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JEWISH HISTORY (or the HISTORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE) is the history of the Jews
Jews
, and their religion and culture , as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek records during the Hellenistic period (323 BCE – 31 BCE) and the earliest mention of Israel
Israel
is inscribed on the Merneptah Stele dated 1213–1203 BCE, religious literature tells the story of Israelites going back at least as far as c. 1500 BCE. The Jewish diaspora began with the Assyrian conquest and continued on a much larger scale with the Babylonian conquest. Jews
Jews
were also widespread throughout the Roman Empire, and this carried on to a lesser extent in the period of Byzantine rule in the central and eastern Mediterranean. In 638 CE the Byzantine Empire lost control of the Levant. The Arab Islamic Empire under Caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and the lands of Mesopotamia , Syria
Syria
, Palestine and Egypt. The Golden Age of Jewish culture in Spain coincided with the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
in Europe, a period of Muslim
Muslim
rule throughout much of the Iberian Peninsula . During that time, Jews
Jews
were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural, and economic life blossomed.

During the Classical Ottoman period (1300–1600), the Jews, together with most other communities of the empire, enjoyed a certain level of prosperity. In the 17th century, there were many significant Jewish populations in Western Europe. During the period of the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, significant changes occurred within the Jewish community. Jews
Jews
began in the 18th century to campaign for emancipation from restrictive laws and integration into the wider European society. During the 1870s and 1880s the Jewish population in Europe
Europe
began to more actively discuss immigration back to Israel
Israel
and the re-establishment of the Jewish Nation in its national homeland. The Zionist movement was founded officially in 1884. Meanwhile, the Jews
Jews
of Europe
Europe
and the United States
United States
gained success in the fields of science, culture and the economy. Among those generally considered the most famous were scientist Albert Einstein and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein . A large number of Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
winners at this time were Jewish, as is still the case.

In 1933, with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany, the Jewish situation became more severe. Economic crises, racial anti-Semitic laws, and a fear of an upcoming war led many Jews to flee from Europe
Europe
to Palestine, to the United States
United States
and to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
. In 1939 World War II
World War II
began and until 1941 Hitler occupied almost all of Europe, including Poland—where millions of Jews
Jews
were living at that time—and France. In 1941, following the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Final Solution
Final Solution
began, an extensive organized operation on an unprecedented scale, aimed at the annihilation of the Jewish people, and resulting in the persecution and murder of Jews
Jews
in political Europe, inclusive of European North Africa (pro-Nazi Vichy-North Africa and Italian Libya). This genocide , in which approximately six million Jews
Jews
were methodically exterminated, is known as The Holocaust or _Shoah_ ( Hebrew
Hebrew
term). In Poland, three million Jews
Jews
were killed in gas chambers in all concentration camps combined, with one million at the Auschwitz concentration camp alone.

In 1945 the Jewish resistance organizations in Palestine unified and established the Jewish Resistance Movement. The movement began attacking the British authority. David
David
Ben-Gurion proclaimed on May 14, 1948, the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel
Eretz Israel
to be known as the State of Israel
State of Israel
. Immediately afterwards all neighbouring Arab states attacked, yet the newly formed IDF resisted. In 1949 the war ended and the state of Israel
Israel
started building the state and absorbing massive waves of hundreds of thousands of Jews
Jews
from all over the world. Today (2017), Israel
Israel
is a parliamentary democracy with a population of over 8 million people, of whom about 6 million are Jewish . The largest Jewish communities are in Israel
Israel
and the United States , with major communities in France, Argentina, Russia, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Germany . For statistics related to modern Jewish demographics see _ Jewish population _.

CONTENTS

* 1 Time periods in Jewish history
Jewish history

* 2 Ancient Jewish history
Jewish history
(c. 1500 BCE – 63 BCE)

* 2.1 Ancient Israelites (until c. 586 BCE) * 2.2 Babylonian captivity (c. 587 – 538 BCE) * 2.3 Post-exilic period (c. 538 – 332 BCE) * 2.4 Hellenistic period (c. 332 – 110 BCE) * 2.5 The Hasmonean Kingdom (110–63 BCE)

* 3 Roman rule in the land of Israel
Israel
(63 BCE – 324 CE)

* 3.1 The diaspora * 3.2 Late Roman period in the Land of Israel

* 4 Middle Ages
Middle Ages

* 4.1 Jews
Jews
of Babylonia (219–1250 CE) * 4.2 Byzantine period (324–638 CE) * 4.3 Islamic period (638–1099) * 4.4 Jewish Golden Age in early Muslim
Muslim
Spain (711–1031) * 4.5 Crusaders
Crusaders
period (1099–1260)

* 4.6 Mamluk
Mamluk
period (1260–1517)

* 4.6.1 Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East

* 4.7 Europe
Europe

* 5 Early Modern period

* 5.1 Court Jew * 5.2 Spain and Portugal * 5.3 Port Jew * 5.4 Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
* 5.5 Poland-Lithuania * 5.6 The European Enlightenment and Haskalah (18th century) * 5.7 Hasidic Judaism

* 6 19th century

* 7 20th century

* 7.1 Modern Zionism * 7.2 The Holocaust * 7.3 The establishment of the State of Israel
State of Israel

* 8 21st century * 9 Jewish history
Jewish history
by country or region * 10 See also * 11 Notes * 12 Further reading * 13 External links

TIME PERIODS IN JEWISH HISTORY

The history of the Jews
Jews
and Judaism can be divided into five periods: (1) ancient Israel
Israel
before Judaism, from the beginnings to 586 BCE; (2) the beginning of Judaism in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE; (3) the formation of rabbinic Judaism after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE; (4) the age of rabbinic Judaism, from the ascension of Christianity to political power under the emperor Constantine the Great in 312 CE to the end of the political hegemony of Christianity in the 18th century; and (5), the age of diverse Judaisms, from the French and American Revolutions to the present.

ANCIENT JEWISH HISTORY (C. 1500 BCE – 63 BCE)

Main article: Origins of Judaism

ANCIENT ISRAELITES (UNTIL C. 586 BCE)

Main articles: The Exodus , Conquest of Canaan , and History
History
of ancient Israel
Israel
and Judah

_ This article uncritically uses texts from within a religion or faith system WITHOUT REFERRING TO SECONDARY SOURCES THAT CRITICALLY ANALYZE THEM. Please help improve this article by adding references to reliable secondary sources , with multiple points of view. (May 2010)_ _(Learn how and when to remove this template message )_

Kingdoms of Israel
Israel
and Judah in 926 BCE

The history of the early Jews, and their neighbors, centers on the Fertile Crescent and east coast of the Mediterranean Sea . It begins among those people who occupied the area lying between the river Nile and Mesopotamia . Surrounded by ancient seats of culture in Egypt
Egypt
and Babylonia , by the deserts of Arabia
Arabia
, and by the highlands of Asia Minor , the land of Canaan
Canaan
(roughly corresponding to modern Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Lebanon) was a meeting place of civilizations.

According to the Hebrew Bible , Jews
Jews
descend from the ancient people of Israel
Israel
who settled in the land of Canaan
Canaan
between the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River . The Hebrew
Hebrew
Bible refers to the "Children of Israel" as Israelite descendants of a common ancestor Jacob
Jacob
. It also suggests that the nomadic travels of the Hebrews centered on Hebron in the first centuries of the second millennium BCE, leading to the establishment of the Cave of the Patriarchs as their burial site in Hebron. The Children of Israel, in this account, consisted of twelve tribes, each descended from one of Jacob's twelve sons, Reuven , Shimon , Levi
Levi
, Yehuda , Yissachar , Zevulun , Dan , Gad , Naftali , Asher , Yosef , and Benyamin . A Semitic slave. Ancient Egyptian figurine. Hecht Museum

The Book of Genesis, chapters 25–50, tells the story of Jacob
Jacob
and his twelve sons, who left Canaan
Canaan
during a severe famine and settled in Goshen of northern Egypt. The Egyptian Pharaonic government allegedly enslaved their descendants, although there is no independent evidence of this having occurred. After some 400 years of slavery, YHWH , the God of Israel
Israel
, sent the Hebrew
Hebrew
prophet Moses
Moses
of the tribe of Levi
Levi
to release the Israelites from bondage. According to the Bible, the Hebrews miraculously emigrated out of Egypt
Egypt
(an event known as the Exodus ), and returned to their ancestral homeland in Canaan.

However, archaeology reveals a different story of the origins of the Jewish people: they did not necessarily leave the Levant. The archaeological evidence of the largely indigenous origins of Israel
Israel
in Canaan, not Egypt, is "overwhelming" and leaves "no room for an Exodus from Egypt
Egypt
or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness". Many archaeologists have abandoned the archaeological investigation of Moses
Moses
and the Exodus as "a fruitless pursuit". A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has arguably found no evidence that can be directly related to the Exodus narrative of an Egyptian captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness, leading to the suggestion that Iron Age
Iron Age
Israel—the kingdoms of Judah and Israel—has its origins in Canaan, not in Egypt: The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El , the pottery remains in the local Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite. Almost the sole marker distinguishing the "Israelite" villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether this can be taken as an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.

According to the Bible, after their emancipation from Egyptian slavery, the people of Israel
Israel
wandered around and lived in the Sinai desert for a span of forty years before conquering Canaan
Canaan
in 1400 BCE under the command of Joshua
Joshua
. While living in the desert, according to the Biblical writings, the nation of Israel
Israel
received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai from YHWH via Moses. After entering Canaan, portions of the land were given to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. For several hundred years, the Land of Israel was organized into a confederacy of twelve tribes ruled by a series of Judges . After that came the Israelite monarchy, established in 1000 BCE under Saul , and continued under King David
David
and his son, Solomon
Solomon
. During the reign of David, the already existing city of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
became the national and spiritual capital of the United Kingdom of Israel
Israel
and Judah . Solomon
Solomon
built the First Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. However, the tribes were fracturing politically. Upon his death, a civil war erupted between the ten northern Israelite tribes, and the tribes of Judah (Simeon was absorbed into Judah) and Benjamin
Benjamin
in the south. The nation split into the Kingdom of Israel
Israel
in the north, and the Kingdom of Judah in the south. The Assyrian ruler Tiglath-Pileser III conquered the northern kingdom of Israel
Israel
in the 8th century BCE. No commonly accepted historical record accounts for the ultimate fate of the ten northern tribes, sometimes referred to as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel
Israel
, although speculation abounds.

BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY (C. 587 – 538 BCE)

Main article: Babylonian captivity Deportation and exile of the Jews
Jews
of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to Babylon
Babylon
and the destruction of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and Solomon\'s temple

After revolting against the new dominant power and an ensuing siege, the Kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonian army in 587 BCE and the First Temple was destroyed. The elite of the kingdom and many of their people were exiled to Babylon, where the religion developed outside their traditional temple. Others fled to Egypt
Egypt
. After the fall of Jerusalem, Babylonia (modern day Iraq), would become the focus of Judaism for more than a thousand years. The first Judahite communities in Babylonia started with the exile of the Tribe of Judah to Babylon
Babylon
by Jehoiachin in 597 BCE as well as after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Babylonia, where some of the largest and most prominent Jewish cities and communities were established, became the center of Jewish life all the way up to the 13th century. By the first century, Babylonia already held a speedily growing population of an estimated 1,000,000 Judahites which increased to an estimated 2 million between the years 200 CE and 500 CE, both by natural growth and by immigration of more Jews
Jews
from the Land of Israel, making up about one sixth of the world Jewish population at that era. It was there that they would write the Babylonian Talmud in the languages used by the Jews
Jews
of ancient Babylonia— Hebrew
Hebrew
and Aramaic .

The Jews
Jews
established Talmudic Academies in Babylonia , also known as the Geonic Academies , which became the center for Jewish scholarship and the development of Jewish law in Babylonia from roughly 500 CE to 1038 CE. The two most famous academies were the Pumbedita Academy and the Sura Academy . Major yeshivot were also located at Nehardea and Mahuza.

After a few generations and with the conquest of Babylonia in 540 BC by the Persian Empire , some adherents led by prophets Ezra and Nehemiah , returned to their homeland and traditional practices. Other Judeans did not permanently return and remained in exile and developed somewhat independently outside of the Land of Israel, especially following the Muslim
Muslim
conquests of the Middle East in the 7th century CE.

POST-EXILIC PERIOD (C. 538 – 332 BCE)

Main article: Second Temple Judaism Model of the Second Temple of Jerusalem
Jerusalem

Following their return to Jerusalem
Jerusalem
after the return from the exile, and with Persian approval and financing, construction of the Second Temple was completed in 516 BCE under the leadership of the last three Jewish Prophets Haggai , Zechariah and Malachi .

After the death of the last Jewish prophet and while still under Persian rule, the leadership of the Jewish people passed into the hands of five successive generations of zugot ("pairs of") leaders. They flourished first under the Persians and then under the Greeks. As a result, the Pharisees and Sadducees were formed. Under the Persians then under the Greeks, Jewish coins were minted in Judea as Yehud coinage .

HELLENISTIC PERIOD (C. 332 – 110 BCE)

Main article: Hellenistic Judaism

In 332 BCE, the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great of Macedon
Macedon
. After his demise, and the division of Alexander's empire among his generals, the Seleucid Kingdom was formed.

Greek culture was spread eastwards by the Alexandrian conquests. The Levant
Levant
was not immune to this cultural spread. During this time, currents of Judaism were influenced by Hellenistic philosophy developed from the 3rd century BCE, notably the Jewish diaspora in Alexandria
Alexandria
, culminating in the compilation of the Septuagint . An important advocate of the symbiosis of Jewish theology and Hellenistic thought is Philo
Philo
.

THE HASMONEAN KINGDOM (110–63 BCE)

Main article: Hasmonean dynasty

A deterioration of relations between hellenized Jews
Jews
and orthodox Jews
Jews
led the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes to impose decrees banning certain Jewish religious rites and traditions . Consequently, the orthodox Jews
Jews
revolted under the leadership of the Hasmonean family (also known as the Maccabees ). This revolt eventually led to the formation of an independent Jewish kingdom, known as the Hasmonaean Dynasty , which lasted from 165 BCE to 63 BCE. The Hasmonean Dynasty eventually disintegrated as a result of civil war between the sons of Salome Alexandra , Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II . The people, who did not want to be governed by a king but by theocratic clergy, made appeals in this spirit to the Roman authorities. A Roman campaign of conquest and annexation, led by Pompey , soon followed.

ROMAN RULE IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL (63 BCE – 324 CE)

Main articles: Judaea (Roman province) and History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
by the Romans (1850 painting by David
David
Roberts ) The sack of Jerusalem depicted on the inside wall of the Arch of Titus in Rome
Rome

Judea had been an independent Jewish kingdom under the Hasmoneans , but was conquered by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BCE and reorganized as a client state. ( Roman expansion was going on in other areas as well, and would continue for more than a hundred and fifty years.) Later, Herod the Great was appointed "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate , supplanting the Hasmonean dynasty. Some of his offspring held various positions after him, known as the Herodian dynasty . Briefly, from 4 BCE to 6 CE, Herod Archelaus ruled the tetrarchy of Judea as ethnarch , the Romans denying him the title of King. After the Census of Quirinius in 6 CE, the Roman province of Judaea was formed as a satellite of Roman Syria under the rule of a prefect (as was Roman Egypt
Egypt
) until 41 CE, then procurators after 44 CE. The empire was often callous and brutal in its treatment of its Jewish subjects, see Anti- Judaism in the pre- Christian
Christian
Roman Empire
Roman Empire
. In 66 CE, the Jews
Jews
began to revolt against the Roman rulers of Judea. The revolt was defeated by the future Roman emperors Vespasian
Vespasian
and Titus
Titus
. In the Siege of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
in 70 CE, the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and, according to some accounts, plundered artifacts from the temple, such as the Menorah . Jews
Jews
continued to live in their land in significant numbers, the Kitos War of 115–117 CE nothwithstanding, until Julius Severus ravaged Judea while putting down the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–136 CE. 985 villages were destroyed and most of the Jewish population of central Judaea was essentially wiped out, killed, sold into slavery, or forced to flee. Banished from Jerusalem, except for the day of Tisha B\'Av , the Jewish population now centred on Galilee
Galilee
and initially in Yavne . Jerusalem
Jerusalem
was renamed Aelia Capitolina and Judea was renamed Syria Palestina , to spite the Jews
Jews
by naming it after their ancient enemies, the Philistines . Jews
Jews
were only allowed to visit Aelia Capitolina on the day of Tisha B\'Av .

THE DIASPORA

Main article: Jewish diaspora

The Jewish diaspora began with the Assyrian conquest and continued on a much larger scale with the Babylonian conquest, in which the Tribe of Judah was exiled to Babylonia along with the dethroned King of Judah, Jehoiachin , in the 6th century BCE, and was taken into captivity in 597 BCE. The exile continued after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Many more Jews
Jews
migrated to Babylon
Babylon
in 135 CE after the Bar Kokhba revolt and in the centuries after.

