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Home: Religion: Judaism: Jewish History Time Line.




Judaism, Jewish History Time Line

This is the Post Biblical history time line of the Jewish religion, known as Judaism.

The development of Judaism and the Jewish people. Note that all dates are given according to the Common Era (Christian), not the Jewish calendar. Click for a more complete article on the historical time line of Judaism: History of Judaism

200 BCE to 700 CE

  • 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.
  • 30-100 CE Christianity emerges as a movement, and then splits from Judaism.
  • 66 - 70 CE The Great Jewish Revolt ended with destruction of the Second Temple and the fall of Jerusalem.
  • 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) (
  • 73 CE The fall of Masada.
  • 132 - 135 CE Bar Kokhba (Bar Kosiba) leads a doomed Jewish revolt against Rome. The Romans rename Jerusalem into Aelia Capitolina, forbid Jews to set a foot there, and rename the province from Judea into Syria Palaestina. (See Hadrian in Judea)
  • 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 Redaction of Talmud Yerushalmi (Talmud of the land of Israel)
  • 550 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 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.

701 to 1500

  • 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 (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.
  • 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.
  • 760 The Karaites reject the authority of the oral law, and split off from rabbinic Judaism.
  • 871 An incomplete marriage contract dated to October 6 of this year is the earliest dated document found in the papers of the Cairo Geniza.
  • 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.
  • 940 In Babylonia, Saadia Gaon compiles his siddur (Jewish prayer book.)
  • 1013 - 1073 Rabbi Yitchaki Alfassi (from Morocco, later Spain) writes the Rif, an important work of Jewish law.
  • 1040 - 1105 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 throughout Europe and in the Middle East.
  • 1100 - 1275 Time of the tosafot, Talmudic commentators who carried on Rashi's work. They include some of his descendants.
  • 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 the most influential philosophical work (Guide for the Perplexed) in Jewish history.
  • 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 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.
  • 1270 - 1343 Rabbi Jacob ben Asher of Spain writes the Arba'ah Turim (Four Rows of Jewish Law).
  • 1290 Jews are expelled from England.
  • 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.
  • 1306 - 1394 Jews are repeatedly expelled from France and readmitted back, for a price.
  • 1343 Persecuted in the Western Europe Jews invited to Poland by Casimir the Great
  • 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 Jews are expelled from Spain, in 1496 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. However most of them go to Poland. In the later centuries more than 50% of Jewish world population lived in Poland.

1501 to 1800

  • 1501 King Alexander of Poland readmitts Jews to Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
  • 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.
  • 1534 King Sigismund I of Poland abolishes the law that required Jews to wear special clothes.
  • 1534 - 1572 Issac Luria develops the modern form of esoteric Jewish mysticism AKA Kabbalah.
  • 1547 First Hebrew Jewish printing house in Lublin.1580-1764
  • 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.
  • 1623 First time separate (Va'ad) Jewish Sejm for Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
  • 1626 - 1676 False Messiah Sabbatai Zevi.
  • 1633 Jews of Poznan granted a privilege of forbidding Christians to enter into their city.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 1750 Jewish population of Poland reaches 750,000 or 8.0% of total. The worldwide Jewish population is estimated at 1,200,000.
  • 1759 Followers of Jacob Frank joined ranks of Polish szlachta (gentry) of Jewish origins.
  • 1772-1795 Partitions of Poland between Russia, Kingdom of Prussia and Austria. Main bulk of World Jewry lives now in those 3 countries. Old privileges of Jewish communities are denounced.
  • 1775 - 1781 American Revolution; religious Freedom guaranteed. 1789 The French revolution. In 1791 France grants full right to Jews and allows them to become citizens.
  • 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.

