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About the Author

Rabbi Ken Spiro

Rabbi Ken Spiro, originally from New Rochelle, NY, graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Russian Language and Literature and did graduate studies at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. He has rabbinic ordination from Aish Jerusalem and a Masters Degree in History from Vermont College of Norwich University. Rabbi Spiro is also a licensed tour guide by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs such as BBC, National Geographic Channel and The History Channel. He lives near Jerusalem with his wife and five children, where he works as a senior lecturer for Aish Jerusalem.


Crash Course in Jewish History is "a comprehensive, thoughtful and highly educational survey of Jewish history.” - Sir Martin Gilbert

In one volume, Crash Course in Jewish History explores the 4,000 years of Jewish existence while answering the great questions:  Why have the Jewish people been so unique, so impactful, yet so hated and so relentlessly persecuted?

Crash Course in Jewish History is not only comprehensive and readable, it is also entertaining and enlightening. Novices and scholars alike will find Crash Course in Jewish History to be thought-provoking and insightful, as well as a valuable and relevant guide to understanding the challenges we all face in the 21st century.

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A Rare Pope Indeed

A Rare Pope Indeed

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Only three popes out of 266 have been brave enough to make significant changes in the Church’s relationship with the Jews.


Liberal Politics and Jewish Idealism

Liberal Politics and Jewish Idealism

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How Jewish voting trends reflect the innate Jewish drive.


Video: The Ten Lost Tribes

Video: The Ten Lost Tribes

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Large numbers of Jews were exiled and disappeared. Where are they now?


Gilad Shalit and the Sea Turtle

Gilad Shalit and the Sea Turtle

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The controversial exchange highlights one extreme difference: Israel values life.


WorldPerfect: The Aish HaTorah Seminar

WorldPerfect: The Aish HaTorah Seminar

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The in-depth presentation of the origins of modern world values.


Why the Jews? The Aish HaTorah Seminar

Why the Jews? The Aish HaTorah Seminar

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Understanding the root of the world's longest hatred.


You Say You Want a Revolution

You Say You Want a Revolution

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Is the "Arab Spring" good or bad for the world?


Part 7: Social Responsibility

Part 7: Social Responsibility

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The Jews introduced the key concepts of modern morality.


Part 10: Jewish Family & Responsibility

Part 10: Jewish Family & Responsibility

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Biblical values became the basis for social welfare.


Part 12: Looking Forward

Part 12: Looking Forward

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Everyone is part of the whole, responsible one for another.


Part 1: Key Values for a Perfect World

Part 1: Key Values for a Perfect World

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What is the source of our utopian world vision?


Part 6: Family Values

Part 6: Family Values

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Greek civilization viewed pederasty as the highest form of love.


Part 3: War & Peace

Part 3: War & Peace

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Nations often employ the law of the jungle: Might makes right.


Part 4: Justice for All

Part 4: Justice for All

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Greek democracy was far from “one person, one vote.”


Part 8: The Jewish Perspective

Part 8: The Jewish Perspective

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He who saves one life is as if he saves an entire universe.


Part 5: Mass Education

Part 5: Mass Education

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Education is power. Mass illiteracy keeps people under control.


Part 11: Monotheism and its Implications

Part 11: Monotheism and its Implications

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America’s Founding Fathers turned to the Bible for inspiration.


Part 9: Jewish Justice & Education

Part 9: Jewish Justice & Education

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The Jewish king was not above the law; rather he exemplified it.


Part 2: Value of Life

Part 2: Value of Life

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Today’s violence in sports is child’s play compared to many ancient cultures.


FAQs: Why is There So Much Anti-Semitism?

FAQs: Why is There So Much Anti-Semitism?

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Most given causes are just excuses. What's the real cause?


Purim in Persia

Purim in Persia

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Another feast celebrating God's abandonment of Israel puts in motion a plot to annihilate the Jews.


America and Jewish Values

America and Jewish Values

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The Bible's major role in the creation of the United States and its democracy.


History Crash Course #68: Timeline: From Abraham to the State of Israel

History Crash Course #68: Timeline: From Abraham...

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Four thousand years of Jewish history at a glance.


Jerusalem  (10 min video)

Jerusalem (10 min video)

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A Stunning video tour of 3000 years of Jewish History.


