Timeline of Jewish history
From Academic Kids
For more detailed information on Jewish history, including links to individual country histories, see Jewish 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 causes many scholars to question the accuracy or even the veracity of the historical account. (This subject is discussed in a modern critical fashion in The Bible and 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 subsequently, Christians. Those works that made it into the Greek translation of the Bible (the Septuagint) became known as the deuterocanonical books.
70–200 CE Period of the tannaim, rabbis who developed the Jewish oral law, began after Pharisaic sage Yohanan ben Zakkai established a Judaic school at Yavne. The decisions of the tannaim are contained in the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and various Midrash compilations. (see Torah (at Shamash) (http://shamash.org/lists/scj-faq/HTML/faq/03-index.html))
132–135 CE Bar Kokhba (Bar Kosiba) leads a doomed Jewish revolt against Rome in response to Hadrian's actions. In the aftermath of the revolt, Hadrian renamed the province ofJudea as Syria Palaestina.
700–1250 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 (Andalusia, North Africa, Palestine, Iraq and Yemen). Despite sporadic periods of persecution, Jewish communal and cultural life flowered in this period. The universally recognized centers of Jewish life were in Sura and Pumbeditha (Iraq). The heads of these law schools were the Gaonim, who were consulted on matters of law by Jews throughout the world.
711 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. Some mark this as the beginning of the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain.
900–1090 The Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Abd-ar-Rahman III becomes Caliph of Spain in 912, ushering in the height of tolerance. 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 flourished in and were an integral part of the extensive Arab civilization. This ended with the invasion of Almoravides in 1090.
1095–1291 Christian Crusades begin, sparking warfare with Islam in Palestine. Crusaders temporarily capture Jerusalem in 1099. Tens of thousands of Jews are killed by European crusaders throughout Europe and in the Middle East.
1135–1204 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, in Arabic, the most influential philosophical work (Guide for the Perplexed) in Jewish history.
1239 Pope Gregory IX orders Christian kings to destroy Hebrew Books.
1250–1300 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).
1250–1550 Period of the Rishonim, the medieval rabbinic sages. Most Jews at this time lived in lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea or in Western Europe under feudal systems. With the decline of Muslim and Jewish centers of power in Iraq, there was no single place in the world which was a recognized authority 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.
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.
1486 First Jewish prayer book published in Italy.
1488–1575 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.
1492 Approximately 200,000 Jews are expelled from Spain, in 1496 from Portugal and from many German cities. The expelled Jews relocate to the Netherlands, Turkey, and the Arab lands, including Palestine; some eventually go to South and Central America. However most of them go to Poland. In the later centuries more than 50% of Jewish world population lived in Poland.
1493 Jews expelled from Sicily. As many as 137,000 exiled.
1567 First Jewish university Jeshiva found in Poland.
1580–1764 First session of the Council of Four Lands (Va'ad Arba' Aratzot) in Lublin, Poland. 70 delegates from local Jewish kehillot meet to discuss taxation and other issues important to the Jewish community.
1648 Jewish population of Poland reached 450,000 or 4.5% whole population. Bohemia 40,000 and Moravia 25,000. Worldwide population of Jewry is estmated at 750,000.
1648–1655 The Ukrainian Cossack Bohdan Chmielnicki leads a massacre of Polish gentry and Jewry that leaves an estimated 65,000 Jews dead and a similar number of gentry. The total decrease in the number of Jews is estmated at 100,000.  (http://www.virtual.co.il/communities/wjcbook/poland/)
1655 Jews readmitted to England by Oliver Cromwell.
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 Hassidic 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 Hassidic sects include Breslover, Lubavitch (Chabad), Satmar, Gerer, and Bobover Hasidim.
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.
1750 Jewish population of Poland reaches 750,000 or 8.0% of total. The worldwide Jewish population is estimated at 1,200,000.
1789 The French revolution. In 1791 France grants full right to Jews and allows them to become citizens, under certain conditions.  (http://mars.acnet.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/wc2/lectures/rev891.html)
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". Despite the fact, that initially US are predominantly protestant country, theoretically Jews are given full rights. In addition, their mentality shaped by the role of merchants they played in Eastern Europe, had prepared them well to compete in the American society. So far, their number is limited.
1791 Russia creates the Pale of Settlement, that includes area taken over from Poland, with huge Jewish population and Crimea. The Jewish population of the Pale was 750,000. 450,000 Jews lived in the Prussian and Austrian parts of Poland.  (http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/History/pale.html)
1799 When the French troops were in Palestine, and besieging the city of Acre, Napoleon had prepared a Proclamation making Palestine an independent Jewish state, but his unsuccessful attempt to capture Acre prevented it from being issued.
