Episode One: The Beginning

Airs Tuesday, March 25, 8-9 p.m. (Check local listings)

Prize-winning author and Emmy-Award winner Simon Schama embarks on his exploration of the Jewish experience from ancient times to the present day in the first episode of the five-part series, The Story of the Jews.

The story of the Jewish experience begins 3,000 years ago with the emergence of a tribal people in a contested land and their extraordinary book, the Hebrew Bible, a chronicle of their stormy relationship with a faceless, formless, jealous God. It was loyalty to this “God of Words” that defined the distinct identity of the ancient Jews and preserved it despite all that history could throw their way — war, invasion, deportation, enslavement, exile and assimilation. The story unfolds with a cast of historical characters: Sigmund Freud dying in exile in London; Victorian evangelicals and explorers following “in the footsteps” of Moses; Jewish mercenaries living, prospering and intermarrying in the pagan land of Egypt; Messianic Jews dreaming of the Apocalypse; and a Jewish historian, Josephus, who witnessed first-hand the moment when the apocalypse finally came and the Romans destroyed the Jewish High Temple in Jerusalem.

  • L. J. Goldstein

    Goyasha presentation

    • chartreuse1737

      are there any presentations you like? what about abba eban’s?

  • daver

    Not at all-Quite simply and well done a clear and concise digest of the struggles we have had over the centuries to survive in a world constantly trying to eradicate us.

  • H. Bar-tal

    Excellent presentation. Very we’ll done. Hbartall

  • Jacqueline Green

    For a historian, saying that Jewish “earthiness’ happened in Spain, he left out a significant poem – the Song of Solomon. I’m also perturbed that in two episodes we’re at the expulsion from Spain & England. That seems to skim over a lot of Jewish history. perhaps I missed something.

  • Ed Greenberg

    “Goyasha presentation” Probably the least goyish I have ever seen on mainstream TV. Remember, it’s a Goyishe audience.

  • Ned the Fed

    Loved the second episode, but I missed the first. I look forward to catching up on iTV this weekend and plan to watch episode #2 again in preparation for the finale. I’m a Sephardic Jew, who’s ancestors were expelled from Spain and resettled in Switzerland. Other kin of mine left Spain for South America and Mexico.

  • Traci Sims

    I would love to have dinner with Schama…I can guarantee that I would not be bored…What an interesting series! This “chocolate-dipped” shiksa is deeply appreciative of Schama’s research…And, besides, can’t the goyim enjoy learning about their brethren?

  • GP Witteveen

    Alternatives to the video set? I long for pbs adaptations of videos built of the transcript and illustrated along the margins with freeze-frames of the video (with or without minute:seconds mark. That way one can work through the content in non-linear ways. Please consider the eBook version of each disk, pbs!

  • Srule Brachman

    Although the word Goy is commonly used, I grew up in a household where it was used in a derogatory manner, so I dislike it. I prefer using non- jew. Just saying.

  • Paul Topol

    You say the jews killed Moses?? Did I miss something? They certainly did NOT!
    Hopefully I did not hear correctly.

  • Mike

    Unleash the internet grammar police!!! Best to stay on point, and I believe Traci’s point was quite clear ellipsis and all…

  • Sandi

    When you say “chocolate-dipped” do you mean you are Black? If so, you are just one more that continue to embarrass the rest of us. Either you know how to write properly or you don’t. If is the latter, I blame your parents.

  • sensorsweep

    you should also know that ellipses have been used for decades in comic strips and comic books in a similar fashion.
    a (…) can be quite helpful in expressing yourself in a text based informal conversation.

© 2014 WNET. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
PBS IS A 501(C)(3) NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION.
THE STORY OF THE JEWS IS A SERIES WRITTEN & PRESENTED BY SIMON SCHAMA BBC, THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC.