on the Pentateuch. But an alternative form, organized by subject matter instead of by biblical verse, became dominant about the year 200 C.E., when Rabbi Judah haNasi redacted the Mishnah ().

The Oral Law was far from monolithic; rather, it varied among various schools. The most famous two were the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. In general, all valid opinions, even the non-normative ones, were recorded in the Talmud.

The six orders (sedarim, singular - seder) of general subject matter the Talmud are divided into 60 or 63 tractates (masekhtot, singular - masekhet) of more focused subject compilations. Each tractate is divided into chapters (perakim, singular - perek), 517 in total, that are both numbered according to the Hebrew alphabet and given names, usually using the first one or two words in the first mishah. The perek may continue over several to tens of pages (dafim, singular - daf; also known as blat) of the Talmud, which are cited in English-language works with Arabic numerals, each side referred to as Alef or Bet. Each perek will contain several mishnayot[3] with their accompanying exchanges that form the "building-blocks" of the Gemara; the name for a passage of gemara is a sugya (; plural sugyot). A sugya, including baraita or tosefta, will typically comprise a detailed proof-based elaboration of a Mishnaic statement, whether halakhic or aggadic. A sugya may, and often does range widely off the subject of the mishnah. The sugya is not punctuated in the conventional sense used in the English language, but by using specific expressions that help to divide the sugya into components, usually including a statement, a question on the statement, an answer, a proof for the answer or a refutation of the answer with its own proof.

In a given sugya, scriptural, Tannaic and Amoraic statements are brought to support the various opinions. In so doing, the Gemara will bring semantic disagreements between Tannaim and Amoraim (often ascribing a view to an earlier authority as to how he may have answered a question), and compare the Mishnaic views with passages from the Baraita. Rarely are debates formally closed; in many instances, the final word determines the practical law, although there are many exceptions to this principle.

The Mishnah is a compilation of legal opinions and debates. Statements in the Mishnah are typically terse, recording brief opinions of the rabbis debating a subject; or recording only an unattributed ruling, apparently representing a consensus view. The rabbis recorded in the Mishnah are known as Tannaim.

Since it sequences its laws by subject matter instead of by biblical context, the Mishnah discusses individual subjects more thoroughly than the Midrash, and it includes a much broader selection of halakhic subjects than the Midrash. The Mishnah's topical organization thus became the framework of the Talmud as a whole. But not every tractate in the Mishnah has a corresponding Gemara. Also, the order of the tractates in the Talmud differs in some cases from that in the Mishnah (see the discussion on each order).

In addition to the Mishnah, other tannaitic teachings were current at about the same time or shortly thereafter. The Gemara frequently refers to these tannaitic statements in order to compare them to those contained in the Mishnah and to support or refute the propositions of Amoraim. All such non-Mishnaic tannaitic sources are termed baraitot (lit. outside material, "Works external to the Mishnah"; sing. baraita ).The baraitot cited in the Gemara are often quotations from the Tosefta (a tannaitic compendium of halakha parallel to the Mishnah) and the Halakhic Midrashim (specifically Mekhilta, Sifra and Sifre). Some baraitot, however, are known only through traditions cited in the Gemara, and are not part of any other collection.

In the three centuries following the redaction of the Mishnah, rabbis throughout Palestine and Babylonia analyzed, debated and discussed that work. These discussions form the Gemara (). Gemara means completion (from the Hebrew gamar : "to complete") or "learning" ( from the Aramaic: "to study"). The Gemara mainly focuses on elucidating and elaborating the opinions of the Tannaim. The rabbis of the Gemara are known as Amoraim (sing. Amora ).

Much of the Gemara consists of legal analysis. The starting point for the analysis is usually a legal statement found in a Mishnah. The statement is then analyzed and compared with other statements used in different approaches to Biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism (or - simpler - interpretation of text in Torah study) exchanges between two (frequently anonymous and sometimes metaphorical) disputants, termed the makshan (questioner) and tartzan (answerer). Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct Biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as talmud long before the existence of the "Talmud" as a text.[4]

The Talmud is a wide-ranging document that touches on a great many subjects. Traditionally Talmudic statements can be classified into two broad categories, Halakhic and Aggadic statements. Halakhic statements are those which directly relate to questions of Jewish law and practice (Halakha). Aggadic statements are those which are not legally related, but rather are exegetical, homiletical, ethical or historical in nature. See Aggadah for further discussion.

The process of "Gemara" proceeded in the two major centers of Jewish scholarship, the Land of Israel and Babylonia. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Jerusalem Talmud or the Talmud Yerushalmi. It was compiled sometime during the fourth century in Israel. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500 C.E., although it continued to be edited later. The word "Talmud", when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud.

A page of a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript, from the Cairo Genizah.

The Jerusalem Talmud, also known as the Palestinian Talmud, was one of the two compilations of Jewish religious teachings and commentary that was transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in Palestine.[5] It is a compilation of teachings of the schools of Tiberias, Sepphoris and Caesarea. It is written largely in a western Aramaic dialect that differs from its Babylonian counterpart.

This Talmud is a synopsis of the analysis of the Mishnah that was developed over the course of nearly 200 years by the Academies in Israel (principally those of Tiberias and Caesaria.) Because of their location, the sages of these Academies devoted considerable attention to analysis of the agricultural laws of the Land of Israel. Traditionally, this Talmud was thought to have been redacted in about the year 350 C.E. by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi in the Land of Israel. It is traditionally known as the Talmud Yerushalmi ("Jerusalem Talmud"), but the name is a misnomer, as it was not prepared in Jerusalem. It has more accurately been called the The Talmud of the Land of Israel.[6] It has also often been referred to as the Palestinian Talmud, especially in sources that predate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Its final redaction probably belongs to the end of the fourth century, but the individual scholars who brought it to its present form cannot be fixed with assurance. By this time Christianity had become the state religion of the Roman Empire and Jerusalem the holy city of Christendom. In 325 CE Constantine, the first Christian emperor, said "let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd.[7] This policy made a Jew an outcast and pauper. The compilers of the Jerusalem Talmud consequently lacked the time to produce a work of the quality they had intended. The text is evidently incomplete and is not easy to follow. The apparent cessation of work on the Jerusalem Talmud in the fifth century has been associated with the decision of in Theodosius II in 425 C.E. to suppress the Patriarchate and put an end to the practice of formal scholarly ordination. Some modern scholars have questioned this connection: for more detail see Jerusalem Talmud#Place and date of composition.

Despite its incomplete state, the Jerusalem Talmud remains an indispensable source of knowledge of the development of the Jewish Law in the Holy Land. It was also an important resource in the study of the Babylonian Talmud by the Kairouan school of Hananel ben Hushiel and Nissim Gaon, with the result that opinions ultimately based on the Jerusalem Talmud found their way into both the Tosafot and the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides.

There are traditions that hold that in the Messianic Age the Jerusalem Talmud will have priority over the Babylonian. This may be interpreted as meaning that, following the restoration of the Sanhedrin and the line of ordained scholars, the work will be completed and "out of Zion shall go the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem". Accordingly, following the formation of the state of Israel there is some interest in restoring Eretz Yisrael traditions. For example, Rabbi David Bar-Hayim of the Machon Shilo institute has issued a siddur reflecting Eretz Yisrael practice as found in the Jerusalem Talmud and other sources.

The Talmud Bavli was transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in Babylon about the 5th century CE.[8]

A full set of the Babylonian Talmud.

Talmud Bavli (the "Babylonian Talmud") comprises the Mishnah and the Babylonian Gemara, the latter representing the culmination of more than 300 years of analysis of the Mishnah in the Babylonian Academies. The foundations of this process of analysis were laid by Rab, a disciple of Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. Tradition ascribes the compilation of the Babylonian Talmud in its present form to two Babylonian sages, Rav Ashi and Ravina. Ashi was president of the Sura Academy from 375 to 427 CE. The work begun by Ashi was completed by Ravina, who is traditionally regarded as the final Amoraic expounder. Accordingly, traditionalists argue that Ravina's death in 499 CE is the latest possible date for the completion of the redaction of the Talmud. However, even on the most traditional view a few passages are regarded as the work of a group of rabbis who edited the Talmud after the end of the Amoraic period, known as the Saboraim or Rabbanan Savora'e (meaning "reasoners" or "considerers").

The question as to when the Gemara was finally put into its present form is not settled among modern scholars. Some, like Louis Jacobs, argue that the main body of the Gemara is not simple reportage of conversations, as it purports to be, but a highly elaborate structure contrived by the Saboraim, who must therefore be regarded as the real authors. On this view the text did not reach its final form until around 700. Some modern scholars use the term Stammaim (from the Hebrew Stam, meaning "closed", "vague" or "unattributed") for the authors of unattributed statements in the Gemara. (See eras within Jewish law.)

There are significant differences between the two Talmud compilations. The language of the Jerusalem Talmud is a western Aramaic dialect which differs from the form of Aramaic found in the Babylonian Talmud. The Talmud Yerushalmi is often fragmentary and difficult to read, even for experienced Talmudists. The redaction of the Talmud Bavli, on the other hand, is more careful and precise. The law as laid down in the two compilations is basically similar, except in emphasis and in minor details. The Jerusalem Talmud has not received much attention from commentators, and such traditional commentaries as exist are mostly concerned with comparing its teachings to those of the Talmud Bavli.

Neither the Jerusalem nor the Babylonian Talmud covers the entire Mishnah: for example, a Babylonian Gemara exists only for 37 out of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah. In particular:

The Babylonian Talmud records the opinions of the rabbis of Israel as well as of those of Babylonia, while the Jerusalem Talmud only seldom cites the Babylonian rabbis. The Babylonian version also contains the opinions of more generations because of its later date of completion. For both these reasons it is regarded as a more comprehensive collection of the opinions available. On the other hand, because of the centuries of redaction between the composition of the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmud, the opinions of early amoraim might be closer to their original form in the Jerusalem Talmud.

The influence of the Babylonian Talmud has been far greater than that of the Yerushalmi. In the main, this is because the influence and prestige of the Jewish community of Israel steadily declined in contrast with the Babylonian community in the years after the redaction of the Talmud and continuing until the Gaonic era. Furthermore, the editing of the Babylonian Talmud was superior to that of the Jerusalem version, making it more accessible and readily usable. According to Maimonides, all Jewish communities during the Gaonic era formally accepted the Babylonian Talmud as binding upon themselves, and modern Jewish practice follows the Babylonian Talmud's conclusions on all areas in which the two Talmuds are in conflict.

The Babylonian Talmud, comprising both the Mishnah and the Gemara, contains large swaths of both Hebrew and Aramaic.[10]

While Aramaic was spoken for a long time by ancient Jews, Hebrew, in various forms and at various historical stages, was also continuously used. Hebrew was used for the writing of religious texts, poetry, and so forth, as well as for speech. Even after the introduction of Aramaic, and its influence on Late Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew continued to develop, and today scholars use terms like Mishnaic/Rabbinic Hebrew and Medieval Hebrew.[11]

The Mishnah and all of the Baraitas and verses of Tanakh quoted and embedded in the Gemara are in Hebrew, so that Hebrew constitutes somewhat less than half of the text of the Talmud. The rest, including the discussions of the Amoraim and the overall framework of the Gemara, is in a characteristic dialect of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic. There are occasional quotations from older works in other dialects of Aramaic, such as Megillat Taanit.

The first complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud was printed in Italy by Daniel Bomberg during the 16th century. In addition to the Mishnah and Gemara, Bomberg's edition contained the commentaries of Rashi and Tosafot. Almost all printings since Bomberg have followed the same pagination. The edition of the Talmud published by the Szapira brothers in Slavuta in 1795 is particularly prized by many hasidic rebbes. In 1835, after an acrimonious dispute with the Szapira family, a new edition of the Talmud was printed by Menachem Romm of Vilna. Known as the Vilna Shas, this edition (and later ones printed by his widow and sons) has been used in the production of more recent editions of Talmud Bavli.

A page number in the Talmud refers to a double-sided page, known as a daf; each daf has two amudim labeled and , sides A and B. The referencing by daf is relatively recent and dates from the early Talmud printings of the 17th century. Earlier rabbinic literature generally only refers to the tractate or chapters within a tractate. Nowadays, reference is made in format [Tractate daf a/b] (e.g. Berachot 23b). In the Vilna edition of the Talmud there are 5,894 folio pages.

The text of the Vilna editions is considered by scholars not to be uniformly reliable. In the early twentieth century Nathan Rabinowitz published a series of volumes called Dikduke Soferim showing textual variants from early manuscripts and printings. In 1960 the Institute for the Complete Israeli Talmud started work on a new edition under the name of Gemara Shelemah (complete Gemara) under the editorship of Menachem Mendel Kasher: only the volume on the first part of tractate Pesachim appeared (in 1986) before the project was interrupted by his death. This edition contained a comprehensive set of textual variants and a few selected commentaries. There have been critical editions of particular tractates (e.g. Henry Malter's edition of Ta'anit), but there is no modern critical edition of the whole Talmud. The most recent edition is by the Oz ve-Hadar institute: this is basically an updated version of the Vilna edition, but cites variant texts in footnotes.

From the time of its completion, the Talmud became integral to Jewish scholarship. This section outlines some of the major areas of Talmudic study.

