1500 CE - 1821 CE
1537 CE: SULEIMAN
Ottoman ruler Sultan “Suleiman the Magnificent” rebuilds the city walls of Jerusalem, 7 of the 8 gates, and the Tower of David.
Why not the eighth gate?
The “eighth gate” is the legendary “Golden Gate,” the gate that Jesus of Nazareth is asserted as having ridden through in his legendary procession into Jerusalem in the days leading–into Passover.
The gate is located in the middle of the eastern side of the Temple Mount.
In both Jewish and Christian traditions (but more emphasized in Christian tradition) this is the gate through which the Messiah will enter Jerusalem.
But, neither the Jews, nor the Muslims believe that Jesus is the Messiah. So, to preclude the Messiah (of the Jews) from entering Jerusalem (through the Golden Gate, at least) Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I sealed off the Golden Gate in 1541.
Suleiman takes Jewish tradition very, very seriously. And is defending against a myriad of threats.
The Muslims also built a Muslim cemetery in front of the gate, in the hope that it would be a deterrent, of sorts, to even the precursor to the Messiah, Elijah, to pass through, since Elijah is a Kohen (Priestly Class) (and a Kohen, a member of the Jewish Priestly class, is precluded from traversing Jewish cemeteries). Meaning, Suleiman’s advisors were pretty sophisticated. (But note: A bona fide Jewish cemetery (as opposed to a Muslim cemetery) would thus have technically been a tougher theological deterrent to Elijah in this drama…)
In any event, one must certainly credit Suleiman for attempting to cover all bases, and one can only be enchanted by his bona fide apprehension about the (Jewish) messiah to–come.
The “Golden Gate” remains visible—and visitable, albeit sealed—to this day.
Suleiman protects Jewish civil rights, orders the Imperial Divan Courts to expose the lies of Blood Libels against the Jews, and declares Jerusalem an “Open City” for all faiths.
(Note: Kishmo ken–hoo, as per his name, so he is indeed magnificent.)
The Ottoman Empire will peak in 1683.
1537 CE: CHRISTIAN III OF DENMARK
–decrees Lutheranism state religion of Norway and Denmark
1538 CE: ANTI-SEMITIC LUTHER
Luther writes against the Jews in “Against the Sabbatarians.”
1538 CE: TITIAN PAINTS THE VENUS OF URBINO
1539 CE: HENRY VIII AT WORK
Henry VIII is still occasionally burning Lutherans and hanging Roman Catholics.
The statute Six Articles Against Lutheranism issued by the (British) Crown.
Hugh Latimer, (Anglican) bishop of Worcester (England), opposes the statute, is forced to resign, and is imprisoned in the Tower of London (which he was to return to again in 1546). In 1955 under Queen Mary he was later burnt at the stake, becoming one of three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.
1539 CE: HENRY VIII ON–THE–MOVE
Henry VIII marries and divorces Anne of Cleves, executes the now-unpopular Thomas Cromwell, and marries Katherine Howard.
1539 CE: FRANKFURT (GERMANY) TRUCE
–declared between Catholic and Protestant territories.
1539 CE: KING SIGISMUND I (POLAND)
December 31: Ordered the Jews of Cracow, Posan and Lemberg (Lvov) to buy 3,350 Jewish books from the Printing house of the apostate Helitz brothers. The Jews bought the books as ordered – and then destroyed them all.
– Eli Birnbaum
1539–40 CE: SIMONS
–publishes the Foundation Book of Anabaptist faith.
1540 CE: JESUITS ADVANCE
Pope recognizes order of Jesuits; will make them the chief agents of Counter Reformation.
1540 CE: CONFERENCES AT HAGENAU AND WORMS
–fail to reconcile Protestants and Catholics.
1541 CE: EL GRECO BORN
Painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance.
(b. 1541 CE Crete, Republic of Venice; d. 1614 CE, Toledo, Spain)
…Greece, Spain, Italy).
El Greco’s (extraordinary) art is so individualistic, that it really belongs to no conventional school.
