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Timeline of Jewish history

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This entry contains a timeline of the development of Judaism and the Jewish people.

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1 See also

Biblical history

A separate article exists on the timeline of Biblical characters and the Israelites. See the entry on the history of ancient Israel and Judah. Note, however, that the absence of independent evidence confirming the biblical narrative cause many scholars to question the accuracy or even the veracity of the historical account. This subject is discussed in the Bible and history.

Post Biblical-history

200 BCE - 100 CE Throughout this era the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is gradually canonized. Jewish religious works that were written after the time of Ezra were not canonized, although many became popular among many groups of Jews, and later, Christians. Those works that made it into the Greek translation of the Bible (Septuagint)became known as the Apocrypha.

70 - 200 CE Period of the tannaim, rabbis who developed the Jewish oral law. The decisions of the tannaim are contained in the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and various Midrash compilations. [1] (http://shamash.org/lists/scj-faq/HTML/faq/03-index)

132 - 135 CE Bar Kokhba (Bar Kosiba) leads a doomed Jewish revolt against Rome. Jerusalem is renamed, and Rome forbids Jews to live there.

200 CE The Mishnah, a written record of the Jewish oral law, is redacted by Judah HaNasi.

220 - 500 CE Period of the amoraim, the rabbis of the Talmud.

450 CE Redaction of Talmud Yerushalmi (Talmud of the land of Israel)

550 CE The main redaction of Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) is completed under Rabbis Ravina and Ashi. To a lesser degree, the text continues to be modifed for the next 200 years.

550 - 700 CE Period the savoraim, the sages in Persia who put the Talmud in its final form. Jews at this time in Israel were living under the oppressive rule of the Byzantines.

711 CE Muslim armies invade and occupy most of Spain (At this time Jews made up about 8% of Spain's population). Under Christian rule, Jews had been subject to frequent and intense persecution, but this was alleviated under Muslim rule. The beginning of the Golden Age for Jews in Spain.

700 - 1250 CE Period of the Gaonim (the Gaonic era). Jews in southern Europe and Asia Minor lived under the often intolerant rule of Christian Kings and clerics. Most Jews lived in the Muslim Arab realm (Israel, North Africa, Babylonia). Despite periods of persecution, Jewish communal and cultural life flowered in this period. The universally recognized centers of Jewish life were in Sura and Pumbeditha (Babylonia); The heads of these law schools were the Gaonim, who were consulted on matters of law by Jews throughout the world.

760 CE The Karaites reject the authority of the oral law, and split off from rabbinic Judaism.

912 CE Abd-er-Rahman III (891-961) becomes Caliph of Spain, ushering in the height of the Golden Age. Muslims granted Jews and Christians exemptions from military service, the right to their own courts of law, and a guarantee of safety of their property. Jewish poets, scholars, scientists, statesmen and philosophers fluorished in and were an integral part of the extensive Arab civilization. This Golden Age lasted until the middle of the 12th century.

940 CE In Babylonia, Saadia Gaon compiles his siddur (Jewish prayer book.)

1013 - 1073 CE Rabbi Yitchaki Alfassi (from Morocco, later Spain) writes the Rif, an important work of Jewish law.

1040-1105 CE Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (Rashi) writes important commentaries on almost the entire Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and Talmud.

1095-1291 Christian crusades begin, sparking warfare with Islam in Palestine. Crusaders temporarily capture Jerusalem in 1099. Tens of thousands of Jews are killed.

1100-1275 CE Time of the tosafot, Talmudic commentators who carried on Rashi's work. They include some of his descendants.

1135-1204 CE Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, aka Maimonides is the leading rabbi of Sephardic Jewry. Among his many accomplishments, he writes an influential code of law (The Mishneh Torah) as well as the most influential philosophical work (Guide for the Perplexed) in Jewish history.

1250-130 CE The life of Moses de Leon, of Spain. He authors the Zohar (Book of Splendor) which contains mystical interpretations of the Torah. This begins the modern form of Kabbalah (esoteric Jewish mysticism).

1290 CE The Jews are expelled from England.

750 - 1900 CE Islam conquers Asia Minor, the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, North Africa, and Spain. Under Muslim rule, Jews often found greater toleration than under Christianity. However, despite many decades of prosperity and toleration, the Jews living in the Arab and Muslim world faced anti-Jewish discrimination and persecution.

