Contributors (A→Z)



Isaac Seligman Baer
Isaac Seligman Baer
Seligman (Isaac) Baer was a masoretic scholar, and an editor of the Hebrew Bible and of Jewish liturgy. He was born in Mosbach, the northern district of Biebrich, Sept. 18, 1825 and died at Biebrich-on-the-Rhine, March, 1897. He belonged to the school of Wolf Heidenheim, and had in his possession some of Heidenheim's original manuscripts and personal copies of his published works with handwritten marginal notes. Baer's monumental edition of the Jewish prayerbook according to the Ashkenazic rite, Seder Avodat Yisrael (Rödelheim, 1868), accompanied by a critical commentary, became the authoritative model for numerous editions published subsequently in the 20th century. His editions of the Jewish liturgy also include Kinnot for the fast of the ninth of Av. He never occupied an academic position, but was content with the office of Hebrew teacher to the Jewish community of Biebrich. In recognition of his services to the Commission for the History of the Jews in Germany, the honorary degree of doctor of philosophy was conferred upon him by the University of Leipzig.
Shmuel bar Abba
Shmuel of Nehardea or Shmuel bar Abba (Hebrew: שמואל or שמואל ירחינאה) was a Jewish Talmudist who lived in Babylonia, known as an Amora of the first generation; son of Abba bar Abba and head of the Yeshiva at Nehardea. He was a teacher of halakha, judge, physician, and astronomer. He was born about 165 CE at Nehardea, in Babylonia and died there in 254 CE. As in the case of many other great men, a number of legendary stories are connected with his birth (comp. Halakhot Gedolot, Giṭṭin, end; Tosefta Ḳiddushin 73a s.v. Mai Ikka). In Talmudic texts, Shmuel is frequently associated with Abba Arikha, with whom he debated on many major issues. He was the teacher of Rabbi Yehudah ben Yeḥezkel. From the little biographical information gleaned from the Talmud, we know that Shmuel was never ordained as a Tanna, that he was very precise with his words (Kiddushin 70a), and that he had a special affinity for astronomy: one of his best known sayings was that "The paths of heaven are as clear to me as the pathways of Nehardea."
Abba (Arikha) bar Aybo
Abba Arikha (175–247) (Talmudic Aramaic: אבא אריכא; born: Abba bar Aybo, Hebrew: רב אבא בר איבו‬) was a sage who was born and lived in Kafri, Sassanid Babylonia, known as an amora (commentator on the Oral Law) of the 3rd century who established at Sura the systematic study of the rabbinic traditions, which, using the Mishnah as text, led to the compilation of the Talmud. With him began the long period of ascendancy of the great academies of Babylonia, around the year 220. He is commonly known simply as Rav (or Raḅ, Hebrew: רב‬).
Sarah Barasch-Hagans
Sarah Barasch-Hagans
Sarah Barasch-Hagans is a rabbinical student at RRC.
Rachel Barenblat
Rachel Barenblat
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat (a/k/a Velveteen Rabbi) serves Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is author of five volumes of poetry, among them 70 faces: Torah poems (Phoenicia, 2011) and Texts to the Holy (Ben Yehuda, 2018). A leader in Jewish Renewal (former co-chair of ALEPH, now a senior builder at Bayit: Your Jewish Home) she resides in western Massachusetts. She has blogged as the Velveteen Rabbi since 2003.
Samuel Barth
Samuel Barth
Rabbi Samuel Barth is Senior Lecturer of Liturgy and Worship at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He was ordained at Leo Baeck College in London, following undergraduate studies in Mathematical Physics and Philosophy at the University of Sussex and the Open University (UK). He is completing doctoral work at New York Theological Seminary, exploring the use of Psalms in the interfaith context. Recently, Rabbi Barth served as a congregational rabbi in Austin, Texas, and Gloucester, Massachusetts. In the past, he served as dean and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic seminary in Riverdale, New York, where he was instrumental in establishing the cantorial program and a second campus in Los Angeles.
Rokhl Esther bat Aviḥayil
Rokhl Esther bat Aviḥayil is identified as a Jewish woman living in Jerusalem, the compiler or contributor to two collections of teḥinot published in Vilna, in the early 20th century. Little else so far is known of her.