1541 CE: DAVID GANS
–through 1613: Prague, Bohemia
Tsemach David (Spirit of David) by a Jewish historian and scholar was printed in 1592. It was based on both Jewish and general history and was translated into other languages such as Latin and Yiddish. Gans was a student of Moses Isserles and Judah Lowe (the Maharal). He composed the study of the visible universe, something he wrote in Hebrew regarding cosmography and Nehmad Ve’Naim (Delightful and Pleasant). He made connection with Johannes Kepler.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1541 CE: PETER RIEDEMAN
–writes Hutterite ‘Confession of Faith.’
1541 CE: HENRY VIII EXPANDS HIS TURF
Henry VIII assumes titles of King of Ireland and Head of Irish Church.
1541 CE: CALVIN v. PIGHIUS
Calvin writes a treatise on free will against the Roman Catholic theologian Albert Pighius.
1541 CE: HERNANDO DE SOTO “DISCOVERS” THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
De Soto will die shortly thereafter on the west bank of the river, in the American Indian village of Guachoya (near present–day McArthur, Arkansas) the following year on May 21, 1542.
1542 CE: ROMAN INQUISITION
–established by Pope Paul III
The Congregation of the Holy office – also known as the Roman Inquisition – was established, originally to counter Protestantism.
In 1555, when Cardinal Caraffa became Pope Paul IV, he immediately extended its operation, advocating the tracking down of all “suspects,” especially suspect conversos (Jews who had converted to Christianity, but still practiced Judaism).
Until this date, many (‘returning’) conversos had found refuge in the Papal States and were able to return to Judaism unmolested.
After this, the Inquisition operated across the Papal States - Venice, Milan, Naples, Mantua, and Tuscany.
– Eli Birnbaum
1542 CE: CHURCH SYNOD
Piotrkov, Poland: As the Reformation began to make headway in Poland, the Catholic Church under Archbishop Peter Gamrat and the Papal Nuncio Luigi Lippomano decided to combat it by increasing the level of Judeophobia and demanding that Jews be expelled or at least be put into ghettos. rnHost desecration and ritual murder accusations, led by church leaders, became far more common throughout the next 200 years.
– Eli Birnbaum
1543 CE: MARY STUART CROWNED QUEEN OF SCOTS
–before her first birthday
She is raised in France under the supervision of her French uncles, the Due de Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine. Less than a year old, she has no shortage of enemies, however.
(See also 1585 CE)
1543 CE: LUTHER WRITES CONCERNING THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES
Martin Luther's 1520 work called "Jesus was a Jew." He turned sour when the Jews rejected his views and revolution.
He thereupon called for the Jews to be slaves to the serfs; they were forbidden to touch a German Christian's hand. His attacks, however, were generally not based upon the malicious anti-Jewish writings of past Christian ‘luminaries,’ such a Church Father Chrysostom.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1543 CE: COPERNICUS WRITES THAT EARTH REVOLVES AROUND SUN
1543 CE: ALLIANCE
–between Henry VIII and Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor) against Scotland and France.
1543 CE: HOUSE OF CATECHUMENS
February 19: Italy
This establishment by the Vatican, supported by forced Jewish taxation, had a sole purpose, to further-along identified potential converts from Judaism. A potential convert was subjected to 40 days of intense “instruction.” If he declined baptism after that time, he was allowed to return to his home – but few declined. Well over 3,000 Jews were converted in Rome alone via this modality before the ‘house’ was abolished in 1810. They set up similar ‘houses’ in a few cities in Italy.
1544 CE: TRUCE
(European) Ferdinand I of Spain and (Ottoman) Suleiman I agree to truce.
1544 CE: HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR CHARLES V
April 3: Jewish community leader advocate, Josel of Rosheim (a.k.a. Joselmann a.k.a. Yoselmann) convinced the Emperor to condemn accusation of ritual murder and ordained that no Jew should be sentenced without sufficient proof.
(The reign of Charles V was from 1519 – 1556 CE.)
1545 CE: COUNTER–REFORMATION COMMENCES
Council of Trent – to span twenty-five sessions thru 1563 – opens for the revival of the Catholic Church vis à vis the Protestant Reformation.
(Trent was located inside the Holy Roman Empire, now Italy)
The Council more lucidly re-defines the official Catholic theology and biblical canon.
The Counter-Reformation a.k.a. the Catholic Reformation a.k.a. the Catholic Revival—is generally denoted as spanning the period bracketed by the commencement of the Council of Trent (1545) and ending with the close of the Thirty Years War (1648) 103 years later.
