Jewish History Unpacked

Whoever said history was boring clearly never heard these stories…Welcome to Jewish History Unpacked! 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.

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34 mins

You’ve probably never met a character as colorful as Shabbetai Tzvi. The 16th century Jewish mystic and rabbi led thousands of Jews to leave their homes and possessions to follow him as their Messiah. With the encouragement of his hypeman, Nathan of Gaze, Shabbetai Tzvi was revered and loved, picking up followers left and right…until the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire threatens him with imprisonment unless he converts to Islam, which he does. This week, Yael and Schwab tell us the story of Shabbetai Tzvi and ask, what is the deeper meaning of this crazy story and character?

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31 mins

When we think about the French Revolution, our mind jumps to Marie Antoinette, Les Miserable, “America’s favorite fighting Frenchman.” We don’t generally think “hey, are Jews even people?” But that was the question on Napoleon’s mind as he built the French Empire. In this week’s episode, Yael and Schwab break down all the factors in Napoleon’s decision-making process as he tried to figure out whether Jews could be French citizens. It’s a story about liberte, egalite, fraternite. About Napoleon’s revival of an ancient Jewish court for the first time in 1,300 years. And about what it means to be a Jew in a wider society.

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39 mins

Josephus Flavius is maybe one of the wildest characters in Jewish history, and that’s saying something. That’s largely because unlike most historians, he didn’t just chronicle the story; as Yael tells Schwab in this week’s episode, Josephus, or Yosef ben Matityahu, wrote himself into the story – and what a story it is. This week, we learn about Josephus and the siege of Yodfat, and they ask, what does it mean for us to write yourself into the story of Jewish history?

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2 mins

Whoever said history was boring clearly never heard these stories…Welcome to Jewish History Unpacked! 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.

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