Gele bat Moshe
Gele, daughter of Moshe and Freyde, was a typesetter employed by her father along with her older sister, Ele, in his printing shop in Halle, Germany (then part of Brandenburg, Prussia). Her father, a convert to Judaism, worked in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Frankfurt am Oder, before settling in Halle in 1706 at "the press established by J.H. Michaelis," according to Marvin Heller. Not much more is known of Gele outside of the difficulty we imagine that she and her family must have experienced after her father was imprisoned and his press destroyed following the 1710 publication of a siddur containing the prayer, "Aleinu," recently forbidden by royal decree. (source: K. Hellerstein, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987 (2014, Stanford University Press), p. 66)
Bayit: Your Jewish Home
Bayit: Your Jewish Home
Bayit: A Jewish Home was founded in December 2017 by a group of rabbis and lay leaders seeking to become a collaboration engine for building "a radically inclusive and enlivening Judaism for all ages and stages. We aim to give you tools for building the Judaism that you yearn for, renewing Judaism so that your Judaism can renew you."
Michael Beals
Michael Beals
Rabbi Michael Beals serves Congregation Beth Shalom in Wilmington, Delaware. He is a 1997 graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Beals is also a graduate of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles (MA Hebrew Letters), The American University in Washington DC (MA International Relations), and University of California at Berkeley (BA Political Science). He received the Raoul Wallenberg Fellowship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Beyond his accomplished education, Rabbi Beals has also worked in a variety of roles from serving as a management analyst developing multi-cultural training programs to working with young and old in programs of music therapy, Shabbat programming, and providing pastoral counseling and support to the sick and elderly and to the families that support them.
Irving Berlin
Israel Beilin
Irving Berlin (born Israel Beilin, May 23 [O.S. May 11] 1888 – September 22, 1989) was an American composer and lyricist, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history. His music forms a great part of the Great American Songbook. Born in Imperial Russia, Berlin arrived in the United States at the age of five. He published his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy", in 1907, receiving 33 cents for the publishing rights,[4] and had his first major international hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911. Composer Douglas Moore sets Berlin apart from all other contemporary songwriters, and includes him instead with Stephen Foster, Walt Whitman, and Carl Sandburg, as a "great American minstrel"—someone who has "caught and immortalized in his songs what we say, what we think about, and what we believe." Composer George Gershwin called him "the greatest songwriter that has ever lived", and composer Jerome Kern concluded that "Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American music."
Kahal Kadosh Beit Shalome
Kahal Kadosh Beit Shalome
Founded in 1789 by Spanish and Portuguese Jews as Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome (Hebrew: Holy Congregation, House of Peace,) it is one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. (via wikipedia)
Alan Scott Belsky
Alan Scott Belsky is a graduate of Yeshiva of Flatbush, an Everett Fellow at the NHC Summer Institute (2007), an alumnus of Moishe House Silver Spring, MD, and a past fellow of Yeshivat Hadar (2011).
Stephen Belsky
Stephen Belsky
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Stephen Belsky is a graduate of the Yeshiva of Flatbush, the State University of New York at Binghamton, and the Educators Program of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He received semikha at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and while studying there held internships at Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut, and the International Rabbinic Fellowship. Before starting semikha, Stephen taught at the Schechter high school in Teaneck, New Jersey, and after ordination, he returned to education, teaching Jewish Studies in the middle and high school divisions of Yeshivat Akiva in Southfield, Michigan. In addition to classroom teaching, Stephen has taught and lectured both in his local community and in synagogues across the eastern United States.
Yeshayahu ben Amoz
Yeshayahu or Isaiah (Hebrew: יְשַׁעְיָהוּ, Greek: Ἠσαΐας, Ēsaïās; Latin: Isaias; "Yah is salvation") was the 8th century BCE Jewish prophet for whom the Book of Isaiah is named. According to the rabbinic literature, Isaiah was a descendant of the royal house of Judah and Tamar (Sotah 10b). He was the son of Amoz (not to be confused with Prophet Amos), who was the brother of King Amaziah of Judah. (Talmud tractate Megillah 15a). Within the text of the Book of Isaiah, Isaiah himself is referred to as "the prophet", but the exact relationship between the Book of Isaiah and any such historical Isaiah is complicated. The traditional view is that all 66 chapters of the book of Isaiah were written by one man, Isaiah, possibly in two periods between 740 BCE and c. 686 BCE, separated by approximately 15 years, and includes dramatic prophetic declarations of Cyrus the Great in the Bible, acting to restore the nation of Israel from Babylonian captivity. Another widely-held view is that parts of the first half of the book (chapters 1–39) originated with the historical prophet, interspersed with prose commentaries written in the time of King Yoshiyahu (Josiah) a hundred years later, and that the remainder of the book dates from immediately before and immediately after the end of the exile in Babylon, almost two centuries after the time of the historic prophet. (from the article "Isaiah" on wikipedia)
Asaph ben Berechiah
Asaph is identified with twelve psalms (no. 50 and 73-82). He is said to be the son of Berechiah, and an ancestor of the Asaphim. The Asaphim were one of the guilds of musicians in the Jerusalem temple. This information is clarified in the books 1 and 2 of Chronicles. In Chronicles, it is said that Asaph was a descendant of Gershom the son of Levi and he is identified as a member of the Levi'im. He is also known as one of the three Levi'im commissioned by King David to be in charge of singing in the Temple. In 1 Chronicles 6:39 David appoints a man named Heman as the main musician or singer and Asaph as Heman’s right hand assistant and the Merari at his left hand. Asaph is also credited with performing at the dedication of Solomon’s temple in 2 Chronicles 5:12.
MaHaRaL
Yehudah Lev Ben Betzalel
Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, alt. Loewe, Löwe, or Levai, (c. 1520 – 17 September 1609) widely known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, or simply The MaHaRaL, the Hebrew acronym of "Moreinu Ha-Rav Loew," ("Our Teacher, Rabbi Loew") was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who, for most of his life, served as a leading rabbi in the cities of Mikulov in Moravia and Prague in Bohemia. Within the world of Torah and Talmudic scholarship, he is known for his works on Jewish philosophy and Jewish mysticism and his work Gur Aryeh al HaTorah, a supercommentary on Rashi's Torah commentary. The Maharal is the subject of a nineteenth-century legend that he created a golem, an artificial anthropoid fashioned from clay, to defend the Jewish community of Prague against their persecutors. (via wikipedia)
Abraham ben Ḥalfon
Abraham ben Ḥalfon was a Yemenite paytan whom we know almost nothing apart from their name and works. The research of Yosef Tobi indicates that he lived in the city of Aden in the second half of the twelfth century. Tobi writes, "To our best knowledge, Abraham ben Ḥalfon was the first Yemenite poet who contributed to the specific formulation of Yemenite poetry, thus beginning a poetic trend which in the course of time led to the uniqueness of Yemenite Hebrew poetry."
Neḥunyah ben HaQanah
Rebbi Neḥunyah ben HaQanah (נחוניה בן הקנה‎‎) was a tanna of the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. He was the teacher of Rebbi Yishmael ben Elisha. Neḥunya is considered to have been a chief transmitter of an esoteric Jewish lineage in antiquity, the Yordei Merqavah (Descenders to the Chariot). Neḥunyah was wealthy and had a large retinue of servants; but he was distinguished for his meekness and forgiving nature, to which he attributed his attainment of great age (Megillah 28a); two short prayers composed by him exhibit the same qualities (Yerushalmi Berakhot 4b). To him is attributed the daily prayer beginning אנא בכח, the initials of which form the forty-two-lettered name of God. He is also supposed by some to have been the author of the early qabbalistic work, the Bahir, and of the Sefer ha-Peli'ah.

According to the statement of his contemporary, Rebbi Yoḥanan (Shevu'ot 26a), Neḥunya interpreted the entire Torah by the hermeneutic rule known as the "general and particular" ("kelal u-feraṭ"), which rule has also been adopted by his pupil Rebbi Yishmael as the eight of his 13 hermeneutic rules. Neḥunya is frequently mentioned in the Talmud; in Ḥullin 129b he is referred to as the antagonist of Eliezer and Joshua in regard to a halakhah (comp., however, Eduyot vi. 2). He said that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was rescued from the Red Sea, that he repented, that he afterward reigned in Nineveh, and that it was he who in the time of Jonah exhorted the inhabitants of Nineveh to repentance (Pirke De-Rebbi Eliezer §43.). Neḥunya is known also for his ethical saying: "Whoso receives upon him the yoke of the Torah, from him is removed the yoke of royalty and that of derekh erets (worldly concerns); and whoso throws off the yoke of the Torah, upon him is laid the yoke of royalty and that of derekh erets" (Pirkei Avot 3:6; Avot of Rebbi Natan recension B, 32. [ed. Solomon Schechter, p. 68]).

(this summary incorporated content from Wikipedia and Isidore Singer's article in the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906)

Yirmiyah ben Ḥilkiyah haKohen
Yirmiyah (or Jeremiah, Hebrew: יִרְמְיָהוּ‬, Yirmĭyāhū; Greek: Ἰερεμίας; Arabic: إرميا‎ Irmiyā meaning "Yah Exalts", circa late 7th century through early 6th century), also called the "Weeping prophet", is one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition, Yirmiyah authored Sefer Yirmiyahu (the book of Jeremiah), Melakhim (the books of Kings), and Megillat Eikhah (the Scroll/Book of Lamentations), together with the assistance and under the editorship of Barukh ben Neriyah, his scribe and disciple.
