Jewish Heretics and Heretical Jews

by Bennett Muraskin   A JEWISH HERETIC, in Yiddish and Hebrew, is an apikoyris –– a reference to the 3rd-century BCE Greek philosopher Epicurus, who taught that the gods have no interest in human affairs and that people would be better off if we did not believe in divine rewards and punishment. (It is not surprising […]

Read More

May 17: The Impious Ernestine L. Rose

As reported in William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist paper, on this date in 1850, Ernestine L. Rose was booed at a meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society by a crowd of hecklers led by a Tammany Hall operative, Captain Rynders, who shouted, “I have always respected the presence of ladies, but I doubt very much whether […]

Read More

January 29: Ernestine Rose and Thomas Paine

Speaking at the annual Thomas Paine Dinner in New York on this date in 1848, Ernestine L. Rose, the “Queen of the Platform,” expressed not only her feminist and abolitionist beliefs but her anti-religious views when she denounced “superstition [that] keeps women ignorant, dependent, and enslaved beings. Knowledge will make them free. The churches have been […]

Read More

August 4: Ernestine L. Rose

Feminist abolitionist Ernestine L. Rose died in England on this date in 1892 at the age of 82. She was from a traditional Jewish family in Poland and evaded an arranged marriage by suing her rabbi father in court. Rose was one of the first women to lecture publicly in the United States (to which […]

Read More

Jewish Radicalism, Broadly Speaking

by Jeffrey Dekro and Lawrence Bush The Jewish presence in America has created a cross-fertilization of two civilizations that has been profoundly democratizing to both. ‘Democratization’ was stirring within both cultures by the time their encounter truly began. Perhaps it is jarring to think of George Washington and the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, […]

Read More