History Crash Course #67: The Miracle of Jewish History

History Crash Course #67: The Miracle of Jewish...

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In the final analysis, Jewish history makes no rational sense.


History Crash Course #66: War

History Crash Course #66: War

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Since its founding in 1948, Israel has been in a constant state of war, and yet has achieved great economic success.


History Crash Course #65: The State of Israel

History Crash Course #65: The State of Israel

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After the British turned away Holocaust survivors from Israel, the UN voted to partition the land.


History Crash Course #64: The British Mandate

History Crash Course #64: The British Mandate

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The British promised to create a Jewish state, but served their own Arab-linked interests as millions died in the Holocaust.


History Crash Course #63: Modern Zionism

History Crash Course #63: Modern Zionism

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Herzl launched the political framework for the modern State of Israel.


History Crash Course #62: Return to the Land of Israel

History Crash Course #62: Return to the Land of...

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The re-birth of Israel is an unprecedented phenomenon in human history.


History Crash Course #61: The Final Solution

History Crash Course #61: The Final Solution

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Hitler implemented his goal to eliminate all Jews from the planet.


History Crash Course #60: The Holocaust

History Crash Course #60: The Holocaust

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While Nazi Germany systematically rounded up and executed Jews, the world closed its eyes and its doors.


History Crash Course #59: The Face of Anti-Semitism

History Crash Course #59: The Face of...

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Even in such civilized nations as France and the United States, anti-Semitism never died out.


History Crash Course #58: Jewish Life in America

History Crash Course #58: Jewish Life in America

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Jews gained untold riches in America, at the cost of their heritage and spirituality.


History Crash Course #57: The Czars and the Jews

History Crash Course #57: The Czars and the Jews

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Government-organized pogroms against the Jews deflected attention from the corrupt regime.


History Crash Course #56: Pale of Settlement

History Crash Course #56: Pale of Settlement

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This area of Russia where Jews were most oppressed gave rise to amazing achievements.


History Crash Course #55: Jews and the Founding of America

History Crash Course #55: Jews and the Founding of...

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The amazing story of Jewish influence on the founding fathers of American democracy.


History Crash Course #54: The Reform Movement

History Crash Course #54: The Reform Movement

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Germans emphasized their loyalty to the "fatherland" in order to be accepted in mainstream society.


Jerusalem: Jewish and Muslim Claims to the Holy City

Jerusalem: Jewish and Muslim Claims to the Holy...

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Jerusalem is at the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict. What are the spiritual, historical and political claims – from both sides?


History Crash Course #53: The Enlightenment

History Crash Course #53: The Enlightenment

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The Age of Reason gave Jews civil rights, but its emphasis on a Godless society was bound to backfire.


History Crash Course #52: The Hassidic Movement

History Crash Course #52: The Hassidic Movement

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Initially a movement largely of the poor and uneducated, Hassidism emphasized spirituality in everyday life.


History Crash Course #51: The Kabbalists

History Crash Course #51: The Kabbalists

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In the 16th century, the Israeli mountaintop town of Tzfat became the center of Jewish mysticism.


History Crash Course #50: Reformation and the Jews

History Crash Course #50: Reformation and the Jews

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The Reformation exposed the corruption of the Church. For the Jews it meant more bad news.


History Crash Course #49: The Jews of Poland

History Crash Course #49: The Jews of Poland

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King Boleslav of Poland invited the Jews, granting them unprecedented rights and privileges.


History Crash Course #48: The Inquisition

History Crash Course #48: The Inquisition

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The Inquisition sought to expose Jews who converted to Christianity but were still secretly Jewish.


History Crash Course #47: The Black Death

History Crash Course #47: The Black Death

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The Europeans didn't know what caused the bubonic plague, but had no trouble blaming the Jews.


History Crash Course #46: Blood Libel

History Crash Course #46: Blood Libel

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Christian accusations leveled against the Jews were extreme and irrational.


History Crash Course #45: The Crusades

History Crash Course #45: The Crusades

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The Crusaders came to liberate the Holy Land from the "infidels" - and woe to any Jew who stood in their way.


History Crash Course #44: The Jews of Spain

History Crash Course #44: The Jews of Spain

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Spain was the Medieval golden land of opportunity for Jews.