Many of the Judaean Jews
Jews
were sold into slavery while others became citizens of other parts of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
. The book of Acts in the New Testament , as well as other Pauline texts, make frequent reference to the large populations of Hellenised Jews
Jews
in the cities of the Roman world. These Hellenised Jews
Jews
were affected by the diaspora only in its spiritual sense, absorbing the feeling of loss and homelessness that became a cornerstone of the Jewish creed, much supported by persecutions in various parts of the world. The policy encouraging proselytism and conversion to Judaism, which spread the Jewish religion throughout the Hellenistic civilization , seems to have subsided with the wars against the Romans.

Of critical importance to the reshaping of Jewish tradition from the Temple-based religion to the rabbinic traditions of the Diaspora, was the development of the interpretations of the Torah
Torah
found in the _ Mishnah _ and _ Talmud ._

LATE ROMAN PERIOD IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL

Further information: History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in the Land of Israel

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In spite of the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt, a significant number of Jews
Jews
remained in the Land of Israel. The Jews
Jews
who remained there went through numerous experiences and armed conflicts against consecutive foreign occupiers. Some of the most famous and important Jewish texts were composed in Israeli cities at this time. The completion of the _ Mishnah _, the system of _niqqud _, and the compilation of the _ Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Talmud _ are examples.

In this period the _tannaim _ and _amoraim _ were active, rabbis who organized and debated the Jewish oral law . The decisions and opinions of the _tannaim_ are contained in the Mishnah , Beraita , Tosefta , and various Midrash compilations. The Mishnah was completed shortly after 200 CE, probably by Judah haNasi . The commentaries of the _amoraim_ upon the Mishnah are compiled in the _ Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Talmud _, which was completed around 400 CE, probably in Tiberias
Tiberias
.

In 351 CE, the Jewish population in Sepphoris , under the leadership of Patricius , started a revolt against the rule of Constantius Gallus , brother-in-law of Emperor Constantius II . The revolt was eventually subdued by Gallus' general, Ursicinus .

According to Jewish tradition, in 359 CE Hillel II created the Hebrew calendar based on the lunar year. Until then, the entire Jewish community outside the land of Israel
Israel
depended on the calendar sanctioned by the Sanhedrin ; this was necessary for the proper observance of the Jewish holy days. However, danger threatened the participants in that sanction and the messengers who communicated their decisions to distant communities. As the religious persecutions continued, Hillel determined to provide an authorized calendar for all time to come.

In 363, shortly before launching his campaign against the Sassanid Empire , Julian II , the last pagan Roman Emperor, allowed the Jews
Jews
to return to "holy Jerusalem
Jerusalem
which you have for many years longed to see rebuilt" and to rebuild the Temple. But, Julian's campaign against the Persians failed and he was killed in battle on June 26, 363. The Temple was not rebuilt.

MIDDLE AGES

Main article: Jews
Jews
in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages

JEWS OF BABYLONIA (219–1250 CE)

Main article: History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Iraq
Iraq

After the fall of Jerusalem, Babylonia (modern day Iraq), would become the focus of Judaism for more than a thousand years. The first Jewish communities in Babylonia started with the exile of the Tribe of Judah to Babylon
Babylon
by Jehoiachin in 597 BCE as well as after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Many more Jews migrated to Babylon
Babylon
in 135 CE after the Bar Kokhba revolt and in the centuries after. Babylonia, where some of the largest and most prominent Jewish cities and communities were established, became the center of Jewish life all the way up to the 13th century. By the first century, Babylonia already held a speedily growing population of an estimated 1,000,000 Jews, which increased to an estimated 2 million between the years 200 CE and 500 CE, both by natural growth and by immigration of more Jews
Jews
from the Land of Israel, making up about 1/6 of the world Jewish population at that era. It was there that they would write the Babylonian Talmud in the languages used by the Jews
Jews
of ancient Babylonia: Hebrew
Hebrew
and Aramaic . The Jews
Jews
established Talmudic Academies in Babylonia , also known as the Geonic Academies ("Geonim" meaning "splendour" in Biblical Hebrew or "geniuses"), which became the center for Jewish scholarship and the development of Jewish law in Babylonia from roughly 500 CE to 1038 CE. The two most famous academies were the Pumbedita Academy and the Sura Academy . Major yeshivot were also located at Nehardea and Mahuza. The Talmudic Yeshiva
Yeshiva
Academies became a main part of Jewish culture and education, and Jews
Jews
continued on establishing Yeshiva
Yeshiva
Academies in Western and Eastern Europe, North Africa, and in the centuries later on to America and other countries around the world where Jews
Jews
lived in the Diaspora. Talmudic study in Yeshiva
Yeshiva
academies continue today with the establishment of a large number of Yeshiva
Yeshiva
academies, most of them located in The United States
United States
and Israel
Israel
.

These Talmudic Yeshiva
Yeshiva
academies of Babylonia followed the era of the Amoraim ("expounders")—the sages of the Talmud who were active (both in the Land of Israel and in Babylon) during the end of the era of the sealing of the Mishnah and until the times of the sealing of the Talmud (220CE – 500CE), and following the Savoraim ("reasoners")—the sages of Beth midrash ( Torah
Torah
study places) in Babylon
Babylon
from the end of the era of the Amoraim (5th century) and until the beginning of the era of the Geonim . The Geonim (Hebrew: גאונים) were the presidents of the two great rabbinical colleges of Sura and Pumbedita, and were the generally accepted spiritual leaders of the worldwide Jewish community in the early medieval era, in contrast to the Resh Galuta (Exilarch) who wielded secular authority over the Jews
Jews
in Islamic lands. According to traditions, the Resh Galuta were descendants of Judean kings, which is why the kings of Parthia would treat them with much honour.

For the Jews
Jews
of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the yeshivot of Babylonia served much the same function as the ancient Sanhedrin . That is, as a council of Jewish religious authorities. The academies were founded in pre-Islamic Babylonia under the Zoroastrian Sassanid dynasty and were located not far from the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon, which at that time was the largest city in the world. After the conquest of Persia in the 7th century, the academies subsequently operated for four hundred years under the Islamic caliphate. The first gaon of Sura, according to Sherira Gaon , was Mar bar Rab Chanan, who assumed office in 609. The last gaon of Sura was Samuel ben Hofni , who died in 1034; the last gaon of Pumbedita was Hezekiah Gaon , who was tortured to death in 1040; hence the activity of the Geonim covers a period of nearly 450 years.

One of principal seats of Babylonian Judaism was Nehardea , which was then a very large city made up mostly of Jews. A very ancient synagogue, built, it was believed, by King Jehoiachin, existed in Nehardea. At Huzal, near Nehardea, there was another synagogue, not far from which could be seen the ruins of Ezra's academy. In the period before Hadrian, Akiba, on his arrival at Nehardea on a mission from the Sanhedrin, entered into a discussion with a resident scholar on a point of matrimonial law ( Mishnah Yeb., end). At the same time there was at Nisibis (northern Mesopotamia ), an excelling Jewish college, at the head of which stood Judah ben Bathyra, and in which many Judean scholars found refuge at the time of the persecutions. A certain temporary importance was also attained by a school at Nehar-Peḳod, founded by the Judean immigrant Hananiah, nephew of Joshua
Joshua
ben Hananiah , which school might have been the cause of a schism between the Jews
Jews
of Babylonia and those of Judea-Israel, had not the Judean authorities promptly checked Hananiah's ambition.

BYZANTINE PERIOD (324–638 CE)

Main article: Jews
Jews
of Byzantium

Jews
Jews
were also widespread throughout the Roman Empire, and this carried on to a lesser extent in the period of Byzantine rule in the central and eastern Mediterranean. The militant and exclusive Christianity and caesaropapism of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
did not treat Jews
Jews
well, and the condition and influence of diaspora Jews
Jews
in the Empire declined dramatically.

It was official Christian
Christian
policy to convert Jews
Jews
to Christianity , and the Christian
Christian
leadership used the official power of Rome
Rome
in their attempts. In 351 CE the Jews
Jews
revolted against the added pressures of their Governor, Constantius Gallus . Gallus put down the revolt and destroyed the major cities in the Galilee
Galilee
area where the revolt had started. Tzippori and Lydda (site of two of the major legal academies) never recovered.

In this period, the Nasi in Tiberias, Hillel II, created an official calendar, which needed no monthly sightings of the moon. The months were set, and the calendar needed no further authority from Judea. At about the same time, the Jewish academy at Tiberius began to collate the combined Mishnah, braitot , explanations, and interpretations developed by generations of scholars who studied after the death of Judah HaNasi . The text was organized according to the order of the Mishna: each paragraph of Mishnah was followed by a compilation of all of the interpretations, stories, and responses associated with that Mishnah. This text is called the _ Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Talmud ._

The Jews
Jews
of Judea received a brief respite from official persecution during the rule of the Emperor Julian the Apostate . Julian's policy was to return the kingdom to Hellenism and he encouraged the Jews
Jews
to rebuild Jerusalem. As Julian's rule lasted briefly from 361 to 363, the Jews
Jews
could not rebuild sufficiently before Roman Christian
Christian
rule was restored over the Empire. Beginning in 398 with the consecration of St. John Chrysostom as Patriarch
Patriarch
, the Christian
Christian
rhetoric against Jews
Jews
continued to rise; he preached sermons with titles such as "Against the Jews" and "On the Statues, Homily 17," in which John preaches against "the Jewish sickness". Such heated language contributed to a climate of Christian
Christian
distrust and hate toward the large Jewish settlements, such as those in Antioch and Constantinople .