Menasseh ben Israel
Menasseh ben Israel
Manoel Dias Soeiro (1604 – November 20, 1657), better known by his Hebrew name Menasseh (ben Yosef) ben Israel (מנשה בן ישראל), was a Portuguese rabbi, kabbalist, writer, diplomat, printer and publisher, founder of the first Hebrew printing press (named Emeth Meerets Titsma'h) in Amsterdam in 1626. (via his article on wikipedia)
Daniel ben Judah
Daniel ben Judah was a Jewish liturgical poet, who lived at Rome in the middle of the fourteenth century CE. He was the grandfather of Daniel ben Samuel ha-Rofe, rabbi at Tivoli. According to Samuel David Luzzatto, Daniel ben Judah was the author of the well-known piyyut "Yigdal Elohim Hai" containing the thirteen articles of belief of Maimonides. This poem, which forms part of the morning prayer among the Ashkenazim, and is sung by the Sephardim on the eve of Sabbaths and holy days, is included in the Romaniote ritual for Saturday evening. (adapted from wikipedia)
Kalonymus ben Kalonymus ben Meir
Kalonymus ben Kalonymus ben Meir, also romanized as Qalonymos ben Qalonymos (Arles, 1286 – died after 1328) was a Provençal Jewish philosopher and translator. He studied philosophy and rabbinical literature at Salonica, under the direction of Senior Astruc de Noves and Moses ben Solomon of Beaucaire. He also studied medicine, although he seems never to have practiced it. He was from a prominent and distinguished Provençal Jewish family. The father of Kalonymus and Kalonymus himself each bore the title "Nasi" (president).
Abayyé ben Kaylil
Oft-quoted in the Babylonian Talmud, Abayyé (also, Abaye, Hebrew: אַבַּיֵי‎‎) was an Amoraic rabbi born about the close of the 3rd century CE and who died 339 CE. His father, Kaylil, was the brother of Rabbah bar Naḥmani, a teacher at the Yeshiva (Rabbinic Academy) of Pumbedita. Abayyé's real name was Naḥmani, after his grandfather. Left an orphan at an early age, he was adopted by his uncle, Rabbah bar Naḥmani, who nicknamed him Abayyé ("Little Father"), to avoid confusion (perhaps out of respect for his father) with his grandfather of the same name; thenceforth he was known as Abayyé, without any other title. It is a curious fact that he perpetuated the memory of his foster-mother by mentioning her name in many popular recipes and dietetic precepts. He introduced each recipe with the phrase, "My mother told me." Abayyé's teachers were his uncle Rabbah and Yosef bar Ḥama, both of whom successively became presidents of the Pumbedita Academy. When Yosef died (324 CE), this honor was conferred upon Abayyé, who retained it until his death some five years later. Rabbah trained him in the application of the dialectic method to halakhic problems, and Yosef, with his stores of traditional lore, taught him to appreciate the value of positive knowledge. (adapted from wikipedia)
Elazar ben Killir
Eleazar ben Killir, also known as Eleazar Kalir, Eleazar Qalir or El'azar HaKalir (c. 570 – c. 640) was a Hebrew poet whose classical liturgical verses, known as piyut, have continued to be sung through the centuries during significant religious services, including those on Tisha b'Av and on the sabbath after a wedding. He was one of Judaism's earliest and most prolific of the paytanim, Hebrew liturgical poets. He wrote piyutim for all the main Jewish festivals, for special Sabbaths, for weekdays of festive character, and for the fasts. Many of his hymns have found their way into festive prayers of the Ashkenazi Jews' nusaḥ. (via wikipedia).
