Sincerely yours, Ronen Rabinovici
Approved and recommended by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
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In the beginning God created the world and everything in it in six days. Man was created, only after everything else was ready, on the sixth day. Jewish years begin with the creation of the first man. The year 2012 CE corresponds to the Hebrew year 5772. Therefore Genesis, that is dated to the Hebrew year 0, is dated to the year 3761 BCE in the Gregorian Calendar.
On account of man's wickedness, God resolved to destroy all mankind and animals by a flood. For his righteousness, only Noah and his family were excepted together with pairs of every living species.
As mankind tried to “reach the sky“ God scattered it abroad upon the face of all the earth. The place where this took place in was named “Babel,“ meaning “confusion” in Hebrew, since there God confounded the language of the earth.
God appeared to Abraham with a promise of offspring and their subsequent inheritance of the Land of Israel - between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates.
The greatest trial of the patriarch's life came when God bade him offer up his only son as a burnt offering. Eventually, an angel of the Lord restrained him, once more delivering the prophecy that the patriarch's seed should be “as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore,“ and that in them all the nations of the earth should be blessed.
When the famine grew severe in Canaan, Jacob sent his sons into Egypt to buy corn, Later he went to Egypt with his eleven sons and their children, numbering altogether sixty-six, Joseph meeting him in Goshen.
The departure, under the leadership of Moses, of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. The Torah was given shortly after at Mount Sinai, by God revealing to all the Israelites, and not to a single prophet, as the case usually is in other religions.
David, desired to build a temple for God, but was not permitted to do so because he was engaged in wars. His son, King Solomon, built the First Temple.
King Solomon's death led to the division of the kingdom into two: Judah and Israel (also named Samaria). The division led to political and spiritual deterioration. Wars and assimilation became common.
Around two hundred years after the division of the kingdom, the Assyrian Empire conquered the kingdom of Israel. The remaining population of the ten tribes of Israel either fled to Judah or were exiled to Assyria.
Babylonian conquest brings terrible devastation, destruction and exile. Those who remain are poor and incompetent. The day the Temple was burned, Tisha B'Av, was set to be a fast day.
Assassination of Gedalia, governor of Palestine. The Babylonian response was destructive. A fast day was set to commemorate the terrible event and its consequences.
Cyrus of Persia allows Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. About 50,000 return led by Zerubbabel. Ezra and Nehemiah lead other Alyia waves and spiritual revival.
The event, told in the Book of Esther, is the source of Fast of Esther Day and Purim, celebrated since then on the fourteenth of Adar (and Shushan Purim on the 15th of Adar).
The Jews that returned to Zion finally succeeded in building the 2nd Temple on the ruins of the previous one. In the process they had to overcome many difficulties including violent opposition from the neighboring tribes.
Maccabbean Revolt rose against the Greek Empire, as its king Antiochus outlawed Jewish traditions and ordered a pagan altar to be set up in the Temple at Jerusalem. The revolt succeeded and the temple was dedicated. Hanukkah, celebrated during eight days from the twenty-fifth day of Kislew (December), chiefly as a festival of lights, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, to be celebrated annually with mirth and joy as a memorial of the dedication of the altar.
Roman army led by Titus to suppress the Jewish Big Revolt did so brutally. The suffering in Jerusalem was terrible. According to Josephus, even before the siege was ended, 600,000 bodies had been thrown out of the gates. On the 17th of Tamuz the Romans entered Jerusalem. On the 9th of Av they destroyed the Temple. Both days were set to be fast days ever since. Many of the inhabitants were killed or carried off and sold as slaves in the Roman markets.
Roman anti-Jewish laws lead to the Bar-Kokhva Revolt. Although successful at first, the revolt was firmly suppressed after three years. As many as 580,000 Jews fell in battle, not including those who succumbed to hunger and pestilence. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would vanish. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed.
Caliph Abd al-Malik completes the construction of the shrine “Dome of the Rock” on the Jewish Temple's ruins in Jerusalem.
The Chazars' King felt that God appeared to him in a dream and promised him might and glory. The King questioned the Mohammedans, the Christians and the Jews about their religions. Following his research he decided to adopt Judaism. Rabbi Yehuda Halevi uses this story as a platform to explain the Jewish Philosophy in his book the “Kuzari”.
The crusades were expeditions from western Europe to bring Jerusalem and the holy places back to the hands of Christians. The mobs accompanying the first three Crusades attacked the Jews in Europe and Israel, and put many of them to death. The Jews of Jerusalem, as in other places in Israel, were slaughtered as the first crusade conquered it in 1099.
Most countries in Central and Western Europe expelled their Jews between the 12th and the 15th centuries. England did so in 1290. The expulsions were generally accompanied by robbing their belongings and nationalizing their houses. Occasionally the Jews were allowed to come back and then robbed and expelled again after several years.
The Black-Death was a violent pestilence which ravaged Europe between 1348, and 1351, and is said to have carried off nearly half the population. A myth arose, especially in Germany, that the spread of the disease was due to a plot of the Jews to destroy Christians by poisoning the wells from which they obtained. All over Europe mobs against Jews arose and thousands of them were slain over these false accusations.