The earliest Talmud commentaries were written by the Geonim (approximately 800-1000, C.E.) in Babylonia. Although some direct commentaries on particular treatises are extant, our main knowledge of Gaonic era Talmud scholarship comes from statements embedded in Geonic responsa which shed light on Talmudic passages. Also important are practical abridgments of Jewish law such as Yehudai Gaon's Halachot Pesukot, Achai Gaon's Sheeltot and Simeon Kayyara's Halachot Gedolot. After the death of Hai Gaon, however, the center of Talmud scholarship shifts to Europe and North Africa.

One area of Talmudic scholarship developed out of the need to ascertain the Halakha. Early commentators such as Rabbi Isaac Alfasi (North Africa, 10131103) attempted to extract and determine the binding legal opinions from the vast corpus of the Talmud. Alfasi's work was highly influential and later served as a basis for the creation of halakhic codes. Another influential medieval Halakhic work following the order of the Babylonian Talmud, and to some extent modelled on Alfasi, was that of Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (d. 1327).

A fifteenth century Spanish rabbi, Jacob ibn Habib (d. 1516), composed the Ein Yaakov. Ein Yaakov (or Ein Ya'aqob) extracts nearly all the Aggadic material from the Talmud. It was intended to familiarize the public with the ethical parts of the Talmud and to dispute many of the accusations surrounding its contents.

The Talmud is often cryptic and difficult to understand. Its language contains many Greek and Persian words which over time became obscure. A major area of Talmudic scholarship developed in order to explain these passages and words. Some early commentators such as Rabbenu Gershom of Mainz (10th c.) and Rabbenu ananel (early 11th c.) produced running commentaries to various tractates. These commentaries could be read with the text of the Talmud and would help explain the meaning of the text. Another important work is the Sefer ha-Mafteach (Book of the Key) by Nissim Gaon, which contains a preface explaining the different forms of Talmudic argumentation and then explains abbreviated passages in the Talmud by cross-referring to parallel passages where the same thought is expressed in full. Commentaries (iddushim) by Joseph ibn Migash on two tractates, Bava Batra and Shevuot, based on ananel and Alfasi, also survive. Using a different style, Rabbi Nathan b. Jechiel created a lexicon called the Arukh in the 11th century in order to translate difficult words.

By far the best known commentary on the Babylonian Talmud is that of Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, 10401105). The commentary is comprehensive, covering almost the entire Talmud. Written as a running commentary, it provides a full explanation of the words, and explains the logical structure of each Talmudic passage. It is considered indispensable to students of the Talmud.

Medieval Ashkenazic Jewry produced another major commentary known as Tosafot ("additions" or "supplements"). The Tosafot are collected commentaries by various medieval Ashkenazic Rabbis on the Talmud (known as Tosafists). One of the main goals of the Tosafot is to explain and interpret contradictory statements in the Talmud. Unlike Rashi, the Tosafot is not a running commentary, but rather comments on selected matters. Often the explanations of Tosafot differ from those of Rashi.

Among the founders of the Tosafist school were Rabbi Jacob b. Meir (known as Rabbeinu Tam), who was a grandson of Rashi, and, Rabbenu Tam's nephew, Rabbi Isaac ben Samuel. The Tosafot commentaries were collected in different editions in the various schools. The benchmark collection of Tosafot for Northern France was that of R. Eliezer of Touques. The standard collection for Spain was that of Rabbenu Asher ("Tosafot Harosh"). The Tosafot that are printed in the standard Vilna edition of the Talmud are an edited version compiled from the various medieval collections, predominantly that of Touques.[12]

Over time, the approach of the Tosafists spread to other Jewish communities, particularly those in Spain. This led to the composition of many other commentaries in similar styles. Among these are the commentaries of Ramban, Rashba, Ritva and Ran. A comprehensive anthology consisting of extracts from all these is the Shittah Mekubbetzet of Bezalel Ashkenazi.

There were other commentaries produced in Spain and Provence which were not influenced by the Tosafist style. Two of the most significant of these are the Yad Ramah by Rabbi Meir Abulafia (uncle of the mystic Abraham Abulafia) and Bet Habechirah by Rabbi Menahem haMeiri, commonly referred to as "Meiri". While the Bet Habechirah is extant for all of Talmud, we only have the Yad Ramah for Tractates Sanhedrin, Baba Batra and Gittin.

In later centuries, focus partially shifted from direct Talmudic interpretation to the analysis of previously written Talmudic commentaries. These later commentaries include "Maharshal" (Solomon Luria), "Maharam" (Meir Lublin) and "Maharsha" (Samuel Edels)

Another very useful study aid, found in almost all editions of the Talmud, consists of the marginal notes Torah Or, En Mishpat Ner Mitzvah and Masoret ha-Shas by the Italian rabbi Joshua Boaz, which give references respectively to the cited Biblical passages, to the relevant halachic codes and to related Talmudic passages.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, a new intensive form of Talmud study arose. Complicated logical arguments were used to explain minor points of contradiction within the Talmud. The term pilpul (related to the Hebrew word pilpel, meaning "spice" or "pepper") was applied to this type of study. Usage of pilpul in this sense (that of "sharp analysis") harks back to the Talmudic era and refers to the intellectual sharpness this method demanded.

Pilpul practitioners posited that the Talmud could contain no redundancy or contradiction whatsoever. New categories and distinctions (hillukim) were therefore created, resolving seeming contradictions within the Talmud by novel logical means.

In the Ashkenazi world the founders of pilpul are generally considered to be Jacob Pollak (14601541) and Shalom Shachna. This kind of study reached its height in the 16th and 17th centuries when expertise in pilpulistic analysis was considered an art form and became a goal in and of itself within the yeshivot of Poland and Lithuania. But the popular new method of Talmud study was not without critics; already in the 15th century, the ethical tract Orhot Zaddikim ("Paths of the Righteous" in Hebrew) criticized pilpul for an overemphasis on intellectual acuity. Many 16th- and 17th-century rabbis were also critical of pilpul. Among them may be noted Judah Loew ben Bezalel (the Maharal of Prague), Isaiah Horowitz, and Yair Bacharach.

By the 18th century, pilpul study waned. Other styles of learning such as that of the school of Elijah b. Solomon, the Vilna Gaon, became popular. The term "pilpul" was increasingly applied derogatorily to novellae deemed casuistic and hairsplitting. Authors referred to their own commentaries as "al derekh ha-peshat" (by the simple method) to contrast them with pilpul.[13]

Among Sephardi and Italian Jews from the fifteenth century on, some authorities sought to apply the methods of Aristotelian logic, as reformulated by Averroes.[14] This method was first recorded, though without explicit reference to Aristotle, by Isaac Campanton (d. Spain, 1463) in his Darkhei ha-Talmud ("The Ways of the Talmud"), and is also found in the works of Moses Chaim Luzzatto.

According to the present-day Sephardi scholar Jos Faur, traditional Sephardic Talmud study could take place on any of three levels. The most basic level, girsa (text), consists of literary analysis of the text without the help of commentaries, designed to bring out the tzurata di-shema'tata, i.e. the logical and narrative structure of the passage.[15] The intermediate level, 'iyyun (concentration), consists of study with the help of commentaries such as Rashi and the Tosafot, similar to that practised among the Ashkenazim. The highest level, halachah (law), consists of collating the opinions set out in the Talmud with those of the halachic codes such as the Mishneh Torah and the Shulchan Aruch, so as to study the Talmud as a source of law. (A project called Halacha Brura,[16] founded by Abraham Isaac Kook, presents the Talmud and the halachic codes side by side in book form so as to enable this kind of collation.)

A somewhat similar distinction exists in the Ashkenazi yeshivah curriculum between beki'ut (basic familiarization) and 'iyyun (in-depth study).

In the late nineteenth century another trend in Talmud study arose. Rabbi Hayyim Soloveitchik (18531918) of Brisk (Brest-Litovsk) developed and refined this style of study. Brisker method involves a reductionistic analysis of rabbinic arguments within the Talmud or among the Rishonim, explaining the differing opinions by placing them within a categorical structure. The Brisker method is highly analytical and is often criticized as being a modern-day version of Pilpul. Nevertheless, the influence of the Brisker method is great. Most modern day Yeshivot study the Talmud using the Brisker method in some form. One feature of this method is the use of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah as a guide to Talmudic interpretation, as distinct from its use as a source of practical halakha.

Rival methods were those of the Mir and Telz yeshivas.

As a result of emancipation from the ghetto (1789), Judaism underwent enormous upheaval and transformation during the nineteenth century, (see Reform Judaism, Haskala). Modern methods of textual and historical analysis were applied to the Talmud.

The text of the Talmud has been subject to some level of critical scrutiny throughout its history.

Rabbinic tradition holds that the people cited in both Talmuds did not have a hand in its writings; rather, their teachings were edited into a rough form around 450 CE (Talmud Yerushalmi) and 550 CE (Talmud Bavli.) The text of the Bavli especially was not firmly fixed at that time.

The Gaonic responsa literature addresses this issue. Teshuvot Geonim Kadmonim, section 78, deals with mistaken biblical readings in the Talmud. This Gaonic responsum states:

In the early medieval era, Rashi concluded that some statements in the extant text of the Talmud were insertions from later editors. On Shevuot 3b Rashi writes "A mistaken student wrote this in the margin of the Talmud, and copyists {subsequently} put it into the Gemara."[17]

The emendations of R. Yoel Sirkis and the Vilna Gaon are included in all standard editions of the Talmud, in the form of marginal glosses entitled Hagahot ha-Bach and Hagahot ha-Gra respectively; further emendations by R. Solomon Luria are set out in commentary form at the back of each tractate. The Vilna Gaon's emendations were often based on his quest for internal consistency in the text rather than on manuscript evidence;[18] nevertheless many of the Gaon's emendations were later verified by textual critics, such as Solomon Schechter, who had Cairo Genizah texts with which to compare our standard editions.[19]

In the nineteenth century R. Raphael Nathan Nota Rabinovicz published a multi-volume work entitled Dikdukei Soferim, showing textual variants from the Munich and other early manuscripts of the Talmud, and further variants are recorded in the Gemara Shelemah and Oz ve-Hadar editions (see Printing, above).

Historical study of the Talmud can be used to investigate a variety of concerns. One can ask questions such as: Do a given section's sources date from its editor's lifetime? To what extent does a section have earlier or later sources? Are Talmudic disputes distinguishable along theological or communal lines? In what ways do different sections derive from different schools of thought within early Judaism? Can these early sources be identified, and if so, how? Investigation of questions such as these are known as higher textual criticism. (The term "criticism", it should be noted, is a technical term denoting academic study.)

Religious scholars still debate the precise method by which the text of the Talmuds reached their final form. Many believe that the text was continuously smoothed over by the savoraim.

In the 1870s and 1880s Rabbi Raphael Natan Nata Rabbinovitz engaged in historical study of Talmud Bavli in his Diqduqei Soferim. Since then many Orthodox rabbis have approved of his work, including Rabbis Shlomo Kluger, Yoseph Shaul Ha-Levi Natanzohn, Yaaqov Ettlinger, Isaac Elhanan Spektor and Shimon Sofer.

During the early 19th century, leaders of the newly evolving Reform movement, such as Abraham Geiger and Samuel Holdheim, subjected the Talmud to severe scrutiny as part of an effort to break with traditional rabbinic Judaism. They insisted that the Talmud was entirely a work of evolution and development. This view was rejected as both academically incorrect, and religiously incorrect, by those who would become known as the Orthodox movement. Some Orthodox leaders such as Moses Sofer (the Chatam Sofer) became exquisitely sensitive to any change and rejected modern critical methods of Talmud study.

Some rabbis advocated a view of Talmudic study that they held to be in-between the Reformers and the Orthodox; these were the adherents of positive-historical Judaism, notably Nachman Krochmal and Zacharias Frankel. They described the Oral Torah as the result of a historical and exegetical process, emerging over time, through the application of authorized exegetical techniques, and more importantly, the subjective dispositions and personalities and current historical conditions, by learned sages. This was later developed more fully in the five volume work Dor Dor ve-Dorshav by Isaac Hirsch Weiss. (See Jay Harris Guiding the Perplexed in the Modern Age Ch. 5) Eventually their work came to be one of the formative parts of Conservative Judaism.

Another aspect of this movement is reflected in Graetz's History of the Jews. Graetz attempts to deduce the personality of the Pharisees based on the laws or aggadot that they cite, and show that their personalities influenced the laws they expounded.

The leader of Orthodox Jewry in Germany Samson Raphael Hirsch, while not rejecting the methods of scholarship in principle, hotly contested the findings of the Historical-Critical method. In a series of articles in his magazine Jeschurun (reprinted in Collected Writings Vol. 5) Hirsch reiterated the traditional view, and pointed out what he saw as numerous errors in the works of Graetz, Frankel and Geiger.

On the other hand, many of the nineteenth century's strongest critics of Reform, including strictly orthodox Rabbis such as Zvi Hirsch Chajes, utilized this new scientific method. The Orthodox Rabbinical seminary of Azriel Hildesheimer was founded on the idea of creating a "harmony between Judaism and science". Another Orthodox pioneer of scientific Talmud study was David Zvi Hoffman.

Orthodox Rabbi Yaakov Hayim Sofer (great-grandson of the Kaf ha-Hayyim) notes that the text of the Gemara has had changes and additions, and contains statements not of the same origin as the original. See his Yehi Yosef (Jerusalem, 1991) p.132 "This passage does not bear the signature of the editor of the Talmud!"

