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Jan
12

SEVEN CLEOPATRAS

When most people hear the name Cleopatra, they think of Cleopatra VII, the fabled ruler of Egypt and lover of Caesar and Antony. But there were six Cleopatras in Egypt  before  Cleopatra VII.  Each was more ruthless and seductive than the one who came before. Cleopatra I, daughter of the Syrian king Antiochus III, was betrothed as a child to Ptolemy V of Egypt.  Her husband died suddenly at age 27...
Jan
5

JOSEPHUS: NOT YOUR ORDINARY JOE

JOSEPHUS: NOT YOUR ORDINARY JOE   This portrait of Queen Salome Alexandra from 1553 CE may or may not resemble her. There are no portraits from her time. The only information we have about Queen Shalom-Zion’s reign comes in a few paragraphs by the first-century C.E. historian Josephus. Josephus himself was rather an odd duck. He was a Jewish commander in first-century Galilee during the Jewish revolt against Rome. When the...
Dec
29

SWEEPING SAND FROM THE STORY OF A QUEEN

SWEEPING SAND FROM THE STORY OF A QUEEN Just after I’d met my husband Steve, but before we’d started dating seriously,  I made a quick trip to Israel. I wanted to see the Sinai before it was returned to Egypt. It was astonishingly beautiful –ribbons of multicolored rock rising above vast sweeps of desert sand. But I couldn’t go to the Sinai without spending some time in Jerusalem. I was walking down King Solomon Street toward King David Street,...
Dec
22

Judah to Jesus: After the Maccabees

Judah to Jesus: After the Maccabees Woodcut of Judah Maccabee at the gates of Jerusalem Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794–1872)The Bible in Pictures POST-MODERN HANUKKAH The rabbis of the Talmud asked the question, Mai Hanukkah? What’s this Hanukkah business? I was equally confused when I was a kid. In fact, when I first heard of it, I told my mom, “a girl in my kindergarten class says she’s getting a harmonica. Can I have one, too?” Mom...
Dec
15

The Queen of the Jews comes to the U.S.

JUDY PETSONK REVEALS (ALMOST) ALL Dear Friends, Fans, Feminists, Lovers of Historical Fiction and of all things Jewish, Here’s my Hanukkah present for you — an entirely new insight into the world the Maccabees left behind. And a special invitation. For seven years, I’ve been secretly doing detective work. I’ve hinted at it, but I’ve kept the subject of my investigations a secret. Now, all will...

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