Casimir The Great, King of Poland grants rights to the Jews. Poland therefore attracts Jewish immigration from Germany and Russia and as a result becomes the most important Jewish center of Europe.
An edict of expulsion was issued against the Jews of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella (March 31, 1492). It ordered all Jews and Jewesses of whatever age to leave the kingdom in 4 months, leaving their houses, gold, silver, and money. Approximately 200 thousand fled Spain, 50,000 converted, and dozens of thousands were killed or died from diseases on the journey.
Moreinu ha-Rav Loew, the Maharal, establishes his academy in Prague and thus contributes to Jewish education and evolvement.
Led by Chmielnicki the Ukrainians slain between 100,000 to 300,000 Jews in less than 2 years. Terrible massacres spread over the course of the next ten years to Poland, Russia and Lithuania killing dozens to hundreds of thousands Jews.
Hasidism movement arose among the Polish Jews and won over nearly half of the Jewish masses there. It was founded by the Ba'al Shem Tov. His teachings assign the first place in religion not to religious dogma and ritual, but to the sentiment and the emotion of faith. This change gave rise to an opposition movement called the “Mitnagdim” led by the Vilna Ga'on, that most valued man's Talmudic learning and traditional rituals and prayers.
Napoleon has published a proclamation in which he invites all the Jews of Asia and Africa to gather under his flag in order to re-establish the ancient Jerusalem.
Big changes in European society influenced its Jewish world. Emancipation, enlightenment, assimilation and the appearance of the Reform and the Orthodox movements are some of the main results.
Accusation of ritual murder brought against the Jews of Damascus in 1840. The affair shook the Jewish world.
Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army was falsely accused of spying, as an indirect result of antisemitism. The novelist Emile Zola published under the title “J'Accuse,“ an open letter to the president of the republic, an eloquent philippic against the enemies “of truth and justice.“
The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel with the initiative and leadership of Herzl. The Congress was a Zionist parliament with Jews represented from all over the world. It was initiated in order to discuss and make decisions regarding the Jewish nation and the ways to achieve Jewish sovereignty and national aspirations.
Wave of pogroms in Russia, including the most known Kishinev pogrom, began in 1881 and continued for over 40 years. Dozens of thousands were murdered. The pogroms had great impact on migrations (more than - 2 million Jews migrated mainly to America) and the development of Zionism.
The Nazi criminals and their collaborators murdered 6 million Jews systematically and cold blooded, as they intended to perish the existence of Israel. In memory of the Holocaust victims, the State of Israel set a national memorial day on the 27th of Nisan.
The State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 with the declaration of independence made by the Jewish People's Council, led by David Ben Gurion.
Jacob and his sons were 70 people as they descended to Egypt, apart from their wives. We can assume that Jacob's house-hold members also joined. It is told that Abraham had 318 men. Therefore, we can assume that Jacob and his sons also had several hundred “Household Members“ - men, women and children.
After the exodus, in the year 1313 BCE the Israelites counted more than 600 thousand men over the age of 20. Therefore, having a population of around 2.5 million.
Around the year 1000 BCE, just before the monarchy began, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 3.4 million.
Around the year 960 BCE, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 5 million. This comes from King David's census that counted a total 1.3 million adult males, indicating a total population of about 5 million people.
Around the year 720 BCE Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 1.3 million. The big drop in population was caused by wars and assimilation that came as a result of the kingdom's split to Judah and Israel after King Solomon passed away.
Around the year 700 BCE Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 0.8 million. The drop in population was caused by the Assyrian conquest and exile of Israel's 10 tribes.
Around the year 585 BCE, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 0.3 million, most of which lived outside the land of Israel, as a result of the Babylonian conquest and exile.
Around the year 515 BCE, the total Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 0.3 million. Approximately half lived in Israel after the Return to Zion was allowed by the Persian Empire.
Around the year 65 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 4.35 million. Approximately half living in the Land of Israel, and the other half outside of Israel, in its surrounding countries.
Around the year 70 CE, after the great revolt was brutally suppressed, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 2 million. The Romans killed many, and took many others as slaves. This gave birth to the European diaspora.
Around the year 135 CE, after the Bar-Kochva revolt was brutally suppressed, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.5 million. It was estimated that 580,000 Jews were killed during that war.
Around the year 1100 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. Crusaders killed Jews on their way to the Land of Israel and in it.
Around the year 1351 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. Thousands of Jews were murdered as christians in Europe blamed them for causing the black plague.
Around the year 1500 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. That was a few years after the expulsion from Spain, which deported about 100,000 Jews to the Ottoman Empire, Asia and Africa. About 50,000 Jews were converted. Presumably, some tens of thousands were killed.
Around the year 1650 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. As more than 100,000 Jews were slaughtered in Poland and Lithuania.
Around the year 1882 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 7.8 million. Fast natural growth in European population. Pogroms in eastern Europe lead to casualties and immigration waves to America.
In the year 1939 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 16.6 million. Fast natural growth in Europe and America.
In the year 1945 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 11.4 million. The Nazi criminals and their collaborators murdered 6 million Jews systematically and cold blooded, in an attempt to demenish the existence of Israel.
