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Judaism Powered By Docstoc
 A History
c. 1800 – 300 BCE
According to tradition, the Jewish religion began
with God’s first Covenant to Abraham – Abraham
promised to worship Yahweh alone and Yahweh
promised to make Abraham’s descendants as
numerous as stars in the land of Palestine
                Slavery in Egypt
• According to the Book of
  Genesis, the descendants
  of Abraham (the
  Hebrews) fled into Egypt
  to escape famine, where
  they were eventually
• The Exodus – the
  Hebrews fled from Egypt
  after God inflicted Ten
  Plagues on the Egyptians
The Jewish Law , including the Ten
Commandments, was given to Moses on
Mt. Sinai
The Kingdom of Israel

The Hebrew people first established a nation
under King David around 1000 BCE. David
and his army quickly conquered most of the
surrounding nations, bringing about a period
of peace and prosperity for the people who
are now called “Israelites”.
David was also known for composing many hymns to
Yahweh which became the basis of the Biblical book of
The Kingdom of Israel reached its political
and economic height during the reign of
David’s son, Solomon
Solomon’s Temple
        The Divided Kingdom
• After the death of Solomon, the Kingdom of
  Israel split into North and South
• The Northern Kingdom was conquered by the
  Assyrians in 726 BCE
• The Southern Kingdom was conquered by the
  Babylonians in 586 BCE and most of its
  population was taken into Exile in Babylon
• The Exile lasted until Babylon was conquered
  by the Persians in 536 BCE.
• The Persian king Cyrus the Great allowed the
  exiles to return home and begin rebuilding
  Jerusalem and their Temple the next year
The Torah was completed some time
during the fifth century BCE and may
have been first read to the Jewish people
by Ezra after their return from the
Babylonian Exile
322 BCE – 135 CE
Alexander the Great
 Conquered Israel in 322 BCE
• Alexander’s successors imposed a policy
  known as Hellenization – attempting to bring
  Greek culture, philosophy and religion to all
  the people of Alexander’s Empire
• This policy reached its height during the reign
  of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who made the
  practice of the Jewish religion illegal and
  punishable by death
• This lead to the . . . .
Maccabean Revolt

                   Led by Judah Maccabee,
                   the Jews defeated the
                   Syrians, re-dedicated
                   their Temple to Yahweh
                   and established the
                   Hasmonean Kingdom,
                   ruled by Judah’s brother,
This rebellion would be the origin of the
Jewish festival of Hanukah, which
celebrates the miraculous re-dedication
of the Temple
The Hasmonean Kingdom will last for
nearly 100 years. During this time -
• The Sanhedrin – a religious body of priests,
  scholars, lawyers and political leaders will be
• The Pharisees – a religious group who believe
  that the Law must be interpreted to meet the
  needs of contemporary Jews, will be established
• The Essenes – a monastic group who are waiting
  the “Teacher of Righteousness”, establish their
  monastery at Qumran near the Dead Sea
               The Romans
• The Roman general Pompey brought troops to
  Jerusalem to end a dispute between two rival
  claimants to the Hasmonean throne
• Those troops never left
• Gradually, between 60 BCE and 4 CE, the
  Romans increased their authority in Israel,
  ruling through Roman procurators and client
          Herod’s Temple

Begun by Herod the Great in 19 BCE, it took over
            70 years to complete
    Roman occupation and oppression
              led to. . . .

