The Lost Communities
Item #: S313
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The long Jewish exile has taken Jews all over the face of the globe. Wherever they went, Jews established strong and vibrant communities, many of which endured for centuries. However, many of these communities have disappeared from the current Jewish map of the world. This tape series revives the story and life of a number of great Jewish communities in different parts of the world that played a significant role in Jewish history. The series allows us to tour a Jewish world that is no longer. Rabbi Wein discusses the communities of Hungary/Slovakia, Solonica, Frankfurt Am Main, Prague, Tunisia/Morocco and Egypt.
"I highly recommend this series to anyone interested in Jewish history, the Diaspora, and the many contributions Jewish communities have made to the world.” – Professor Ed Harris, Chair of Educational Leadership, Oklahoma State University
Hungary/Slovakia - The picture of Eastern European Jewry in all its piety and glory comes to life as Rabbi Wein reviews the history of the Jews of Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. Each was home to several prospering yeshivos as well as a variety of Chassidic Rebbes and their adherents, but each unfortunately suffered a unique fate at the hands of the Nazis.
Solonika - For centuries, Jews were so central to trade in this Greek port city that its ports and businesses were closed on Shabbos. Strategically located between Europe and the Middle East, Solonika was caught in the middle of every major trend that affected the Jewish world, from the Shabsai Tzvi debacle in the Middle Ages to World War II and the Holocaust. Though the Jewish community of Solonika has virtually disappeared, its survivors were supplanted mainly to Israel where their distinctive character continues to show itself today.
Frankfurt Am Main - Three words sum up the history of the Jews in Frankfurt: pogroms, rabbis, and disputes. With a thorough retrospect of the Jews of Germany, Rabbi Wein takes us through the Jewish days of money lending in the Middle Ages to the Reform movement and its promises of social equality, proven altogether false in the cataclysm of the Holocaust.
Prague - The history of the Jews of Prague is filled with amazing twists and turns of fate. From the famous legend of the Maharal and his golem to the story of a pogrom started from one stone-throwing child, Rabbi Wein weaves a chain of astounding anecdotes that depict a pious, tenacious, and long-lasting Jewish community.
Tunisia/Morocco - The ancient North African Jewish communities date as far back as the First Temple, but in all the millennia of their existence, they never knew a day of peace. Though at times North Africa was preferable to Spain as a haven for Jews, at other times, the situation was reversed, but either way, Spanish and North African Jewry were always closely connected. As a result, Torah study thrived there for centuries until the mass aliyah to Israel in the 20th century.
Egypt - As every Jewish schoolchild knows, the Jews became slaves in Egypt only after a long stint of favor because of Joseph. The Jewish experience in Egypt since the times of Tanach have followed precisely that pattern. Sometimes they enjoyed great privilege, while at others they were bitterly oppressed. Home to the Saadia Gaon and the Rambam, Rabbi Wein presents the glory days of the Jews in Egypt and shows its bitter end with President Abdul Nasser in the 20th century.