Orthodox scholar Daniel Sperber writes in "Legitimacy, of Necessity, of Scientific Disciplines" that many Orthodox sources have engaged in the historical (also called "scientific") study of the Talmud. As such, the divide today between Orthodoxy and Reform is not about whether the Talmud may be subjected to historical study, but rather about the theological and halakhic implications of such study.

Some trends within contemporary Talmud scholarship are listed below.

The Talmud is the written record of an oral tradition. It became the basis for many rabbinic legal codes and customs, of which the most important are the Mishneh Torah and the Shulchan Aruch. Orthodox and, to a lesser extent, Conservative Judaism accept the Talmud as authoritative, while Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism do not. This section briefly outlines past and current movements and their view of the Talmud's role.

The Sadducees were a Jewish sect which flourished during the Second Temple period. One of their main arguments with the Pharisees (later known as Rabbinic Judaism) was over their rejection of an Oral Law as well as denying a resurrection after death. The disagreement was not strictly speaking about the Talmud, as this had not been written at the time.

Another movement which rejected the oral law was Karaism. It arose within two centuries of the completion of the Talmud. Karaism developed as a reaction against the Talmudic Judaism of Babylonia. The central concept of Karaism is the rejection of the Oral Torah, as embodied in the Talmud, in favor of a strict adherence to the Written Law only. This opposes the fundamental Rabbinic concept that the Oral Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai together with the Written Law. Some later Karaites took a more moderate stance, allowing that some element of tradition (called sevel ha-yerushah, the burden of inheritance) is admissible in interpreting the Torah and that some authentic traditions are contained in the Mishnah and the Talmud, though these can never supersede the plain meaning of the Written Law.

Karaism has virtually disappeared, declining from a high of nearly 10% of the Jewish population to a current estimated 0.2%.

With the rise of Reform Judaism, during the nineteenth century, the authority of the Talmud was again questioned. The Talmud was seen by Reform Jews as a product of late antiquity having relevance merely as a historical document. In some cases a similar view was taken of the written law as well, while others appeared to adopt a neo-Karaite "back to the Bible" approach, though often with greater emphasis on the prophetic than on the legal books.

Orthodox Judaism continues to stress the importance of Talmud study and it is a central component of Yeshiva curriculum, in particular for those training to be Rabbis. This is so even though Halakha is generally studied from the medieval codes and not directly from the Talmud. Talmudic study amongst the laity is widespread in Orthodox Judaism, with daily or weekly Talmud study particularly common in Haredi Judaism and with Talmud study a central part of the curriculum in Orthodox Yeshivas and day schools. The regular study of Talmud among laymen has been popularized by the Daf Yomi, a daily course of Talmud study initiated by Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1923; its 12th cycle of study began on March 2, 2005.

Conservative Judaism similarly emphasizes the study of Talmud within its religious and rabbinic education. Generally, however, the Talmud is studied as a historical source-text for Halakha. The Conservative approach to legal decision-making emphasizes placing classic texts and prior decisions in historical and cultural context, and examining the historical development of Halakha. This approach has resulted in greater practical flexibility than that of the Orthodox. Talmud study is part of the curriculum of Conservative parochial education at many Conservative day schools and an increase in Conservative day school enrollments has resulted in an increase in Talmud study as part of Conservative Jewish education among a minority of Conservative Jews. See also: The Conservative Jewish view of the Halakha.

Reform Judaism does not emphasize the study of Talmud to the same degree in their Hebrew schools, but they do teach it in their rabbinical seminaries; the world view of liberal Judaism rejects the idea of binding Jewish law, and uses the Talmud as a source of inspiration and moral instruction. Ownership and reading of the Talmud is not widespread among Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, who usually place more emphasis on the study of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh.

Christian accusations against the Talmud have tended to fall into several categories, including alleged:[21]

Such accusations often shade into attacks on Jews or Judaism generally,[22] and should be distinguished from criticisms of the Talmud (including some criticism by Jews) on grounds such as excessive legalism, strained reasoning, unhistoric content and superstitious beliefs.[23]

The history of the Talmud reflects in part the history of Judaism persisting in a world of hostility and persecution. Almost at the very time that the Babylonian savoraim put the finishing touches to the redaction of the Talmud, the emperor Justinian issued his edict against deuterosis (doubling, repetition) of the Hebrew Bible.[24] It is disputed whether, in this context, deuterosis means "Mishnah" or "Targum": in patristic literature, the word is used in both senses. This edict, dictated by Christian zeal and anti-Jewish feeling, was the prelude to attacks on the Talmud, conceived in the same spirit, and beginning in the thirteenth century in France, where Talmudic study was then flourishing.

The charge against the Talmud brought by the Christian convert Nicholas Donin led to the first public disputation between Jews[25] and Christians and to the first burning of copies of the Talmud (Paris, Place de Grve, Friday June 17, 1242[26]). The Talmud was likewise the subject of the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263 between Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman) and Christian convert, Pablo Christiani. This same Pablo Christiani made an attack on the Talmud which resulted in a papal bull against the Talmud and in the first censorship, which was undertaken at Barcelona by a commission of Dominicans, who ordered the cancellation of passages deemed objectionable from a Christian perspective (1264).

At the Disputation of Tortosa in 1413, Geronimo de Santa F brought forward a number of accusations, including the fateful assertion that the condemnations of "pagans," "heathens," and "apostates" found in the Talmud were in reality veiled references to Christians. These assertion were denied by the Jewish community and its scholars, who contended that Judaic thought made a sharp distinction between those classified as heathen or pagan, being polytheistic, and those who acknowledge one true God (such as the Christians) even while worshipping the true monotheistic God incorrectly. Thus, Jews viewed Christians as misguided and in error, but not among the "heathens" or "pagans" discussed in the Talmud.

Both Pablo Christiani and Geronimo de Santa F, in addition to criticizing the Talmud, also regarded it as a source of authentic traditions some of which could be used as arguments in favour of Christianity. Examples of such traditions were statements that the Messiah was born around the time of the destruction of the Temple, and that the Messiah sat at the right hand of God.[27]

Two years later, Pope Martin V, who had convened this disputation, issued a bull (which was destined, however, to remain inoperative) forbidding the Jews to read the Talmud, and ordering the destruction of all copies of it. Far more important were the charges made in the early part of the sixteenth century by the convert Johannes Pfefferkorn, the agent of the Dominicans. The result of these accusations was a struggle in which the emperor and the pope acted as judges, the advocate of the Jews being Johann Reuchlin, who was opposed by the obscurantists; and this controversy, which was carried on for the most part by means of pamphlets, became the precursor of the Reformation .

An unexpected result of this affair was the complete printed edition of the Babylonian Talmud issued in 1520 by Daniel Bomberg at Venice, under the protection of a papal privilege. Three years later, in 1523, Bomberg published the first edition of the Jerusalem Talmud. After thirty years the Vatican, which had first permitted the Talmud to appear in print, undertook a campaign of destruction against it. On the New Year (September 9, 1553) the copies of the Talmud which had been confiscated in compliance with a decree of the Inquisition were burned at Rome; and similar burnings took place in other Italian cities, as at Cremona in 1559. The Censorship of the Talmud and other Hebrew works was introduced by a papal bull issued in 1554; five years later the Talmud was included in the first Index Expurgatorius; and Pope Pius IV commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre Mishnah) instead of "Talmud" dates from this time.

The first edition of the expurgated Talmud, on which most subsequent editions were based, appeared at Basel (15781581) with the omission of the entire treatise of 'Abodah Zarah and of passages considered inimical to Christianity, together with modifications of certain phrases. A fresh attack on the Talmud was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII (157585), and in 1593 Clement VIII renewed the old interdiction against reading or owning it. The increasing study of the Talmud in Poland led to the issue of a complete edition (Krakw, 1602-5), with a restoration of the original text; an edition containing, so far as known, only two treatises had previously been published at Lublin (155976). In 1707 some copies of the Talmud were confiscated in the province of Brandenburg, but were restored to their owners by command of Frederick, the first king of Prussia. A further attack on the Talmud took place in Poland (in what is now Ukrainian territory) in 1757, when Bishop Dembowski, at the instigation of the Frankists, convened a public disputation at Kamianets-Podilskyi, and ordered all copies of the work found in his bishopric to be confiscated and burned by the hangman.

The external history of the Talmud includes also the literary attacks made upon it by Christian theologians after the Reformation, since these onslaughts on Judaism were directed primarily against that work, the leading example being Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthum (Judaism Unmasked) (1700). In contrast, the Talmud was a subject of rather more sympathetic study by many Christian theologians, jurists and Orientalists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Johann Reuchlin, John Selden, John Lightfoot and Johannes Buxtorf father and son.

The Vilna edition of the Talmud was subject to Russian government censorship, or self-censorship to meet government expectations, though this was less severe than some previous attempts: the title "Talmud" was retained and the tractate Avodah Zarah was included. Most modern editions are either copies of or closely based on the Vilna edition, and therefore still omit most of the disputed passages. Although they were not available for many generations, the removed sections of the Talmud, Rashi, Tosafot and Maharsha were preserved through rare printings of lists of errata, known as Chesronos Hashas ("Omissions of the Talmud"). Many of these censored portions were recovered ironically enough from uncensored manuscripts in the Vatican Library. Some modern editions of the Talmud contain some or all of this material, either at the back of the book, in the margin, or in its original location in the text.

In 1830, during a debate in the French Chamber of Peers regarding state recognition of the Jewish faith, Admiral Verhuell declared himself unable to forgive the Jews whom he had met during his travels throughout the world either for their refusal to recognize Jesus as the Messiah or for their possession of the Talmud. In the same year the Abb Chiarini published at Paris a voluminous work entitled "Thorie du Judasme," in which he announced a translation of the Talmud, advocating for the first time a version which should make the work generally accessible, and thus serve for attacks on Judaism. In a like spirit nineteenth century anti-Semitic agitators often urged that a translation be made; and this demand was even brought before legislative bodies, as in Vienna. The Talmud and the "Talmud Jew" thus became objects of anti-Semitic attacks, for example in August Rohling's Der Talmudjude (1871), although, on the other hand, they were defended by many Christian students of the Talmud, notably Hermann Strack.

Further attacks from anti-Semitic sources include Justinas Pranaitis' The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians (1892) and Elizabeth Dilling's The Plot against Christianity (1964). The criticisms of the Talmud in many modern pamphlets and websites are often recognisable as verbatim quotes from one or other of these.

Criticism of the Talmud is widespread, in great part through the Internet.[28]

The Anti-Defamation League's report on this topic states:

In distorting the normative meanings of rabbinic texts, anti-Talmud writers frequently remove passages from their textual and historical contexts. Even when they present their citations accurately, they judge the passages based on contemporary moral standards, ignoring the fact that the majority of these passages were composed close to two thousand years ago by people living in cultures radically different from our own. They are thus able to ignore Judaism's long history of social progress and paint it instead as a primitive and parochial religion.

Those who attack the Talmud frequently cite ancient rabbinic sources without noting subsequent developments in Jewish thought, and without making a good-faith effort to consult with contemporary Jewish authorities who can explain the role of these sources in normative Jewish thought and practice.

Rabbi Gil Student, a prolific Internet author, writes:

Anti-Talmud accusations have a long history dating back to the 13th century when the associates of the Inquisition attempted to defame Jews and their religion [see Yitzchak Baer, A History of Jews in Christian Spain, vol. I pp. 150-185]. The early material compiled by hateful preachers like Raymond Martini and Nicholas Donin remain the basis of all subsequent accusations against the Talmud. Some are true, most are false and based on quotations taken out of context, and some are total fabrications [see Baer, ch. 4 f. 54, 82 that it has been proven that Raymond Martini forged quotations]. On the Internet today we can find many of these old accusations being rehashed...

Excerpt from:

Talmud | Religion-wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

ADL: Pittsburgh synagogue shooting believed to be deadliest …

Posted By on November 27, 2018

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ADL: Pittsburgh synagogue shooting believed to be deadliest ...

Congregation B’nai B’rith Night of Solidarity | Edhat

Posted By on November 26, 2018

By Robert Bernstein

Congregation B'nai B'rith hosted a Night of Solidarity to bring thecommunity together in the wake of a series of hate crimes around thecountry. Notably, the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.But other hate crimes as well.

Here are my photos,videos and event program.

The most notable aspect of the event was the sheer turnout of peoplefrom our community!

We were coming there from the Wake Center about two miles away. Assoon as we were on Cathedral Oaks Road we were in a traffic jam ofpeople streaming to the Temple!

We managed to find a spot on the floor to sit, but those who cameafter us had to listen from the lobby or beyond! It was heartwarmingto see the outpouring of support in our community!

We were welcomed in by Cantor (singer) Mark Childs performing"Comfort Me" in Hebrew and in English

Congregation B'nai B'rith President Steven Amerikaner talked of thelocal connections that Congregation members had to the Tree of Lifevictims and survivors. He then introduced Congressman Salud Carbajalwho delivered a message of inclusion and solidarity.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson was there to represent ourdistrict. But she also noted that she was there as a member of theCongregation. And especially "as a Jew".

Senator Jackson spoke of a neighbor hurling an anti-Semitic insult ather as she went about her business in her front yard as a teen inNewton, Massachusetts. She said that verbal assault still rings inher ears to this day.

