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

 

Israel Has Dodged a Constitutional Crisis, but Only Temporarily

April 3 2020

Two weeks ago, then-Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein refused to hold a vote for his replacement, insisting that, in keeping with precedent, the new speaker should only be chosen after a governing coalition has been formed. As his move prevented the newly installed Israeli parliament from resuming its normal business, the Supreme Court tried to break the impasse with two unprecedented interventions into the legislative branch. To Evelyn Gordon, Edelstein acted out of a “genuine and serious concern” about constitutionally questionable moves by his opponents, even if the court was justified in its order that elections for the new speaker take place.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, Israeli politics, Israeli Supreme Court, Knesset