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


Only a Clear Message to Iran Can Restore Israel’s Deterrence

Aug. 19 2019

Currently the greatest threat facing the Jewish state is an attack on three fronts, in which Hizballah and other Iranian forces launch tens of thousands of missiles simultaneously from both Lebanon and Syria, while Hamas—now also taking orders from Tehran—does the same from Gaza. Such a barrage would likely overwhelm Israel’s storied missile-defense systems, severely disrupt civilian life and possible result in high casualties, and gravely interfere with the IDF’s ability to counterattack. Noting that the Islamic Republic could unleash this mayhem at the time of its choosing, Benny Morris suggests a straightforward preventative measure. (Free registration required.)

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Read more at Haaretz

More about: Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Syria