According to Josephus, Alexander visits Judea and seeks out the high priest Jaddus. He shows Alexander the prophecy of Alexander's own life and conquests found in the Book of Daniel. This story is considered apocryphal and created centuries later, perhaps in the early Hasmonean period, though.
At some point during this era the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is finalized and canonized. Jewish religious works that were explicitly written after the time of Ezra were not canonized, although many became popular among many groups of Jews. Later works that were included in the Greek translation of the Bible (the Septuagint) become known as the deuterocanonical books.
The Hasmonean dynasty rules Judea. The Hasmonean kingdom expands outward to Idumea, Samaria, Perea, Galilee, and Gilead due to weakness and dissolution within the Seleucid Empire.
Pompey lay siege to and entered the Temple, Judea became a client kingdom of Rome.
Kitos War (Revolt against Trajan) – a second Jewish-Roman War initiated in large Jewish communities of Cyprus, Cyrene (modern Libya), Aegipta (modern Egypt) and Mesopotamia (modern Syria and Iraq). It led to mutual killing of hundreds of thousands Jews, Greeks and Romans, ending with a total defeat of Jewish rebels and complete extermination of Jews in Cyprus and Cyrene by the newly installed Emperor Hadrian.
With Emperor Hadrian's death, the persecution of Jews within the Roman Empire is eased and Jews are allowed to visit Jerusalem on Tisha B'av. In the following centuries the Jewish center moves to Galilee.
Roman Emperor Constantine I enacts new restrictive legislation. Conversion of Christians to Judaism is outlawed, congregations for religious services are curtailed, but Jews are also allowed to enter Jerusalem on the anniversary of the Temple's destruction.
The last pagan Roman Emperor, Julian, allows the Jews to return to "holy Jerusalem which you have for many years longed to see rebuilt" and to rebuild the Second Temple. Shortly after, the Emperor is assassinated, and the plan is dissolved.
In India, the Hindu king Sira Primal, also known as Iru Brahman, issued what was engraved on a tablet of brass, his permission to Jews to live freely, build synagogue, own property without conditions attached and as long as the world and moon exist.
The Empress Eudocia removes the ban on Jews' praying at the Temple site and the heads of the Community in Galilee issue a call "to the great and mighty people of the Jews": "Know that the end of the exile of our people has come"!
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 Jerusalem and Tiberias (Syria), 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. During this time, the Niqqud is invented in Tiberias.
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, which was formalized under Muslim rule due to the dhimmi rules in Islam. Jews and Christians had to pay the jizya. Some sources mark this as the beginning of the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, although most mention 912.
The Khazar (a Turkic semi-nomadic people from Central Asia) King and members of the upper class adopt Judaism. The Khazarate lasts until 10th century, being overrun by Russians, and finally conquered by Russian and Byzantian forces in 1016.
The Karaites reject the authority of the oral law, and split off from rabbinic Judaism.
In Sura, Iraq, Rav Amram Gaon compiles his siddur (Jewish prayer book.)
al-Mutawakkil made a decree ordering dhimmi Jews and Christians to wear garments distinguishing them from Muslims, their places of worship to be destroyed, and allowing them little involvement in government or official matters.
An incomplete marriage contract dated to October 6 of this year is the earliest dated document found in the papers of the Cairo Geniza.
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 period ended with the Cordoba massacre in 1013.
During the fall of the city, Sulayman's troops looted Córdoba and massacred citizens of the city, including many Jews. Prominent Jews in Córdoba, such as Samuel ibn Naghrela were forced to flee to the city in 1013.
Rabbi Yitchaki Alfassi (from Morocco, later Spain) writes the Rif, an important work of Jewish law.
The Jewish community of Kairouan, Tunisia is forced to choose between conversion and expulsion.
Following their conquest of the city from the Maghrawa tribe, the forces of Tamim, chief of the Zenata Berber Banu Ifran tribe, perpetrated a massacre of Jews in Fez.
Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (Rashi) writes important commentaries on almost the entire Tanakh and Talmud.
Granada was captured by Yusuf ibn Tashfin, King of the Almoravides. The Jewish community, believed to have sided with the Christians, was destroyed. Many fled, penniless, to Christian Toledo.
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.
Jews living in England, under King Henry III, were blamed for counterfeiting the money and when the local citizens began to exact revenge on them, the king expelled his Jewish subjects in order to save them from harm.
The life of Moses de Leon, of Spain. He publishes to the public the Zohar the 2nd century CE esoteric interpretations of the Torah by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his disciples. Thus begins the evolution of modern Kabbalah (esoteric Jewish mysticism).
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.
Pottery in the museum of the synagogue of Sopron, Hungary, built around 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.
Jews are repeatedly expelled from France and readmitted, for a price.
