Colorful magen david

Modern Jewish History Timeline

  • Cherem of Baruch Spinoza

    Cherem of Baruch Spinoza
    Baruch Spinoza was the first Jew to become secular and by doing so weakened rabbinic authority. Previously, the rabbis of the community held most of the power, and enforced this power through cherem. In Amsterdam, Spinoza was placed in cherem and did not convert to Christianity as others had, therefore neutralizing this tool. He laid the early path of the Enlightenment and believed that individuals could reason for themselves.
  • Period: to

    Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution

    The Enlightenment was a time in history when logic and reason were championed. This era brought about the thinking for the emancipation of the Jews because people understood the need for liberty, democracy and equality. The Haskla movement was also brought out in this time because of the same ideologies. Throughout this era, rabbinic authority was continual weakened through secularization, overuse of rabbinical power, and reliance on external governments.
  • Judaism Splits

    Judaism Splits
    During this period, Judaism split into Chassidim, Haskala and Mitnadgim. Chassidim was founded by the Baal Shem Tov and believed that anyone could connect to G-d infinelty if the intent was proper. Mitnadgim was made to opposed to the Hassidim and championed the yeshiva. Masklim, based in western Europe, applied Enlightenment principles to Judaim and rejected rabbinic authority. Moses Mendelssohn was the father of this movement.
  • America Gains Independence

    America Gains Independence
    The United States of America gains its independence from Great Britain and creates a nation free for all people. America is the first nation to give Jews full citizenship and also happen to share many of the same ideals with Judaism such as liberty, inalienable rights, and equality.
  • French Revoltuion

    French Revoltuion
    The French Revolution was a chaotic and tremulous time but also one where ideologies of liberty and democracy were born in France. This revolution gave rise to ideas where everyone should be equal under the law and treated fairly including the Jews.
  • French Jewry is given Empancipation

    French Jewry is given Empancipation
    France was the first European country to give Jews full citizenship. After their drawn-out revolution they realized that all people should be citizens and should be judged based on their action, not intention.
  • Period: to

    Poltical Jewish Emancipation

    During this time period, Jews gained citizenship and rights. Though on a legal level they were equal, anti-Semitism could still be felt heavily through Europe. As a reaction, the Reform movement was made and Jews felt the need to assimilate. Jews finally gained what they had been missing for so long, but eventually found it did not entirely fix the problem of being a Jew in a secular nation.
  • Napoleon's Grand Sanhedrin

    Napoleon's Grand Sanhedrin
    Once given emancipation, the Jews were not quite integrating into society as hoped so Napoleon convened a group of 71 Jewish notables. This confrence was made to know if Jewish alliance maily lies with the Jews or with France. The Sanhedrin was asked a series of 12 questions. As a result of this assembly, rabbinic authority took a big blow because Jews were now free, equal and could rely on secular governments rather than relgious ones.
  • Reform Movement Spreads

    Reform Movement Spreads
    The Reform Movement was a solution to how the Jews could live in Europe once given emancipation. This movement stressed integration into society and made many reforms to so. The reformers did a way with all mentions of Judaism as a nationality and wanted to be become more formal as the Germans were. Though this movement wanted keep Jews affliated, many Jews actually converted to be truly equal in Europe. Later, this would become the largest denomination in 20th century America.
  • Neo-Orthodoxy Spreads

    Neo-Orthodoxy Spreads
    Neo-Orthodoxy was founded as a constvative reaction to the Reform movement for it did not believe Judaism needed to reform at all. Rabbi Hirsch was the founder and believed that Jews could maintain a halachic lifestyle with the backdrop of modern culture. This sect of Judaism is the smallest in America as of today but it is projected to take over the denominations as others shrink rapidly and neo-orthodoxy grows.
  • Period: to

    Jewish-American Experience

    As life in Europe was not improving as hoped even after emancipation, many Jews found refuge in America. America was good the to Jews because it let them practice freely and always treated the Jews fairly under the law.
  • First Wave Immgration to America

