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Who was Rashi? Jewish history – Middle Ages

By |2018-04-12T00:08:10-07:00August 24th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Troyes, France Shlomo Yitzhaki, or Shlomo son of Yitzak, was a Jewish man born in Troyes, France, in 1040 AD. This was when the Capetian kings ruled France. Shlomo was an only child, and his father home schooled him. When Shlomo was a teenager, his father died. Shlomo got married at 17, but soon he left [...]

What is a rabbi? Judaism – Religion

By |2018-09-10T09:58:12-07:00August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The rabbi Maimonides, in a later medieval painting What does "rabbi" mean? Rabbi means "great one" in Hebrew, or "respected one". It's a Hebrew word related to the Arabic word rabb, meaning "lord." Saying "Rabbi" showed respect, like calling someone "Sir". More about the Hebrew language When did the word "rabbi" get started? In [...]

Where did Purim come from? Jewish holidays

By |2019-03-22T11:03:51-07:00August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Mordecai is leading Esther (on the horse) to talk to the Persian king. A fresco from the world's oldest preserved synagogue at Dura-Europos in Syria (244 AD) How did Purim get started? At first, maybe as early as the Stone Age, Purim was a Jewish winter festival that was probably related to the Babylonian [...]

Persia and the Jews – West Asian history

By |2018-04-24T23:20:00-07:00August 24th, 2017|History, Religion, West Asia|

The remains of the Second Temple in Jerusalem In 536 BC, Cyrus the Great, the king of the Persians, conquered the Babylonian Empire. Cyrus believed that religious freedom was important to keeping his empire together. And he wanted each area (satrapy) of his empire to rule itself. So he let the Jews go home from Babylon [...]

Where did Passover come from? Jewish holidays

By |2019-04-05T06:56:58-07:00August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Handmade Matzoh The beginnings of Passover In its earliest beginnings, which could go back to the Stone Age, Passover was a Jewish spring festival. Like other spring festivals, it celebrated the first barley harvest after the winter. History of barley West Asian religion All our West Asia articles Why did people eat matzoh? All winter [...]

History of the Jews – West Asian religion

By |2018-04-08T01:10:57-07:00August 24th, 2017|History, Religion, West Asia|

The Pharaoh's daughter picks Moses up out of his basket (synagogue at Dura Europos, Syria, 200s AD) There are really three sets of articles here about the Jews and Judaism. First, there are the Bible stories. These articles tell the most important stories in simple words, using illustrations from the ancient and medieval [...]

Noah’s Ark – Bible stories – Judaism

By |2018-04-24T23:17:57-07:00August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The rain falling on the drowning people/ Noah lets go a dove to see if the waters have gone down/ He sends out the dove again/He lets the animals off the boat/ He sacrifices to God on an altar (Mosaic from St. Marks, Venice, 1200s AD) Book of Genesis According to the Book [...]

Moses and Egypt – Bible stories

By |2018-05-22T23:49:22-07:00August 24th, 2017|Africa, Religion, West Asia|

The Pharaoh's daughter picks Moses up out of his basket (synagogue at Dura Europos, Syria, 200s AD) The Book of Exodus According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible ("Exodus" means leaving, because this is the book about the Jews leaving Egypt), the Jews did very well in Egypt after Joseph brought them there. (More about [...]

Jews in Medieval Europe – History

By |2018-04-18T23:33:48-07:00August 24th, 2017|History, Medieval, Religion|

Jewish money-lenders in medieval France The Middle Ages in Europe were a difficult time for the Jews. Many Jews lived in Western Europe between about 1000 and 1500 AD, but all the rulers were Christians, and almost all the people who had any power were Christians. These Christians thought Jews were different and strange. They suspected Jews of [...]

Medieval Hanukkah – Jewish holidays

By |2017-08-24T11:55:10-07:00August 24th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Arch of Titus: Roman soldiers carry off the big menorah from the Second Temple in Jerusalem (70 AD, but the arch was built in the 80s AD) In 70 AD, after the First Jewish Revolt, the Roman emperor Titus destroyed the Second Temple. Titus plundered the menorah along with other treasures from the Temple. He brought it back to [...]