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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 […]

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September 7: Heinrich Graetz’s History of the Jews

German historian and Biblical scholar Heinrich Graetz, whose eleven-volume History of the Jews, published between 1853 and 1876, is widely seen as the first narrative Jewish history written from a Jewish perspective and capturing the entire sweep of Jewish history, died at 73 on this date in 1891. Graetz, a product of traditional yeshivas during […]

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September 10: Simon Dubnow

Simon Dubnow, one of the founders of modern Jewish historical scholarship and a prolific memoirist and essayist about secular Jewish life and politics in Eastern Europe, was murdered at age 81 by the Nazis during the liquidation of the Riga Ghetto on this date in 1941. Dubnow was an advocate the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, […]

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