I might note that in 1965 we were living in rural New England. Myfather took a job at the University of Maryland and we moved to thecity of New Carrollton near the campus. My brother and I were the newkids in the school and we seemed to be welcomed in. My brother waselected class president. But then people started asking him about ourname "Bernstein". "Are you Jews?" He was beaten up when he said wewere. We were forced to move away.

Fortunately, we found refuge in the city of Silver Spring on the DCborder which was a more diverse and inclusive community.

I am grateful for my positive memories growing up in Silver Springwith people of all races, religions, ethnicities, and colors. But itis hard to forget what it felt like to be forced to move for purehatred only for who we were by birth.

Hannah-Beth spoke of the Tree of Life members welcoming immigrants.Which seemed to be a special reason their temple was a target forviolence. Senator Jackson reminded us that almost all of us wereimmigrants. And that many early immigrants to America were not verynice to the actual Natives.

She went on to note the diversity of the crowd in solidarity for theevening. And she thanked those from other religions who were inattendance. And those from no faith at all. She urged us to turn hateinto love. Into kindness, more importantly.

Pastor Denise Leichter is President of Greater Santa Barbara ClergyAssociation and she echoed that message of inclusiveness.

Rabbi Daniel Brenner delivered a memorial service for those who weremurdered at the Tree of Life temple.

Then there was a memorial candle lighting with a number ofrepresentatives of our community. Including Santa Barbara Mayor CathyMurillo, Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte, Santa Barbara Police Chief LoriLuhnow, Unitarian Minister Julia Hamilton and County Supervisor Janet Wolf.

Then Rabbi Stephen Cohen delivered the keynote address of the gathering.

He bravely mentioned Donald Trump and his language that inciteshatred, division, and violence. Some in the audience applauded hiscourage in making this statement. For many, the hate speech of DonaldTrump was the elephant in the room that was being ignored.

But Rabbi Cohen quickly shut that down with a wave and anadmonishment that this was not his point. He went on to talk of along history of hate and division before Trump was elected. Includingin the year before he was elected. He urged us to come together inlove and community to move forward to a better future.

The event closed with a final song by Cantor Mark Childs

The congregation was filled with people embracing as he sang.

See the rest here:
Congregation B'nai B'rith Night of Solidarity | Edhat

Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association B’nai B’rith Camp

Posted By on November 24, 2018

BBMCA: The mission of the Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association is to support the resident camping program of Bnai Brith Camp through scholarships, provision of equipment and supplies, maintenance and improvement of the camps facilities, and subvention of the camps operating budget.

Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association is also committed to the development and enhancement of a community of men dedicated to good fellowship, community, and to the Associations goal of insuring that Bnai Brith Camp provides the finest Jewish camping experience possible for kids of all religious, ethnic, cultural, and financial backgrounds.

For over 80 years, Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association (BBMCA) has supported Bnai Brith Camp on Devils Lake near the coast at Lincoln City, Oregon. In October 2009, BBMCA purchased Bnai Brith Camp from the Mittleman Jewish Community Center (tax id: 93-0386850) and created a subsidiary entity, Bnai Brith Camp LLC, to operate Camp through its own board of directors. BB Camp is accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA), licensed by the State of Oregon, and a member of the Jewish Community Center Association, the national organization of Jewish community centers and community camps.

BBMCA provides the capital support necessary to insure that BB Camps facilities are first rate and that BB Camp provides a quality camping experience for children of all backgrounds, always without regard to religious affiliation. BBMCA, its friends and supporters, make it possible for BB Camp to maintain the cost of Camp at levels most families can afford. However, Camp is expensive and BBMCA is committed to the proposition that no child should be denied the opportunity to attend Camp because of the familys inability to pay. BBMCA provides scholarship funds and first year camper incentives to back up that commitment.

Since 1931, the members of BBMCA have gathered each year at BB Camp for their own week long encampment. Many of BBMCAs adult campers started at BB Camp as kids, continuing their connection to BB Camp throughout their lives. Men from 25 to 91 return each year to BB Camp, staying in the same cabins and using the same facilities as the kids. Since the BBMCA adult campers actually use the camp, they are keenly aware of Camps needs. This is part of the reason they give so generously to support Camp. Mens Camp is a unique institution, providing a cross generational connection among the men and between the men and the children who attend BB Camp. The members of BBMCA understand that the bonds formed at Camp last a lifetime. This is evidenced not only by the existence and continuation of the Mens Camp as an institution, but by the number of adults who first became attached to BB Camp as kids and refuse to let the connection end. Through the generosity of the members of BBMCA and the many friends and alumni of the camp, Bnai Brith Camp will continue to be one of the finest and most affordable camps in North America.

Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association is an Oregon non-profit corporation recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as a publicly supported organization. Grantors and contributors to BBMCA or its wholly owned subsidiary Bnai Brith Camp LLC, may rely upon this determination by the IRS in claiming contributions to BBMCA as charitable deductions.

For more information or to reach us via mail, please write:

Bnai Brith Mens Camp

9400 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy Suite 200

Beaverton, OR 97005

Read more here:
Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association B'nai B'rith Camp

Jewish & Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases – Gaucher Disease

Posted By on November 15, 2018

While Gaucher disease (pronounced go-SHAY) affects people of all ethnic backgrounds, it is especially common in the Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish population. Testing for Gaucher disease as well as prenatal screening and genetic counseling can help you determine the risk of passing the Gaucher gene to your children.

Although Gaucher is pan-ethnic, Gaucher disease type 1 is the most prevalent inherited Jewish genetic disease. A number of genetic disorders occur more frequently in certain ethnic populations. In the Ashkenazi Jewish population (Eastern, Central and Northern European ancestry), it has been estimated that one in four individuals is a carrier of one of several genetic conditions.

These diseases include Tay-Sachs Disease, Canavan, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher, Familial Dysautonomia, Bloom Syndrome, Fanconi anemia, Cystic Fibrosis and Mucolipidosis IV. Some of these diseases may be severe and may result in the early death of a child. Carrier screening is available for all of these diseases with a blood test. Two carriers of the same disease have a 1 in 4 risk with each pregnancy of having a child affected with the disease for which they were identified as carriers.

Learn more about how Gaucher disease is inherited, or find out about prenatal screening and genetic counseling for Gaucher disease.

See the rest here:

Jewish & Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases - Gaucher Disease

Holocaust Deniers and Public Misinformation | The …

Posted By on November 15, 2018

Holocaust denial and minimization or distortion of the facts of the Holocaust is a form of antisemitism.

Holocaust deniers ignore the overwhelming evidence of the event and insist that the Holocaust is a myth, invented by the Allies, the Soviet communists, and the Jews for their own ends. According to the deniers' logic the Allies needed the Holocaust myth to justify their occupation of Germany in 1945 and the harsh persecution of Nazi defendants. Holocaust deniers also claim that Jews needed the Holocaust myth to extract huge payments in restitution from Germany and to justify the establishment of the State of Israel. Holocaust deniers claim that there is a vast conspiracy involving the victorious powers of World War II, Jews, and Israel to propagate the Holocaust for their own ends.

Holocaust deniers assert that if they can discredit one fact about the Holocaust, the whole history of the event can be discredited as well. They ignore the evidence of the historical event and make arguments that they say negate the reality of the Holocaust in its entirety.

Documenting the Holocaust: Examples of Documents Some Holocaust deniers argue that, since there is neither a single document that outlines the Holocaust nor a signed document from Hitler ordering the Holocaust, the Holocaust itself is a hoax. To make this argument, they reject all the evidence submitted at Nuremberg. They denounce as fabrications the genocidal intention of the Nazi state and the thousands of orders, memos, notes, and other records that document the process of destruction. When they cannot sustain arguments that documents are forged, they argue that the language in the documents has been deliberately misinterpreted. Furthermore, some Holocaust deniers insist that the Allies tortured the perpetrators into testifying about their role in the killing process and that the survivors who testified about Nazi crimes against Jews were all lying out of self-interest.

Some Holocaust deniers claim that those few Jews who perished died from natural causes or were legitimately executed by the Nazi state for actual criminal offenses. They assert that Jews and the Allied powers deliberately inflated the numbers of Jews killed during the war. Holocaust historians have placed the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust between 5.1 and 6 million, based on legitimate available historical sources and demographic methods. Holocaust deniers cite uncertainty about the exact number of deaths within this accepted range as proof that the whole history of the Holocaust has been fabricated and that the number of Jewish deaths during World War II has been grossly exaggerated.

Some Holocaust deniers assert that the Nazis did not use gas chambers to kill Jews. They deny the reality of the killing centers. Deniers have focused their attention on Auschwitz and believe if they could just disprove that the Nazis used gas chambers in Auschwitz to kill Jews, the whole history of the Holocaust would also be discredited.

Holocaust deniers often mimic the forms and practices of scholars in order to deceive the public about the nature of their views. They generally footnote their writings by citing the publications of other Holocaust deniers and hold pseudo-scholarly conventions.

Holocaust denial on the Internet is especially a problem because of the ease and speed with which such misinformation can be disseminated. In the United States, where the First Amendment to the Constitution ensures freedom of speech, it is not against the law to deny the Holocaust or to propagate Nazi and antisemitic hate speech. European countries such as Germany and France have criminalized denial of the Holocaust and have banned Nazi and neo-Nazi publications. The Internet is now the chief source of Holocaust denial and the chief means of recruiting for Holocaust denial organizations.

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Holocaust Deniers and Public Misinformation | The ...

The Oral Law -Talmud & Mishna

Posted By on November 12, 2018

The Oral Law is a legal commentary on the Torah, explaining how its commandments are to be carried out. Common sense suggests that some sort of oral tradition was always needed to accompany the Written Law, because the Torah alone, even with its 613 commandments, is an insufficient guide to Jewish life. For example, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, ordains, "Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy" (Exodus 20:8). From the Sabbath's inclusion in the Ten Commandments, it is clear that the Torah regards it as an important holiday. Yet when one looks for the specific biblical laws regulating how to observe the day, one finds only injunctions against lighting a fire, going away from one's dwelling, cutting down a tree, plowing and harvesting. Would merely refraining from these few activities fulfill the biblical command to make the Sabbath holy? Indeed, the Sabbath rituals that are most commonly associated with holiness-lighting of candles, reciting the kiddush, and the reading of the weekly Torah portion are found not in the Torah, but in the Oral Law.

Without an oral tradition, some of the Torah's laws would be incomprehensible. In the Shema's first paragraph, the Bible instructs: "And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes." "Bind them for a sign upon your hand," the last verse instructs. Bind what? The Torah doesn't say. "And they shall be for frontlets between your eyes." What are frontlets? The Hebrew word for frontlets, totafot is used three times in the Torah always in this context (Exodus 13:16; Deuteronomy 6:8, 11:18) and is as obscure as is the English. Only in the Oral Law do we learn that what a Jewish male should bind upon his hand and between his eyes are tefillin (phylacteries).

Finally, an Oral Law was needed to mitigate certain categorical Torah laws that would have caused grave problems if carried out literally. The Written Law, for example, demands an "eye for an eye" (Exodus 21:24). Did this imply that if one person accidentally blinded another, he should be blinded in return? That seems to be the Torah's wish. But the Oral Law explains that the verse must be understood as requiring monetary compensation: the value of an eye is what must be paid.

The Jewish community of Palestine suffered horrendous losses during the Great Revolt and the Bar-Kokhba rebellion. Well over a million Jews were killed in the two ill-fated uprisings, and the leading yeshivot, along with thousands of their rabbinical scholars and students, were devastated.

This decline in the number of knowledgeable Jews seems to have been a decisive factor in Rabbi Judah the Prince's decision around the year 200 C.E. to record in writing the Oral Law. For centuries, Judaism's leading rabbis had resisted writing down the Oral Law. Teaching the law orally, the rabbis knew, compelled students to maintain close relationships with teachers, and they considered teachers, not books, to be the best conveyors of the Jewish tradition. But with the deaths of so many teachers in the failed revolts, Rabbi Judah apparently feared that the Oral Law would be forgotten unless it were written down.

In the Mishna, the name for the sixty-three tractates in which Rabbi Judah set down the Oral Law, Jewish law is systematically codified, unlike in the Torah. For example, if a person wanted to find every law in the Torah about the Sabbath, he would have to locate scattered references in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Indeed, in order to know everything the Torah said on a given subject, one either had to read through all of it or know its contents by heart. Rabbi Judah avoided this problem by arranging the Mishna topically. All laws pertaining to the Sabbath were put into one tractate called Shabbat (Hebrew for "Sabbath"). The laws contained in Shabbat's twenty-four chapters are far more extensive than those contained in the Torah, for the Mishna summarizes the Oral Law's extensive Sabbath legislation. The tractate Shabbat is part of a larger "order" called Mo'ed (Hebrew for "holiday"), which is one of six orders that comprise the Mishna. Some of the other tractates in Mo'ed specify the Oral Laws of Passover (Pesachim); Purim (Megillah); Rosh haShana; Yom Kippur (Yoma); and Sukkot.

The first of the six orders is called Zera'im (Seeds), and deals with the agricultural rules of ancient Palestine, particularly with the details of the produce that were to be presented as offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem. The most famous tractate in Zera'im, however, Brakhot (Blessings) has little to do with agriculture. It records laws concerning different blessings and when they are to be recited.

Another order, called Nezikin (Damages), contains ten tractates summarizing Jewish civil and criminal law.

Another order, Nashim (Women), deals with issues between the sexes, including both laws of marriage, Kiddushin, and of divorce, Gittin.