In the year 2010 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 13.5 million. Today the State of Israel is the largest Jewish center in the world, with approximately 6 million Jews. It had less than a tenth of that number of Jews only 64 years ago when it was established.
During the Bronze Era, prior to the conquest of Israel by the Israelites, the Land of Israel was occupied by a number of small nations called the Canaanites. The Canaanites lived most of this period under Egyptian hegemony. Edited from Wikipedia.
After wondering 40 years in the desert, following the Exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel occupied the land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua (appointed by Moses before his death). The occupation was gradual and the Israeli tribes frequently suffered from wars with neighboring nations. Prosperity began as the tribes united to form the monarchy. Prosperity and peace peaked during the reigning of King Solomon. This enabled him to build the First Temple in Jerusalem. With his death the kingdom split.
After the death of Solomon, all the Israelite tribes except for Judah and Benjamin refused to accept Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, as their king. The rebellion against Rehoboam arose after he refused to lighten the burden of taxation that his father had imposed on his subjects. Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem and Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem. The northern kingdom continued to be called the Kingdom of Israel or Israel, while the southern kingdom was called the kingdom of Judah. The split of the kingdom weakened both sides and led to internal and external wars as well as assimilation.
Assyria conquered Israel but not Judah. The remaining population of the ten conquered tribes either fled to Judah or were exiled.
Babylon conquered the Assyrian Empire and Judah. Doing so they exiled the Jews and destroyed the first Temple.
The Persian Empire conquered Babylon and replaced it as the region's ruler and the world's greatest empire yet. Cyrus the Great, the Persian king, permitted the Jews that were exiled by Babylon to return to their land and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
Greece, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, conquered Persia and took its place as the region's empire. The relationships with the Jews were good at first but deteriorated after Alexander's death.
Antiochus Epiphanes, King of the Greek-Seleucid Empire, outlawed the Jewish religious practices and desecrated the holy sites. These actions led to a national revolt led by the Maccabees. The revolt succeeded and the temple was dedicated. Hanukkah, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, to be celebrated annually with mirth and joy as a memorial of the dedication of the altar. The Maccabees succeeded in gaining full independence a few years later, and that is how the Hasmonean State was born.
The Roman Empire easily swallowed the Hasmonean State. This huge empire was one of the cruelest and most devastating for the Jewish people. It destructed the Second Temple, and later on firmly suppressed the Bar-Kochva revolt. In each war the Romans massacred hundreds of thousands of Jews, exiled and enslaved many others. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would vanish. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed.
The Roman Empire was split into Western Rome and Eastern Rome, which was later named Byzantine.
The Arabs fought Byzantine for a couple of years before they eventually won and took its place in the land of Israel and Syria.
The first Crusade started its journey to Israel in 1096. Its goal was to gain Christian rule over Jerusalem. Three years later it succeeded. The mobs accompanying the Crusades attacked the Jews in Europe and Israel, and put many of them to death. The Jews of Jerusalem, as in other places in Israel, were slaughtered as the first crusade conquered it in 1099. This was the end of a stable large Jewish community in Israel until the modern era.
The Mamluks were non-Arab Muslims, who were first slaves and later took over Egypt. As Egypt's leaders they led a war and defeated the Mongolians and thus secured rule over Israel and Syria.
The Sultan Selim I led the Ottoman Empire to the east. In the year 1516 he defeated the Mamluk Sultanate and took over its dependencies including the land of Israel.
The Land of Israel was conquered during the First World War by Great Britain. A few years later, the League of Nations passed an instrument granting Britain a mandate over the area. The purpose of the Mandate, as defined by the League of Nations, was to prepare a national home for the Jewish people on that territory. The territory included the land that is occupied today by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The British did not follow the Mandate they were given. Less than twenty years later Europe's Jews (that did not have their own homeland) were killed by the Nazi criminals and their supporters.
The State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 with the declaration of independence made by the Jewish People's Council, led by David Ben Gurion. It is today the largest Jewish center in the world, with approximately 6 million Jews. It had less than a tenth of that number of Jews only 64 years ago when it was established.
The period between Abraham and Moses.
The period from the entrance of the Israelite tribes to the Land of Israel after the Exodus until the coronation of King Saul.
The period from the coronation of King Saul to Ezra the Scribe.
The period from Ezra the Scribe to the first Zugot.
The Zugot (couples in Hebrew) were the couples that stood at the head of the Sanhedrin. One as president and the other as father of the court. Jose ben Joezer, and Jose ben Johanan were the first couple (during the time of the Maccabees). Hillel and Shammai were the last and probably most known couple.
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages that came after Hillel and Shammai. Their main work and legacy was the Mishna, that was compiled by the last Ta'na Rabbi Judah HaNasi. His death signs the end of the Tannaim period.
