Author Archives: David

Origins Of The Bar Mitzvah

  The bar mitzvah customs we take for granted are actually mysterious. Where does the word bar mitzvah come from, why is the bar mitzvah celebrated with an aliyah and seudah, and why does the bar mitzvah fall precisely when … Continue reading

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Islamic State

  How did the Islamic State (ISIS) seize huge swathes of Middle East territory with mere ten-thousands of men? How did the organization start, what are its goals, and why does it espouse violence so disgusting that almost all Islamic … Continue reading

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Islam – Sunnis and Shiites

  Palestinians are beginning to understand that history has passed them by. Their old struggle against Israel pales in comparison to the huge new conflicts raging across the Middle East. A major component of the new conflict is the Shiite-Sunni … Continue reading

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Universities in Czarist Russia

  Numerus Clausus In Czarist Russia During the 1880s, vast numbers of Jews flooding Russia’s schools and universities induced Russia to clamp down a numerous clausus (closed number) policy. This limited the availability of higher education for Jews to such … Continue reading

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Iran, Friend And Foe

  Viewing today’s headlines, one would think Iran and Shi’ite Islam are Israel’s indomitable foes and never the twain shall meet. Actually, except Turkey, Iran was Israel’s best regional pal for decades and Iran-Israeli mutual interests thrived long into the … Continue reading

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Jewish-Russian Railway King

Did The Railway King Shorten The Czar’s Life? In 1888, Czar Alexander III (1845-1894) and his family were racing back to St. Petersburg after a vacation in the Crimea when his train suddenly crashed. 21 people died and 36 were … Continue reading

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Water Supply in Israel

  ISRAEL’S STRUGGLE TO INCREASE ITS WATER SUPPLY One of Yerushalayim’s most scenic spots was created by a blunder that came about during Israel’s unending search for new supplies of potable water.   UNDERGROUND SEAS Dr. Dov Sitton of Be’er … Continue reading

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Education – modern

The Strange Side Of History Avraham Broide   When Modern Education Hit The Sefardi World In an earlier article we discussed how the Alliance Israelite Universal organization founded in Paris in the late 19th century pioneered help for Jews on … Continue reading

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Money – ancient coins

So many mitzvos depend on money that is almost impossible to understand the Torah fully without knowing the story of money in ancient times. We will scratch the surface of this little known facet of Torah wisdom.  The Power of … Continue reading

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Holocaust – saving Jews with fake typhus

During the hunger and crowding of World War 2, Typhus was a killer disease. Type the word “typhus” in the search window of Otzar Hachochma’s Torah library and you’ll raises a list of kehilla books printed after the war that … Continue reading

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