A fifth order, Kodashim, outlines the laws of sacrifices and ritual slaughter. The sixth order, Taharot, contains the laws of purity and impurity.

Although parts of the Mishna read as dry legal recitations, Rabbi Judah frequently enlivened the text by presenting minority views, which it was also hoped might serve to guide scholars in later generations (Mishna Eduyot 1:6). In one famous instance, the legal code turned almost poetic, as Rabbi Judah cited the lengthy warning the rabbinic judges delivered to witnesses testifying in capital cases:

"How are witnesses inspired with awe in capital cases?" the Mishna begins. "They are brought in and admonished as follows: In case you may want to offer testimony that is only conjecture or hearsay or secondhand evidence, even from a person you consider trustworthy; or in the event you do not know that we shall test you by cross-examination and inquiry, then know that capital cases are not like monetary cases. In monetary cases, a man can make monetary restitution and be forgiven, but in capital cases both the blood of the man put to death and the blood of his [potential] descendants are on the witness's head until the end of time. For thus we find in the case of Cain, who killed his brother, that it is written: 'The bloods of your brother cry unto Me' (Genesis 4:10) that is, his blood and the blood of his potential descendants.... Therefore was the first man, Adam, created alone, to teach us that whoever destroys a single life, the Bible considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single life, the Bible considers it as if he saved an entire world. Furthermore, only one man, Adam, was created for the sake of peace among men, so that no one should say to his fellow, 'My father was greater than yours.... Also, man [was created singly] to show the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for if a man strikes many coins from one mold, they all resemble one another, but the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, made each man in the image of Adam, and yet not one of them resembles his fellow. Therefore every single person is obligated to say, 'The world was created for my sake"' (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5). (One commentary notes, "How grave the responsibility, therefore, of corrupting myself by giving false evidence, and thus bringing [upon myself the moral guilt of [murdering] a whole world.")

One of the Mishna's sixtythree tractates contains no laws at all. It is called Pirkei Avot (usually translated as Ethics of the Fathers), and it is the "Bartlett's" of the rabbis, in which their most famous sayings and proverbs are recorded.

During the centuries following Rabbi Judah's editing of the Mishna, it was studied exhaustively by generation after generation of rabbis. Eventually, some of these rabbis wrote down their discussions and commentaries on the Mishna's laws in a series of books known as the Talmud. The rabbis of Palestine edited their discussions of the Mishna about the year 400: Their work became known as the Palestinian Talmud (in Hebrew, Talmud Yerushalmi, which literally means "Jerusalem Talmud").

More than a century later, some of the leading Babylonian rabbis compiled another editing of the discussions on the Mishna. By then, these deliberations had been going on some three hundred years. The Babylon edition was far more extensive than its Palestinian counterpart, so that the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli) became the most authoritative compilation of the Oral Law. When people speak of studying "the Talmud," they almost invariably mean the Bavli rather than the Yerushalmi.

The Talmud's discussions are recorded in a consistent format. A law from the Mishna is cited, which is followed by rabbinic deliberations on its meaning. The Mishna and the rabbinic discussions (known as the Gemara) comprise the Talmud, although in Jewish life the terms Gemara and Talmud usually are used interchangeably.

The rabbis whose views are cited in the Mishna are known as Tanna'im (Aramaic for "teachers"), while the rabbis quoted in the Gemara are known as Amora'im ("explainers" or "interpreters"). Because the Tanna'im lived earlier than the Amora'im, and thus were in closer proximity to Moses and the revelation at Sinai, their teachings are considered more authoritative than those of the Amora'im. For the same reason, Jewish tradition generally regards the teachings of the Amora'im, insofar as they are expounding the Oral Law, as more authoritative than contemporary rabbinic teachings.

In addition to extensive legal discussions (in Hebrew, halakha), the rabbis incorporated into the Talmud guidance on ethical matters, medical advice, historical information, and folklore, which together are known as aggadata.

As a rule, the Gemara's text starts with a close reading of the Mishna. For example, Mishna Bava Mezia 7:1 teaches the following: "If a man hired laborers and ordered them to work early in the morning and late at night, he cannot compel them to work early and late if it is not the custom to do so in that place." On this, the Gemara (Bava Mezia 83a) comments: "Is it not obvious [that an employer cannot demand that they change from the local custom]? The case in question is where the employer gave them a higher wage than was normal. In that case, it might be argued that he could then say to them, 'The reason I gave you a higher wage than is normal is so that you will work early in the morning and late at night.' So the law tells us that the laborers can reply: 'The reason that you gave us a higher wage than is normal is for better work [not longer hours].'"

Among religious Jews, talmudic scholars are regarded with the same awe and respect with which secular society regards Nobel laureates. Yet throughout Jewish history, study of the Mishna and Talmud was hardly restricted to an intellectual elite. An old book saved from the millions burned by the Nazis, and now housed at the YIVO library in New York, bears the stamp THE SOCIETY OF WOODCHOPPERS FOR THE STUDY OF MISHNA IN BERDITCHEV. That the men who chopped wood in Berditchev, an arduous job that required no literacy, met regularly to study Jewish law demonstrates the ongoing pervasiveness of study of the Oral Law in the Jewish community.

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The Oral Law -Talmud & Mishna

B’nai B’rith International – SourceWatch

Posted By on November 12, 2018

Bnai Brith "is an international Jewish organization committed to the security and continuity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, defending human rights, combating anti-Semitism, bigotry and ignorance, and providing service to the community on the broadest principles of humanity. Its mission is to unite persons of the Jewish faith and to enhance Jewish identity through strengthening Jewish family life and the education and training of youth, broad-based services for the benefit of senior citizens, and advocacy and action on behalf of Jews throughout the world.

"Founded in 1843, B'nai B'rith International is universally recognized as one of the world's largest and oldest Jewish human rights, community action, and humanitarian organizations. A constant source of innovation and charity for populations around the world, B'nai B'rith has founded hospitals, orphanages, senior housing communities, disaster relief campaigns, libraries, anti-hatred programs, and countless other initiatives in the public interest. B'nai B'rith is also a tireless advocate for Israel and the Diaspora in a variety of governmental and political arenas. With more than 180,000 members and affiliates in more than 50 countries, B'nai B'rith truly spans the globe in its efforts to make Jewish communities better for all their inhabitants." [1]

"The work of B'nai B'rith International is focused in its centers. These centers provide the framework for intensive study of issues and thoughtful responses through the combined efforts of dedicated volunteer leaders and professional staff." [2]

Accessed January 2009: [3]

Accessed December 2007: [4]

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B'nai B'rith International - SourceWatch

Jewish studies – Wikipedia

Posted By on November 11, 2018

Jewish studies (or Judaic studies) is an academic discipline centered on the study of Jews and Judaism. Jewish studies is interdisciplinary and combines aspects of history (especially Jewish history), Middle Eastern studies, Asian studies, Oriental studies, religious studies, archeology, sociology, languages (Jewish languages), political science, area studies, women's studies, and ethnic studies. Jewish studies as a distinct field is mainly present at colleges and universities in North America.

Related fields include Holocaust research and Israel Studies, and in Israel, Jewish thought.

The Jewish tradition generally places a high value on learning and study, especially of religious texts. Torah study (study of the Torah and more broadly of the entire Hebrew Bible as well as Rabbinic literature such as the Talmud and Midrash) is considered a religious obligation.

Since the Renaissance and the growth of higher education, many people, including people not of the Jewish faith, have chosen to study Jews and Judaism as a means of understanding the Jewish religion, heritage, and Jewish history.

Religious instruction specifically for Jews, especially for those who wish to join the rabbinate, is taught at Jewish seminaries (and in Orthodox Judaism, yeshivas). Among the most prominent are the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary and the Reform Hebrew Union College. For the majority of Jewish students attending regular academic colleges and universities there is a growing choice of Jewish studies courses and even degrees available at many institutions.

The subject of antisemitism and the Holocaust, as well as the establishment of the modern State of Israel and the revival of the Hebrew language have all stimulated unusual interest in greater in-depth academic study, research, reading and lecturing about these core areas of knowledge related to current events. In the United States, the unique position that Jewish Americans have held within the nation's complex social structure has created substantial scholarship, especially with regards to topics such as interfaith marriage, political activism, and influence on popular culture.

In a 1966 article published in the American Jewish Year Book, the Hebrew literature scholar Arnold J. Band was among the first to call attention to the "spread of Jewish studies as an accepted academic discipline in the American liberal arts colleges and universities since the Second World War".[1][2] In his article Band offered a definition of Jewish (Judaic) studies as "the discipline which deals with the historical experiences, in the intellectual, religious, and social spheres, of the Jewish people in all centuries and countries".[3]

The political situation in the Middle East, especially the ArabIsraeli conflict and the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, has raised the profile of Jews, Judaism, and Zionism on campuses, spurring many on to study this subject for non-degree as well as for credits in obtaining a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Arts degree. A growing number of mature students are even obtaining Ph.D.s in Jewish studies judging by the quantity of courses and programs available. Many hope to obtain employment in the field of Jewish education or in Jewish communal service agencies.

Some Christians search for an understanding of the Jewish background for Jesus Christ and Christianity and for the source of monotheism that sprang from Judaism. There are those who are seeking an understanding of the complex and volatile relationship between Islam and Judaism. Others are searching for spirituality and philosophy and therefore seek classes in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and Jewish philosophy. There are also those who have a genuine concern and attachment to modern Israel as Christian Zionists and therefore seek to learn more about the subjects related to their beliefs.

Jewish studies have been offered at universities around the world.[4] The following are only a few significant examples of places where Jewish studies are offered and flourish in an academic setting:

Several colleges in the United States and Israel offer Jewish Studies or Judaic Studies as a major.

The Institute of Jewish Studies of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was established in 1924, a few months before the official opening of the university.[5] Widely considered to be the world's premier center of Jewish studies,[citation needed] the institute has includes eight teaching departments and 18 research institutes, oversees the publication of a wide variety of journals and periodicals and has student body of over 1200 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in Jewish studies. In addition, the university has several institutes dedicated to specific subjects of Jewish studies, such as the Institute of Contemporary Jewry,[6] the Institute for Research in Jewish Law,[7] the Institute of Archaeology,[8] the Center for Jewish Art,[9] the Jewish Music Research Center,[10] the Center for Jewish Education,[11] and the Department of Jewish Thought.[12] The Jewish National and University Library, which serves as the library of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, houses the world's largest collection of Hebraica and Judaica. The university also benefits from Jerusalem's unparalleled concentration of resources, which include: some 50 museums, most of which are dedicated to, or contain significant exhibits pertinent to, Jewish studies; dozens of independent research institutes and libraries dedicated to Jewish studies; over 100 rabbinical colleges representing all streams of Judaism; and the city of Jerusalem itself, the ancient and modern center of Jewish life, thought and study.

Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, has the world's largest school of Jewish Studies, which includes 14 teaching departments, 21 research institutes, some 300 faculty members and over 2,000 students.[13] The school publishes 11 journals[14] and the only internet journal in Jewish Studies Jewish Studies.[15] Flagship projects of the Faculty of Jewish Studies include: the Responsa Project[16] which is the largest data base of classical Jewish sources throughout the ages; The "Mikraot Gdolot Haketer" which is the most accurate edition of the Mikraot Gdolot; The Ingeborg Rennert Center of Jerusalem Studies;[17] and the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project,[18] the excavations of the site of biblical Gath of the Philistines under the auspices of Prof. Aren Maier.

Tel Aviv University's Department of Hebrew Culture Studies is the single largest integrative Jewish Studies department in the world today. It covers a wide range of periods, methodologies, and scholarly interests. The Jewish Studies International MA provides tools and skills for further graduate studies in Jewish Studies and other fields involving text work. It attracts Humanities graduates from all over the world. Its graduates are equipped for work in many branches of education, in Jewish and other communities, Jewish cultural institutions, synagogues and churches and charities.[19]

The Judaic Studies (JST) department[20] at UAlbany[21] offers undergraduate courses at elementary and advanced levels in Jewish history and culture, as well as Hebrew. Both a major and a minor in Judaic Studies are offered, as well as a minor in Hebrew[20]

Courses range from basic introductory courses on particular topics in Judaic studies to more advanced seminars where students can explore questions and ideas in more depth. Many of the courses, both upper- and lower-level courses, are cross-listed with other departments, providing students with exposure to different disciplinary methods. There are also opportunities for students to earn independent study credit through which they can work on an idea or question particular to their own interests, while also gaining valuable research and writing experience. Practicum credit may also be earned by assisting a professor in a course, and Internship credit is available through community service[22]

Qualified students also have the option of enrolling in the Honors Program to be considered for a BA in Judaic Studies with Honors upon successful completion of an honors thesis.[23]

Hebrew language classes are also available at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels, and for students who are advanced in their language studies, Practicum and Independent study credit may also be earned.[24]

The Center for Jewish Studies, which is affiliated with the Judaic Studies department, sponsor several talks each semester, which are open to both the local, as well as academic communities, and include lectures and discussions by Jewish Studies scholars and writers.[25]

SUNY offers their students an opportunity to study abroad, including in Israel, which is overseen by the Judaic Studies department and is open to everyone.[26]

The American Jewish University, formerly the separate institutions University of Judaism and Brandeis-Bardin Institute, is a Jewish, non-denominational and highly eclectic institution. Its largest component is its Whizin Center for Continuing Education in which 12,000 students are enrolled annually in non-credit granting courses. A prominent program of the Center is the university's annual speaker series. AJU's academic division includes the College of Arts and Sciences, leading to a B.A. degree in majors such as Bioethics (pre-med), Business, Communication Arts & Advocacy, Jewish Studies, Political Science and Psychology. In addition, AJU offers graduate degrees through the Fingerhut School of Education, The David L. Lieber Graduate School, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, a Conservative Jewish rabbinical seminary. AJU is host to two "think tanks," the Center for Israel Studies (CIS) and the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust. Through the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, the University has oversight over Camps Ramah, Alonim, and Gan Alonim.

