The Story of a Nation That Redeems Its Captives

From Abraham who saved his nephew from captivity, to IDF helicopters carrying Israeli hostages back from Gaza – for thousands of years, Jews have fought, paid any sum necessary, and even endangered their lives to redeem and save their brethren from captivity and imprisonment

Prayer’s Light in Wartime’s Darkness

Since the horrific events of October 7 and the subsequent war, a large chorus of voices have turned to the heavens, hoping to deal with their pain and confusion by praying to a higher power. This has been a typical Jewish response to war since biblical times, and continues into the modern age. Let’s explore some of these powerful wartime prayers, and find out where they truly come from.

Embracing the Light of Hanukkah

Jewish pride is exemplified annually in the tradition of lighting the hanukkiah candles, but the Hanukkah story itself is actually full of themes of concealment and hiddenness. So why is Hanukkah celebrated with this self-confident display of our Judaism and why is this practice so very important, especially in dark times like these, when Hanukkah will be celebrated amidst a backdrop of Jewish suffering and war.

The Mysterious Case of Joseph G. Weiss’s Hasidic Library

Prof. Joseph G. Weiss was one of the 20th century’s leading scholars of Hasidism. Following Weiss’s tragic death in 1969, his mentor Gershom Scholem selected 250 books from his former student’s personal collection to be brought to the National Library in Jerusalem. Yet something happened along the way. To this day it’s not clear what became of many of these books…

When Judaism and Buddhism Meet

Why does the National Library of Israel have a collection of more than 100 pieces of Buddhist art? Why are so many Jews drawn to Buddhism? Why did the Dalai Lama attend a Passover Seder? The answer to all these questions can be found by exploring the fascinating connections between the two religions.

The False Messiah: Shlomo Molcho’s Fascinating Life

When Portuguese crypto-Jew Diogo Pires met the daring adventurer David Reubeni, his life took an unexpected course. Converting to Judaism, Pires set off around the globe, learning Kabbalah, inspiring the greatest of Rabbis, attempting to create a Jewish army, and most famously, appointing himself as the Messiah.

The First, Last, and Only Female Hasidic Rebbe

Would you break all the traditions of your society, turn against the will of your family, and shatter all the boundaries that you have known to be true in order to follow your destiny? Chana Rochel Verbermacher did just that – breaking out of all the known gender stereotypes to make her own way in a world dominated by men, Chana decided to become the first, and only, Hasidic female Rebbe.

Unveiling the Connection: Why We Read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot

Each Shavuot Jews gather to read the Book of Ruth… but why? The Book of Ruth doesn’t seem to have any connection to this joyous festival! Dig a little deeper however, and we can find many intricate hidden harmonies and surprising ties between the timeless tale of Ruth and the cherished holiday of Shavuot

The Many Lives of the Synagogue El Transito

When Samuel Ha-Levi illegally built a synagogue in the provincial Spanish town of Toledo, no one could have known that it would one day become a church, then a military barracks in the Napoleonic war, a national monument, and finally a museum… but that’s just the beginning!