The term Amora was applied to the teachers that flourished during a period of about three hundred years, from the time of the death of the patriarch R. Judah I. (about 210) to the completion of the Babylonian Talmud (about 500). The activity of the teachers during this period was devoted principally to expounding the Mishnah — the compilation of the patriarch R. Judah — which became the authoritative code of the oral law. This activity was developed as well in the academies of Tiberias, Sepphoris, Cæsarea, and others in Palestine, as in those of Nehardea, Sura, and later of Pumbedita, and in some other seats of learning in Babylonia. In these academies the main object of the lectures and discussions was to interpret the often very brief and concise expression of the Mishnah, to investigate its reasons and sources, to reconcile seeming contradictions, to compare its canons with those of the Baraitot, and to apply its decisions to, and establish principles for, new cases, both real and fictitious, not already provided for in the Mishnah. The Amoraim's work finally became embodied in the Gemara (the Talmud). Credit note: the passage was taken from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.
The principals and scholars of the Babylonian academies in the period immediately following that of the Amoraim. According to an old statement found in a gloss on a curious passage in the Talmud, Rabina, the principal of the Academy of Sura, was regarded as the “end of the hora'ah,“ i.e., as the last Amora. The activity displayed by the Saboraim is described by Sherira, in the following terms: “Afterward [i.e., after Rabina] there was probably no hora'ah [i.e., no independent decision], but there were scholars called Saboraim, who, rendered decisions similar to the hora'ah [i.e. the Talmud as left by the Amoraim], and who gave clear explanations of everything that had been left unsettled.“ Credit note: the passage was taken from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.
The title of “Gaon“ was given to the heads of the academies of Sura, Pumbedita and Israel. For while the Amoraim, through their interpretation of the Mishnah, gave rise to the Talmud, and while the Saboraim definitively edited it, the Geonim's task was to interpret it; for them it became the subject of study and instruction, and they gave religio-legal decisions in agreement with its teachings. The last gaon was Hai Gaon, who died in 1038.
Rishonim are the Rabbinical authorities and scholars that came after the last Gaon (Hai Gaon) and before the period of the Spanish Inquisition and the compilation of the Shulchan Aruch. Amongst the most known Rishonim are Rashi, the Rambam and Ramban.
Achronim are the Rabbinical scholars from the time of the Spanish Inquisition to our days. During this period, the Shulchan Aruch was written, which still serves today as the main source for learning Halachic Laws.
The Neolithic Revolution transformed the small and mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that had hitherto dominated human history into sedentary societies based in built-up villages and towns, which radically modified their natural environment These developments provided the basis for high population density settlements, specialized and complex labor diversification, trading economies, the development of non-portable art, architecture, and culture, centralized administrations and political structures, hierarchical ideologies, and depersonalized systems of knowledge (e.g., property regimes and writing). The first full-blown manifestation of the entire Neolithic complex is seen in the Middle Eastern Sumerian cities (ca. 3,500 BC), whose emergence also inaugurates the end of the prehistoric Neolithic period and the beginning of human society as we know it. Source: edited from Wikipedia (link below).
The coalescing of Egyptian civilization around 3100 BC under the first pharaoh has a great significance as it was the first bureaucracy to control, tax and unite under a single ruler hundreds of thousands of individuals. This proves the existence of a sophisticated and professional bureaucracy that had the ability to take notes and manage huge and organized archives and data-bases.
True writing systems developed from neolithic writing in the Early Bronze Age. The Sumerian archaic writing and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the earliest true writing systems, both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400–3200 BC with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BC. (Source: Wikipedia). Its significance comes from the ability to write down anything that can be expressed, which was impossible before that, since the written symbols was limited to numerous specific words.
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating back to about 1772 BC. It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets. The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth“ (lex talionis) as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man. (Source: Wikipedia)
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Greeks afterParis of Troy took Helen from her husband king of Sparta. The war is one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated through many works of Greek literature. The end of the war came with one final plan. Odysseus devised a giant hollow wooden horse, an animal that was sacred to the Trojans. The hollow horse was filled with soldiers. When the Trojans discovered that the Greeks were gone, believing the war was over, they “joyfully dragged the horse inside the city“. The soldiers from inside the horse emerged and killed the Trojan guards and opened the gates. The Greeks entered the city and killed the sleeping population. (Source of this passage: Wikipedia)
The first known coin was invented in the region of Turkey. Its value was set by the weight and value of the metals that composed it. It had the same value melted or in a different form since its value was the value of its materials. Today money has no material value and most of it is completely virtual on computers. Its value comes only from peoples belief in it.
Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. His work was focused on decreasing human suffering through self help.
Chinese Monarchy, under the Qin dynasty, was the largest in population ever in history up-until then. The form of monarchy survived more than two-thousand years until the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912.
Christians hold Jesus to be the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament. Most Christians believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, performed miracles, founded the Church, died sacrificially by crucifixion to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, from which he will return. The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Today, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. (Source of this passage: Wikipedia)
Before the end of the 1st century, the Roman authorities recognized Christianity as a separate religion from Judaism. The distinction was given official status by the emperor Nerva around the year 98 by granting Christians exemption from paying the humiliating tax imposed by Rome only upon Jews. At first, Christians were persecuted for their belief and refusal to worship the Roman gods or to pay homage to the emperor as divine. Only in 313, Emperor Constantine granted Christians and others “the right of open and free observance of their worship“. By the end of that century Emperor Theodosius I established the Christianity as the official state religion, reserving for its followers the title of Catholic Christians and declaring that those who did not follow were to be called heretics. Pagan worship became formally forbidden. (Source: Wikipedia)
Muhammad was a religious, political, and military leader from Mecca, who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. He is believed by Muslims to be a messenger and prophet of God and, by most Muslims, the last and most important prophet sent by God for mankind. Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity.