The University of California-Berkeley offers the Joint Doctoral Program in Jewish Studies (JDP) in collaboration with the Graduate Theological Union. Graduate Students in this interdisciplinary program pick one major and one minor period as well as a discipline. The JDP includes classes in Hebrew and Yiddish literature, Rabbinics, cultural studies and critical theory. Professors and Graduate students with scholarly interest in Jewish Studies can be found across the Humanities.

Binghamton University (SUNY) offers a major and a minor in Judaic Studies (JUST). The department offers two concentrations: 1) Jewish history and culture and 2) Hebrew language and literature. There are a wide variety of courses offered. Internship credits are available.[27] It also is home to a new Center For Israel Studies.[28]

The Lown School of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies is a comprehensive center for Judaic studies. It houses the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, "one of the oldest and largest programs of its type outside of the State of Israel, with the largest faculty in Jewish Studies of any secular American university."[29] The department's founding chairman was Simon Rawidowicz.[30] The graduate program grants MA and PhD degrees in Bible and Ancient Near East, Jewish Studies, and Arab and Islamic Civilizations.[29] The building also houses the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, the Steinhardt Social Research Institute, the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, the Jacob and Libby Goodman Institute for the Study of Zionism, the Bernard G. and Rhoda G. Sarnat Center for the Study of Anti-Jewishness, and the Benjamin S. Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service. The National Center for Jewish Film and the American Jewish Historical Society are associated with the Lown School.[31]

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island offers an interdisciplinary Judaic Studies program that includes an undergraduate concentration and graduate MA and PhD degrees. Faculty areas of focus include the Hebrew Language, Jewish Thought, Modern Hebrew and Jewish Literature, Ancient Judaism, Modern Jewish History, Biblical Studies, Rabbinics and Early Judaism, and Latin American Jewish Literature.[32]

The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University in New York City[33] is supported by access to rare books and over 35,000 Hebrew and Yiddish titles in Columbia's Library.[34] Columbia offers a joint undergraduate degree with the Jewish Theological Seminary. Columbia offers graduate programs in Jewish history, Yiddish studies, Talmud and Judaism.

The Program of Jewish Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York is an interdisciplinary program. The scope of the Jewish Studies curriculum covers Jewish civilization from its ancient Near Eastern origins through its contemporary history and culture in Israel and the diaspora communities around the world. Instruction is offered in Semitic languages; the Hebrew Bible; medieval and modern Hebrew literature; ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish history; and Holocaust studies.[35]

The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut was founded in 1994 with an initial endowment of $1.5 million from Carl and Dorothy Bennett. The Bennett Center's goal is to provide Fairfield University students exposure to and contact with Jewish ideas, culture, and thinking through lectures and other events.[36]

Fairfield University also offers a minor in Judaic Studies within the Religion Department. Courses cover the Jewish faith, history, and culture. It seeks to integrate Judaic Studies into the curriculum of the Fairfield College of Arts and Sciences.[37]

Through the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Judaic Studies Program at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. offers students the ability to study in the proximity to some of the most influential Jewish and Jewish-related institutions in the United States.[38] Because of its location on the Foggy Bottom campus in downtown Washington, D.C., internships with organizations such as the American Jewish Committee, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Embassy of Israel in Washington, the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are not only easily accessible but also very common.

The Gelman Library also hosts the I. Edward Kiev Collection, one of the largest Jewish academic archives on the East Coast.[39]

The Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University is the focal point for the study and teaching of Judaica through publications, fellowships, lectures, and symposia on topics of interest to scholars and to the general public. The Center sponsors visiting scholars and post-doctoral research fellows and coordinates undergraduate and graduate studies on an interdisciplinary basis. The Center does not offer degrees but degrees focusing on Judaic Studies are available in various departments.[40]

The Borns Jewish Studies Program offers an undergraduate major (with a Jewish sacred music curriculum in conjunction with the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University); a certificate (8 courses); a minor in Hebrew; an undergraduate and graduate minor in Yiddish Studies (via the Department of Germanic Studies); a master's degree; and a PhD minor.[41]

The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is a graduate school which describes itself as offering "the most extensive academic program in advanced Judaic studies in North America."[42] The school grants MA, DHL, and PhD degrees in the areas of: ancient Judaism; Bible and ancient Semitic languages; interdepartmental studies; Jewish art and visual culture; Jewish history; Jewish literature; Jewish philosophy; Jewish studies and public administration; Jewish studies and Social Work; *Jewish womens studies; Jewish liturgy; medieval Jewish studies; Midrash; modern Jewish studies; and Talmud and Rabbinics. In addition to its graduate school, JTS also runs the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies (which is affiliated with Columbia University and offers joint/double bachelor's degree programs with both Columbia and Barnard College); the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education; the H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music; and the Rabbinical School. The school's library "contains 425,000 volumes, making it the largest and most extensive collection of Hebraic and Judaic material in the Western Hemisphere."[43]

The Jewish Studies Program at Miami University offers students a minor, which requires 18 credit hours, and a thematic sequence . The minor requires a balance of pre-modern and modern courses.[44] At Miami, thematic sequence typically consists of three related courses designed with an intellectual or pedagogical progression. Undergraduates must take a thematic sequence outside the department(s) in which they major, according to the Global Miami Plan for Liberal Education.[45]

Miami's program began in 2000, with the support of Thomas Idinopulos (d. 2010[46]) and Karl Mattox.[47] The proposal for Miami's Jewish Studies Program was developed partly by Allan Winkler.[48] In 2006 and 2007, Miami University received grants from the Posen Foundation for the study of secular Judaism. Professor Sven-Erik Rose

The Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan was formed as an independent program under the leadership of Jehuda Reinharz in 1976 and expanded into its current model in 1988. A strong faculty with a variety of expertise has allowed the interdisciplinary program to grow significantly in recent years. Areas of special interest include numerous faculty with strengths in Rabbinics, Yiddish literature and modern Jewish history. The current director, Dr. Deborah Dash Moore, is the author of GI Jews, chronicling the role of Jews in the United States military and co-editor of the two-volume Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Other leading faculty members include Zvi Gitelman, Todd Endelman, Anita Norich, Madeline Kochen, Mikhail Krutikov, Elliot Ginsburg, Scott Spector and Julian Levinson. Recent arrivals include Ryan Szpiech (Spanish, Sephardic Culture, Medieval Iberia) and Rachel Neis (Rabbinics, Late Antique Judaism).[49]

Michigan Jewish Institute provides academic baccalaureate and other degree granting programs that combine an arts and sciences foundation with concentrations in Education, Leadership and General Judaic Studies for career development in applied Judaic disciplines. The Institute is part of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.[50]

The Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies offers one of the most comprehensive Jewish Studies programs in North America, encompassing Hebrew language and literature as well as all facets of Jewish history and culture, from the ancient through the medieval to the modern. Courses are taught by faculty whose specialties include ancient Judaism, medieval Jewish history, modern Jewish history, Biblical studies, Middle Eastern studies, Postbiblical and Talmudic literature, Jewish mysticism, Jewish philosophy, and related fields.[51] The school will grant eight elective credits to students who score 75 or more on the Jerusalam Exam[52][53] Students may also receive credits for approved classes taken at NYU Tel Aviv.[54]

Northwestern University is home to the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies, which offers both a minor and major in Jewish studies. The center consists of faculty across various departments, and offers courses in Hebrew, Yiddish, Jewish history, rabbinics, Jewish literature, and political science. Notable faculty include Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Irwin Weil, Jacob Lassner, Beverly Mortensen and Elie Rekhess.[55]

The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies[56] at Portland State University (PSU) is located in Portland, Oregon. The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies offers both a Bachelor of Arts major and minor in Judaic Studies. Majors may choose one of five areas of concentration: Jews in Antiquity; Israel Studies; Judaism; Literature, Culture, and the Arts; or Modern Jewish History.[57] Hebrew language instruction is also available.

The University of Oklahoma offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies and minors in Judaic Studies[58] and Hebrew. It also offers fellowships to students pursuing graduate degrees in history. The University is home to the Schusterman Center in Judaic and Israel Studies[59] which began in 1993 as the Schusterman Program in Judaic and Israel Studies with the establishment of a Chairmanship by the Schusterman Family Foundation as a memorial to Sam Schusterman and Harold Josey.[60] The program expanded to include a major in 2009.[61] Classes include Hebrew, Jewish Literature, Jewish Mysticism, Israel, the Shoah, and Jewish History. Students can find other Jewish learning opportunities at the OU Hillel.[62]

The Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is the only institution in the world devoted exclusively to post-doctoral research on Jewish civilization in all its historical and cultural manifestations.The Center was created in the fall of 1993 by the merger of the Annenberg Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania.[63] The library contains vast holdings of Judaica. There are several online exhibits as well.[64]

University of Pennsylvania students can major or minor in Jewish studies in different departments.[65]

Other resources are available at the Weigle Judaica and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (JANES) Reading Room (in the Van Pelt Library). It contains about 6,000 non-circulating resources for study including "...the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (CAD); Biblical and multi-lingual dictionaries; grammars; important facsimiles and transcriptions of Sumerian and Northwest Semitic primary sources; critical Biblical editions and commentaries; Tannaitic, Amoraic, Midrashic, Geonic, and Responsa literatures; sixty-nine scholarly journals, including thirty-nine currently received periodicals."[66] The Freedman Jewish Sound Archive contains over 4,000 Yiddish and Hebrew sound recordings and sheet music.[67]

The Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University offers a certificate program. It includes a mandatory course called Great Books of the Jewish Tradition. and four other classes.[68]

Rutgers University has the largest Department of Jewish Studies[69] among public research universities in the U.S. The Department serves as the academic home of seven full-time faculty members, who are supported by a dozen associated faculty members from other academic departments, Hebrew and Yiddish language instructors, and visiting fellows sponsored by the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life[70] Students pursuing a B.A. degree[71] may major or minor in Jewish Studies. In addition, the Department offers two specialized minors, one in Modern Hebrew Language and one in the Language and Culture of Ancient Israel.

The M.A. degree in Jewish Studies[72] is designed for those seeking to advance their knowledge at the graduate level to prepare for doctoral-level work in Jewish Studies or other careers. The Department also offers a Certificate in Jewish Studies[73] to graduate students at Rutgers pursuing masters level or doctoral level work.

The program offers six free non-credit online courses in Jewish Studies. Topics include Zionism, Rabbinic literature, Bible History, Jews under Islam and more.[74]

The Jewish Studies Program[75] at San Diego State University (SDSU), located in San Diego, California, is an interdisciplinary program serving the students of SDSU as well as the greater San Diego community. SDSU offers a Major in Modern Jewish Studies and a Minor in Jewish Studies and are teaching a broad range of topics related to Jewish history, religion and culture from the biblical through the modern period.[76] SDSU also offers a minor in Hebrew language within SDSU's Department of Linguistics, Asian/Middle Eastern Languages program[77] In addition, SDSU hosts the Archives of the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego[78] as well as The Lipinsky Institute for Judaic Studies. SDSU is ranked #28 in the country in public universities for Jewish students.[79] SDSU has the largest Jewish student population in San Diego, and the fourth (4th) largest in California.[76]

Previously Chicagos College of Jewish Studies, the predecessor of Spertus Institute, was founded in 1924.[80] In its first year it offered three courses: Jewish history, religion, and language. By 1948, a Department of Graduate Studies offering bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees had been initiated. Today Spertus Institute offers accredited master's degree programs in Jewish Studies, Jewish Professional Studies, and Doctoral degree programs in Jewish Studies.[81] Distance learning options serve students in 38 U.S. states and nine foreign countries.

The Judaic Studies Program at Syracuse University offers an Undergraduate Major in Modern Jewish Studies and a minor in Jewish Studies. Additionally, the School of Education[82] offers a minor in Jewish Education to "better prepare SU undergraduates to teach in Jewish congregational schools, camps, community centers, youth organizations." Syracuse University also offers classes in the Hebrew language.

