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Aramaic

Judah Jeiteles, the first language scholar to create a Hebrew grammar of Biblical Aramaic, died at 65 in Vienna on this date in 1838. Jeiteles belonged to a notable family of writers, including his brother Baruch, who espoused an Enlightenment Judaism for which he paid hell among the Orthodox establishment in Prague. Aramaic rose to prominence […]

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November 24: The Lens Grinder

Philosopher Baruch Spinoza was born in the Netherlands on this date in 1632. He made his living as a lens grinder and turned down numerous teaching positions while writing and developing the philosophical outlook that would be explicated (in part through mathematical argument) in Ethics, published after his death in 1677, a book described by […]

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The Uncivil Servant: In Protest of Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Am I Being Anti-Semitic, or Do They Deserve It? by Mitchell Abidor Some time ago, I spent several months translating the correspondence of the French novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline, a ferocious Jew-hater and Nazi collaborator. Reading his rants, I felt a certain unease. That unease returned while reading, for a future review article for Jewish Currents, […]

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November 12: Jews Acquire Family Names

In a decree promulgated on this date in 1787, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II ordered all Jews in the Hapsburg Empire to acquire family names. The decree came five years after the Edict of Tolerance, which permitted Jewish children to attend schools and universities, eliminated vocational restrictions for Jewish adults, abolished stigmatizing rules of dress […]

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