•   The formation of the Zealots
•   Numerous small rebellions and assassinations
•   The Jewish Revolt of 66 – 70 CE
•   The Bar Kochba Revolt of 135 CE
•   The Diaspora
The Destruction of Jerusalem
Detail from the Arch of Titus in Rome
135 – 600 CE
          “Council of Jamnia”
• Shortly before 70 CE, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai
  established a rabbinical school in Jamnia
• Rabbis there are credited with establishing
  modern rabbinical Judaism
• The Jewish canon of the Bible was decided upon
• Christianity and Judaism officially split around
  80 CE when the Jamnia rabbis expelled
  Christians from the synagogues
• The decisions of the rabbis at Jamnia and the
  compilation of the Talmud resulted in the
  development of what is called “Rabbinical
• Judaism has changed very little from the
  religion that developed between 70 and 500
  CE and today
                  The Talmud
• Prior to 70 CE, most discussions on the Law (the “Oral
  Torah”) were not written down
• Two major schools of interpreting the Law developed
  – The School of Hillel and the School of Shammai
• After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple,
  and the dispersion of religious leaders, it was
  important for the preservation of the Jewish religion
  to collect the decisions of the Oral Torah
• This became the Talmud
• The Talmud consists of the Mishnah and the Gemara
The Mishnah
• Collected sayings and decisions of rabbis
  between 70 – 200 CE
• Edited by Rabbi Judah haNasi and his son,
  Rabbi Yehuda Nesi'ah
The Gemara
• Word means “completion”
• Rabbinical commentaries on and analysis of
  statements found in the Mishnah
• Compiled in both Babylon and Palestine
  between 350 and 500 CE
Babylonian Talmud
600 – 1200 CE
• The Muslim religion was founded by the
  Prophet Muhammad c. 622
• After Muhammad’s death, Islam spread
  quickly throughout the Middle East and
  Northern Africa
• In 711, the Muslims conquered the Visigothic
  Kingdom of Spain
• From the beginning, Jews were welcomed in
  Muslim Spain
Influential Jews
• Hasdai ibn Shaprut – court physician to Caliph
  Abd al-Rahman, poet and patron of Jewish
  studies at the University of Cordoba early in
  the 10th century
• Samuel Ha-Naqid ibn Nagreb – vizier and
  commander of the army of the King of
  Granada; poet
• Judah HaLevi – poet and philosopher
            Moses ben Maimon
• Born in Cordoba in 1135
• Studied to be a physician
  and was the physician to
  Saladin and his family
• Formulated the Thirteen
  Principles of Faith
• Wrote an extensive
  commentary on the
• Considered to be one of
  the greatest Torah
  scholars of all time
• Born in Troyes France in
• Wrote an extensive
  commentary on the
  Talmud and helped
  establish an authoritative
  edition of the books
• His commentary on the
  Tanakh, especially the
  Torah, is used by Jews
  today to study the weekly
During this period Jews developed into two
distinct cultural groups:
    • Ashkenazim = European
    • Sephardim = Spanish and Middle Eastern

These groups have distinct language and
cultural differences that remain among their
descendants today
1200 – 1700 CE
• Medieval Christians blamed all Jews for the
  crucifixion of Christ
• Many Christians believed Jews to be the
  enemies of all Christians and thought that ,
  given the opportunity, they would crucify
  Christ again
• Some Christians believed that Jews were in
  league with Satan
 A period of sporadic persecution
• Although the Catholic Church condemned the
  persecution of Jews and excommunicated
  those who did, official Church condemnation
  had little effect on anti-Jewish feelings or
  activities throughout Medieval Europe.

• Jews were blamed for everything bad that
  happened – war, famine and plague
Laws against Jews:
• Forbidden to own land
• Often required to wear special clothing that
  identified them as Jews
• Expelled from:
     • England (1290)
     • France (1394)
     • The Germanies (1350-1450)
     • Spain (1492)
Many Jews went into medicine or money
lending (banking) because those were
practically the only careers open to them
Medieval Anti-Semitism
               “Blood Libel”