The Judaic Studies Program[83] at UC San Diego offers an Undergraduate Major in Judaic Studies, a minor in Judaic Studies, and a minor in Hebrew Language and Literature. Additionally, the History Department[84] offers a master's degree in Judaic Studies and a Ph.D. in ancient history with relevant major fields including the history of Israel in the biblical period and the history of the Jewish people in antiquity. The Anthropology Department, in conjunction with the Judaic Studies Program, offers graduate training in Near Eastern archaeology with a focus on Israel and Jordan.The school is also involved with the USC Shoah Foundation/The Visual History Archive an academic "authority on the study of genocide and personal testimony."[85]Many free interviews and videos may be accessed online or at a partner site.[86][87]

The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies of The University of Texas at Austin, founded in 2007, is the hub for Jewish Studies at UT Austin. It offers an undergraduate JS major; a network of graduate students pursuing Jewish research interests is organized through the Center. The Schusterman Center sponsors or cosponsors visiting speakers, film series, performing arts events, and exhibits, among other activities, and hosts visiting Israeli faculty. While it strives to include all Jewish topics, its areas of emphasis are Israel, which is covered by the Institute for Israel Studies within the Schusterman Center, Central and Eastern European Jewish history and culture and the Holocaust, Jewish Life in the Americas (including Latin America, the United States, and Canada), under the aegis of the Edwin Gale Collaborative for the Study of Jewish Life in the Americas, and Jewish Futures. The Schusterman Center houses the Nathan Snyder Memorial Library and a collection of original artwork by Latin American Jewish visual artists.[88] It has close ties to the Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA) and hosts the LAJSA website.[89]

Touro College in New York City takes its name from Judah Touro and Isaac Touro, Jewish community leaders of colonial America, who represent the ideals upon which the College bases its mission. The college supports the faith of its Jewish students in addition to offering a variety of degrees.[90]

Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia allows students to focus on the history, languages, and literature of the Jewish people; the beliefs and practices of Judaism; and the enduring contributions of Jewish wisdom to human civilization. Courses in Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Yiddish, Bible, Rabbinic literature, Jewish ancient and modern history, Jewish literature and culture, Holocaust studies, Jewish theology, and Jewish communities and cultures worldwide. Study abroad in Israel or in other centers of Jewry beyond North America.[91]

Jewish Studies at UW began in the 1970s[92] and today includes two dozen faculty members.[93] Pillars of the program include the Stroum Lecture Series, the Hazel D. Cole Fellowship,.[94]

Yeshiva University in New York City has one of the largest departments of Jewish studies outside Israel and is the home of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the leading modern-orthodox rabbinical college in the United States. Its Jewish studies library contains over 300,000 volumes. It also houses the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.Prominent Jewish Studies faculty members include Richard C Steiner, Barry Eichler, Debra Kaplan, Haym Soloveitchik, Ephraim Kanarfogel, David Berger, Mordechai Z. Cohen, Shalom Carmy, Steven Fine, Adam Zachary Newton, and Jeffrey S. Gurock.

University College London (UCL) houses the largest department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies in Europe. The department is the only one in the UK to offer a full degree course and research supervision in Jewish Studies at the BA Honours, MA, MPhil and PhD levels in every subject of Hebrew and Jewish Studiesphilology, history, and literaturecovering virtually the entire chronological and geographical span of the Hebrew and Jewish civilisation from antiquity through the Middle Ages to the modern period. As the first university in England to open its doors to Women, Roman Catholics and Dissenters, UCL was also the first to admit Jewish students. This traditional link of the College with the Anglo-Jewish community is very much alive today. Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid (17781859), one of the leading figures in the struggle for Jewish emancipation in England, was among the principal founders of University College and the chief promotor of its Hebrew department. At his instigation, Hyman Hurwitz was appointed as the first Professor of Hebrew in 1828. In 1967 the department was renamed the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies and extended to include, in addition to the established courses in Hebrew language and literature, a much wider range of courses with an emphasis on Jewish history. The department acts as host to both the Jewish Historical Society of England (JHSE)[95] and the Institute of Jewish Studies (IJS),[96] which organises annual public lecture series and international conferences on all aspects of Jewish civilisation.[97]

A nine-month course at Oxford University offers a chance to study Judaism at many different stages in its history - from its roots as the religion of the Israelites to the 20th century - as well as the opportunity to develop skills in a language important to the knowledge, understanding, practice and interpretation of the Jewish faith (or learn a language from scratch).[98]

Cambridge has long been a centre for Hebrew and Semitic studies, the Regius Professorship of Hebrew having been founded by Henry VIII in 1540. The Hebrew degree at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Easter Studies (FAMES) takes four years, with the third year spent abroad. Along with general courses on Middle Eastern history and culture, students in the FAMES Hebrew programme study Hebrew language, literature, and culture of all periods (ancient, medieval, and modern). The teaching staff include specialists in each of these periods, including Dr. Aaron Hornkohl, Prof. Geoffrey Khan, Prof. Nicholas de Lange, Dr Yaron Peleg, and Dr. Michael Chaim Rand. A student may officially combine Hebrew with Arabic or a Modern European Language.

The Birobidzhan Jewish National University, a Russian university, works in cooperation with the local Jewish community of Birobidzhan. The university is unique in the Russian Far East. The basis of the training course is study of the Hebrew language, history and classic Jewish texts.[99]

In recent years,[when?] the Jewish Autonomous Oblast has grown interested in its Jewish roots. Students study Hebrew and Yiddish at a Jewish school[which?] and Birobidzhan Jewish National University. In 1989, the Jewish center founded its Sunday school, where children studyYiddish, learn Jewish folk dance, and learn about the history of Israel. The Israeli government helps fund the program.[100]

The Center for Jewish Studies Heidelberg (Hochschule fr Jdische Studien Heidelberg) is a fully recognized and accredited non-denominational institution of higher learning that delves into abroad range of research topics within the field of Jewish Studies. With its ten chairs working in close cooperation with the University of Heidelberg, the Center for Jewish Studies Heidelberg is a point of dynamic scholarly discussion, incorporating all facets of Jewish religion, history, cultures and societies. While the proximity to the historical heritage of Ashkenaz provides decisive impetus for both academic and religious work, its interest invariably extends beyond to all areas of geography and chronology as to consider Jewish cultures at large

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Jewish studies - Wikipedia

Chabad – Wikipedia

Posted By on November 11, 2018

Chabad, also known as Lubavitch, Habad and Chabad-Lubavitch[1] (Hebrew: "), is an Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic movement. Chabad is one of the world's best known Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach. It is one of the largest Hasidic groups[2][3][4] and Jewish religious organizations in the world.[5][6]

Founded in 1775 by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the name "Chabad" () is a Hebrew acronym for Chochmah, Binah, Da'at (, , ): "Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge", which represent the intellectual underpinnings of the movement.[7][8] The name Lubavitch is the Yiddish name of the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth village Lubowicze (Lyubavichi) now in Russia, where the movements leaders lived for over 100years.

In the 1930s, the sixth Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, moved the center of the Chabad movement from Russia to Poland. After the outbreak of World War II, he moved the center of the movement to the United States.

In 1951, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson became the seventh Chabad Rebbe. The seventh Rebbe transformed the movement into one of the largest and most widespread Jewish movements in the world today. Under Rabbi Menachem Mendel's leadership, the movement established a network of more than 3,600 institutions that provide religious, social and humanitarian needs in over 1,000 cities, spanning 100 countries[9] and all 50 American states.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Chabad institutions provide outreach to unaffiliated Jews and humanitarian aid, as well as religious, cultural and educational activities at Chabad-run community centers, synagogues, schools, camps, and soup kitchens.

The movement is thought to number between 40,000[17] and 200,000 adherents.[18][19][20][21] In 2005 the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported that up to one million Jews attend Chabad services at least once a year.[17][22][23] In 2013, Chabad forecast that their Chanukah activities would reach up to 8,000,000 Jews in 80 countries worldwide.[24]

The Chabad movement was established in the town of Liozna, Grand Duchy of Lithuania (present day Belarus), in 1775, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi,[25] a student of Rabbi Dovber ben Avraham, the "Maggid of Mezritch", the successor to Hasidism's founder, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. The movement was based in Lyubavichi (Lubavitch) for over a century, then briefly centered in the cities of Rostov-on-Don, Riga, and Warsaw. Since 1940,[25] the movement's center has been in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.[26][27]

While the movement has spawned a number of other groups, the Chabad-Lubavitch branch appears to be the only one still active, making it the movement's main surviving line.[28] Sarna has characterized Chabad as having enjoyed the fastest rate of growth of any Jewish religious movement in the period 1946-2015.[29]

In the early 1900s, Chabad-Lubavitch legally incorporated itself under Agudas Chasidei Chabad ("Association of Chabad Hasidim").

The Chabad movement has been led by a succession of Hasidic rebbes. The main line of the movement, Chabad-Lubavitch, has had seven rebbes in total:

The Chabad movement was subject to government oppression in Russia. The Russian government, first under the Czar, later under the Bolsheviks, imprisoned all but one of the Chabad rebbes.[41][42] The Bolsheviks also imprisoned, exiled and executed a number of Chabad Hasidim.[43][44][45] Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chabad is not persecuted by the Russian government. Chabad Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, has good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.[46] Lazar also received the Order of Friendship and Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" medals from him.[47]

In the 1980s, tensions arose between Chabad and Satmar Chasidim as the result of several assaults on Chabad hasidim by Satmar hasidim.[48][49][50]

Chabad Hasidic philosophy focuses on religious and spiritual concepts such as God, the soul, and the meaning of the Jewish commandments. Classical Judaic writings and Jewish mysticism, especially the Zohar and the Kabbalah of Rabbi Isaac Luria, are frequently cited in Chabad works. These texts are used both as sources of Chabad teachings and as material requiring interpretation by Chabad authors. Chabad philosophy is rooted in the teachings of Rabbis Yisroel ben Eliezer, (the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism) and Dovber ben Avraham, the "Maggid of Mezritch" (Rabbi Yisroel's successor).[citation needed]

Rabbi Shneur Zalman's teachings formed the basis of Chabad philosophy, as expanded by succeeding generations. Many Chabad activities today are understood as applications of Shneur Zalman's teachings.[citation needed]

Sefer HaTanya, Shneur Zalman's magnum opus, is the first schematic treatment of Hasidic moral philosophy and its metaphysical foundations.[31] The original name of the first book is Sefer Shel Beinonim, the Book of the Intermediates. It is also known as Likutei Amarim Collected Sayings. Sefer Shel Beinonim analyzes the inner struggle of the individual and the path to resolution. Citing the biblical verse "the matter is very near to you, in your mouth, your heart, to do",[51] the philosophy is based on the notion that the human is not inherently evil; rather, every individual has an inner conflict that is characterized with two different inclinations, the good and the bad.[52]

According to Shneur Zalman's seminal work Tanya, the intellect consists of three interconnected processes: Chochma (wisdom), Bina (understanding), and Da'at (knowledge). While other branches of Hasidism focused primarily on the idea that "God desires the heart," Shneur Zalman argued that God also desires the mind, and that the mind is the "gateway" to the heart. With the Chabad philosophy he elevated the mind above the heart, arguing that "understanding is the mother of fear and love for God".[53]

Chabad often contrasted itself with what is termed the Chagat schools of Hasidism.[54] While all schools of Hasidism have a certain focus on the emotions, Chagat saw emotions as a reaction to physical stimuli, such as dancing, singing, or beauty. Shneur Zalman, on the other hand, taught that the emotions must be led by the mind, and thus the focus of Chabad thought was to be Torah study and prayer rather than esotericism and song.[31] As a Talmudist, Shneur Zalman endeavored to place Kabbalah and Hasidism on a rational basis. In Tanya, he defines his approach as moach shalit al halev (Hebrew: " ", "the brain ruling the heart").[55]

An adherent of Chabad is called a Chabad Chasid (or Hasid) (Hebrew: "), a Lubavitcher (Yiddish: ), a Chabadnik (Hebrew: ), or a Chabadsker (Yiddish: ).[56] Chabad's adherents include both Hasidic followers, as well as non-Hasidim, who have joined Chabad synagogues and other Chabad run institutions.[57]

The Chabad community consists of the followers (Hasidim) of the Chabad Rebbes. Originally, based in Eastern Europe, today, various Chabad communities span the globe; the communities with higher concentrations of Chabad's Hasidic followers are located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Kfar Chabad, Israel. Other communities hold smaller population sizes.[citation needed]

According to sociologists studying contemporary Jewry, the Chabad movement fits into neither the standard category of Haredi nor that of modern Orthodox among Orthodox Jews. This is due in part to the existence of the "non-Orthodox Hasidim", the general lack of official recognition of political and religious distinctions within Judaism and the open relationship with non-Orthodox Jews represented by the activism of Chabad emissaries.[57][58]

Demographic accounts on the Chabad movement vary. Chabad adherents are often reported to number some 200,000 persons.[18][20][21] Some scholars have pointed to the lack of quantitative data to back this claim,[59] and some place the number of Chabad followers at around 40,000 but note that the number may be higher if the non-Hasidic Jews who join Chabad synagogues are included as well.[17]

Compared to other Hasidic groups, Chabad is currently thought to be the largest,[60] the third[61] or fourth[62] largest Hasidic movement.

An estimate places Chabad's followers in the US at around 18,600. The estimate is drawn from existing data on the Montreal Chabad community, and Chabad day school figures.[63]

The report findings of studies on Jewish day schools and supplementary Jewish education in the United States show that the student body currently enrolled in some 295 Chabad schools exceeds 20,750.[68][69][70]

The Chabad community in France is estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000. The majority of the Chabad community in France are the descendants of immigrants from North Africa (specifically Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) during the 1960s.[64]

Though the Chabad movement was founded in Eastern Europe, a center of Ashkenazic Jewry, it has in the past several decades attracted a significant number of Sephardi Jews as adherents.[77] Some Chabad communities are now a mix of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Chabad Hasidim. In Montreal, close to 25% of Chabad households include a Sephardi parent.[78][79]

Chabad adherents follow Chabad traditions and prayer services based on Lurianic kabbalah.[80] General Chabad customs, called minhagim (or minhagei Chabad), distinguish the movement from other Hasidic groups. Some of the main Chabad customs are minor practices performed on traditional Jewish holidays:

There are a number of days marked by the Chabad movement as special days. Major holidays include the liberation dates of the leaders of the movement, the Rebbes of Chabad, others corresponded to the leaders' birthdays, anniversaries of death, and other life events.