Pope Clement VI issued two papal bulls in 1348 (6 July and 26 September), the latter named Quamvis Perfidiam, which condemned the violence and said those who blamed the plague on the Jews had been "seduced by that liar, the Devil." He urged clergy to take action to protect Jews as he had done.
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. Born in Spain, Yosef Karo lives and dies in Safed.
The Alhambra Decree: Approximately 200,000 Jews are expelled from Spain, The expelled Jews relocate to the Netherlands, Turkey, Arab lands, and Judea; some eventually go to South and Central America. However, most emigrate to Poland. In later centuries, more than 50% of Jewish world population lived in Poland. Many Jews remain in Spain after publicly converting to Christianity, becoming Crypto-Jews.
Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire issued a formal invitation to the Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal and sent out ships to safely bring Jews to his empire.
Jews expelled from Sicily. As many as 137,000 exiled.
Jews expelled from Portugal and from many German cities.
Lisbon massacre: Dominican friars promised absolution for sins committed over the previous 100 days to those who killed the Jews of Lisbon, and a crowd of more than 500 people (many of them sailors from the counties of Holland and Zeeland, and the Kingdom of Germany) gathered, persecuted, tortured, killed, and burnt at the stake hundreds of Jews. Women and children were beaten to death. Some Portuguese families saved their jewish neighbors by hiding them.
Isaac Luria ("the Arizal") teaches Kabbalah in Jerusalem and (mainly) Safed to select disciples. Some of those, such as Ibn Tebul, Israel Sarug and mostly Chaim Vital, put his teachings into writing. While the Sarugian versions are published shortly afterwards in Italy and Holland, the Vitalian texts remain in manuscripti for as long as three centuries.
Kingdom of Beta Israel in what is now modern day Ethiopia collapses and loses autonomy.
Jews of Poznań granted a privilege of forbidding Christians to enter into their city.
Jewish population of Poland reached 450,000 (i.e., 4% of the 1,1000,000 population of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth is Jewish), Bohemia 40,000 and Moravia 25,000. Worldwide population of Jewry is estimated at 750,000.
The UkrainianCossackBohdan 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 estimated at 100,000.
Israel ben Eliezer, known as the Baal 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 Hasidim (known as Misnagdim) argue that one should follow a more scholarly approach to Judaism. Some of the more well-known Hasidic sects today include Bobover, Breslover, Gerer, Lubavitch (Chabad) and Satmar Hasidim.
Rabbi Judah HeHasid makes aliyah to Palestine accompanied by hundreds of his followers. A few days after his arrival, Rabbi Yehuda dies suddenly.
Sir Solomon de Medina is knighted by William III, making him the first Jew in England to receive that honour.
Unpaid Arab creditors burn the synagogue unfinished by immigrants of Rabbi Yehuda and expel all Ashkenazi Jews from Jerusalem. See also Hurva Synagogue
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 accepted into Christian society, converted to Christianity or chose to assimilate to emulate it.
Parliament of Great Britain passes a general act permitting Jews to be naturalized in the American colonies. Previously, several colonies had also permitted Jews to be naturalized without taking the standard oath "upon the true faith of a Christian."
Ottoman authorities invite Rabbi Haim Abulafia (1660–1744), renowned Kabbalist and Rabbi of Izmir, to come to the Holy Land. Rabbi Abulafia is to rebuild the city of Tiberias, which has lain desolate for some 70 years. The city's revival is seen by many as a sign of the coming of the Messiah.
Thousands immigrate to Palestine under the influence of Messianic predictions. The large immigration greatly increases the size and strength of the Jewish Settlement in Palestine.
Rabbi Abraham Gershon of Kitov (Kuty) (1701–1761) is the first immigrant of the Hasidic Aliyah. He is a respected Talmudic scholar, mystic, and brother-in-law of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (founder of the Hasidic movement). Rabbi Abraham first settles in Hebron. Later, he relocates to Jerusalem at the behest of its residents.
The French Revolution. In 1791 France grants full right to Jews and allows them to become citizens, under certain conditions.
In the US, 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 the US was a predominantly Protestant country, theoretically Jews are given full rights. In addition, the mentality of Jewish immigrants shaped by their role as merchants in Eastern Europe meant they were well-prepared to compete in American society.
Russia creates the Pale of Settlement that includes land acquired from Poland with a huge Jewish population and in the same year Crimea. The Jewish population of the Pale was 750,000. 450,000 Jews lived in the Prussian and Austrian parts of Poland.
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.
Jews are given equal rights in Russian-controlled Congress Poland. The privileges of some towns regarding prohibition of Jewish settlement are revoked. In Leipzig, Moses Hess publishes the book Rome and Jerusalem, the first book to call for the establishment of a Jewish socialist commonwealth in Palestine. The book is also notable for giving the impetus for the Labor Zionist movement.