1801 to 1900

  • 1800 - 1900 The Golden Age of Yiddish literature, the revivial of Hebrew as a spoken language, and the revival of Hebrew literature. [6] (
  • 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.
  • 1831 Jewish militias take part in the defence of Warsaw against Russians.
  • 1838 - 1933 Rabbi Yisroel Meir ha-Kohen (Chofetz Chaim) opens an important yeshiva. He writes an authoritative Halakhic work, Mishnah Berurah.
  • 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.
  • 1860 Alliance Israelite Universelle, an international Jewish organization is founded in Paris with the goal to protect Jewish rights as citizens.
  • 1860 - 1864 Jews are taking intensive part in Polish national movement, that was followed by January rising.
  • 1860 - 1943 Henrietta Szold. Educator, author, social worker and founder of Hadassah.
  • 1861 The Zion Society is formed in Frankfurt, Germany.
  • 1862 Jews are given equal rights in Poland. The privileges of some towns regarding prohibition of Jewish settlement are revoked.
  • 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.
  • 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 (see this web site)
  • 1880 World Jewish population around 7.7 million, 90% in Europe, mostly Eastern Europe; around 3.5 million in the former Polish provinces.
  • 1881-1884, 1903-1906, 1918-1920 Three major waves of pogroms kill tens of thousands of Jews in Russia and Ukraine. More than two million Jews emigrate in the period 1881-1920.
  • 1882 - 1903 - The First Aliyah; the first major wave of Jewish immigrants to build a homeland in Palestine. Aliyah (
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

1901 to 1945

  • 1902 Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schechter reorganizes the Jewish Theological Seminary and makes it into the flagship institution of Conservative Judaism.
  • 1907 - 1972 Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the most significant Jewish theologian of the twentieth century.
  • 1915 Yeshiva College (later University) and its Rabbi Issac Elchanan Rabbinical Seminary is established in New York for training in a Modern Orthodox milieu.
  • 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.
  • 1920 At the San Remo conference Britain receives the League of Nations' British Mandate of Palestine.
  • 1921 British military administration of the Mandate is replaced by civilian rule.
  • 1921 Britain proclaims that all of Palestine east of the Jordan River is forever closed to Jewish settlement, but not to Arab settlement.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 1937 Adin Steinsaltz born, author of the first comprehensive Babylonian Talmud commentary since Rashi in the 11th century.
  • 1939 The British government 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.
  • 1938-1945 The Holocaust (Ha Shoah).

Creation of the modern State of Israel

  • 1945-1948 Post-Holocaust refugee crisis. British detain many Jews making aliyah to Palestine in detention camps.
  • 1946 - 1948: The struggle for the creation of a Jewish state in the British mandate of Palestine is resumed by Jewish underground movements: Haganah, Irgun, and Lehi (group).
  • 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. 1948 Arab-Israeli War: Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon and Egypt invade Israel. The attack fails. See also 1949 Armistice Agreements and Immigration to Israel from Arab lands.
  • 1948 - 1949 Almost 250,000 Holocaust survivors make their way to Israel. "Operation Magic Carpet" brings thousands of Yemenite Jews to Israel.
  • 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.
  • 1964 Creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization 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 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.
  • 1967 May. Nasser closes the strategic Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and 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.
  • 1967 September 1 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.
  • 1968 Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan formally creates a separate Reconstructionist movement by setting up the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.
  • Mid 1970s to present - Growing revival of Klezmer music (The folk music of European Jews).
  • 1973 Oct. 6-24. The Yom Kippur War. Syria , Egypt, Morocco, Iraq and Jordan launch a surprise attack against Israel. Subsequently, OPEC allegedly reduces oil supplies to rest of world because the United States had voiced support of Israel in the conflict.
  • 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.
  • 1975 United Nations adopts resolution equating Zionism with racism. Rescinded in 1991.
  • 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.
  • 1978 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.
  • 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.
  • 1984-1985 Operations Moses, Joshua: Rescue of Ethiopian Jewry by Israel.
  • 1986 Elie Wiesel wins the Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1986 Anatoly (Nathan) Sharansky, Soviet Jewish dissident, is freed from prison.
  • 1987 Beginning of the First 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 39 Scud missiles from Iraq.
  • 1991 Operation Solomon: Rescue of the remainder of Ethiopian Jewry in a twenty four hour airlift.
  • 1991 October 30. The Madrid Peace Conference opens in Spain, sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • 1993 September 13. Israel and PLO sign the Oslo Accords.
  • 1994 The Lubavitcher (Chabad) Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, dies, prompting most of the movement to move in a messianic direction.
  • 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.
  • 1994 December 10 Arafat, Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres share the Nobel Peace Prize. See this web site
  • 1995 November 4 Israeli Prime Minister Yitschak Rabin is assassinated.
  • 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 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.
  • 2000 September 29 The al-Aqsa Intifada begins.
  • 2001 Election of Ariel Sharon as Israel's Prime Minister.


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