Arabic numerals are the ten digits (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). They are descended from the Indian numeral system developed by Indian mathematicians. They were transmitted to Europe in the Middle Ages. The use of Arabic numerals spread around the world through European trade, books and colonialism. The system was revolutionary by including a zero and positional notation. It is considered an important milestone in the development of mathematics. Today they are the most common symbolic representation of numbers in the world. (Source of the passage: Wikipedia)
Printing was invented in China around the year 200 using wood blocks. The first printed book found in the world was printed in China around the year 868. The technology was brought to Europe but the fast global spread of the printing press began with the invention of movable type printing press by Gutenberg in Germany in the 15th century. This revolutionary invention had great effect on humanity as it led to the scientific and industrial revolutions.
The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France and their various allies for control of the French throne. The war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. The first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of the Western Roman Empire were introduced for the war, thus changing the role of the peasantry. In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines and bandit free companies of mercenaries reduced the population by about one-half. (Source: Wikipedia)
The Black Plague reduce Europe's population by about one-third. Christians blamed the Jews for causing the plague (a common rumor was that the Jews poisoned water sources) and thus persecuted them. This led the Jews to flee Western Europe towards the East.
Europe discovered America and opened new frontiers and opportunities. From that point on European imperialism was to search, find, conquer and exploit most of the world.
The Scientific and Industrial Revolutions occurred in Europe and led to its meteoric development. These revolutions eventually enabled this small and insignificant (at that moment) continent to spread out and eventually take over the whole world.
The colonies of North America united and rebelled against Britain. They declared independence in Philadelphia in 1776. Today, the USA is the world's only super power.
The French Revolution (1789–1799), was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a lasting impact on French history and more broadly throughout the world. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed within three years. French society underwent an epic transformation, as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from radical left-wing political groups, masses on the streets, and peasants in the countryside. Old ideas about tradition and hierarchy–of monarchy, aristocracy, and religious authority–were abruptly overthrown by new Enlightenment principles of equality, citizenship and inalienable rights. Since then, in France the Bastille Day, 14th of July, is a public holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)
The largest and most lethal war the world has seen up to that point. More than 18 millions killed as technological development led to more lethal weapons. The war changed completely the former global order.
The largest and most lethal war the world has ever seen. Around 60 million people killed. The atomic bomb was both developed and deployed during that war. Under the war's circumstances the Nazi criminals and their supporters led the Holocaust, in which they systematically murdered around 6 million Jews.
According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve were the first human beings to be created.
Noah was a righteous man in the generation of the big Flood. Thanks to his righteousness he was chosen by God to save humanity and animals. Therefore, all humanity today originates from him.
Abraham and Sarah are the first patriarch and matriarch of the Jewish nation. Parents of Isaac. Abraham is considered to be the founder of monotheism.
Isaac and Rebekah are the second generation of Israel's patriarchs and matriarchs. Parents of Jacob.
Jacob, Lea and Rachel are the third generation of Israel's patriarchs and matriarchs. Jacob was named Israel. Jacob is the father of the Tribes of Israel.
Each one of Jacob's 12 sons became a Tribe of Israel, except for Joseph, that got to be the father of 2 tribes through his Sons: Ephraim and Mannasse. There were thus 13 Tribes of Israel. The land of Israel was divided to only 12 of the tribes since Levi did not get land as its work to serve god and take care of religious duties did not require land.
Moses is the greatest prophet of all times. He led Bnei Israel out of Egypt towards the Land of Israel. He was the one who formed the Israeli Nation. He received the Torah from God on Mount Sinai. His brother Aaron was by his side for aid. He was also the first to serve as a Cohen and the father of all Cohanim.
Joshua was Moses’s apprentice and successor. As such he led Am Israel into the Land of Israel and conducted its occupation.
Deborah was a prophetess, the fourth Judge-Leader of pre-monarchic Israel, counselor and warrior.
Shimshon Ha'gibor (Samason the hero) was a Nazir and the third-to-last Judge of pre-monarchic Israel. He was granted superpowers by God and became a hero warrior fighting Israel's enemies.
Ruth Ha'moavia (of Moab) is known for her great devotion to Am Israel and its God. As such she was granted to be the great grand mother of King David.
Samuel (Shmuel) was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first of the major prophets who began to prophesy inside the Land of Israel. He was thus at the cusp between two eras. He also anointed the first two kings of the Kingdom of Israel: Saul and David. (Source: Wikipedia)
The first King of Israel.
The second King of Israel, as he replaced King Saul. Father of the dynasty that ruled the United Kingdom and then Judah until the destruction of the 1st Temple and the Babylonian exile.
King Solomon, son of King David and Bat-Sheva, is known for his wisdom. Built the 1st Temple in Jerusalem. During his time, the United Kingdom of Israel prospered economically and politically.
Elijah was a famous prophet and a wonder-worker in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab. He fought against worshiping pagan gods (the “Ba'al”). He raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up in a whirlwind of flame (thus never died). Elijah's return is prophesied “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.“
Jeremiah was one of the great prophets. He was active around the time of the destruction of the 1st Temple. As such he played an important role in keeping the nation together after the terrible destruction and exile. He authored the Book of Lamentations, that is recited on the 9th of Av (the day when the Temple was destructed).
Ezekiel was one of the great prophets. He active around the time of the destruction of the 1st Temple. One of his most known prophecies is the Vision of Valley of Dry Bones, where he sees the dead rise again.
Esther and Mordechai saved the Jewish people from the genocide that was planned by a Senior minister of the Persian Empire, Haman.
Ezra and Nehemiah led waves of immigrations of exiled Jews from Babylon back to the Land of Israel. Ezra the Scribe enforced observance of the Torah and fought against mixed marriages. His work has great influence on Jewish life even today.
Yehuda Ha'Macabee (Judah the Hammer) was the head of the Jewish army that fought in the revolt against the Greeks and won.
Herod was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of “the Great“ is widely disputed as he is described as “a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.“ He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the construction of Caesarea. (Source: Wikipedia)
Hillel and Shammai were two leading rabbis of the early 1st century CE who founded opposing schools of Jewish thought, known as the House of Hillel and House of Shammai. The debate between these schools on matters of ritual practice, ethics, and theology was critical for the shaping of the Oral Law and Judaism as it is today. (Source: Wikipedia)
Philo of Alexandria, also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt during the Roman Empire. He attempted to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy.
Jewish historian that lived through and documented Judah's Great Revolt and its devastating suppression by the Roman Empire.
Yohanan ben Zakai was one of the tannaim, and a primary contributor to the core text of Rabbinical Judaism, the Mishnah. During the suppression of the Great Revolt he asked the Roman commander to save Yavne and its sages. There he founded his school that functioned as a re-establishment of the Sanhedrin so that Judaism could survive the destruction and adopt to the new situation.
One of the greatest rabbinical figures of all times. Rabbi Akiva supported the Bar-Kokhba Revolt against the Romans and suffered martyrdom upon his opposition to Hadrian's edicts against the Jewish religion.
Led the revolt against the Romans. Many thought he was the Messiah at his time that was sent to save Israel. The revolt was brutally suppressed and resulted in deaths of more than half a million people, destruction, exile and cruel edicts. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would be forgotten. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed. These edicts still affect the Jewish nation today, almost 2,000 years later.
Bruriah was a clever sage. She was highly valued due to her wisdom, her sharpness and the scope of her knowledge. It is said about her that she studied 300 laws in one day.
Judah the Prince, also known as Rabbi, was a 2nd-century rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea.
Rabbi Yochanan was considered as the greatest rabbi of his generation. He started a school in Tiberias, and let anyone who wanted to learn in, a controversial move at the time. He laid the foundations for the Yerushalmi Talmud.
Rav Ashi was a Babylonian Amoraic sage, who reestablished the Academy at Sura and was first editor of the Babylonian Talmud.
A prominent rabbi, Jewish philosopher, and exegete of the Geonic period. The first important rabbinic figure to write extensively in Arabic, he is considered the founder of Judeo-Arabic literature. Known for his works on Hebrew linguistics, Halakha, and Jewish philosophy. In this capacity, his philosophical work Emunoth ve-Deoth represents the first systematic attempt to integrate Jewish theology with components of Greek philosophy. Saadia was also very active in opposition to Karaism, in defense of rabbinic Judaism.
Leader of the Ashkenazi Jews in the 11th century. Amongst his halachic rulings are prohibitions on: polygamy, deportation of a woman against her will and opening a letter addressed to another person.
Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki) is considered to be the greatest commentator of all times. His commentary on the Tanach (the Bible) and the Talmud is characterized by it conciseness. He was born in France in 1040.
Rabbi Yehuda Halevi was one of the greatest Jewish poets and thinkers. Amongst his works is the book “The Kuzari,“ in which he lays out and explains Jewish philosophy. Born and raised in Spain. Fulfilled his spiritual aspiration to live in the Land of Israel. He was assassinated in Jerusalem by an Arab. Among his famous songs “My heart is in the East, tho' in the West I live”, describing his longing to Israel. In addition to his spiritual work, he worked as a physician.
RAbbi Moshe Ben Maimon (RaMBaM, also known as Maimonides) was born in Spain in 1135. One of the greatest Jewish leaders and philosophers. A popular saying states, “From Mosheh (Moses) to Mosheh (Rambam) there was none like Mosheh. He became the head of the Jewish community in Egypt. In addition to his rabbinical and philosophical skills and works he was a scientist and worked as a physician. The Rambam emphasized the importance of work.
Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Naḥman), was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator. He was raised and lived for most of his life in Spain. Following his longing to the Land of Israel he managed to live in Jerusalem during his last years. One of his works that I especially like and recommend is “Iggeret ha-Musar“, which is a letter addressed to his son, giving him day to day tips for life.
Joseph ben Ephraim Karo, was author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch, which is still authoritative for all Jews pertaining to their respective communities. To this end he is often referred to as HaMechaber (“The Author“) and as Maran (“Our Master“). (Source: Wikipedia)
Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer, often called Baal Shem Tov or Besht, was a Jewish, mystical rabbi. He founded the Hasidic Judaism and movement.
Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kremer, known as the Vilna Gaon, or by his Hebrew acronym Gra (“Gaon Rabbenu Eliyahu“), was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries. Through his annotations and emendations of Talmudic and other texts he became one of the most familiar and influential names in rabbinic study since the Middle Ages, counted by many among the sages known as the Acharonim, and ranked by some with the even more revered Rishonim of the Middle Ages. He held great scientific knowledge. He led the opposition to the Hasidut movement. (Source: Wikipedia)
One of the leading rabbis and poskim of recent generations. One of the major designers of Orthodox view. Coined the term “new forbidden by the Torah,“ meaning that there should be no change in Jewish customs and religious traditions. This view was clearly in contrary to the Reforms' view. He supported secular-studies in addition to religious studies. Encouraged and worked to settle the Land of Israel.
Yisrael Meir (Kagan) Poupko, known popularly as The Chofetz Chaim, was an influential Lithuanian Jewish rabbi of the Musar movement, a Halakhist, posek, and ethicist whose works continue to be widely influential in Jewish life. Amongst his works are: Chafetz Chayim (“Desirer of Life“), his first book, that deals with the laws of gossip and slander; Sh'mirat HaLashon (“Guarding of the Tongue“), is a discussion of the philosophy behind the Jewish concepts of power of speech and guarding one's speech; Mishna Berura (“Clarified teachings“) is an important commentary, on a section of the Shulchan Aruch. (Source: Wikipedia)
Austria-Hungarian Jew. Journalist and political activist. “Visionary of the State of Israel“. Initiator and leader of the Zionist Congress and the World Zionist Organization.
One of the greatest Hebrew poets of modern times. Born in the Ukraine.
One of the greatest physicists of all time. Born in Germany. Father of the theory of relativity and the inventor of quantum theory.
Leader of the Jewish community in Israel at the time of the British Mandate. Announced the establishment of the State of Israel and became its first Prime Minister. Set up the Israeli army, the IDF, and established Israel's security doctrine.
The Torah was given shortly after the Exodus from Egypt by God during the divine revelation at Mount Sinai. The divine revelation took place in front of all millions of Israelites and not just in front of a single prophet. That is unique to Judaism.
The five poems are about the destruction of Jerusalem (586 BCE), describing how the city and country, palace and Temple, king and people, suffered under the terrible catastrophe.
The oldest and most important translation of the Torah is that called “The Septuagint“, which is the translation of the Torah to Greek. It was translated by 70 wise Jewish men that were hired by the Egyptian-Hellenistic King.
The First Book of the Maccabees covers the period of forty years from the accession of Antiochus (175 B.C.) to the death of Simon the Maccabee (135 B.C.).
The Jewish canon comprises twenty-four books, the five of the Pentateuch, eight books of the Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Minor Prophets), and eleven Hagiographa (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther,Daniel, Ezra, and Chronicles).
The translation of the Pentateuch into Aramaic by Onḳelos according to the instructions of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua.
Under the form of a commentary on the Torah, written partly in Aramaic and partly in Hebrew, it contains a complete cabalistic theosophy, treating of the nature of God, the cosmogony and cosmology of the universe, the soul, sin, redemption, good, evil, etc.
The Mishnah (“to study and review“) is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the “Oral Torah“. It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted in the beginning of the 3rd century, by Rabbi Yehudah haNasi when, as theTalmud teaches us, the persecution of the Jews and the passage of time raised the possibility that the details of the oral traditions would be forgotten. (Source: Wikipedia)
The Jerusalem Talmud predates its counterpart, the Babylonian Talmud, by about 200 years and is written in both Hebrew and Jewish Palestinian Aramaic. It includes the core component, the Mishna, along with the written discussions of generations of rabbis in the Land of Israel (primarily in the academies of Tiberias and Caesarea) which was compiled c. 350-400 CE into a series of books that became the Gemara (from gamar: Hebrew “[to] complete“; Aramaic “[to] study“). The Gemara, when combined with the Mishnah, constitutes the Talmud. (Source: Wikipedia)
Talmud Bavli (the “Babylonian Talmud“) comprises the Mishnah and the Babylonian Gemara, the latter representing the culmination of more than 300 years of analysis of the Mishnah in the Babylonian Academies. The foundations of this process of analysis were laid by Rab, a disciple of Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. Tradition ascribes the compilation of the Babylonian Talmud in its present form to two Babylonian sages, Rav Ashi and Ravina. The work begun by Rav Ashi was completed by Ravina, who is traditionally regarded as the final Amoraic expounder. (Source: Wikipedia)
The Jewish prayer book. Contains daily prayers as well as special-occasions prayers. Therefore this book accompanies the Jew throughout his life.
The first systematic presentation and philosophic foundation of Judaism. The work was originally written in Arabic, but is better known in the Hebrew translation of Judah ibn Tibbon (1186) as Emunot ve-Deot (אמונות ודעות; Hebrew: “Beliefs and Opinions“). An unabridged translation into English by Samuel Rosenblatt was published in 1989. (Source: Wikipedia)
Arabic translation of the Torah
Songs and poems written by Jewish artists who lived in Muslim Spain for hundreds of years. Before the expulsion from Spain.
Chovot HaLevavot (Duties of the Heart), is the primary work of the Jewish philosopher Bahya ben Joseph ibn Pakuda. It was written in Judeo-Arabic (in Hebrew characters), and translated into Hebrew by Judah ibn Tibbon in the years 1161-80. The book is about Jewish ethics. Bahya's conclusion is that the essence of all spirituality being the recognition of God as the one maker and designer of all things. Taking the Jewish Confession, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One,“ as a starting-point, the author emphasizes the fact that for religious life it is not so much a matter of the intellect to know God as it is a matter of the heart to own and to love Him. (Source: Wikipedia) This view contradicts the Rambam's view that emphasizes intellectual knowledge and understanding of God.
The Kuzari, is one of the most famous works of the Spanish Jewish philosopher and poet Rabbi Yehuda Halevi. Its subtitle “The book of refutation and proof on behalf of the most despised religion“ shows its purpose and context in medieval Jewish reality. Through the dialogue between the king of the Khazars, and a Jewish scholar, the book describes the principles of the Jewish faith and philosophy in comparison to other religions and common beliefs.
The Mishneh Torah is a code of Jewish religious law (Halakha) authored by the Rambam, while he was living in Egypt, and is regarded as his greatest work. The Rambam intended to provide a complete statement of the Oral Law, so that a person who mastered the Written Torah and the Mishneh Torah would be in no need of any other book. This immediately led to strong and immediate opposition focusing on the absence of sources and the belief that the work appeared to be intended to supersede study of the Talmud. (Source: Wikipedia)
The book “The Guide for the Perplexed” is one of the foundations of Jewish philosophy. It was written by the Rambam in the form of a letter to his student. The book had great influence not only on the Jewish world but also on the Western and Muslim worlds. Following its publication, “almost every philosophic work for the remainder of the Middle Ages cited, commented on, or criticized Maimonides' views.“
Book of Jewish ethics. Love of God and fear of God, repentance, prayer and good deeds.
In the Arba'ah Turim, Rabbi Jacob traces the practical Jewish law from the Torah text and the dicta of the Talmud through the Rishonim. He used the code of Rabbi Isaac Alfasi as his starting point; these views are then compared to those of Maimonides, as well as to the Ashkenazi traditions contained in the Tosafist literature. (Source: Wikipedia)
The Shulchan Aruch, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Ottoman Eyalet of Damascus, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later. Together with its commentaries, it is the most widely accepted compilation of Jewish law ever written. (Source: Wikipedia)
An ethical (musar) text composed by the influential Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. Mesillat Yesharim is probably Luzzato's most influential work, widely learned in virtually every yeshiva since formal study of musar texts was introduced to the yeshiva curriculum by the Mussar Movement of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter. Its aim is the perfection of character. Luzzato builds his work in the order taken from Talmudic quote in the name of the sage Pinchas ben-Yair: “Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair said: Torah leads to watchfulness; Watchfulness leads to alacrity; Alacrity leads to cleanliness; Cleanliness leads to abstention; Abstention leads to purity; Purity leads to piety; Piety leads to humility; Humility leads to fear of sin; Fear of sin leads to holiness; Holiness leads to prophecy; Prophecy leads to the resurrection of the dead“. (Source: Wikipedia)
In his magnum opus, Hess argued for the Jews to return to the Land of Israel, and proposed a socialist country through a process of “redemption of the soil“. The book was the first Zionist writing to put the question of Jewish nationalism in the context of European nationalism. Hess blended secular as well as religious philosophy, Hegelian dialectics, Spinoza's pantheism and Marxism. It was written against the background of German Jewish assimilationism, and German antisemitism. (Source: Wikipedia)
A comprehensive discussion of the philosophy behind the Jewish concepts of power of speech and guarding one's speech. It also serves as an inspirational work designed to motivate the reader to be vigilant in the ethical usage of his speech and avoidance of others' unethical speech. (Source: Wikipedia)
Jewish Literacy, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.link
סדר עולם זוטא. link
סדר הקורות בתנ"ך, אליעזר שולמן, בהוצאת משרד הביטחון
האינציקלופדיה העברית, בייחוד כרך ו', העוסק בארץ ישראל. link
A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People, Eli Bar Navi. link
The Timechart History of Jewish Civilization (Timechart series). link
Jewish Encyclopedia. link
American Jewish Year Book. link
דמוגרפיה ועמיות יהודית, פרופסור סרג'ו דלה-פרגולה. link
אוכלוסייה יהודית בעולם ובארץ, הלשכה המרכזית לסטטיסטיקה. link
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