Jews emancipated in Hungary.
Benjamin Disraeli becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Though converted to Christianity as a child, he is the first person of Jewish descent to become a leader of government in Europe.
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.
The Balfour Declaration which supported the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and protected the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities.
The British defeat the Turks and gain control of Palestine. The British issue the Balfour Declaration which gives official British support for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people ... it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine". Many Jews interpret this to mean that all of Palestine was to become a Jewish state.
The Pale of Settlement is abolished, and Jews get equal rights. The Russian civil war leads to over 2,000 pogroms with tens of thousands murdered and hundreds of thousand made homeless.
A long-running dispute between Muslims and Jews over access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem escalates into the 1929 Palestine riots. The riots took the form in the most part of attacks by Arabs on Jews resulting in the 1929 Hebron massacre, the 1929 Safed pogrom and violence against Jews in Jerusalem.
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.
Hitler takes over Germany; his anti-Semitic sentiments are well-known, prompting numerous Jews to emigrate.
Adin Steinsaltz born, author of the first comprehensive Babylonian Talmud commentary since Rashi in the 11th century.
The British government issues the 'White Paper'. The paper proposed a limit of 10,000 Jewish immigrants for each year between 1940 and 1944, plus 25,000 refugees for any emergency arising during that period.
The Holocaust (Ha Shoah), resulting in the methodical extermination of nearly 6 million Jews across Europe.
Various Jewish filmmakers, including Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and the Coen Brothers, frequently draw on Jewish philosophy and humor, and become some of the most artistically and popularly successful in the history of the medium.
The Muslim residents of Baghdad carried out a savage pogrom against their Jewish compatriots. In this pogrom, known by its Arabic name al-Farhud, about 200 Jews were murdered and thousands wounded, on June 1–2. Jewish property was plundered and many homes set ablaze.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, arrives in New York after escaping Nazi Europe. Along with his father-in-law, the previous Rebbe, he builds one of the largest worldwide movements (Chabad-Lubavitch) aimed at inspiring Jews to return to their heritage and Torah observance.
Post-Holocaust refugee crisis. British attempts to detain Jews attempting to enter Palestine illegally.
The United Nations approves the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab State in the British mandate of Palestine.
David Ben-Gurion proclaiming Israeli independence on May 14, 1948, below a portrait of Theodor Herzl
May 14, 1948
The State of Israel declares itself as an independent Jewish state hours before the British Mandate is due to expire. Within eleven minutes, it is de facto recognized by the United States. Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet Union's UN ambassador, calls for the United Nations to accept Israel as a member state. The UN approves.
The 1956 Suez War Egypt blockades the Gulf of Aqaba, and closes the Suez canal to Israeli shipping. Egypt's President Gamal Abdel 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.
The Six-Day War. Israel launches a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Israeli aircraft destroy the bulk of the Arab air forces on the ground in a surprise attack, followed by Israeli ground offensives which see Israel decisively defeat the Arab forces and capture the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.
September 1, 1967
The Arab Leaders meet in Khartoum, Sudan. The Three No's of Khartoum: No recognition of Israel. No negotiations with Israel. No peace with Israel.
Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan formally creates a separate Reconstructionist Judaism movement by setting up the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.
First group of African Hebrew Israelites begin to migrate to Israel under the leadership of Ben Ammi Ben Israel.
Mid-1970s to present
Growing revival of Klezmer music (The folk music of European Jews).,
Sally Priesand became the first female rabbi ordained in the US, and is believed to be only the second woman ever to be formally ordained in the history of Judaism.
The Yom Kippur War. Egypt and Syria, backed up by expeditionary forces from other Arab nations, launch a surprise attack against Israel on Yom Kippur. After absorbing the initial attacks, Israel recaptures lost ground and then pushes into Egypt and Syria. Subsequently, OPEC reduces oil production, driving up oil prices and triggering a global economic crisis.
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).
The Soviet Union opens its borders for 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.
Iraq invades Kuwait, triggering a war between Iraq and Allied United Nations forces. Israel is hit by 39 Scud missiles from Iraq.
Ariel Sharon dies, after undergoing a sudden decline in health, having suffered renal failure and other complications, after spending 8 years in a deep coma due to his January 2006 stroke, on January 11, 2014.
The Jewish Agency declares an end to immigration from Yemen, following the successful conclusion of a covert operation that brought 19 people to Israel over several days. The last 50 Yemenite Jews refuse to leave Yemen.
^Hastening Redemption: Messianism and the Resettlement of the Land of Israel, Arie Morgenstern, Oxford University Press, 2007
^Changes in the Position of the Jewish Communities of Palestine and Syria in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, by Moshe Maoz, Studies on Palestine During the Ottoman Period, Jerusalem, Israel, 1975, pp. 147–148