Modern Jewish History Timeline

By rspronz
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    Early Modern Period

    Begininnings of Jewish enlightenment and engagement with the world. The rise of Hadisism as a reaction to the emphasis on learning in Jewish life, and the reaction of the Misnagdim to the Hasidim.
  • Telescope is invented by Galileo

  • Baruch Spinoza is excommunicated

    Baruch Spinoza is excommunicated
    Barch Spinoza grew up learning a high level Jewish learning. He began to doubt Judaism, but when he spoke up about what he believed, the rabbis put him in cherem (excommunication). At the time, there were only 2 options for people put in cherem: to repent or convert to a different religion. But Spinoza took a 3rd path by joining a community of other misfits even though they had no common religion. This act took away the one control the rabbis had over the community: excommunication.
  • Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment)

    Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment)
    This movement was influenced by the European Enlightenmenet. It supported Jews studying secular subjects. The Maskilim were followers of the Haskalah who wanted to assimilate into society. Moses Mendelssohn was a German Jewish philosopher whose ideas were adobted by the Haskalah.
  • Hasidim

    Hasidism was developed in S. Poland by the Baal Shem Tov to fill the needs of poorer people who could not afford to be learned. It emphasizes the importance of prayer and love of God, and how a person can express these teachings in any way that is meaningful to them. The Rebbe is the center of culture, is on a higher spiritual level, and is arole model of spiritual living for the rest of that Hasidic community.
  • French and Indian War begins

  • Misnagdim

    Misnagdim were the opposers to the Hasidim. The growth of yeshivas/Musar Movement were a counteract to the unusual Hasidim. These yeshivas included the esteemed Voloshyn Yeshiva and Yeshivat Lublin. In both schools boys learned all day, and were bred to be sent out into the community as intelligent leaders.
  • Vilna Gaon excommunicates the Hasidim

    Vilna Gaon excommunicates the Hasidim
    The Vilna Gaon put the Hadim in cherem, claiming that they were heretics. However, there were unexpected positive effects from this excommunication. After the Vilna Gaon put the Chasidim in cherem, the Chasidim stopped relying on the misnagdim and become a closer knit community.
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    Political Emancipation

    During this time, different countries discussed and many allowed Jewish emancipation. Reform Judaism was created as Jews began to assimilate throught the Haskalah movement.
  • America is the 1st place to grant Jews emancipation

    America is the 1st place to grant Jews emancipation
  • French National Assembly

    The French National Assembly meets to decide whether to grant emancipation to the Jews. This debate was only possbile because it occured right after the French Revolution, so people were already willing to make major changes. After much deliberating, they finally decide to emancipate the Jews in 1790.
  • Pale of Settlement

    Pale of Settlement
    Czar Cathrine II established the pale in 1791 as a territory for Russian Jews to live. It included the territory of present-day Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belorussia.
  • Napleon Bonaparte's sanhedrin

    Napleon Bonaparte's sanhedrin
    Napoleon calls for the convening of a Sanhedrin (first time in 1800 years). He said that if the Jews didn't get 71 Jews together, all Jews would have been killed. He then calls for the 1st meeting to be on Shabbat (to see their loyalty – French Empire, or Judaism). The Jews manage to push it off, and when they are all finally assembled, he has them answer 12 questions about their loyalty. Afterwards, the Jews were free and equal in Europe because of the Grand Sanhedrin.
  • Reform Judaism

    Reform Judaism
    In the 1800's, German Jew find themselves able to rewrite Judaism to fit their needs. They wanted to have dignity in the eyes of the public (didn’t want to be embarrassed b/c they were Jewish), and rituals that promoted Jewish integration.They also wanted a relaxation of religious observance, including no more Bait Din, instruments in services, sermons in German, and choir at services. Hebrew Union College is a modern-day refrom Jewish seminary.
  • Hamburg Temple

    Hamburg Temple
    The 1st refom temple was created in Hamburg in 1818.
  • Neo-Orthodoxy

    Led by Rabbi Samson Hircsh, neo-orthodoxy's goals were to integrate secular education with traditional Judaism. It did not want major changes to traditional beliefs or halacha. Hirsch supported observance and having a secular profession.
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    Zionism is the Jewish national movement to achieve self-determination. There are four main types of Zionism: political, cultural, labor, and religious.
  • Mass Immigration to the US

    Mass Immigration to the US
    From 1880-1924, over 3.4 million Jews immigrated to the US from Eastern Europe. For these Jews, Lady Liberty at Ellis Island represented all that was good fro them. Much of this group moved to to tenements on the Lower East Side, providing cheap labor.
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    The American Jewish Experience

