Diaspora: A study of far-flung communities & life at the time of the Mishna.
A story is told regarding King Frederick the Great of Prussia, a patron of the Enlightenment and a free thinker, who once asked the royal chaplain to prove to him that there was a G-d. The chaplain answered in only two words: The Jews. In the chaplainís opinion, the continued existence of the Jews, G-dís chosen people, despite all that they were subjected to, is a more compelling proof of G-dís existence than all of the formal proofs of the philosophers. Already during the time of the Second Temple and most certainly after its destruction, the Jews were scattered across North Africa, Europe, and Asia, yet, miraculously, they were able to maintain their identity and stubbornly clung to the Torah. In the process, they also made an indelible impression on many within their host nations, attracting converts and inspiring many of those who didnít formally convert. This lecture, based upon the Talmud and the writings of Josephus, presents a broad picture of Jewish life in the Diaspora during the Temple and post Temple period, describing where the Jews lived, their mode of dress, language, personal names, their fierce loyalty to the Torah, even during military conscription, their dedication to Torah study, their relationship with the Rabbinate, and their impact upon the world about them.
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