1250-1550 CE Period of the Rishonim, the medieval rabbinic sages. Most Jews at this time lived in the Mediterranean basin or in Western Europe under feudal systems. With the decline of both the Muslim and Jewish centers of power in Iraq, there was no single place in the world which was a recognized center for deciding matters of Jewish law and practice. Consequently, the rabbis recognized the need for writing commentaries on the Torah and Talmud and for writing law codes that would allow Jews anywhere in the world to be able to continue living in the Jewish tradition.

1290 CE Jews are expelled from England.

1306 CE Jews are expelled from France.

1300 Rabbi Levi ben Gershom, aka Gersonides. A 14th century French Jewish philosopher best known for his Sefer Milhamot Adonai ("The Book of the Wars of the Lord") as well as for his philosophical commentaries.

1270 - 1343 CE Rabbi Jacob ben Asher of Spain writes the Arba'ah Turim (Four Rows of Jewish Law).

1481-1492 The Spanish Inquisition

1492 CE Jews are expelled from Spain.

1500 CE Protestant Christian Reformation. Jews are expelled from Portugal and from many German cities. The expelled Jews relocate to the Netherlands, Turkey, the Arab countries and the land of Israel; some eventually go to South and Central America.

1488 - 1575 CE Rabbi Yosef Karo spends 20 years compiling the Beit Yosef, an enormous guide to Jewish law. He then writes a more concise guide, the Shulkhan Arukh, that becomes the standard law guide for the next 400 years.

1534 - 1572 Issac Luria develops the modern form of esoteric Jewish mysticism.

1525 - 1572 Rabbi Moshe Isserles (The Rama) of Cracow writes an extensive gloss to the Shulkhan Arukh called the mappah, extending its application to Ashkenazi Jewry.

1626 - 1676 False Messiah Shabbati Zvi.

1648 The Ukrainian Cossack Bohdan Chmielnicki leads a massacre of Polish Jewry that leaves more than 100,000 Jews dead. [2] (http://www.virtual.co.il/communities/wjcbook/poland/)

1655 Jews readmitted to England by Oliver Cromwell.

1670 Jews expelled from Vienna.

1700-1760 Israel ben Eliezer, known as the Ba'al Shem Tov, founds Hasidic Judaism, a way to approach God through meditation and fervent joy. He and his disciples attract many followers, and establish numerous Hasidic sects. The European Jewish opponents of Hassidim (known as Mitnagdim) argue that one should follow a more scholarly approach to Judaism. Some of the more well known Hassdic sects include Breslover, Lubavitch (Chabad), Satmar, Gerer, and Bobover Hasidim.

1720 - 1797 Rabbi Elijah of Vilna, the Vilna Gaon.

1729 - 1786 Moses Mendelssohn, and the Haskalah (Enlightenment) movement. He strove to bring an end to the isolation of the Jews so that they would be able to embrace the culture of the Western world, and in turn be embraced by gentiles as equals. The Haskalah opened the door for the development of all the modern Jewish denominations and the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language, but it also paved the way for many who, wishing to be fully accepeted into Christian society, converted to Christianity or chose to assimilate to emulate it.

1775 - 1781 American Revolution; religious Freedom guaranteed. http://www.ort.org/jpr/AWR_web/Americas/usa.htm http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/declara/declara1

1789 The French revolution. In 1790 France grants full right to Jews and allows them to become citizens. http://mars.acnet.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/wc2/lectures/rev891

1790 In the USA, President George Washington sends a letter to the Jewish community in Rhode Island. He writes that he envisions a country "which gives bigotry no sanction...persecution no assistance". For the first time in history, Jews live in a country where they enjoy full and equal human and political rights - as a birthright of citizenship. Jews go on to play a major role in all aspects of American social, economic, scientific, and political life. http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/US-Israel/bigotry http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/US-Israel/jewstoc

1800 Russia creates the Pale of Settlement. At least one third of Russia's Jews are forced to live in the Pale. http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/History/pale

Mid 1800s: Beginning of the rise of classical Reform Judaism

1838 - 1933 Rabbi Yisroel Meir Ha-Kohen (The Chofetz Chaim) opens an important yeshiva. He writes an authoritative Halakhic work, the Mishnah Berurah.

1820 - 1860 The development of Orthodox Judaism, a set of traditionalist movements that resisted the influences of modernization that arose in response to the European emancipation and Enlightenment movements.

Mid-1800s Rabbi Israel Salanter[?] develops the Mussar Movement. While teaching that Jewish law is binding, he dismisses current philosophical debate and advocates the ethical teachings as the essence of Judaism.

Mid-1800s Positive-Historical Judaism, later known as Conservative Judaism, is developed.

1861 The Zion Society is formed in Frankfurt, Germany.

1875 Reform Judaism's Hebrew Union College is founded in Cincinnati. Its founder was Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the architect of American Reform Judaism. http://huc.edu/index

1881 -1884, 1903-06, 1918-20 A series of Russian pogroms (officially sanctioned attacks against Jewish communities) kills tens of thousands of Jews. Hundreds of thousands of Jews flee.

1882 - 1903 - The First Aliyah; the first major wave of Jewish immigrants to build a homeland in Palestine. http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/100/concepts/aliyah3

1880 - 1920 Two million Russian Jews migrate to the US.

1870 - 1890 Russian group Chovevei Tzion (Lovers of Zion) emerges, and sets up a series of Jewish settlements in the land of Israel, financially aided by Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

1800 - 1900 The Golden Age of Yiddish literature, the revivial of Hebrew as a spoken language, and the revival of Hebrew literature. http://www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/Yiddish/English/literature

1886 Rabbi Sabato Morais and Alexander Kohut begin to champion the Conservative Jewish reaction to American Reform, and establish The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as a school of 'enlightened Orthodoxy'

1860 - 1943 Henrietta Szold. Educator, author, social worker and founder of Hadassah.

1894 The Dreyfus Affair. In France, Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, is falsely accused of treason.

1897 In response to the Dreyfus affair, Theodore Herzl writes Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), advocating the creation of a free and independent Jewish state in Israel.

1902 Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schechter reorganizes the Jewish Theological Seminary and makes it into the flagship institution of Conservative Judaism.

1904 Herzl finds Pope Pious X unsympathetic towards the idea of a Jewish National Home.

1914 - 1918 World War I

1915 Yeshiva College (later University) and its Rabbi Issac Elchanan Rabbinical Seminary is established in New York for training in a Modern Orthodox milieu.

1916 Arabs revolt against Ottoman (Turkish) rule.

1917 The British defeat the Turks and gain control of the land of Israel. The British issue the Balfour Declaration which gives official British support for "the establishment in Palestine for a national home for the Jewish people".

1917 The Russian Revolution overthrows the Czar, and creates the Soviet Union. The Bolshevik regime ends Czarist-era pogroms. Blood libels and pogroms did, however, continue in other parts of Europe until 1946).

1918 - 1945 The period between the two World Wars is often referred to as the "golden age" of hazzanut (cantors). Some of the great Jewish cantors of this era include Abraham Davis, Moshe Koussevitzky, Zavel Kwartin (1874-1953), Jan Peerce, Joseph Yossele Rosenblatt 1880-1933), Gershon Sirota (1874-1943), and Laibale Waldman.

1920 At the San Remo conference in Italy, the Palestine Mandate is assigned to Britain.

1920 Britain receives a League of Nations Mandate over Palestine.

1921 Britain proclaims that all of Palestine east of the Jordan river is forever closed to Jewish settlement, but not to Arab settlement.

1922 Reform Rabbi Stephen S. Wise established the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. (It merged with Hebrew Union College in 1950.)

1923 Britain gives the Golan Heights to the French mandate of Syria. Arab immigration is allowed; Jewish immigration is not.

1933 - 1941 Persecution of Jews in Germany rises until they are stripped of their rights not only as citizens, but also as human beings. http://www.fsmitha.com/h2/ch16.htm

1937 Adin Steinsaltz born, author of the first comprehensive Babylonian Talmud commentary since Rashi in the 11th century.

1938 Kristallnacht (Night of The Broken Glass). In one night most German synagogues and hundreds of Jewish owned German businesses are destroyed. Almost 100 Jews are killed, and 10,000 are sent to concentration camps.

1939 World War II begins when Germany invades Poland.

1939 The British government soon issues the 'White Paper' and reverses their support of the Balfour Declaration. They announce an absolute limit of only 75,000 on future Jewish immigration to Palestine.

1941 - 1945 The Holocaust

Creation of the modern State of Israel

1946: Israeli terrorism by the two underground movements: the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern gang.

1947 November 29. The United Nations approves the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab state in the British mandate of Palestine.

1948 May 14. The State of Israel declares itself as an independent nation. Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet Union's UN ambassador, calls for the UN to accept Israel as a member state. The UN approves.

1948 May 15. Syrian, Iraqi, and Egyptian troops invade Israel. The attack fails.

1948 - 1949 Almost 250,000 Holocaust survivors make their way to Israel. "Operation Magic Carpet" brings thousands of Yemenite Jews to Israel.

1956 The Suez War. Egypt blockades the Gulf of Aqaba, and closes the Suez canal to Israeli shipping. Egypt's President Nassar calls for the destruction of Israel. Israel, England, and France go to war and force Egypt to end the blockade of Aqaba, and open the canal to all nations.

1964 Creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Terrorism/plo

1964 Jewish-Christian relations are revolutioned by the Catholic Church's Vatican II.

1966 Shmuel Yosef Agnon(1888-1970) becomes the first Hebrew writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

1967 May 17. Egyptian President Nasser demands that the UN dismantle the UN Emergency force between Israel and Egypt. The UN complies.

May 1967 Nasser closes the strategic straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Nasser states that Egypt is in a state of war with Israel. Egyptian troops group in the Sinai.

1967 June 5-11. The Six Day War.

1968 Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan formally creates a separate Reconstructionist movement by setting up the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. http://communities.msn.com/JudaismFAQs&naventryid=200 http://home.fuse.net/aja/Fried.htm http://shamash.org/jrf

Mid 1970s to present - Growing revival of Klezmer music (The folk music of European Jews). http://www.well.com/user/ari/klez/articles/aboutklez http://www.klezmershack.com/

1907 - 1972 Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the most significant Jewish theologian of the twentieth century.

1973 October 6-24. The Yom Kippur War. Syria , Egypt, Morocco, Iraq and Jordan launch a surprise attack against Israel.

1975 President Gerald Ford signs legislation including the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which ties U.S. trade benefits to the Soviet Union to freedom of emigration for Jews.

United Nations adopts resolution equating Zionism with racism.

1976 Israel rescues hostages taken to Entebbe, Uganda.

1978 September 18. At Camp David, near Washington D.C., Israel and Egypt sign a comprehensive peace treaty, The Camp David Accord, which included the withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai.

Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer receives Nobel Prize

1979 Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat are awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

1979 - 1983 Operation Elijah: Rescue of Ethiopian Jewry.

1981 The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) occupies much of southern Lebanon.

1982 June-December: The Lebanon War. Israel invades Southern Lebanon to drive out the PLO.

1983 American Reform Jews formally accept patrilineal descent, creating a new definition of who is a Jew.

1984 Operation Moses: Rescue of more Ethiopian Jewry by Israel. http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/100/concepts/aliyah5

1985 Operation Joshua: Further rescue of Ethiopian Jewry by Israel

1986 Elie Wiesel wins the Nobel Peace Prize

1986 Anatoly Sharansky, Soviet Jewish dissident, is freed from prison.

1987 Beginning of the first Palestinian Intifada against Israel.

1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall between East and West Germany, collapse of the communist East German government, and the beginning of Germany's reunification (which formally began in october 1990).

1990 The Soviet Union opens its doors to the three million Soviet Jews who had been held as virtual prisoners within their own country. Hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews choose to leave the Soviet Union and move to Israel.

1990 - 1991 Iraq invades Kuwait, triggering a war between Iraq and Allied United Nations forces. Israel is hit by 30 Scud missiles from Iraq.

1991 Operation Solomon: Rescue of the remainder of Ethiopian Jewry in a twenty four hour airlift.

  • Israel is attacked by Iraqi Scud missiles during the Gulf war. Middle East peace conference convened in Madrid.

  • A series of anti-Semitic attacks occur in crown Heights, New York, after a seven-year old black boy is accidentally killed by a car driven by a Hasidic Jew. Some people call this a "pogrom".

  • The United Nations rescinds the resolution equating Zionism with racism.

1991 Breakup and collapse of the Soviet Union.

1991 October 30. The Madrid Peace Conference opens in Spain, sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union.

Sept. 13, 1993: Israel and PLO sign peace treaty.

1994 The Lubavitcher (Chabad) Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, dies, prompting most of the movement to move in a messianic direction.

Oct. 26, 1994 Israel and Jordan sign an official peace treaty. Israel cedes a small amount of contested land to Jordan, and the countries open official diplomatic relations, with open borders and free trade.

Dec. 10, 1994: Arafat, Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres share the Nobel Peace Prize. http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/peace/guide

Nov. 4, 1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitchak Rabin is assassinated.

1996 First Palestinian elections. Yassar Arafat elected president.

1996 Peres loses election to Benyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu (Likud party).

1999 Ehud Barak elected Prime Minister of Israel.

2000 Israeli folk and pop singer Ofra Haza dies of AIDS, forcing the Israeli public to publicly confront the AIDS pandemic.

2000 Israel unilaterally withdraws its remaining forces from its security zone in southern Lebanon. Syria continues to occupy the rest of Lebanon.

2001 Election of Ariel Sharon as Israel's Prime Minister. http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/sharon

See also



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