Did you ever wonder how the Jews when from being the martyrs of Europe to the military power of the Middle East in less than fifty years?This episode exposes the roots of the extraordinary transformation of the physical culture of Am Yisrael in Max Nordau’s vision of a muscular Judaism.

Mendelssohn’s story continues, but one man does not a movement make. The Berlin Haskalah was a whole generation of transition, one which struggled with the boundaries of Torah, society and identity. And one which saw some of the first battle lines of modernity being drawn.

Moses Mendelssohn was a critical philosopher of the German Enlightenment and the most controversial figure of the Jewish Enlightenment. Whether you think that he was a light to his generation or a boundary breaker who led many to sin, his life story deserves to be heard.

The origins of Ashkenazi Jewry are bound up with the rise of Christian Europe. As the kingdoms of the Middle Ages began to take shape, teachers like Rashi gave form to a kingdom of the Torah which the Jews could inhabit while living among their neighbors. But the tranquility of the early years was shattered by the horrors of the First Crudsade, and Ashkenazi Jewry would never be the same again.

So hard to imagine, but Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery and that sin reverberates for generations. Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Rabbi Yishai on Spiritual Cafe to discuss the personality of Joseph, how God talks through dreams, and even how sexual challenges are part of the Messianic process.

In this episode Rav Mike describes the rise of Hellenistic Judaism as the background for the Hanukkah story. Judah and his brothers rose in revolt because they understood that identity is a matter of life and death. Their determination liberated the Temple, but what was the nature of the light they kindled there?