Nathan of Rome, Author of the First Jewish Dictionary

March 27 2019

Nathan ben Yeḥiel of Rome (ca. 1035-1110) was one of the most important talmudic scholars of his day, known above all for his Arukh, a massive and comprehensive dictionary of the famously difficult language of the Talmud—a work written in a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic with heavy doses of Greek and Persian. Not satisfied merely to define words, Nathan compiled a great deal of other reference information for each entry, creating a work unlike anything that preceded it. Henry Abramson, after a swift survey of Roman Jewish history in the first millennium, tells what is known of Nathan’s life and work. (Video, 50 minutes.)


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Read more at Lectures in Jewish History and Thought

More about: History & Ideas, Italian Jewry, Middle Ages, Rome, Talmud


Understanding the Background of the White House Ruling on Anti-Semitism and the Civil Rights Act

Dec. 13 2019

On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order allowing federal officials to extend the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to Jews. (The order, promptly condemned for classifying Jews as a separate nationality, did nothing of the sort.) In 2010, Kenneth Marcus called for precisely such a ruling in the pages of Commentary, citing in particular the Department of Education’s lax response to a series of incidents at the University of California at Irvine, where, among much elase, Jewish property was vandalized and Jewish students were pelted with rocks, called “dirty Jew” and other epithets, and were told, “Jewish students are the plague of mankind.”

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, U.S. Politics