Jews were accused
of murdering
Christian children
to use their blood
in religious rituals
                        Fresco in a Polish Church
Desecrating the Consecrated Host
                • Jews were accused
                  of stabbing, burning
                  or otherwise
                  destroying the
                  consecrated host
                • Many Christians
                  believed Jews were
                  killing Christ again
   Jews were accused of poisoning wells and
causing the Black Death – even though as many
 Jews died during the Plague as did Christians
                The Crusades
• During the First Crusade, crusading armies
  frequently attacked Jewish communities in
  Eastern Europe
• Crusaders believed that it was only logical to
  exterminate the enemies of Christ at home
  before moving on to remove His enemies from
  His Holy Land
• This was especially true of the followers of
  Peter the Hermit during the so-called “People’s
• 800 Jews were
  massacred in Worms
• 1,100 were killed in
• Several hundred in
• Nearly the entire Jewish
  population of Jerusalem
  was killed when the
  Crusaders took the city
  in 1099
As a result of six centuries of persecution,
  forced baptisms, and expulsions, there
    were very few Jews left in Western
          Europe by the year 1700
1700 - today
During the Middle Ages, when the Jews were
expelled from most European countries, many
had been welcomed in Eastern Europe,
especially Poland, and in areas of the Balkans
controlled by the Ottomans
 The Russian “Pale of Settlement”
• Established by Empress Catherine the Great in
  1793 along Russia’s western border
• Nearly all Russian Jews were required to live
• At one point, 40% of the world’s Jews lived
  within the Pale
• Most lived in shtetl’s = small villages
The “Pale”
                             A Russian-Jewish
                             teacher with his
A thriving Jewish culture    students
developed within the
Pale, including:
• development of the
Yiddish language
•Religious schools equal
to the top universities in
•Development of
pietistic groups within
Judaism, such as
              Sholom Aleichem
• Russian-Jewish author
  whose stories chronicle
  life in the Russian Pale
• Wrote in Yiddish
• Stories became best
  sellers throughout Europe
  and the United States
• Most famous – the story
  of Tevye the Milkman
           Jewish Immigration
• After Jews were wrongly blamed for the
  assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881,
  persecution (called pogroms) increased
• Russian Jews began to emigrate back into
  Western Europe
• Over 2 million went to the United States
• A smaller number began to go to Palestine
The Soviet government abolished the
Pale in 1917 – but the majority of Russian
Jews continued to live there until World
War II
         Jewish Emancipation
• France was the first country to allow Jews
  equal rights in 1789
• Other Western European nations quickly
• By 1900, most Jews had assimilated into
  European culture
           New Movements
• Haskalah – stresses assimilated into general
  culture; sending Jewish children to public
  schools, while still remaining Jews
• Reform Judaism – modern approach to Jewish
  laws and rituals
• Zionism – movement to establish a Jewish
  homeland in Palestine
      The “New” Anti-Semitism
• Anti-Semitism prior to 1800 had been based
  on Judaism as a religion – the Jews had killed
  Christ and needed to be punished for it
• After the mid-1800, anti-Semitism tended to
  be racist – the Jews as a race were inferior to
  the European Aryans and so needed to be
• These ideas were based on Social-Darwinism
  “Protocols of the Elders of Zion
• Written c. 1903 in Russia
• Anti-Jewish propaganda possibly written by
  members of the Cheka
• Details a Jewish plot to control the world
  through wars, control of banking, and other
• Still widely published and read today
                    The Shoah
• Nazi’s came to power in
  Germany in 1933
• Nuremberg Laws – 1935
• Kristallnacht – Nov. 9,
• More than 200
  synagogues burned and
  thousands of Jewish
  businesses and homes
• Many Jewish religious and    Interior of burned out Berlin
  political leaders taken to   synagogue after Kristallnacht
  concentration camps
   Establishment of the Ghettoes
• Beginning in 1940 after
  the conquest of Poland
• Jews from all over
  Europe deported to
• The largest was in

              Ghetto wall, Warsaw
 Warsaw Ghetto

Over 75,000 people died of starvation
and disease
The Big Question –
 How to eradicate 8 million Jews from Europe?

“I ask nothing of the Jews except that they
   should disappear”
                 Hans Frank, Nazi Governor of Poland
            The Einsatzgruppen
• German SS troops and
  local police and militia
• Ukraine and other parts
  of the western Soviet
• Jews were forced to dig
  their graves, then shot
    15% of Jewish population
     of the occupied territories
     killed this way, including:
•    Babi Yar (Kiev) - 33,770
•    Odessa – 36,000
•    Riga – 25,000
•    Transnistria – 40,000

    But this was too slow and
    took too high a toll on the
    soldiers doing the killing!
                                   The Memorial to the children
                                        killed at Babi Yar
              The Final Solution
• The Wannsee
  Conference, Jan. 24, 1942
• Hitler, Eichmann, Muller,
  and 12 other Nazi leaders
• Decided that the 8 million
  Jews in Nazi controlled
  territory would be taken
  to extermination camps
  and gassed once they
  could no longer work         Auschwitz-Birkenau
Deportations and Camps
“Work Makes Free!”

                     “Selections” at Birkenau –
                          - Go to the right = gas chambers
                          - Go to the left = slave labor and a
                          small chance to survive
     The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
• End of 1942, residents of
  the ghetto learned of the
  existence of the Death
• Decided to fight rather
  than die quietly
• Began Jan., 1943 and
  ended May 16, 1943
• 13,000 Jews died fighting;   Deportations from the Warsaw
  another 50,000 captured              Ghetto, 1942
  and sent to Treblinka
German soldiers in the ghetto