Moshe Ben Maimon
Moshe Ben Maimon
Mosheh ben Maimon (משה בן מימון), called Moses Maimonides (/maɪˈmɒnɪdiːz/ my-mon-i-deez) and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn (Arabic: موسى بن ميمون‎), or RaMBaM (רמב"ם – Hebrew acronym for "Rabbeinu Mosheh Ben Maimon" – English translation: "Our Rabbi/Teacher Moses Son [of] Maimon"), was a preeminent medieval Spanish, Sephardic Jewish philosopher, astronomer and one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. He was born in Córdoba (present-day Spain), Almoravid Empire on Passover Eve, 1138, and died in Egypt on December 12, 1204. Although his writings on Jewish law and ethics were met with acclaim and gratitude from most Jews, even as far off as Iraq and Yemen, and he rose to be the revered head of the Jewish community in Egypt, there were also vociferous critics of some of his writings, particularly in Spain. Nevertheless, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history, his copious work comprising a cornerstone of Jewish scholarship. His fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah still carries significant canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law. In the Yeshiva world he is called sometimes "haNesher haGadol" (the great eagle) in recognition of his outstanding status as a bona fide exponent of the Oral Torah. (from "Maimonides" on wikipedia)
Titus Flavius Josephus
Yosef ben Matityahu
Titus Flavius Josephus (Greek: Φλάβιος Ἰώσηπος; 37 – c. 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu (Hebrew: יוסף בן מתתיהו‬, Greek: Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς), was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.
Isaac ben Moses Magriso
Rabbi Isaac ben Moses Magriso of Turkey was the foremost compiler and contributor to the Me'am Loez (the important Ladino anthology of Torah commentary and related midrash aggadah in Ladino) after it's initial author, Rabbi Yaakov Cuti, died in 1732.
Barukh ben Neriyah
Barukh ben Neriyah (Hebrew: ברוך בן נריה - 'My Flame is Yah' (Nêrîyāh)"; circa early 6th century BCE) was the scribe, disciple, secretary, and devoted friend of the prophet Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah). He is traditionally credited with authoring the deuterocanonical Book of Barukh.
Amram Ben Rav Sheshna
Amram Gaon (Hebrew: עמרם גאון‎, or Amram bar Sheshna, Hebrew: עמרם בר רב ששנא, or sometimes: Amram ben Sheshna or Amram b. Sheshna; died 875) was a famous Gaon or head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura in the 9th century. He was the author of many Responsa, but his chief work was liturgical. He was the first to arrange a complete liturgy for the synagogue. His Prayer-Book (Siddur Rab Amram or Seder Rav Amram), which took the form of a long responsum to the Jews of Spain, is still extant and was an important influence on most of the current rites in use among the Jews. He was a pupil of Natronai II, Gaon of Sura, and was exceptionally honored with the title of Gaon within the lifetime of his teacher. Upon Natronai's death, about 857, the full title and dignities of the gaonate were conferred upon Amram, and he held them until his death. It is characteristic of Amram's method to avoid extreme rigor; thus he decides that a slave who has embraced Judaism, but desires to postpone the necessary circumcision until he feels strong enough for it, is not to be hurried (ib. iv. 6, 11). He placed himself almost in opposition to the Talmud, when he protested that there is no sense in fasting on account of bad dreams, since the true nature of dreams cannot be known. (via wikipedia)
Hai Ben Sherira
Hai ben Sherira (or Hai b. Sherira (Gaon), Hebrew: האי בר שרירא; better known as Hai Gaon, Hebrew: האיי גאון, b. 939, d. March 28, 1038), was a medieval Jewish theologian, rabbi and scholar who served as Gaon of the Talmudic academy of Pumbedita during the early 11th century. He received his Talmudic education from his father, Sherira ben Hanina, and in early life acted as his assistant in teaching. In his forty-fourth year he became associated with his father as "ab bet din," and with him delivered many joint decisions.
Eliyah ben Shlomo Avraham haKohen
Elijah ben Solomon Abraham ha-Kohen (1650-1729) was a dayyan, distributor of alms, preacher, and rabbi in Ottoman Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) from a distinguished rabbinic Jewish family.
Naḥman ben Simḥah
Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav (Hebrew: נחמן מברסלב‎, April 4, 1772 – October 16, 1810), was the founder of the Bratslav (Breslov) Ḥasidic movement. Rebbe Naḥman , a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, revived the Ḥasidic movement by combining the esoteric secrets of Judaism (the Kabbalah) with in-depth Torah scholarship. He attracted thousands of followers during his lifetime, and his influence continues today through many Hasidic movements such as Breslov Ḥasidism. Rebbe Naḥman's religious philosophy revolved around closeness to God and speaking to God in normal conversation "as you would with a best friend." The concept of hitbodedut is central to his thinking.
Shimon ben Yeshua ben Eliezer ben Sira
Ben Sira, or Ben Sirach (Hebrew: בן סירא‬), also known as Shimon ben Yeshua ben Eliezer ben Sira (fl. 2nd century BCE) was a Hellenistic Jewish scribe, sage, and allegorist from Jerusalem. He is the author of the Book of Sirach, also known as the Book of Ecclesiasticus. He wrote his work in Hebrew, possibly in Alexandria, Egypt ca. 180–175 BCE, where he is thought to have established a school.