    First Wave Immgration to America
    The first major waves of Jews to America emigrated from Germany. For the most part, they were very secular and formal because they came from the epicenter of the reform movement. In total about 150,000 Jews immigrated. Though this was the first major wave, the very first Jews to get to America was in 1654.
  • Second Wave of Immgration Begins

    Second Wave of Immgration Begins
    The second wave of Jewish immigration to America was mainly of poor Eastern Europeans. Around three and a half million Jews moved and found a home in terrible conditions in New York. They lived in tenements and worked very long hours for little pay.
  • Period: to


    Once many solutions to the Jewish problem of living in a secular environment failed, many Jews resorted to Zionism. Zionism is Jewish self-determination without side influence. This movement took root in the Pale of Settelment and fought terribly hard for Israel and eventually succeeded. Zionism was born out of a reaction to the exiled mentality and rabbinic authority. One of the biggest leaders of this movement was Theodore Herzl.
  • BILU Movement

    BILU Movement
    BILU was the first group or people to move to Israel who are also called pioneers or the first aliya. This group of young people built Israel and its society from nothing. They also issued the BILU Manifesto which was issued to encourage all Jews to make aliya with them and seek refuge in their homeland.
  • Consevative Movement Formed

    Consevative Movement Formed
    This movement is the reaction to the Reform movement as many Jews felt as though they were too progressive and crossed the line. The founders of the Censervative movement felt Judaism should be a little more traditional. Compared to the Orthodox, this movement is liberal and progressive. This movement began as a reaction to the Trefa Banquet where non-kosher food served at a Reform-affliated event.
  • America Industrializes

    America Industrializes
    America begins to industialize, where it relys on fast assembly lines, rather than slower artisans. The goal became quantity and work conditions were horrific. Upon coming to the Untied States, the Jews could find a job because they only needed to learn one skill, rather than many. One example of these factories is the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory. Tragically, this factory caught on fire and killed many woman, but spurred many new labor law reforms.
  • The Dreyfus Affair

    The Dreyfus Affair
    Alfred Dryefus was a Jewish-born Frenchman who was wrongly accused of being a German spy in the French army. This trail became a test of France to see if they would blame of the Jews once more. Dreyfus was exiled, but his case pushed a young Theodore Herzl to resort to Zionism became assimilation would not fix the Jewish problem.
  • First Zionist Congress

    First Zionist Congress
    Here, Jews convened and spoke about the idea of Israel. In total, there are four major types of Zionism Herzl proposed political Zionism where Israel should serve as a safe haven for all Jews. Ahad Haam advocated for cultural Zionism which wanted Jews need to be unified and have a unique culture. A.D. Gordon founded labor Zionism where Jews must work the land to repair their psyche. Rav Kook argued for religious Zionism where Jews need to be a light onto the nations and must act morally.
  • Kinshnev Progrom

    Kinshnev Progrom
    This pogrom was a government-sanctioned massacre of the Jews in Russia. Though pogroms had occurred before, this one specifically pushed many young Jews to resort to Zionism because living in Europe was not sufficient under such conditions. Chiam Bialik wrote a poem on this event which argues in favor of gaining a land.
  • The Holocaust

    The Holocaust
    This horrific event killed six million Jews and impacted everyone globally. From the American-Jewish perspective, these Jews did some, but not everything to save their European counterparts. At this point, they did not feel comfortable speaking out and being openly Jewish. After the war, the Allied governments created DP camps to help get the many refugees to immigrate and start anew.
  • Israel Founded

    Israel Founded
    After thousands of yeas with a country, the Jews final found for themselves a homeland. They could now be sovereign in their own land, free of outside influence.
  • American Suburbia

    American Suburbia
    As Americans started to settle in they also began to gain a higher income. With this, they moved to the suburbs and dreamed of a life where they did not just get by, but did well. The Jews were no exception. The children of the immigrant parents lived a more privileged life than their parents and were pressured to succeed.