    This time started with Jews as the underdogs and the poor laborers in society. However, as time went on Jews grew in status and wealth, and eventually moved out into the subarbs and carried out their parent's American dream. Conservative Judaism was created, and assimilated Jews such as Hank Greenberg became heros.
  • BILU Manifesto

    BILU Manifesto
    BILU, meaning "Beit Ya'akov Lekhu Ve-nelkha," was a group of young Jewish adults from Hungary who decided to drop out of college to move east to build a new nation from scratch. They wrote this manifesto as a statement of their movement's beliefs and goals. BILU was the First Aliyah - the first movement to build a nation in the land of Israel.
  • Alfred Dreyfus

    Alfred Dreyfus
    Dreyfus was a Jewish French officer who was accused of treason in 1894, found guilty, and sent to Devil's Island. One of the main resons he was accused was becasue he was a Jew. This event showed Jews that assimilation was not a good solution to antisemitism. This occurance also led to Theodore Herzl becoming aware that the Jews needed a Jewish state, and that they could fight antisemitism with Zionism.
  • Theodore Herzl

    Theodore Herzl
    After seeing that antisemitism could not be fought with assimilation, Herzl decided the Jews needed a land of their own. He created and led the Zionist Congress that was held in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897. This is the start of political Zionism (self determination as a solution to anti-Semitism).
  • Kishinev Pogrom

    Kishinev Pogrom
    During Pesach of 1903, the Jews of Kishinev in the province of Bessarabia were attacked for 2 days. Antisemetic mobs sacked destroyed anything that was Jewish, including homes, shops, and shuls. Although this was a terrible occurance, this event pushed many Jews to realize that the only place the Jewish nation could be safe was a homeland of their own. This movement of Jews to Israel is known as the 2nd Aliyah.
  • Labor Zionism

    Labor Zionism
    Labor zionism was led by A.D. Gordon who wanted to physically work the land. He wanted Jews to be hard working, strong, self-supporting, unlike Jews in the past.
  • Cultural Zionism

    Cultural Zionism
    Cultural zionism was led by Ahad Haam, who thought that a strong cultural epicenter in Israel would not only benefit Israelis, but also benefit world Jewry.
  • Religious Zionism

    Religious Zionism
    Religious zioinism was led by Rav Kook who said that the establishment of the modern state of Israel was a spiritual and not just historic and political event - that it was divinely mandated. Kook said Christians, Muslims, and Jews have to come together to spread ethical monotheism. He also believed that we have to be proud, committed Jews and fully engaged in the world.
  • Triangle Shirt Waist Fire

    Triangle Shirt Waist Fire
    On the 9th floor of a building in Manhattan, there was a triangle shirt waist factory. On February 25, 1911, a fire caught from a smoldering cigarette, and burnt down that whole floor. Because of improper building conditions, 146 women died in the fire. This event led to new building safety codes, including keeping chemicals in a separate area, and a minimum of 2 exits.
  • Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic Ocean

  • Hank Greenberg

    Hank Greenberg
    Hank Greenberg became the first Jewish baseball star when he joined the Tigers in 1933. Many Jewish kids looked up to him as their hero. He disproved the steryotype that Jews weren't athletic, and showed that Jews were part of America too, because baseball was such a prevalent part of American life.
  • Evian Conference

    Evian Conference
    At the Evian Conference in France, 32 countries discussed letting in the Jewish immigrants the Nazi's were kicking out of Germany. Many delegates had sympathy for the refugees, however many refused to allow the Jews to immigrate to their countries. In the end, only the Dominican Republic let the Jews in.
  • Displaced Person Camps

    Displaced Person Camps
    From 1945-1953, many Holocaust survivors were put into DP camps. Numerous American organizations were created to help people in the DP camps, including the Joint Distribution Community, Sherit HaPletah., and ORT.
  • Conservative Judaism

    Conservative Judaism
    Conservative Judaism came about around the time Jews started to become wealthier and move out to the subarbs. It was a conservative reaction to Reform Judaism. The Consevative Movement's goals were to preserve existing conditions/insitutions, restore traditional ones, and limit change. They stressed communal standard, and how Judaism develops largely as an expression of the community's will.
  • The Balfour Declaration

    The Balfour Declaration
    The British government finally decided to allow the Jews to have their own land in Palestine. This decision was revealed in a letter to Lord Rothschild from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour.