Jewish History Nerds

Whoever said history was boring clearly never heard these stories…Welcome to Jewish History Nerds! Join hosts Yael and Schwab each week as they take a dive into some deep cuts of Jewish history. From the Jewish Da Vinci Code to mass suicide pacts, explore true stories that feel larger than life.

34 mins

Discovered in the Cairo Geniza, the story of the remarkable exploits of this 11th-century trader pushes the boundaries of what we might have thought about Jewish women in medieval Egypt. But before we even get there, we have to understand what the Cairo Geniza is and why it helps us to understand Jewish history.

33 mins

Donato Manduzio was just a simple man in an Italian village — until he read the Bible, and began his quest to bring back what he thought was a dead, ancient faith. Not only did Donato embrace Judaism, but he also convinced several dozen of his fellow villagers in San Nicandro to join him in this spiritual journey. Schwab and Yael explore this wild story and ask, how the heck do we decide not only who is a Jew, but what the contours are of, well, Judaism?

30 mins

Learn about the bonkers life of Johannes Eisenmenger, a man who spent 19 years under false pretenses within the Jewish community. Over those 19 years, he meticulously studied the Talmud and eventually wrote a wild 2000-page text about its supposed evils. In this episode, Yael and Schwab explore the personal motives, societal implications and long-lasting effects of his actions.

29 mins

You might not be quite as big of a fan of epistolary romances as Yael, but you’ll still love the story of Sarra Coppia Sullam. Sullam, a Jewish Venetian woman of the 17th century, was best known for her literary salons, the public accusations of heresy against her, and most salaciously, her pen pal love affair with the Genoese monk named Ansaldo Cebà. Come for the story and stay for the drama as Schwab and Yael unpack her incredible life.

38 mins

This week, Schwab and Yael dive into the life and legacy of Emma Goldman, the influential Jewish anarchist activist who made waves in early 20th-century America. Learn about her contributions to the development of feminism and her impact on the American left. Join us as we explore the life of this revolutionary figure who inspired and challenged the status quo. But also, Schwab and Yael ask, what impact does Red Emma’s Judaism have on her?

34 mins

In this episode, Schwab and Yael explore the life of King Herod the Great, the infamous Judean ruler whose legacy intertwines madness and monumental achievements. They examine the complex reign of a king who changed the face of ancient Judea forever.

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