In the beginning of the 5th century, the Emperor Theodosius issued a set of decrees establishing official persecution against Jews. Jews were not allowed to own slaves, build new synagogues, hold public office or try cases between a Jew and a non-Jew. Intermarriage between Jew and non- Jew was made a capital offense, as was a Christian converting to Judaism. Theodosius did away with the Sanhedrin and abolished the post of Nasi . Under the Emperor Justinian , the authorities further restricted the civil rights of Jews, and threatened their religious privileges. The emperor interfered in the internal affairs of the synagogue, and forbade, for instance, the use of the Hebrew language in divine worship. Those who disobeyed the restrictions were threatened with corporal penalties, exile, and loss of property. The Jews
Jews
at Borium, not far from Syrtis Major, who resisted the Byzantine General Belisarius in his campaign against the Vandals , were forced to embrace Christianity, and their synagogue was converted to a church.

Justinian and his successors had concerns outside the province of Judea, and he had insufficient troops to enforce these regulations. As a result, the 5th century was a period when a wave of new synagogues were built, many with beautiful mosaic floors. Jews
Jews
adopted the rich art forms of the Byzantine culture. Jewish mosaics of the period portray people, animals, menorahs, zodiacs, and Biblical characters. Excellent examples of these synagogue floors have been found at Beit Alpha (which includes the scene of Abraham sacrificing a ram instead of his son Isaac along with a zodiac), Tiberius, Beit Shean, and Tzippori.

The precarious existence of Jews
Jews
under Byzantine rule did not long endure, largely for the explosion of the Muslim
Muslim
religion out of the remote Arabian peninsula (where large populations of Jews
Jews
resided, see History
History
of the Jews
Jews
under Muslim
Muslim
Rule for more). The Muslim
Muslim
Caliphate ejected the Byzantines from the Holy Land (or the Levant
Levant
, defined as modern Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) within a few years of their victory at the Battle of Yarmouk in 636. Numerous Jews
Jews
fled the remaining Byzantine territories in favour of residence in the Caliphate
Caliphate
over the subsequent centuries.

The size of the Jewish community in the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
was not affected by attempts by some emperors (most notably Justinian) to forcibly convert the Jews
Jews
of Anatolia to Christianity, as these attempts met with very little success. Historians continue to research the status of the Jews
Jews
in Asian Minor during the Byzantine rule. (for a sample of views, see, for instance, J. Starr _The Jews
Jews
in the Byzantine Empire, 641–1204_; S. Bowman, _The Jews
Jews
of Byzantium_; R. Jenkins _Byzantium_; Averil Cameron, "Byzantines and Jews: Recent Work on Early Byzantium", _Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies_ 20 (1996)). No systematic persecution of the type endemic at that time in Western Europe
Europe
(pogroms, the stake, mass expulsions, etc.) has been recorded in Byzantium. Much of the Jewish population of Constantinople
Constantinople
remained in place after the conquest of the city by Mehmet II .

Sometime in the 7th or 8th century, the Khazars , a Turkic tribe (who for some three centuries dominated the vast area extending from the Volga-Don steppe lands to the eastern Crimea
Crimea
and the northern Caucasus), seem to have converted to Judaism. The completeness of this conversion is unclear. There had been a Jewish population in the Crimea
Crimea
since the Hellenistic era, and the conversions may have been reinforced by Jewish migrants entering the region, who had emigrated from areas of Byzantine rule.

Perhaps in the 4th century, the Kingdom of Semien , a Jewish nation in modern Ethiopia was established, lasting until the 17th century.

*

_Mosaic of Menorah with Lulav and Ethrog_, 6th century C.E. Brooklyn Museum *

Mosaic pavement of a synagogue at Beit Alpha
Beit Alpha
(5th century) *

Mosaic in the Tzippori Synagogue
Synagogue
(5th century) *

Mosaic pavement recovered from the Hamat Gader synagogue (5th or 6th century)

ISLAMIC PERIOD (638–1099)

Main article: History
History
of the Jews
Jews
under Muslim
Muslim
rule

In 638 CE the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
lost control of the Levant. The Arab Islamic Empire under Caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and the lands of Mesopotamia , Syria
Syria
, Palestine and Egypt. As a political system, Islam created radically new conditions for Jewish economic, social, and intellectual development. Caliph Omar permitted the Jews
Jews
to reestablish their presence in Jerusalem–after a lapse of 500 years. Jewish tradition regards Caliph Omar as a benevolent ruler and the Midrash (Nistarot de-Rav Shimon bar Yoḥai) refers to him as a "friend of Israel."

According to the Arab geographer Al-Muqaddasi , the Jews
Jews
worked as "the assayers of coins, the dyers, the tanners and the bankers in the community". During the Fatimid period, many Jewish officials served in the regime. Professor Moshe Gil documents that at the time of the Arab conquest in the 7th century CE, the majority of the population was Jewish.

During this time Jews
Jews
lived in thriving communities all across ancient Babylonia. In the Geonic period (650–1250 CE), the Babylonian Yeshiva
Yeshiva
Academies were the chief centers of Jewish learning; the Geonim (meaning either "Splendor" or "Geniuses"), who were the heads of these schools, were recognized as the highest authorities in Jewish law.

JEWISH GOLDEN AGE IN EARLY MUSLIM SPAIN (711–1031)

Main article: Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain

The Golden Age of Jewish culture in Spain coincided with the Middle Ages in Europe, a period of Muslim
Muslim
rule throughout much of the Iberian Peninsula . During that time, Jews
Jews
were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural, and economic life blossomed.

A period of tolerance thus dawned for the Jews
Jews
of the Iberian Peninsula , whose number was considerably augmented by immigration from Africa in the wake of the Muslim
Muslim
conquest. Especially after 912, during the reign of Abd-ar-Rahman III and his son, Al-Hakam II , the Jews
Jews
prospered, devoting themselves to the service of the Caliphate
Caliphate
of Cordoba , to the study of the sciences, and to commerce and industry, especially to trading in silk and slaves, in this way promoting the prosperity of the country. Jewish economic expansion was unparalleled. In Toledo , Jews
Jews
were involved in translating Arabic texts to the Romance languages , as well as translating Greek and Hebrew
Hebrew
texts into Arabic. Jews
Jews
also contributed to botany, geography, medicine, mathematics, poetry and philosophy.

Generally, the Jewish people were allowed to practice their religion and live according to the laws and scriptures of their community. Furthermore, the restrictions to which they were subject were social and symbolic rather than tangible and practical in character. That is to say, these regulations served to define the relationship between the two communities, and not to oppress the Jewish population.

'Abd al-Rahman's court physician and minister was Hasdai ben Isaac ibn Shaprut, the patron of Menahem ben Saruq, Dunash ben Labrat, and other Jewish scholars and poets. Jewish thought during this period flourished under famous figures such as Samuel Ha-Nagid, Moses
Moses
ibn Ezra, Solomon
Solomon
ibn Gabirol Judah Halevi and Moses
Moses
Maimonides
Maimonides
. During 'Abd al-Rahman's term of power, the scholar Moses
Moses
ben Enoch was appointed rabbi of Córdoba , and as a consequence al-Andalus became the center of Talmudic study, and Córdoba the meeting-place of Jewish savants.

The Golden Age ended with the invasion of al-Andalus by the Almohades , a conservative dynasty originating in North Africa, who were highly intolerant of religious minorities.

CRUSADERS PERIOD (1099–1260)

Main article: History
History
of the Jews
Jews
and the Crusades
Crusades
See also: Siege of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
(1099) Capture of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
, 1099

In 1099, Jews
Jews
helped the Arabs to defend Jerusalem
Jerusalem
against the Crusaders
Crusaders
. When the city fell, the Crusaders
Crusaders
gathered many Jews
Jews
in a synagogue and set it on fire. In Haifa, the Jews
Jews
almost single-handedly defended the town against the Crusaders, holding out for a month, (June–July 1099). At this time there were Jewish communities scattered all over the country, including Jerusalem, Tiberias, Ramleh, Ashkelon, Caesarea, and Gaza . As Jews
Jews
were not allowed to hold land during the Crusader period, they worked at trades and commerce in the coastal towns during times of quiescence. Most were artisans: glassblowers in Sidon , furriers and dyers in Jerusalem.

