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You’ve probably never met a character as colorful as Shabbetai Tzvi. The 16th century Jewish mystic and rabbi led thousands of Jews to leave their homes and possessions to follow him as their Messiah. With the encouragement of his hypeman, Nathan of Gaze, Shabbetai Tzvi was revered and loved, picking up followers left and right…until the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire threatens him with imprisonment unless he converts to Islam, which he does. This week, Yael and Schwab tell us the story of Shabbetai Tzvi and ask, what is the deeper meaning of this crazy story and character?

This episode was hosted by Jonathan Schwab and Yael Steiner. Our education lead is Dr. Henry Abramson. Audio was edited by Rob Pera, and we’re produced by Rivky Stern.

For more on Shabbetai Tzvi and this episode: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pNiZ8ZuIrIRJNzHh3CQy81AEA8CE429j4XNCdm9Yq6M/edit?usp=sharing