About

About Mitchell First

Mitchell First Esq, has a J.D. from Columbia Law School and an M.A. in Jewish History from Yeshiva University. He has published articles on Jewish history, liturgy, and etymology in periodicals such as Biblical Archaeology Review, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Ḥakirah and AJS Review.  He is presently a columnist for the Jewish Link of New Jersey. He is a practicing attorney in New York City, and resides with his wife Sharon in Teaneck, N.J.  He has authored three books: Jewish History in Conflict: A Study of the Major Discrepancy Between Rabbinic and Conventional Chronology (1997). This was the book of the month in the Jewish Book Club in August 1997. In 2015, he authored Esther Unmasked: Solving Eleven Mysteries of the Jewish Holidays and Liturgy. In 2018, he authored Roots and Rituals: Insights into Hebrew, Holidays, and History. The last has been described as “entertaining, erudite and enjoyable,” “full of First’s trademark wit,” and “a wonderful book, I recommend it highly.”
The author has given me pause, made me think, and made arguments that are compelling enough to warrant further investigation. In my book there are few higher compliments than that.
- Moshe Isaacson

Reviews

Mitchell First writes in a highly accessible style about history and etymology. He sheds light on questions which are very meaningful to anyone who has ever studied the Hebrew Bible. He even manages to inject humorous asides. First brings forth a range of opinions- both classic and modern- and helps the reader see just which formulation is most convincing. A wonderful book. I recommend it highly!
T.F.
I have read the essays of Mitchell First in Jewish journals for several years. All of them have revealed meticulous research, careful thinking, and original insight. His work on Esther in particular is nothing short of groundbreaking. For example, where many previous scholars have sought but failed to find evidence of Esther’s life in non-Jewish sources, Mitchell First has uncovered such evidence in the works of classical Greek historians (e.g., Herodotus, Xenophon, and Ctesias). His analysis is more than illuminating; it is inspiring. Highly recommended.
J.L.

“The articles are thoughtful, witty, well-written and – in many cases – challenge previously held assumptions…. The author has a unique talent for simplifying complex topics and making them understandable… Roots and Rituals provides a fascinating window into the origins of Hebrew words, practices and customs.”

Alan Rosenbaum (Jerusalem Post, 5/3/19)

“Mitchell First has produced a groundbreaking study in Jewish intellectual history.”

Sid Z. Leiman

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