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Jewish history

Vintage map and compass

The term “wandering Jew” dates to medieval Europe and was used by Christians to describe the curse they believed adhered to the Jewish people because they rejected Jesus.

Rabbi Simeon J. Maslin
Hands holding a mound of dirt and a small plant

The way we celebrate Tu BiShvat has changed over the years – a case-in-point of how Jewish life and observance has been transformed in our day, due in no small part thanks to the successes of the State of Israel.


Rabbi Neal Gold
Rabbi Stephanie Alexander leads a Havdallah service behind the bimah with two others

Rabbi Stephanie M. Alexander received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University, and ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
Arbeit Macht Frei sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp

January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Learn what author and historian Dr. Rafael Medoff thinks about FDR’s failure to rescue Jews from World War II Europe.

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
Racially segregated water fountains in the south

In 1961, I asked my rabbi if he thought I should join the Freedom Riders, who challenged segregated seating in the south. He said, “If I were in your shoes, I would go.”

Rabbi Philip M. Posner
Group of high schoolers standing in front of a large colorful mural

Teacher: “Class, what’s the definition of Zionism?”

David Alon
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl speaking at an interfaith prayer vigil at Central Synagogue in New York City
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl speaking at an interfaith prayer vigil on Oct. 30, 2018, at the Central Synagogue in New York City for victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Here’s a look back at 10 huge developments from the past 10 years that have changed the makeup and lifestyles of Jewish Americans.

JTA Staff
Group of people holding candles in a darkened room as if at a service

My prayer is that affirmation of their Jewish identity will be rooted not in Jew as object (what is done to Jews) but in Jew as subject (what Jews do).

Deborah Lipstadt
Young man kindling candles in a hanukkiyah

Our tradition tells of the great leader, Judah Maccabee. But what of his brothers? What do we know about them – the quiet leaders who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him?

Rabbi Melissa Buyer-Witman


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