How Jewish Was Herod?

Known from the New Testament as well as from the Talmud and the ancient historian Josephus as a cruel ruler, Herod reigned over Judea as a Roman client from ca. 37 BCE to 4 BCE. On his father’s side, he was descended from Idumeans, a tribe living in the Negev who had converted to Judaism in the 2nd century BCE; his mother was a princess from Nabataea, a kingdom in what is now Jordan. Together with the fact that he had taken the crown from the Hasmonean dynasty by force, his parentage led many of his subjects to consider him less than fully Jewish. Evie Gassner examines what can be determined about his commitment to Judaism from the archaeological record:

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Read more at theTorah.com

More about: Ancient Israel, ancient Judaism, Ancient Rome, Herod, Idolatry, Kashrut

Israel Experiences a Resurgence of COVID-19, but This Time with No One to Blame

During the past two weeks, the Israeli government has been gradually reopening schools, restaurants, and beaches, leading to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases, the reclosing of some schools, and the quarantining of hundreds. The new outbreaks, for the most part, have spared the ḥaredi communities so severely affected by the initial waves of the virus. But, writes Ruthie Blum, there has been no parallel expressions of anger akin to what was directed at the ultra-Orthodox two months ago:

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Read more at JNS

More about: Coronavirus, Israeli society, Ultra-Orthodox