Sunday, February 12, 2012

Israeli Bingo

On Tu Bishvat we were visited by a youth group who came to plant trees. One of the groups had been playing Israeli Bingo on the way, with each card listing important people from Israeli history.

Not surprisingly, 99% of the names on the bingo cards were either pre-Exile or Zionist-era people.

Therefore, I thought I'd use the opportunity to list some of the more well-known Israeli writers, scholars and leaders throughout the ages. Maybe next time I'll find their names on school-children's bingo cards.

  • Rabbi Yochanan (3rd century) - laid the foundations of the Jerusalem Talmud
  • Shimon ben Lakish (Resh Lakish) (3rd century, ) - leading Talmud scholar
  • Rabbi Tanhuma bar Abba (4th century) - leading Aggadah scholar
  • Our early poets (4th-10th centuries) - Jose b. Jose, Yanai, Eleazar Kalir. Wrote many of the religious hymns in Ashkenazi prayer books.
  • Aaron ben Asher (10th century) - Bible Masorah authority. Added the masorah notes to the Aleppo Codex, the basis for all our Bibles today.
  • Judah Halevi (12th century) - poet and philosopher, author of the Kuzari, believed that true religious fulfillment is only possible in Israel.
  • Benjamin of Tudela and Yehuda Alharizi (12th century) - travelers who visited the land and described its Jewish communities
  • Samson ben Abraham (Rash of Sens, 12th century) - one of the leading French Tosafists, led the first wave of the Tosafist Aliyah in the early 13th century.
  • Nahmanides (Ramban) (13th century) - reestablished the Jewish community in Jerusalem, following Crusader rule
  • Rabbi Ishtori Haparchi (14th century) - studied the geography and plant life of the land, lived in Beit Shean
  • Rabbi Obadiah of Bertinoro (15th century) - author of the popular commentary on the mishna, helped rejuvenate the community of Jerusalem
  • Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi (16th century) - the 'first Zionist', leased the area of Tiberias to create an autonomous Jewish region.
  • Rabbi Isaac Luria Ashkenazi (The ARI) (16th century) - founder of the Kabbalist movement of Safed
  • Rabbi Jacob Berab (16th century) - reintroduced Semichah (rabbinic ordination)
  • Rabbi Joseph Karo (16th century) - author of the Shulchan Aruch
  • Rabbi Israel ben Moses Najara (16th century) - poet, kabbalist and chief Rabbi of Gaza
  • Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (Shelah ha-Kadosh) (17th century) - Mussar (ethics) scholar who greatly influenced the Hassidic movement.
  • Rabbi Judah HeHasid (17th century) - led mass aliyah movement to Israel, built the Hurva synagogue
  • Sar Shalom Sharabi (Rashash, 18th century) - head of the Kabbalist Bet El Yeshiva in Jerusalem
  • Haim Farhi (18th century) - adviser to Ottoman rulers in the Galilee
  • Rabbi Hayyim Abulafia (18th century) - restored the Jewish community of Tiberias
  • Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (RAMCHAL, 18th century) - author of the "Messilat Yesharim" which became the basis for the Mussar Movement
  • Yisroel ben Shmuel Ashkenazi of Shklov (19th century) - student of the Vilna Gaon, Wrote the "Pe'at Hashulchan" on the laws of the land, helped rebuild the Hurva synagogue.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Zoref (19th century) - founder of the Solomon clan, renewed the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Jerusalem
  • Israel Beck (19th century) - First Israeli printer in the modern era, established the first Jewish agricultural village (on Har Meiron).
  • Rabbi Akiva Yosef Schlesinger (19th century) - Aliyah activist, believed Jews can only be redeemed by turning to productive work and agriculture
  • Rabbi Yechiel Michal Pines (19th century) - one of the fathers of religious Zionism.
See here for more articles about our history in Israel.

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Anonymous said...

Recently had a similar conversation about non-dati relatives who know so much more textual tanach then I do, but know nothing about Judaism.

Anonymous said...

and of your proposed list - only one woman, and from the 16th century at that!
not much of a message to half the jewish people that we can't come up with any woman in the last half-millenium or so ...

Ora said...

re women

I'm almost finished with my next article, which will focus on an incredible woman. So, you're bursting into an open door :-)

But other than that - it's simply a fact that until the 20th century, very few women played a public part in world history. I can't change reality to fit any certain message.

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