The days marking the leaders' release, are celebrated by the Chabad movement as "Days of Liberation" (Hebrew: (Yom Geulah)). The most noted day is Yud Tes Kislev The liberation of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement. The day is also called the "New Year of Hasidism".[85]

The birthdays of several of the movement's leaders are celebrated each year include Chai Elul, the birthday of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement,[86][87] and Yud Aleph Nissan, the birthday of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh rebbe of Chabad.[88]

The anniversaries of death, or yartzeit, of several of the movement's leaders are celebrated each year, include Yud Shvat, the yartzeit of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth rebbe of Chabad,[89] Gimmel Tammuz, the yartzeit of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh rebbe of Chabad,[89][90] and Chof Beis Shvat, the yartzeit of Chaya Mushka Schneerson, the wife of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.[91]

Chabad's influence since World War Two has been far reaching among world Jewry. Chabad pioneered the post-World War II Jewish outreach movement, which spread Judaism to many assimilated Jews worldwide, leading to a substantial number of baalei teshuva ("returnees" to Judaism). The very first Yeshiva/Rabbinical College for such baalei teshuva, Hadar Hatorah, was established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. It is reported that up to a million Jews attend Chabad services at least once a year.[22][23]

According to Steven I. Weiss, Chabad's ideology has dramatically influenced non-Hasidic Jews' outreach practice.[92]

Because of its outreach to all Jews, including those quite alienated from religious Jewish tradition, Chabad has been described as the one Orthodox group to evoke great affection from large segments of American Jewry.[93]

Chabad's central organization representing the movement at large, Agudas Chasidei Chabad, is headed by Rabbi Abraham Shemtov. The educational, outreach and social services arms, Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch and Machneh Israel is headed by Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, as well as the Chabad-Lubavitch publishing house, Kehot Publication Society.

Local Chabad centers and institutions are usually incorporated as separate legal entities.[94]

As of 2007 there are 3,300 Chabad institutions around the world.[12][13][14] As of 2006 there were Chabad centers in 75 countries.[15]

Listed on the Chabad movement's online directory are around 1,350 Chabad institutions. This number includes schools and other Chabad-affiliated establishments. The number of Chabad centers vary per country; the majority are in the United States and Israel. There are over 40 countries with a small Chabad presence.

In total, according to its directory, Chabad maintains a presence in 950 cities around the world: 178 in Europe, 14 in Africa, 200 in Israel, 400 in North America, 38 in South America, and about 70 in Asia (excluding Israel, including Russia).[16]

See also Chabad institutions by geographic region

Chabad presence varies from region to region. The continent with the highest concentration of Chabad centers is North America. The continent with the fewest centers is Africa.[95][96][97][98][99]

A Chabad house is a form of Jewish community center, primarily serving both educational and observance purposes.[100] Often, until the community can support its own center, the Chabad house is located in the shaliach's home, with the living room being used as the "synagogue". Effort is made to provide an atmosphere in which the nonobservant will not feel intimidated by any perceived contrast between their lack of knowledge of Jewish practice and the advanced knowledge of some of the people they meet there.[101] The term "Chabad House" originated with the creation of the first such outreach center on the campus of UCLA by Rabbi Shlomo Cunin.[102] A key to the Chabad house was given to the Rebbe and he asked if that meant that the new house was his home. He was told yes and he replied, "My hand will be on the door of this house to keep it open twenty-four hours a day for young and old, men and women alike."[103]

In the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the local Chabad house was targeted.[104][105] The local Chabad emissaries, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, and four other Jews were tortured and murdered by Islamic terrorists.[106] Chabad received condolences from around the world.[107]

Funds for activities of a Chabad center rely entirely on the local community. Chabad centers do not receive funding from Lubavitch headquarters. For the day-to-day operations, local emissaries do all the fundraising by themselves.

Chabad emissaries often solicit the support of local Jews.[108] Funds are used toward purchasing or renovating Chabad centers, synagogues and Mikvahs.[109]

The Chabad movement has been involved in numerous activities in contemporary Jewish life. These activities include providing Jewish education to different age groups, outreach to non-affiliated Jews, publishing Jewish literature, and summer camps for children, among other activities.

Chabad runs a number of educational institutions. Most are Jewish day schools; others offer secondary and adult education.

Much of the movement's activities emphasize on outreach activities. This is due to Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson encouraging his followers to reach out to other Jews.[116] Chabad outreach includes activities promoting the practice of Jewish commandments (Mitzvah campaigns), as well as other forms of Jewish outreach. Much of Chabad's outreach is performed by Chabad emissaries (see Shaliach (Chabad)).

The Rebbes of Chabad have issued the call to all Jews to attract non-observant Jews to adopt Orthodox Jewish observance, teaching that this activity is part of the process of bringing the Messiah. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson issued a call to every Jew: "Even if you are not fully committed to a Torah life, do something. Begin with a mitzvah any mitzvah its value will not be diminished by the fact that there are others that you are not prepared to do".[117]

Schneerson also suggested ten specific mitzvot that he believed were ideally suited for the emissaries to introduce to non-observant Jews. These were called "mivtzoim" meaning "campaigns" or "endeavors". These were: lighting candles before Shabbat and the Jewish holidays by Jewish women; putting on tefillin; affixing a mezuzah; regular Torah study; giving Tzedakah; purchasing Jewish books; observing kashrut (kosher); kindness to others; Jewish religious education, and observing the family purity laws.[citation needed]

In addition, Schneerson emphasized spreading awareness of preparing for and the coming of the moshiach Jewish messiah, consistent with his philosophy. He wrote on the responsibility to reach out to teach every fellow Jew with love, and implored that all Jews believe in the imminent coming of the moshiach as explained by Maimonides. He argued that redemption was predicated on Jews doing good deeds, and that gentiles should be educated about the Noahide Laws. Chabad has been a prime force in disseminating awareness of these laws.[citation needed]

Schneerson was emphatic about the need to encourage and provide strong education for every child, Jew and non-Jew alike. In honor of Schneerson's efforts in education the United States Congress has made Education and Sharing Day on the Rebbe's Hebrew Birthday (11 Nissan).

Following the initiative of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson spurred on the movement to what has become known as shlichus ("serving as an emissary [performing outreach]") in 19501951. As a result, Chabad shluchim ("emissaries", sing. shliach) have moved all over the world with the stated mission of encouraging non-observant Jews to adopt Orthodox Jewish observance. They assist Jews with all their religious needs, as well as with physical assistance and spiritual guidance and teaching. The stated goal is to encourage Jews to learn more about their Jewish heritage and to practice Judaism.[118]

The Chabad movement, motivated by Schneerson, has trained and ordained thousands of rabbis, educators, ritual slaughterers, and ritual circumcisers, who are then accompanied by their spouses to many locations around the world. Typically, a young Lubavitch rabbi and his wife, in their early twenties, with one or two children, will move to a new location, and as they settle in will raise a large family who, as a family unit, will aim to fulfill their mandate of bringing Jewish people closer to Orthodox Judaism and encouraging gentiles to adhere to the Seven Laws of Noah.[118] To date, there around 5000 shluchim in 100 different countries.[9]

A mitzvah tank is a vehicle used by Chabad members involved in outreach as a portable "educational and outreach center" and "mini-synagogue" (or "minagogue"). Mitzvah tanks are commonly used for advancing the Mitzvah campaigns. Mitzvah tanks have been commonplace on the streets of New York City since 1974.[119] Today, they are used all over the globe, in countries where Chabad is active.

In recent years, Chabad has greatly expanded its outreach on university and college campuses. Chabad Student Centers are active on over 100 campuses, and Chabad offers varied activities at an additional 150 universities worldwide.[120] Professor Alan Dershowitz has said "Chabad's presence on college campuses today is absolutely crucial," and "we cannot rest until Chabad is on every major college campus in the world."[121]

CTeen is a program and a youth movement created for teenagers with ages between 13 and 18 years old, the program aims to integrate fun and Judaism for young people. CTeen is present in several countries, where the participants receive special study material for several Jewish holidays, different activities to be performed by their local groups, and constant advice to help them develop these studies and activities in the best possible way for them.[122]

Chabad publishes and distributes Jewish religious literature. Under Kehot Publication Society, Chabad's main publishing house, Jewish literature has been translated into 12 different languages. Kehot regularly provides books at discounted prices, and hosts book-a-thons. Kehot commonly distributes books written or transcribed from the rebbes of Chabad, prominent chassidim and other authors who have written Jewish materials.

Kehot is a division of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the movement's educational arm.

More than any other Jewish movement, Chabad has used media as part of its religious, social, and political experience. Their latest leader, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was the most video-documented Jewish leader in history.[123][pageneeded]

The Chabad movement publishes a wealth of Jewish material on the internet. Chabad's main website Chabad.org, is one of the first Jewish websites[124] and the first and largest virtual congregation.[125][126] It serves not just its own members but Jews worldwide in general.[127]

Popular Chabad community websites include collive.com, CrownHeights.info, Chabad.org, Shmais.com, Chdailynews.com, and the Hebrew site, COL.org.il.[128][129]

Chabad has set up an extensive network of camps around the world, most using the name Gan Israel, a name chosen by Schneerson although the first overnight camp was the girls division called Camp Emunah. There are 1,200 sites serving 210,000 children most of whom do not come from Orthodox homes. Of these, 500 camps are in the United States.[130][131]

Schneerson involved himself in matters relating to the resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict.[132] He maintained that as a matter of Jewish law,[133] any territorial concession on Israel's part would endanger the lives of all Jews in the Land of Israel, and is therefore forbidden. He also insisted that even discussing the possibility of such concessions showed weakness, would encourage Arab attacks, and therefore endanger Jewish lives.[134]

In USA domestic politics, Schneerson supported government involvement in education and welcomed the establishment of the United States Department of Education in 1980, yet insisted that part of a school's educational mission was to incorporate the values espoused in the Seven Laws of Noah. He called for the introduction of a moment of silence at the beginning of the school day, and for students to be encouraged to use this time for such improving thoughts or prayers as their parents might suggest.[135]

In 1981, Schneerson publicly called for the use of solar energy. Schneerson believed that the USA could achieve energy independence by developing solar energy technologies. He argued that the dependence on foreign oil may lead to the country compromising on its principles.[136][137]

In 2013, US federal judge Royce Lamberth ruled in favor of Chabad lawyers that wanted contempt sanctions on three Russian organizations to return the Schneersohn Library 12,000 books belonging to Rabbi Yosef Schneersohn seized and nationalized by the Bolsheviks in 1917-18, to the Brooklyn Chabad Library.[47][138] Lazar reluctantly accepted Putin's request in moving the Schneerson Library to Moscow's Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center as a form of compromise, which was criticized by the Chabad Library.[47]

Several movement-wide controversies have occurred in Chabad's 200-year history. Two major leadership succession controversies occurred in the 1800s, one took place in the 1810s following the death of the movement's founder, the other occurred in the 1860s following the death of the third Rebbe. Two other minor offshoot groups were formed later in the movement's history. The movement's other major controversy is Chabad messianism, which began in the 1990s. Chabad messianism appears to be among the most frequently cited controversies within the Orthodox Jewish community.

A number of groups have split from the Chabad movement, forming their own Hasidic groups, and at times, positioning themselves as possible successors of previous Chabad rebbes. Following the deaths of the first and third rebbes of Chabad, disputes arose over their succession.

Two other minor offshoot groups were formed by Chabad Hasidim:

In the late 1980s, the Rebbe called for his followers to become involved in outreach activities with the purpose of bringing about the Jewish Messianic Age.[31] Statements concerning the advancement of the Messianic age was a factor leading to the controversy surrounding the messianic beliefs of some members of the movement.[153] Some Chabad Hasidim, called mashichists, "have not yet accepted the Rebbe's passing"[154] and even after his death regard him as the (living) 'King Messiah' and 'Moses of the generation'.

Chabad Hasidic artists Hendel Lieberman and Zalman Kleinman have painted a number of scenes depicting Chabad Hasidic culture, including religious ceremonies, study and prayer. Chabad artist Michoel Muchnik has painted scenes of the Mitzvah Campaigns.[123]:156

Artist and shaliach Yitzchok Moully has adapted silkscreen techniques, bright colours and Jewish and Hasidic images to create a form of "Chasidic Pop Art".[155]

Vocalists Avraham Fried and Benny Friedman have included recordings of traditional Chabad songs on their albums of contemporary Orthodox Jewish music. Bluegrass artist Andy Statman has also recorded Chabad niggunim.

Reggae artist Matisyahu has included portions of Chabad niggunim and lyrics with Chabad philosophical themes in some of his songs.

Novelist Chaim Potok authored a work My Name is Asher Lev in which a Hasidic teen struggles between his artistic passions and the norms of the community. The "Ladover" community is a thinly veiled reference to the Lubavitcher community in Crown Heights.[156][157]

Chabad poet Zvi Yair has written poems on Chabad philosophical topics including Ratzo V'Shov (spiritual yearning).

The Chabad-Lubavitch community has been the subject of a number of documentary films. These films include:

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Chabad - Wikipedia


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