Articles By Jeffrey Spitzer

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    Jeffrey Spitzer is Chair of the Department of Talmud and Rabbinics at Gann Academy, The New Jewish High School, Waltham, Mass., and a member of the Institute's Tichon Fellows Program.


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      Surrendering to the Romans

      The remarkable parallels in the stories of Josephus' and Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai's surrenders to the Romans reveal more about Jewish memory than Jewish history.

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      A Timeline of Jewish Texts

      How did the different genres of Jewish texts develop chronologically?

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      Pe'ah: The Corners of Our Fields

      Rabbinic commentators interpreted the law of leaving the corners of one's field for those in need in light of their own concerns about the poor.

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      The Rabbinic Conversion Ceremony

      The different layers of the rabbinic discussion of conversion reveal the beginnings of a transformation from a citizenship ritual to a theological initiation rite.

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      Every Person is a Tree

      The Biblical law protecting fruit trees during war provides an opportunity for Jewish exegetes to reflect on ecology and the wanton destruction of life.

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      Different Perspectives on the Authorship of the Torah

      Literary, historical, and theological perspectives on whether the Torah is divine, human, or something in between

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      The Way of the Gentiles

      The prohibition against non-Jewish practices, might relate to the practices of ancient Egypt, Canaan or the social and philosophical ways of non-Jews today.

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      "Whose Leaves Do Not Wither"

      In Jewish sources, the leaf is a metaphor for the fragility and durability of life.

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      Kitniyot: Not Quite Hametz

      Although rice, millet, corn, and legumes are not among the five prohibited grains on Passover, Jews of European origin have traditionally avoided them during the holiday.

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      Jewish Peace Offerings

      Deuteronomy's laws of warfare include the requirement that a nation seek a peaceful settlement before engaging in war.


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