Meïr Leibush ben Yeḥiel Michel Wisser
Meïr Leibush ben Yeḥiel Michel Wisser
Meïr Leibush ben Yehiel Michel Wisser (March 7, 1809 – September 18, 1879), better known by the acronym Malbim (Hebrew: מלבי"ם‎), was a rabbi, master of Hebrew grammar, and Bible commentator.
Yaakov ben Yehudah Ḥazzan of London
Yaakov ben Yehudah Ḥazzan of London
Jacob ben Judah Hazzan was a 13th-century Jewish legal codifier based in London, England. His grandfather was one Jacob he-Aruk (possibly Jacob le Long). In 1287 Jacob wrote Etz Chaim a ritual code in two parts, containing 646 sections respectively, dealing with the whole sphere of Halakah, and following in large measure Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah, though Jacob utilized also the Halakot Gedolot, the Siddur of Amram Gaon, and the works of Moses of Coucy, Alfasi and the tosafists. He quotes, furthermore, Isaac ben Abraham, Moses of London and Berechiah de Nicole (Lincoln). Some verses by him are also extant.
David ben Yishai
David ben Yishai was the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, reigning ca. 1010–970 BCE. While almost half of the Psalms are headed "l'David" and tradition identifies several with specific events in David’s life (e.g., Psalms 3, 7, 18, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63 and 142), most scholars consider these headings to be late additions and that no psalm can be attributed to David with certainty. 1 Samuel 16:15-18 describes David as a skillful harp (lyre) player and "the sweet psalmist of Israel."
Mordecai ben Yitsḥok ha-Levi
Mordechai Ben Yitsḥak haLevy was a 13th century rabbi and liturgical poet who emigrated from Iraq to Mainz in Germany. There, hiding in the Jewish quarter with the rest of the Jewish community of Mainz, he witnessed the terrible massacres of the Crusaders. Authorship of the popular piyyut for Ḥanukkah, Maoz Tsur, is often attributed to him on the basis of the acrostic, מרדכי found in it.
Aharon ben Yosef of Constantinople
Aharon ben Yosef of Constantinople (c. 1260 – c. 1320) was an eminent teacher, philosopher, physician, and liturgical poet in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Born in Sulchat, Crimea, he took a prominent part in the regeneration of Karaite Judaism by the help of philosophical elements borrowed from Rabbanite literature. When only nineteen years of age he had mastered the theological knowledge of his time to such a degree that he was elected the spiritual head of the Karaite community of his native town, and in that capacity he engaged the Rabbanite teachers in a public dispute to determine the correct time for the new moon. He then journeyed through many lands and diligently studied the works of Abraham ibn Ezra, Maimonides, Naḥmanides and Rashi. Being, as he said, eager to arrive at "the truth without bias and prejudice, and free from partisan spirit," he determined to accept the results of his investigation, even if they conflicted with Karaite teachings and traditions. In this spirit of fairness he wrote, in 1294, while following the profession of a physician in Constantinople, the work which established his fame and influence despite his Rabbanite proclivities. This work was the "Mibhar" (The Choice), a commentary on the Pentateuch, written in the terse, concise, and often obscure style and after the critical method of Ibn Ezra, and this became to the later generation of Karaite teachers a source of instruction in religious philosophy, in exegesis, and in practical theology, that is, the observance of the Torah. (adapted from his wikipedia article)
Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, [b] 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, and Sovereign of the Vatican City. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio worked briefly as a chemical technician and nightclub bouncer before beginning seminary studies. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969 and from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina's provincial superior of the Society of Jesus. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was created a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European pope since the Syrian Gregory III in 741. (via wikipedia)
Jessica Berlin
Jessica Berlin
Jessica Berlin is a Jewish farmer.
Phyllis Berman
Phyllis Berman
Rabbi Phyllis O. Berman has, since the early 1980s, been a leading Jewish-renewal liturgist, prayer leader, story-writer, and story-teller. From 1994 to 2005, Berman was Director of the Summer Program of the Elat Chayyim Center for Healing and Renewal. She is the co-author of Tales of Tikkun: New Jewish Stories to Heal the Wounded World (1996); A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven: The Jewish Life-Spiral as a Spiritual Journey (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002); The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Peace and Hope for Jews, Christians, and Muslims (2006), and Freedom Journeys: Tales of Exodus & Wilderness across Millennia (2013).
Tim Bernard
Tim Bernard
Tim Daniel Bernard is Director of Digital Learning and Engagement at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously, he was the Community Manager at Seeking Alpha and Grants and Communications Manager at PELIE, having taught Humash and Rabbinics at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn for two years. He was also Kollel Fellow for a year at Yeshivat Hadar. Tim was ordained at JTS in 2009, where he also graduated from the Graduate School with an MA in Talmud & Rabbinics. He grew up in London and earned an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Bristol, which he followed with a year of learning at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. While in Britain, he was involved for many years in the annual Limmud Conference, as both participant and organizer. Tim is an active member of Kehilat Hadar, where he gives regular divrei Torah (many of which can be found on this site), and co-chaired the Shavuot Retreat in 2011. He is married to Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg, with whom he enjoys traveling, hiking and visiting modern art galleries.
Aryeh Bernstein
Aryeh Bernstein
Aryeh Bernstein is a fifth generation Chicago native, an editor of Jewschool.com, the coordinator of the Back to Basics Beginners Judaism Program at Mishkan Chicago, and an educational consultant for Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. While living in Jerusalem, he helped translate the Koren-Steinsaltz English Talmud edition. He has studied at Columbia, JTS, YU, YCT, and Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, and taught at Yeshivat Hadar, Drisha, Yeshivat Talpiot, the Hartman High School, Camp Ramah in WI, and elsewhere. He has led High Holiday services at Kehilat Hadar for 11 years. And he released a hip-hop album, called A Roomful of Ottomans.
Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik
Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik
Hayim Nahman Bialik (Hebrew: חיים נחמן ביאליק‎‎; January 9, 1873 – July 4, 1934), was a Jewish poet who wrote primarily in Hebrew but also in Yiddish. Bialik was one of the pioneers of modern Hebrew poetry. (via wikipedia)
Paltiel Birnbaum
Paltiel Philip Birnbaum​ (1904–1988) was an American religious author and translator, best known for his translation and annotation of the prayerbook Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem ([Complete] Daily Prayer Book), first published in 1949, and widely used in Orthodox and Conservative synagogues until the late 1980s. Birnbaum was born in Kielce, Poland and emigrated to the United States in 1923. He attended Howard College and received his Ph.D. from Dropsie College. He served for several years as the principal of a Jewish day school in Wilmington, Delaware, and directed Jewish schools in Birmingham, Alabama, and Camden, New Jersey. He was a regular columnist and book reviewer for the Hebrew-language weekly, Hadoar. He also served on the board of directors of the Histadrut Ivrit b'America, an American association for the promotion of Hebrew language and culture.
Barry Block
Barry Block
Rabbi Barry Block is the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Little Rock, Arkansas. A Houston native, Rabbi Block was ordained in 1991 at the New York Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, after having been awarded the degree, Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, at the Los Angeles Campus in 1988. Rabbi Block previously served Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, Texas, beginning in 1992 as Assistant, then Associate, Rabbi; and as Senior Rabbi from 2002 to 2013. Rabbi Block has served Reform Judaism nationally and regionally as a member of the Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Chair of its Resolutions and Nominating Committees, and as President of the Southwest Association of Reform Rabbis. For 21 years, he represented his colleagues throughout Texas and Oklahoma as Rabbinic Advisor of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Greene Family Camp for Living Judaism in Bruceville, Texas. He is a member of the President’s Rabbinic Alumni Council of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Block is the author of "Unplanned Fatherhood,” slated for 2013 publication by CCAR Press in The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality. Rabbi Block is Past Board Chair of the Planned Parenthood Trust of South Texas. In 2013, he completed long service to Methodist Healthcare Ministries, the largest non-governmental provider of indigent health care in south Texas, and Methodist Healthcare System, the largest hospital group and second largest private employer in San Antonio. His service there included several terms as Chair of the Healthcare System’s Ethics and Compliance Committee. In 2012, Human Rights Campaign bestowed its Equality Award upon Rabbi Block at its annual gala in San Antonio.
Yehoyesh Shloyme Blumgarten (translation)
Yehoyesh Shloyme Blumgarten
Born in Virbalis, Lithuania (then considered part of Russian-ruled Poland), Yehoyesh (also, Yehoash) was the pen name for Shloyme (Solomon) Blumgarten (also Bloomgarden, 1872-1927), a Yiddish-language poet, scholar and Bible translator. He emigrated to the United States in 1890 and settled in New York. For a decade he was a businessman, but wrote full-time starting in 1900 when he entered a sanitarium for tuberculosis. Yehoash "is generally recognized by those familiar with this literature [Yiddish], as its greatest living poet and one of its most skillful raconteurs", according to a New York Times book review in 1923. His output included verse, translations, poetry, short stories, essays and fables in Yiddish and some articles in English. His poetry was translated into Russian, Dutch, Polish, Finnish, German, Spanish, English and Hebrew. He was responsible for translating many works of world literature into Yiddish, including Longfellow's "Hiawatha" and a very popular translation of the Bible. His version was hailed as a contribution of national significance and perhaps the greatest masterpiece in the Yiddish language. His two volume edition became a standard work for Yiddish speaking homes throughout the world.
Bnei Koraḥ
The Bnəi Koraḥ were an important branch of the singers of the Kohathite division (2 Chronicles 20:19). Eleven psalms are attributed to the Korahites: Psalm 42, Psalms 44 - 49, Psalm 84, Psalm 85, Psalm 87, and Psalm 88. Some of the sons of Korah also were "porters" of the temple (1 Chronicles 9:17-19); one of them was over "things that were made in the pans" (v31), i.e., the baking in pans for the meat-offering (Leviticus 2:5). (via wikipedia)
Joshua Boettiger
Joshua Boettiger
Joshua Boettiger is the rabbi and spiritual leader of Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, Oregon. Prior to this, he served as the rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Bennington, Vermont. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. He has served on the Boards of Rabbis for Human Rights North America, Vermont Interfaith Power and Light, and was the Vermont coordinator of the Jewish Justice Initiative. Rabbi Boettiger teaches Jewish meditation on a weekly basis and leads twice yearly silent retreats with his wife, Rabbi Vanessa Boettiger. He has taught at Williams College, Southern Vermont College, and been a scholar in residence at different locations around the country, teaching on topics ranging from modern Jewish thought to biblical Hebrew to the history of Jewish poetry. Rabbi Boettiger has an abiding interest in sacred spaces and continues to work as a builder of ritual structures – from sukkahs and chuppahs to prayer/meditation spaces. He has published articles in Parabola, Zeek and other online magazines.
Ben-Zion Bokser
Ben-Zion Bokser
Ben Zion-Bokser was born in Lubomi, Poland, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 13 in 1920. Bokser heard Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook speak in New York in 1924 and became an avid student and great proponent of his teachings. Bokser attended City College of New York (BA, 1928) and Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Theological Seminary (Yeshiva University), followed by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (ordained, 1931) and Columbia University (PhD, 1935). He taught for many years as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Queens College, City University of New York. His first pulpit was Congregation Beth Israel in Vancouver. He served as the rabbi of Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens, New York starting in 1933 and remained in that position for the balance of his career, more than fifty years. He served a two-year period as a United States Army chaplain during World War Two, stationed at Camp Miles Standish in Massachusetts. During WWII, he organized aid for Jewish soldiers. Bokser was an advocate of social justice, taking a position in favor of the construction of a housing project for the poor in the middle class community of Forest Hills. He fought against the death penalty in NY state.
Jonah S. Boyarin (translation)
Jonah Sampson Boyarin
Jonah Sampson Boyarin is an educator, writer, and Yiddish translator, and a member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. His preferred genres are tkhines and science fiction, go know.
Reuven Brauner
Reuven Brauner
Reuven Brauner is a writer in Ra’anana, Israel. He has published numerous e-books of Jewish texts which are available for download at Tzvee Zahavy's website, halakhah.com.
Daniel S. Brenner
Daniel S. Brenner
Rabbi Daniel S. Brenner is chief of Education and Program at Moving Traditions, a Jewish non-profit organization which runs educational program for teenagers. From 2007-2011, Brenner was the founding executive director of Birthright Israel NEXT. He directed graduate-level training programs at Auburn Theological Seminary and at CLAL- the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, both in New York City. In 2009, he was named by Newsweek Magazine as one of the fifty most influential rabbis in America.
Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston (Hebrew: בראדלי בורסטון‎) is an American-born Israeli journalist. Burston is a columnist for Haaretz and senior editor of Haaretz.com. He writes a blog called "A Special Place in Hell".
Simcha Daniel Burstyn
Rabbi Simcha Daniel Burstyn is a rabbi, gardener, permaculturalist, teacher, singer, spiritual director, peace activist. He has been a member of Kibbutz Lotan for 22 years, the only kibbutz that is also an ecovillage. In the Kibbutz’s Center for Creative Ecology, Rabbi Simcha teaches courses in Peace and Social Justice and Jewish Approaches to the Environment.

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