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.html)
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; characterized by continued strict adherence to Halakha.
Mid 1800s: Beginning of the rise of classical Reform Judaism.
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.
1867 Jews emancipated in Hungary.
1870–1890 Russian Zionist group Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) and Bilu (est. 1882) set up a series of Jewish settlements in the Land of Israel, financially aided by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild. In Rishon LeZion Eliezer ben Yehuda revives Hebrew as spoken modern language.
1870 Jews emancipated in Italy.
1871 Jews emancipated in 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. Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion (http://huc.edu/index.html)
1880 World Jewish population around 7.7 million, 90% in Europe, mostly Eastern Europe; around 3.5 million in the former Polish provinces.
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'.
1890 The term "Zionism" is coined by an Austrian Jewish publicist Nathan Birnbaum in his journal Self Emancipation and was defined as the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
1897 The Bund is formed in Russia.
1897 First Russian census: 5,200,000 of Jews, 4,900,000 in the Pale. The Kingdom of Poland has 1,300,000 Jews or 14% of population.
1917 The British defeat the Turks and gain control of the land of Israel. The British issue the Balfour Declaration 1917 which gives official British support for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people". Many Jews interpret this to mean that all of Palestine was to become a Jewish controlled state.
1917 Feb. The Pale of Settlement is abolished, and Jews get equal rights.
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.
1921 British military administration of the Mandate is replaced by civilian rule.
1921 Polish-Soviet peace treaty in Riga. Citizens of both sides are given rights to choose the country. Hundred thousands of Jews, especially small businesses forbidden in the Soviets, move to Poland.
1924 2,989,000 Jews according to religion poll in Poland (10,5% of total). Jewish youth consisted 23% of students of high schools and 26% of students of universities.
1930 World Jewry: 15,000,000. Main countries USA(4,000,000), Poland (3,500,000 11% of total), Soviet Union (2,700,000 2% of total), Romania (1,000,000 6% of total). Palestine 175,000 or 17% of total 1,036,000.
1946 to Today
1956 The 1956 Suez War Egypt blockades the Gulf of Aqaba, and closes the Suez canal to Israeli shipping. Egypt's President Nasser 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.
1967 May 16. Egyptian President Nasser demands that the UN dismantle the UN Emergency Force I (UNEF I) between Israel and Egypt. The UN complies and the last UN peacekeeper is out of Sinai and Gaza by May 19.
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.html http://www.klezmershack.com/
1973 Oct. 6-24. The Yom Kippur War. Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq and Jordan launch a surprise attack against Israel. Subsequently, OPEC reduces oil production, driving up oil prices and triggering a global economic crisis.
1976 Israel rescues hostages taken to Entebbe, Uganda.
1984–1985 Operations Moses, Joshua: Rescue of Ethiopian Jewry by Israel. http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/100/concepts/aliyah5.html
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.
1994 October 26 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.
1996 Peres loses election to Benyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu (Likud party).
2000 May 24. Israel unilaterally withdraws its remaining forces from its security zone in southern Lebanon to the international border, fully complying with the UN Security Council Res. 425. Syria continues to occupy Lebanon.
2000 July. Camp David Summit. http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Peace/cd2000toc.html
2001 Election of Ariel Sharon as Israel's Prime Minister. http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/sharon.html
- Timeline of Zionism
- Timeline of Anti-Semitism
- History of the Jews in Russia and Soviet Union
- Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- List of people who resisted the Holocaust
- Timeline for the History of Judaism (http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/History/timeline.html)
- The History of the Jewish People (http://www.jewishhistory.org.il/) The Jewish Agency
- The Avalon Project at Yale Law School The Middle East 1916 - 2001: A Documentary Record (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/mideast.htm)
- Timelines for Jewish History. The Dinur Center & The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (http://www.hum.huji.ac.il/dinur/Internetresources/historyresources/timelines_for_ancient_jewish_his.htm)
- Historical Maps and Atlases at Dinur Center (http://jewishhistory.huji.ac.il/links/Maps.htm)
- Crash Course in Jewish History (Aish) (http://www.aish.com/literacy/jewishhistory/Crash_Course_in_Jewish_History_68_-_Timeline_From_Abraham_to_the_Founding_of_the_State_of_Israel.asp)
- The Year by Year History of the Jewish People - by Eli Birnbaum (http://www.jewishhistory.org.il)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs. History page (http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH00kt0)
- Jewish History Timeline. The Dept. of Jewish Zionist Education (http://www.jafi.org.il/education/history/)
- The History Channel (http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/jerusalem/jerutime.html)
- The Time Machine at World Zionist Organization (http://www.wzo.org.il/home/time.htm)