                 Women resistance fighters after
                                being arrested
The Warsaw Ghetto after the Uprising
               Jewish Resistance
• Treblinka, 1943 – 200
• Uprisings in the Bialystok
  and Vilna ghettoes in
• 1943 600 Jewish and
  Russian prisoners escape
  from Sobibor death camp
• Jewish partisan units
  fought throughout
  eastern Europe behind
  enemy lines
                               Jewish partisans in Belorussia
           The End of the War
• Allied troops began
  liberating the death
  camps in 1945
• Although most records
  had been destroyed, it
  is estimated that 6
  millions Jews had died
  – over 2/3 of Europe’s
  Jewish population
1918 - 1950
• “Dreyfus Affair” – anti-
  Semitism in France
• Jews realized that even
  in Enlightened nations
  there was still latent
• Jews need their own
  homeland to be
  completely safe
            Theodore Herzl –
         “The Father of Zionism”
• Viennese journalist who
  covered the Dreyfus
• Wrote “The Jewish
  State” – Jews must have
  their own homeland!
• Founded the World
  Zionist Organization in
          Jewish Immigration
• Small numbers of ultra-Orthodox Jews had
  lived in Palestine for centuries
• After 1880, Russian Jews began to emigrate to
  Palestine and bought land for farms and
  villages from Arab landowners
• The Hebrew language is resurrected and
• 1909 the city of Tel Aviv is begun
        The Balfour Declaration
• In return for Jewish support during WWI, the
  British promise to support the establishment of a
  Jewish State in Palestine after the war
• After the War, the League of Nations gives Britain
  a “Mandate” to establish both a Jewish and an
  Arab State in Palestine
• Increased Jewish immigration after 1917 leads to
  anti-Jewish riots led by Arabs religious leaders –
  Britain stalls on implementing the Mandate
                     1917 – 1939

                            Mohammed Amin al-Husayni,
  Chaim Weizmann –
                            Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and
Zionist leader and first
                            leading opponent of a Jewish
  President of Israel
• Britain restricted Jewish immigration to
  Palestine from 1939 – 1948
• 1948 – the United Nations voted to establish
  two nations in Palestine – a Jewish state and
  an Arab one
• Arab leaders immediately objected and
  promised to attack the new State of Israel as
  soon as the British pulled out
Partition of Palestine
           • Partition was based on
             population density –
             those areas strongly
             Jewish would become
           • Jerusalem was to be
             administered by the
             United Nations
Declaration of the new State of Israel
            May 14, 1948
• Arab nations attacked
  Israel as soon as the
  nation declared its
• The war lasted for
  nearly a year
• Israel gained territory
• Jerusalem was divided
Israel and her Arab neighbors have gone to war
several more times since 1948:
• Suez War (1956) against Egypt
• “Six Day War”(1968) against Egypt, Jordan and
• “Yom Kippur War” (1973) against Syria and Egypt

• After the Yom Kippur War the United States was
  instrumental in working out a peace agreement
  (The Camp David Accords) between Israel and
Since 1973 most of Israel’s battles have been
against groups that sponsor terrorism such as the
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) or
Hammas. These groups are often sponsored by
Syria and/or Iran

Jews worldwide as well as the United Nations and
 especially the Unite States support the continued
 right of the Nation of Israel to exist – even though
 they often disagree with Israel’s policies,
 especially as regards the treatment of
• There are a little over 13 million Jews in he
  world today
• Nearly 6 million Jews live in Israel (41%)
• About 5 million Jews live in the U.S.
• Only 1 ½ million Jews live in Europe
• The remainder are scattered through Asian
  Russia, Latin America, Canada and Australia
American Jews
• Jewish immigrants first
  arrived here during the
  early colonial period
• During the early 1880s,
  many Jews emigrated
  from Germany
• During the late 1800s,
  Jews came from Eastern
  Europe and Russia
The Tuoro Synagogue in Rhode Island, built in 1759,
    is the oldest synagogue in the United States
Famous American Jews include:
•   Film director and actor Woody Allen
•   Science Fiction writer Isaac Asimov
•   Singer and composer Neil Diamond
•   Actor Richard Dreyfuss
•   Physicist Albert Einstein
•   U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner
    Henry Kissinger
•   Comedians the Marx Brothers
•   Director of the Manhattan Project Robert
•   Actress Sarah Jessica Parker
•   Comedian Adam Sandler
• Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
• Director Stephen Spielberg
• Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Spitz
• Feminist Gloria Steinem
• Actress and singer Barbra Streisand
• Currently 13 members of the U.S. Senate are
  Jewish, including both the Senators from
• Joe Lieberman, Al Gore’s running mate in the
  2000 Presidential election, is Jewish

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