The Rabbi, Beer-Brewer, and Price Regulator Who Brought 3rd-Century Talmudic Scholarship to Babylonia

Born in Babylonia in the late 2nd century CE, Abba ben Ayvo was one of the earliest amoraim—as the sages whose teachings make up the Gemara, or latter stratum of the Talmud, are known. His contemporaries knew him as Abba Arikha (Abba the Tall), but his influence was so great that the Talmud’s editors most often refer to him simply as Rav (rabbi). As a young man, he studied in the land of Israel before returning to his native country, which in his lifetime began to rival—and would later eclipse—Roman Palestine as the center of rabbinic intellectual activity. Henry Abramson presents a brief synopsis of his remarkable career. (Video, 4 minutes.)

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Read more at Orthodox Union

More about: ancient Judaism, Babylonian Jewry, Talmud

 

The U.S. Has Managed to Force a Stalemate in the Syrian Civil War, at Least for Now

In a little remarked-upon statement in May, James Jeffrey, the State Department’s envoy for Syria policy, said that his goal was to turn the war-torn country into “a quagmire for the Russians.” By using economic leverage, this policy has achieved modest success, writes Jonathan Spyer:

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy