Jewish History

How Did Hasidic Judaism Begin?

What is Hasidic Judaism? This video explains the history of the Hasidic movement, from its beginnings with the Ba’al Shem Tov to the creation of a distinct community of mystical and observant Jews.

The Hasidic movement was formed in the mid 1800s by Jewish mystics in Eastern Europe, most notably the Ba’al Shem Tov, who was a traveled Kabbalist, providing spiritual advice to those he met. He introduced mystic rituals where everything became spiritual. His students (i.e. Dov Ber) would later create the movement of Hasidism. But many Jews at that time were opposed to this new emerging movement. The Hasids were prayer enthusiasts. When they prayed, they would jump, clap, somersault, and even cry.

Despite opposition, Hasidism flourished and suffused through most of Eastern Europe. Chasidic Jews became part of the community, by serving as spiritual advisers, kashering meats, attending to the ill and deceased, and so on. They continued to thrive until the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union and World War II either killed them or drove them to seek refuge elsewhere. Some Chasidim that escape traveled to America and began the movement which we see today in Brooklyn and beyond.

A Brief History of Modern Hebrew

Hebrew spoken today is not the same as the Hebrew in the Bible. But how did Hebrew come to be anyway? Watch our video to learn a brief history of Modern Hebrew featuring Joshua Mallett.

How Did Judaism Get Its Name?

Have you ever wondered what are the origins of Judaism? Why are Jews called “Jews”? For some religions, it’s pretty obvious. Christianity is named for Christ and Buddhism for Buddha. But what about Judaism?

Learn how Judaism got its name from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, who would later become the founding member of the tribe.


What is Yom Ha’atzmaut?” video gives viewers a taste of how Israeli Independence Day started and is celebrated around the world, from the street parties and ceremonies in Israel, to festivals all around the world.



What is Tisha B’av?

Tisha B’av is the day of mourning in Judaism. On this day, the ninth of Av, a series of major tragedies of the Jewish people occurred including the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem.

It’s a day of mourning for getting kicked out of Israel, for the destruction of Jerusalem, the Medieval  expulsions from various lands. Watch our video to learn more about the significance and meaning behind this day.

Why Does the Jewish Calendar Change Every Year?

Why do Jewish holidays move around on the calendar? Why do we have Chanukah sometimes on Thanksgiving? Find some answers and learn more about how the Jewish calendar works in this video featuring Joshua Mallett.

The Hebrew calendar, or the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar where as the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. The Jewish calendar is synced to the moon so the first day of the month is a new moon and the 15th day of the month is a full moon.

Problem is a lunar calendar is 10 or 11 days short of the solar, Gregorian calendar. In order to keep up with the seasons, every three years or so (or seven times within a 19 year period), we add a whole extra month: Adar II. Adding an extra month helps prevent Passover from occurring in the winter and Chanukah from occurring in the fall!

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