During this period, the Masoretes of Tiberias
Tiberias
established the _niqqud _, a system of diacritical signs used to represent vowels or distinguish between alternative pronunciations of letters of the Hebrew
Hebrew
alphabet . Numerous piyutim and midrashim were recorded in Palestine at this time.

Maimonides
Maimonides
wrote that in 1165 he visited Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and went to the Temple Mount, where he prayed in the "great, holy house". Maimonides established a yearly holiday for himself and his sons, the 6th of Cheshvan , commemorating the day he went up to pray on the Temple Mount, and another, the 9th of Cheshvan, commemorating the day he merited to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron .

In 1141 Yehuda Halevi issued a call to Jews
Jews
to emigrate to the land of Israel
Israel
and took on the long journey himself. After a stormy passage from Córdoba , he arrived in Egyptian Alexandria
Alexandria
, where he was enthusiastically greeted by friends and admirers. At Damietta , he had to struggle against his heart, and the pleadings of his friend Ḥalfon ha-Levi, that he remain in Egypt
Egypt
, where he would be free from intolerant oppression. He started on the rough route overland. He was met along the way by Jews
Jews
in Tyre and Damascus
Damascus
. Jewish legend relates that as he came near Jerusalem, overpowered by the sight of the Holy City, he sang his most beautiful elegy, the celebrated "Zionide" (_Zion ha-lo Tish'ali_). At that instant, an Arab had galloped out of a gate and rode him down; he was killed in the accident.

MAMLUK PERIOD (1260–1517)

In the years 1260–1516, the land of Israel
Israel
was part of the Empire of the Mamluks , who ruled first from Turkey
Turkey
, then from Egypt. War, uprisings, bloodshed and destruction followed the Maimonides
Maimonides
. Jews suffered persecution and humiliation, but the surviving records note at least 30 Jewish urban and rural communities at the opening of the 16th century.

Nahmanides is recorded as settling in the Old City of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
in 1267. He moved to Acre , where he was active in spreading Jewish learning, which was at that time neglected in the Holy Land. He gathered a circle of pupils around him, and people came in crowds, even from the district of the Euphrates, to hear him. Karaites were said to have attended his lectures, among them Aaron ben Joseph the Elder. He later became one of the greatest Karaite authorities. Shortly after Nahmanides' arrival in Jerusalem, he addressed a letter to his son Nahman, in which he described the desolation of the Holy City. At the time, it had only two Jewish inhabitants—two brothers, dyers by trade. In a later letter from Acre, Nahmanides counsels his son to cultivate humility, which he considers to be the first of virtues. In another, addressed to his second son, who occupied an official position at the Castilian court, Nahmanides recommends the recitation of the daily prayers and warns above all against immorality. Nahmanides died after reaching seventy-six, and his remains were interred at Haifa , by the grave of Yechiel of Paris .

Yechiel had emigrated to Acre in 1260, along with his son and a large group of followers. There he established the Tamudic academy _ Midrash haGadol d'Paris_. He is believed to have died there between 1265 and 1268. In 1488 Obadiah ben Abraham , commentator on the Mishnah , arrived in Jerusalem; this marked a new period of return for the Jewish community in the land.

Spain, North Africa, And The Middle East

Main article: History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Spain See also: Islam and Judaism , Mizrahi Jew , and History
History
of the Jews
Jews
under Muslim
Muslim
rule

During the Middle Ages, Jews
Jews
were generally better treated by Islamic rulers than Christian
Christian
ones. Despite second-class citizenship, Jews played prominent roles in Muslim
Muslim
courts, and experienced a "Golden Age" in Moorish Spain about 900–1100, though the situation deteriorated after that time. Riots resulting in the deaths of Jews did however occur in North Africa through the centuries and especially in Morocco
Morocco
, Libya
Libya
and Algeria
Algeria
, where eventually Jews
Jews
were forced to live in ghettos.

During the 11th century, Muslims in Spain conducted pogroms against the Jews; those occurred in Cordoba in 1011 and in Granada in 1066 . During the Middle Ages, the governments of Egypt
Egypt
, Syria
Syria
, Iraq
Iraq
and Yemen
Yemen
enacted decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues. At certain times, Jews
Jews
were forced to convert to Islam or face death in some parts of Yemen, Morocco
Morocco
and Baghdad
Baghdad
. The Almohads , who had taken control of much of Islamic Iberia by 1172, surpassed the Almoravides in fundamentalist outlook. They treated the _dhimmis _ harshly. They expelled both Jews
Jews
and Christians from Morocco
Morocco
and Islamic Spain. Faced with the choice of death or conversion, many Jews emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides
Maimonides
, fled south and east to the more tolerant Muslim
Muslim
lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian
Christian
kingdoms.

EUROPE

Main article: Jews
Jews
in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages

According to the American writer James Carroll , " Jews
Jews
accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
. By that ratio, if other factors had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews
Jews
in the world today, instead of something like 13 million."

Jewish populations have existed in Europe, especially in the area of the former Roman Empire, from very early times. As Jewish males had emigrated, some sometimes took wives from local populations, as is shown by the various MtDNA , compared to Y-DNA among Jewish populations. These groups were joined by traders and later on by members of the diaspora. Records of Jewish communities in France (see History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in France ) and Germany (see History
History
of the Jews in Germany ) date from the 4th century, and substantial Jewish communities in Spain were noted even earlier.

The historian Norman Cantor and other 20th-century scholars dispute the tradition that the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
was a uniformly difficult time for Jews. Before the Church became fully organized as an institution with an increasing array of rules, early medieval society was tolerant. Between 800 and 1100, an estimated 1.5 million Jews
Jews
lived in Christian Europe. As they were not Christians, they were not included as a division of the feudal system of clergy, knights and serfs. This means that they did not have to satisfy the oppressive demands for labor and military conscription that Christian
Christian
commoners suffered. In relations with the Christian
Christian
society, the Jews
Jews
were protected by kings, princes and bishops, because of the crucial services they provided in three areas: financial, administrative and medical.

Christian
Christian
scholars interested in the Bible consulted with Talmudic rabbis. As the Roman Catholic Church strengthened as an institution, the Franciscan and Dominican preaching orders were founded, and there was a rise of competitive middle-class, town-dwelling Christians. By 1300, the friars and local priests staged the Passion Plays during Holy Week, which depicted Jews
Jews
(in contemporary dress) killing Christ, according to Gospel accounts. From this period, persecution of Jews and deportations became endemic. Around 1500, Jews
Jews
found relative security and a renewal of prosperity in present-day Poland
Poland
.

After 1300, Jews
Jews
suffered more discrimination and persecution in Christian
Christian
Europe. As Catholics were forbidden by the church to loan money for interest, some Jews
Jews
became prominent moneylenders. Christian rulers gradually saw the advantage of having such a class of people who could supply capital for their use without being liable to excommunication. As a result, the money trade of western Europe
Europe
became a specialty of the Jews. But, in almost every instance when Jews acquired large amounts through banking transactions, during their lives or upon their deaths, the king would take it over. Jews
Jews
became imperial "_servi cameræ_", the property of the King, who might present them and their possessions to princes or cities.

Jews
Jews
were frequently massacred and exiled from various European countries. The persecution hit its first peak during the Crusades
Crusades
. In the First Crusade (1096) flourishing Jewish communities on the Rhine and the Danube were utterly destroyed; see German Crusade, 1096 . In the Second Crusade (1147) the Jews
Jews
in France were subject to frequent massacres. They were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds\' Crusades
Crusades
of 1251 and 1320. The Crusades
Crusades
were followed by massive expulsions, including (in 1290) the banishing of all English Jews; in 1396 100,000 Jews
Jews
were expelled from France; and in 1421, thousands were expelled from Austria. Over this time many Jews
Jews
in Europe, either fleeing or being expelled, migrated to Poland, where they prospered into another Golden Age .

EARLY MODERN PERIOD

Historians who study modern Jewry have identified four different paths by which European Jews
Jews
were "modernized" and thus integrated into the mainstream of European society. A common approach has been to view the process through the lens of the European Enlightenment as Jews
Jews
faced the promise and the challenges posed by political emancipation. Scholars that use this approach have focused on two social types as paradigms for the decline of Jewish tradition and as agents of the sea changes in Jewish culture that led to the collapse of the ghetto . The first of these two social types is the Court Jew who is portrayed as a forerunner of the modern Jew, having achieved integration with and participation in the proto-capitalist economy and court society of central European states such as the Habsburg Empire . In contrast to the cosmopolitan Court Jew, the second social type presented by historians of modern Jewry is the _maskil_, (learned person), a proponent of the Haskalah (Enlightenment). This narrative sees the maskil's pursuit of secular scholarship and his rationalistic critiques of rabbinic tradition as laying a durable intellectual foundation for the secularization of Jewish society and culture. The established paradigm has been one in which Ashkenazic Jews
Jews
entered modernity through a self-conscious process of westernization led by "highly atypical, Germanized Jewish intellectuals". Haskalah gave birth to the Reform and Conservative movements and planted the seeds of Zionism while at the same time encouraging cultural assimilation into the countries in which Jews
Jews
resided. At around the same time that Haskalah was developing, Hasidic Judaism was spreading as a movement that preached a world view almost opposed to the Haskalah.

In the 1990s, the concept of the "Port Jew " has been suggested as an "alternate path to modernity" that was distinct from the European Haskalah . In contrast to the focus on Ashkenazic Germanized Jews, the concept of the Port Jew focused on the Sephardi conversos who fled the Inquisition and resettled in European port towns on the coast of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Eastern seaboard of the United States.

COURT JEW

Main articles: Court Jew and shtadlan

Court Jews
Jews
were Jewish bankers or businessmen who lent money and handled the finances of some of the Christian
Christian
European noble houses. A corresponding historical term is JEWISH BAILIFF . See also _shtadlan _.

Examples of what would be later called court Jews
Jews
emerged when local rulers used services of Jewish bankers for short-term loans. They lent money to nobles and in the process gained social influence. Noble patrons of court Jews
Jews
employed them as financiers , suppliers, diplomats and trade delegates . Court Jews
Jews
could use their family connections, and connections between each other, to provision their sponsors with, among other things, food, arms, ammunition and precious metals. In return for their services, court Jews
Jews
gained social privileges, including up to noble status for themselves, and could live outside the Jewish ghettos. Some nobles wanted to keep their bankers in their own courts. And because they were under noble protection, they were exempted from rabbinical jurisdiction.

From medieval times, court Jews
Jews
could amass personal fortunes and gained political and social influence. Sometimes they were also prominent people in the local Jewish community and could use their influence to protect and influence their brethren. Sometimes they were the only Jews
Jews
who could interact with the local high society and present petitions of the Jews
Jews
to the ruler. However, the court Jew had social connections and influence in the Christian
Christian
world mainly through his Christian
Christian
patrons. Due to the precarious position of Jews, some nobles could just ignore their debts. If the sponsoring noble died, his Jewish financier could face exile or execution.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

Significant repression of Spain's numerous community occurred during the 14th century, notably in 1391 a major pogrom which resulted in the majority of Spain's 300,000 Jews
Jews
converting to Catholicism. With the conquest of the Muslim
Muslim
Kingdom of Granada in 1492, the Catholic monarchs issued the Alhambra Decree whereby Spain's remaining 100,000 Jews
Jews
were forced to choose between conversion and exile. As a result, an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Jews
Jews
left Spain, the remainder joining Spain's already numerous Converso community. Perhaps a quarter of a million Conversos thus were gradually absorbed by the dominant Catholic culture, although those among them who secretly practiced Judaism were subject to 40 years of intense repression by the Spanish Inquisition. This was particularly the case up until 1530, after which the trials of Conversos by the Inquisition dropped to 3% of the total. Similar expulsions of Sephardic Jews
Jews
occurred 1493 in Sicily
Sicily
(37,000 Jews) and Portugal in 1496. The expelled Spanish Jews
Jews
fled mainly to the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and North Africa and Portugal. A small number also settled in Holland and England.

PORT JEW

Main article: Port Jew

The Port Jew describes Jews
Jews
who were involved in the seafaring and maritime economy of Europe, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. Helen Fry suggests that they could be considered to have been "the earliest modern Jews". According to Fry, Port Jews
Jews
often arrived as "refugees from the Inquisition" and the expulsion of Jews
Jews
from Iberia. They were allowed to settle in port cities as merchants granted permission to trade in ports such as Amsterdam, London, Trieste and Hamburg. Fry notes that their connections with the Jewish Diaspora and their expertise in maritime trade made them of particular interest to the mercantilist governments of Europe. Lois Dubin describes Port Jews
Jews
as Jewish merchants who were "valued for their engagement in the international maritime trade upon which such cities thrived". Sorkin and others have characterized the socio-cultural profile of these men as marked by a flexibility towards religion and a "reluctant cosmopolitanism that was alien to both traditional and 'enlightened' Jewish identities".

OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Main article: History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire

During the Classical Ottoman period (1300–1600), the Jews, together with most other communities of the empire, enjoyed a certain level of prosperity. Compared with other Ottoman subjects, they were the predominant power in commerce and trade as well in diplomacy and other high offices. In the 16th century especially, the Jews
Jews
were the most prominent under the _millets_, the apogee of Jewish influence could arguably be the appointment of Joseph Nasi to Sanjak-bey (_governor_, a rank usually only bestowed upon Muslims) of the island of Naxos .

At the time of the Battle of Yarmuk when the Levant
Levant
passed under Muslim
Muslim
Rule, thirty Jewish communities existed in Haifa, Sh’chem, Hebron, Ramleh, Gaza, Jerusalem, and many in the north. Safed became a spiritual centre for the Jews
Jews
and the Shulchan Aruch was compiled there as well as many Kabbalistic texts. The first Hebrew
Hebrew
printing press, and the first printing in Western Asia began in 1577.

Jews
Jews
lived in the geographic area of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
(modern Turkey, but more geographically either Anatolia or Asia Minor) for more than 2,400 years. Initial prosperity in Hellenistic times had faded under Christian
Christian
Byzantine rule, but recovered somewhat under the rule of the various Muslim
Muslim
governments that displaced and succeeded rule from Constantinople. For much of the Ottoman period, Turkey
Turkey
was a safe haven for Jews
Jews
fleeing persecution, and it continues to have a small Jewish population today. The situation where Jews
Jews
both enjoyed cultural and economical prosperity at times but were widely persecuted at other times was summarised by G.E. Von Grunebaum :

It would not be difficult to put together the names of a very sizeable number of Jewish subjects or citizens of the Islamic area who have attained to high rank, to power, to great financial influence, to significant and recognized intellectual attainment; and the same could be done for Christians. But it would again not be difficult to compile a lengthy list of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms.

POLAND-LITHUANIA

Further information: History
History
of Jews
Jews
in Poland
Poland

In the 17th century, there were many significant Jewish populations in Western Europe. The relatively tolerant Poland
Poland
had the largest Jewish population in Europe
Europe
that dated back to 13th century and enjoyed relative prosperity and freedom for nearly four hundred years; however the calm situation there ended when Polish and Lithuanian Jews were slaughtered in the hundreds of thousands by the cossacks during Chmielnicki uprising (1648) and by the Swedish wars (1655). Driven by these and other persecutions, Jews
Jews
moved back to Western Europe
Europe
in the 17th century. The last ban on Jews
Jews
(by the English) was revoked in 1654, but periodic expulsions from individual cities still occurred, and Jews
Jews
were often restricted from land ownership, or forced to live in ghettos .

With the Partition of Poland
Poland
in the late 18th century, the Jewish population was split between the Russian Empire , Austro-Hungary , and Prussia
Prussia
, which divided Poland
Poland
for themselves.

THE EUROPEAN ENLIGHTENMENT AND HASKALAH (18TH CENTURY)

During the period of the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, significant changes occurred within the Jewish community. The Haskalah movement paralleled the wider Enlightenment, as Jews
Jews
in the 18th century began to campaign for emancipation from restrictive laws and integration into the wider European society. Secular and scientific education was added to the traditional religious instruction received by students, and interest in a national Jewish identity, including a revival in the study of Jewish history
Jewish history
and Hebrew, started to grow. Haskalah gave birth to the Reform and Conservative movements and planted the seeds of Zionism while at the same time encouraging cultural assimilation into the countries in which Jews
Jews
resided. At around the same time another movement was born, one preaching almost the opposite of Haskalah, Hasidic Judaism . Hasidic Judaism began in the 18th century by Rabbi
Rabbi
Israel
Israel
Baal Shem Tov , and quickly gained a following with its more exuberant, mystical approach to religion. These two movements, and the traditional orthodox approach to Judaism from which they spring, formed the basis for the modern divisions within Jewish observance.

At the same time, the outside world was changing, and debates began over the potential emancipation of the Jews
Jews
(granting them equal rights). The first country to do so was France, during the French Revolution in 1789. Even so, Jews
Jews
were expected to integrate, not continue their traditions. This ambivalence is demonstrated in the famous speech of Clermont-Tonnerre before the National Assembly in 1789:

We must refuse everything to the Jews
Jews
as a nation and accord everything to Jews
Jews
as individuals. We must withdraw recognition from their judges; they should only have our judges. We must refuse legal protection to the maintenance of the so-called laws of their Judaic organization; they should not be allowed to form in the state either a political body or an order. They must be citizens individually. But, some will say to me, they do not want to be citizens. Well then! If they do not want to be citizens, they should say so, and then, we should banish them. It is repugnant to have in the state an association of non-citizens, and a nation within the nation...

HASIDIC JUDAISM

See also: Mitnagdim Hasidic Jews
Jews
praying in the synagogue on Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
, by Maurycy Gottlieb
Maurycy Gottlieb

Hasidic Judaism is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith . Hasidism comprises part of contemporary Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, alongside the previous Talmudic Lithuanian- Yeshiva
Yeshiva
approach and the Oriental Sephardi tradition.

It was founded in 18th-century Eastern Europe
Europe
by Rabbi
Rabbi
Israel
Israel
Baal Shem Tov as a reaction against overly legalistic Judaism. Opposite to this, Hasidic teachings cherished the sincerity and concealed holiness of the unlettered common folk, and their equality with the scholarly elite. The emphasis on the Immanent Divine presence in everything gave new value to prayer and deeds of kindness, alongside Rabbinic supremacy of study , and replaced historical mystical (kabbalistic) and ethical (musar) asceticism and admonishment with optimism, encouragement, and daily fervour . This populist emotional revival accompanied the elite ideal of nullification to paradoxical Divine Panentheism , through intellectual articulation of inner dimensions of mystical thought. The adjustment of Jewish values sought to add to required standards of ritual observance , while relaxing others where inspiration predominated. Its communal gatherings celebrate soulful song and storytelling as forms of mystical devotion.

19TH CENTURY

An 1806 French print depicts Napoleon Bonaparte emancipating the Jews.

Though persecution still existed, emancipation spread throughout Europe
Europe
in the 19th century. Napoleon
Napoleon
invited Jews
Jews
to leave the Jewish ghettos in Europe
Europe
and seek refuge in the newly created tolerant political regimes that offered equality under Napoleonic Law (see Napoleon
Napoleon
and the Jews
Jews
). By 1871, with Germany’s emancipation of Jews, every European country except Russia had emancipated its Jews.

Despite increasing integration of the Jews
Jews
with secular society, a new form of anti-Semitism emerged, based on the ideas of race and nationhood rather than the religious hatred of the Middle Ages. This form of anti-Semitism held that Jews
Jews
were a separate and inferior race from the Aryan people of Western Europe, and led to the emergence of political parties in France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary that campaigned on a platform of rolling back emancipation. This form of anti-Semitism emerged frequently in European culture, most famously in the Dreyfus Trial in France. These persecutions, along with state-sponsored pogroms in Russia in the late 19th century, led a number of Jews
Jews
to believe that they would only be safe in their own nation. See Theodor Herzl and History
History
of Zionism .

During this period, Jewish migration to the United States
United States
(see American Jews
Jews
) created a large new community mostly freed of the restrictions of Europe. Over 2 million Jews
Jews
arrived in the United States between 1890 and 1924, most from Russia and Eastern Europe. A similar case occurred in the southern tip of the continent, specifically in the countries of Argentina
Argentina
and Uruguay
Uruguay
.

20TH CENTURY

MODERN ZIONISM

Main article: History
History
of Zionism

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Theodor Herzl , visionary of the Jewish State, in 1901.

During the 1870s and 1880s the Jewish population in Europe
Europe
began to more actively discuss immigration back to Israel
Israel
and the re-establishment of the Jewish Nation in its national homeland, fulfilling the biblical prophecies relating to Shivat Tzion . In 1882 the first Zionist settlement— Rishon LeZion —was founded by immigrants who belonged to the " Hovevei Zion " movement. Later on, the " Bilu " movement established many other settlements in the land of Israel.

The Zionist movement was founded officially after the Kattowitz convention (1884) and the World Zionist Congress (1897), and it was Theodor Herzl who began the struggle to establish a state for the Jews.

After the First World War
First World War
, it seemed that the conditions to establish such a state had arrived: The United Kingdom captured Palestine from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
, and the Jews
Jews
received the promise of a "National Home" from the British in the form of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 , given to Chaim Weizmann .

In 1920 the British Mandate of Palestine began and the pro-Jewish Herbert Samuel was appointed High Commissioner in Palestine, the Hebrew
Hebrew
University of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
was established and several big Jewish immigration waves to Palestine occurred. The Arab co-inhabitants of Palestine were hostile to increasing Jewish immigration however, and began to oppose Jewish settlement and the pro-Jewish policy of the British government by violent means.

Arab gangs began performing violent acts and murders on convoys and on the Jewish population. After the 1920 Arab riots and 1921 Jaffa riots , the Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British had no desire to confront local Arab gangs over their attacks on Palestinian Jews. Believing that they could not rely on the British administration for protection from these gangs, the Jewish leadership created the Haganah organization to protect their farms and Kibbutzim.

Major riots occurred during the 1929 Palestine riots and the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine .

Due to the increasing violence the United Kingdom gradually started to backtrack from the original idea of a Jewish state and to speculate on a binational solution or an Arab state that would have a Jewish minority.

Meanwhile, the Jews
Jews
of Europe
Europe
and the United States
United States
gained success in the fields of the science, culture and the economy. Among those generally considered the most famous were scientist Albert Einstein and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein . A disproportionate number of Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
winners at this time were Jewish, as is still the case. In Russia, many Jews
Jews
were involved in the October Revolution and belonged to the Communist Party .

THE HOLOCAUST

Main articles: History
History
of the Jews
Jews
during World War II
World War II
and The Holocaust A boy raises his hands when the Jews
Jews
leave the bunkers after the submission of the Warsaw Ghetto
Ghetto
Uprising Bodies of inmates of the Mittelbau-Dora Nazi concentration camp who died during British bombing raids on April 3 and 4, 1945

In 1933, with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany, the Jewish situation became more severe. Economic crises, racial anti-Semitic laws, and a fear of an upcoming war led many Jews to flee from Europe
Europe
to Palestine, to the United States
United States
and to the Soviet Union.

In 1939 World War II
World War II
began and until 1941 Hitler
Hitler
occupied almost all of Europe, including Poland—where millions of Jews
Jews
were living at that time—and France. In 1941, following the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Final Solution
Final Solution
began, an extensive organized operation on an unprecedented scale, aimed at the annihilation of the Jewish people, and resulting in the persecution and murder of Jews
Jews
in political Europe, inclusive of European North Africa (pro-Nazi Vichy-North Africa and Italian Libya). This genocide , in which approximately six million Jews
Jews
were murdered methodically and with horrifying cruelty, is known as The Holocaust or _Shoah_ (Hebrew term). In Poland, more than one million Jews
Jews
were murdered in gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp alone.

The massive scale of the Holocaust, and the horrors that happened during it, heavily affected the Jewish nation and world public opinion, which only understood the dimensions of the Holocaust after the war. Efforts were then increased to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL

Main article: History of Israel See also: Israel
Israel
and Declaration of Independence (Israel)

PART OF A SERIES ON THE

HISTORY OF ISRAEL

ANCIENT ISRAEL AND JUDAH

* Prehistory * Canaan
Canaan
* Israelites * United monarchy * Northern Kingdom * Kingdom of Judah * Babylonian rule

SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD (530 BC–AD 70)

* Persian rule * Hellenistic period * Hasmonean dynasty

* Herodian dynasty

* Kingdom * Tetrarchy

* Roman Judea

MIDDLE AGES (70–1517)

* Roman Palaestina

* Byzantine Palaestina

* Prima * Secunda

* Revolt against Heraclius

* Caliphates

* Filastin * Urdunn

* Crusades
Crusades
* Ayyubid dynasty * Mamluk
Mamluk
Sultanate

MODERN HISTORY (1517–1948)

* Ottoman rule

* Eyalet * Mutasarrifate

* Old Yishuv * Zionism * OETA * British mandate

STATE OF ISRAEL (1948–PRESENT)

* Independence * Timeline * Years * Arab–Israeli conflict * Start-up Nation

HISTORY OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL BY TOPIC

* Judaism * Jerusalem
Jerusalem
* Zionism * Jewish leaders * Jewish warfare * Nationality

RELATED

* Jewish history * Hebrew
Hebrew
calendar * Archaeology * Museums

Israel
Israel
portal

* v * t * e

In 1945 the Jewish resistance organizations in Palestine unified and established the Jewish Resistance Movement. The movement began attacking the British authority. Following the King David
David
Hotel bombing , Chaim Weizmann , president of the WZO
WZO
appealed to the movement to cease all further military activity until a decision would be reached by the Jewish Agency . The Jewish Agency backed Weizmann's recommendation to cease activities, a decision reluctantly accepted by the Haganah, but not by the Irgun and the Lehi. The JRM was dismantled and each of the founding groups continued operating according to their own policy.

The Jewish leadership decided to center the struggle in the illegal immigration to Palestine and began organizing massive amount of Jewish war refugees from Europe, without the approval of the British authorities. This immigration contributed a great deal to the Jewish settlements in Israel
Israel
in the world public opinion and the British authorities decided to let the United Nations decide upon the fate of Palestine.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (II) recommending partitioning Palestine into an Arab state, a Jewish state and the City of Jerusalem. The Jewish leadership accepted the decision but the Arab League and the leadership of Palestinian Arabs opposed it. Following a period of civil war the 1948 Arab–Israeli War started.

In the middle of the war, after the last soldiers of the British mandate left Palestine, David
David
Ben-Gurion proclaimed on May 14, 1948, the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel
Eretz Israel
to be known as the State of Israel
State of Israel
. In 1949 the war ended and the state of Israel started building the state and absorbing massive waves of hundreds of thousands of Jews
Jews
from all over the world.

Since 1948, Israel
Israel
has been involved in a series of major military conflicts, including the 1956 Suez Crisis , 1967 Six-Day War , 1973 Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
War , 1982 Lebanon War , and 2006 Lebanon War , as well as a nearly constant series of ongoing minor conflicts.

Since 1977, an ongoing and largely unsuccessful series of diplomatic efforts have been initiated by Israel, Palestinian organisations, their neighbours, and other parties, including the United States
United States
and the European Union, to bring about a peace process to resolve conflicts between Israel
Israel
and its neighbors, mostly over the fate of the Palestinian people.

21ST CENTURY

Israel
Israel
is a parliamentary democracy with a population of over 8 million people, of whom about 6 million are Jewish . The largest Jewish communities are in Israel
Israel
and the United States
United States
, with major communities in France, Argentina, Russia, England, and Canada. For statistics related to modern Jewish demographics see _Jewish population _.

The Jewish Autonomous Oblast
Jewish Autonomous Oblast
, created during the Soviet period, continues to be an autonomous oblast of the Russian state. The Chief Rabbi
Rabbi
of Birobidzhan , Mordechai Scheiner , says there are 4,000 Jews in the capital city. Governor
Governor
Nikolay Mikhaylovich Volkov has stated that he intends to, "support every valuable initiative maintained by our local Jewish organizations". The Birobidzhan Synagogue
Synagogue
opened in 2004 on the 70th anniversary of the region's founding in 1934.

JEWISH HISTORY BY COUNTRY OR REGION

Main article: Jewish ethnic divisions

For historical and contemporary Jewish populations by country, see Jews
Jews
by country .

* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Austria * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Belarus * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Central Asia * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in the Czech Republic * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in France * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Germany * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in the Land of Israel * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Latin America and the Caribbean * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
under Muslim
Muslim
rule * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Poland
Poland
* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Romania

* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Russia

* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union

* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Serbia * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Ukraine

* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in the United Kingdom

* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in England * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in Scotland * Resettlement of the Jews
Jews
in England

* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in the United States
United States

* American Jews
Jews
* History
History
of the Jews
Jews
in New York

SEE ALSO

* Antisemitism * Crypto- Judaism * Historical Jewish population comparisons * History
History
of the Jews
Jews
during World War II
World War II
* Jew * Jewish diaspora * Jewish population * Jews
Jews
by country * Jewish Science * Jewish ethnic divisions * Jewish refugees * Jewish exodus from Arab lands * Josephus , a famous Jewish historian from Roman times * Judaism * Lists of Jews
Jews
* Timeline of Jewish history * Timeline of women rabbis in America * Jewish emancipation * Jewish question

NOTES

* ^ _A_ _B_ "Jewish Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
Winners". jinfo.org. * ^ Neusner 1992 , p. 4. * ^ http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/children-of-israel/ * ^ "Were Jews
Jews
ever really slaves in Egypt, or is Passover a myth?". _Haaretz_. * ^ _A_ _B_ Dever, William G. (2002). _What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?_. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-8028-2126-3 . p. 99 * ^ Finkelstein, Israel
Israel
and Nadav Naaman, eds. (1994). _From Nomadism to Monarchy: Archaeological and Historical Aspects of Early Israel_. Israel
Israel
Exploration Society . ISBN 978-1-880317-20-4 . CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * ^ Compare: Ian Shaw ; Robert Jameson. Ian Shaw, ed. _A Dictionary of Archaeology_ (New edition (17 Feb 2002) ed.). Wiley Blackwell. p. 313. ISBN 978-0-631-23583-5 . The Biblical account of the origins of the people of Israel
Israel
(principally recounted in Numbers, Joshua
Joshua
and Judges) often conflicts with non-Biblical textual sources and with the archaeological evidence for the settlement of Canaan
Canaan
in the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Israel
Israel
is first textually attested as a political entity in Egyptian texts of the late 13th century BC and the Egyptologist Donald Redford argues that the Israelites must have been emerging as a distinct group within the Canaanite culture during the century or so prior to this. It has been suggested that the early Israelites were an oppressed rural group of Canaanites who rebelled against the more urbanized coastal Canaanites (Gottwald 1979). Alternatively, it has been argued that the Israelites were survivors of the decline in the fortunes of Canaan
Canaan
who established themselves in the highlands at the end of the late Bronze Age (Ahlstrom 1986: 27). Redford, however, makes a good case for equating the very earliest Israelites with a semi-nomadic people in the highlands of central Palestine whom the Egyptians called Shasu (Redford 1992:2689-80; although see Stager 1985 for strong arguments against the identification with the Shasu). These Shasu were a persistent thorn in the side of the Ramessid pharoahs' empire in Syria-Palestine, well-attested in Egytian texts, but their pastoral lifestyle has left scant traces in the archaeological record. By the end of the 13th century BC, however, the Shasu/ Israelites were beginning to establish small settlements in the uplands, the architecture of which closely resembles contemporary Canaanite villages. * ^ Killebrew, Ann E. (2005). _Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An Archeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, and Early Israel, 1300–1100 B.C.E._ Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-58983-097-4 . Retrieved August 12, 2012. Much has been made of the scarcity of pig bones at highland sites. Since small quantities of pig bones do appear in Late Bronze Age assemblages, some archaeologists have interpreted this to indicate that the ethnic identity of the highland inhabitants was distinct from Late Bronze Age indigenous peoples (see Finkelstein 1997, 227-30). Brian Hesse and Paula Wapnish (1997) advise caution, however, since the lack of pig bones at Iron I highland settlements could be a result of other factors that have little to do with ethnicity. * ^ Compare: "Brief History of Israel and the Jewish People". Israel
Israel
Science and Technology Directory. Retrieved August 12, 2012. The rule of Israelites in the land of Israel
Israel
starts with the conquests of Joshua
Joshua
(ca. 1250 BCE). The period from 1000-587 BCE is known as the 'Period of the Kings'. The most noteworthy kings were King David (1010-970 BCE), who made Jerusalem
Jerusalem
the Capital of Israel, and his son Solomon
Solomon
(Shlomo, 970-931 BCE), who built the first Temple in Jerusalem as prescribed in the Tanach (Old Testament). * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_

* Allegro, John. _The chosen people: A study of Jewish history
Jewish history
from the time of the exile until the revolt of Bar Kocheba_ (Andrews UK Limited, 2015). * Botticini, Maristella, and Zvi Eckstein. _The chosen few: How education shaped Jewish history, 70-1492_ (Princeton University Press, 2012). * Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. _Atlas of Jewish history_ (Routledge, 2013). * Kobrin, Rebecca and Adam Teller, eds. _Purchasing Power: The Economics of Modern Jewish History_. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. viii, 355 pp. Essays by scholars focused on Europe. * Neusner, Jacob
Jacob
(1992). _A Short History
History
of Judaism_. Fortress Press. * Sachar, Howard M. _The course of modern Jewish history_ (Vintage, 2013). * Schloss, Chaim. _2000 Years of Jewish History_ (2002), Heavily illustrated popular history. * Weiner, Miriam; Polish State Archives (in cooperation with) (1997). _Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories_. Secaucus, NJ: Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation. ISBN 978-0-96-565080-9 . OCLC 38756480 . * Weiner, Miriam; Ukrainian State Archives (in cooperation with); Moldovan National Archives (in cooperation with) (1999). _Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories_. Secaucus, NJ: Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation. ISBN 978-0-96-565081-6 . OCLC 607423469 .

EXTERNAL LINKS

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History
Resource Center. Project of