Although the Holocaust is one huge part of Jewish history that most of us are naturally drawn to, if only to teach us how we treat others, Jewish history entails much more.
Understanding Jewish legal history means understanding its historians, scholars, anthropologists, texts and law as we discover how the Jewish faith has continued through persecution, without a government institution, and within the legal laws of others wanting them to conform.
What of legal theory in a global world? Can it help us to better understand ourselves, and to push forward in a new and more rewarding direction? What of a faith that makes no distinction between religion and government? What of church and state?
When it comes to the legal field, Jewish history can teach us a lot about the differences and the similarities of people who want for a better world. And fortunately there are well-informed blogs and websites that can help us on our quest for understanding.
Historians like David Abulafia and Howard Zinn teach us about Jews during the middle ages, the Renaissance and the Jews’ ultimate quest for Civil Rights. Scholars like Seligman Baer and Moshe Weinfeld help us with the more spiritual uptake of Jewish living. Anthropologists like Emile Durkheim and Franz Boas help us to better understand the theories behind what we see in history; why what happened, happened in the first place.
Owing to our future, understanding Jewish legal history may mean more than spending some time increasing our knowledge of it. With knowledge comes power, and, as we all know, power can be used for whatever we wish.