[The next major Catholic ‘Ecumenical’ Council – The First Vatican Council – would take place over 300 years later (also in Rome, but at the Vatican). Its best-known decision was its definition of papal infallibility.]
1545 CE: FINALE
In (Anglican) Henry VIII’s last speech to Parliament, he says that Papist, Lutheran, Anabaptist are names devised by the devil to sunder one man’s heart from another.
[Henry reigned from 1509-1547CE, 37 years, 282 days]
1545 CE: LUTHER v. VATICAN
Luther writes Against the Papacy at Rome – an Institution of the Devil.
(born and died in Eisleben, Saxony, Holy Roman Empire: b.1483 Saxony, d. 1546 CE)
1546 CE: REAFFIRMATION OF CHRISTIAN CANON
At the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church reaffirms once and for all the full list of 27 holy books. The council also confirms the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books which had been a part of the Bible canon since the early Church and had been confirmed at the councils of 393, 373, 787 and 1442 CE.
1547 CE: HENRY VIII DIES
1547 CE: IVAN THE TERRIBLE
Ivan IV Vasilyevich, The Terrible: Czar of Russia 1533-1584. Forced conversions of Polish Jews (conquered by his Russians) to Greek Orthodoxy were his legacy to the Jews.
[b. 1533; d. 1584 CE]
1547 CE: ASOLO, ITALY
November 22: With no such motives, ten of thirty Jews in this town were killed and robbed. This could be one of the few pogroms recorded here.
1548 CE: FRANCISCO SUAREZ
–through 1617 (Spain)
He was a Spanish Jesuit, theologian and philosopher. The banning of the Talmud and barring the building of synagogues were publicly supported by him. He also forbade the influence of the Jews.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1549 CE: (ORIGINAL) BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
–of the Church of England by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury from December 1533 – December 1555.
1550 CE: EPHRAIM SOLOMON OF LUNTSCHITZ
“Ephraim of Luntschitz” was a rabbi, preacher and biblical commentator. He was known for his brilliant sermons, in which he spared no sector. He criticized the rich for being greedy and pretensions of religious status based on money rather than good deeds. On the other hand he thought the poor did not “help themselves” by overly relying on charity. His sermons were collected and published in Ir Giborim, Revivot Efrayim and others. His Klei Yakar is included in many editions of the Bible as a standard commentary.
1550 CE: MICHELANGELO FRESCOES
–completed / Vatican Pauline Chapel
Full name: Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarrotti Simon
1551 CE: SIGISMUND II AGUSTUS
August 13: The last Jagiellon monarch of Poland/Grand Duchy of Lithuania (reign: 1548-1569) issued a proclamation that Jews were permitted to elect their own chief rabbi and judges and dealt only with the King. It is appropriately called the “Magna Carta of Jewish Self-Government.” He let Jews live in Vilna without limiting them to certain streets.
He was the last Jagiellon monarch, as he remained childless after three marriages. Subsequent to his reign, the Union of Lublin introduced Elective monarchy.
1552 CE: DEATH OF FRANCIS XAVIER
…Jesuit missionary, “Apostle of the Indies”
–of a fever – on Chinese island of Shangchuan.
1553 CE: THE BURNING OF ROMAN JEWS + TALMUDS
–by Papal States Inquisition.
Rome, Papal States: Inquisitor Caraffa, operating by appointment of Pope Paul III presides over the burning at the stake of dozens of Jews, whether suspected as “insincere” conversios (converts to Christianity), suspected marranos (underground Jews), suspected cryptos (converts to Christianity still maintaining some Jewish traditions), or suspected “relapsed” Jews (converts to Christianity who actually converted back to Judaism). All such genres were suspect by the Inquisition. (Some of the category lines are blurred.)
Caraffa also ordered all Talmuds seized and burned. Jewish homes and synagogues were invaded and copies of the Talmud seized. They were hauled to Rome’s Campo dei Fiori, a broad square that still exists today, and were burned in a huge bonfire.
Caraffa becomes Pope Paul IV in 1555 (see below).
Half–a–century later, in 1600, the “renegade thinker” Dominican monk Giordano Bruno (1548–1600) was burnt at the stake in the very same Rome square, for positing and refusing to recant his postulations of the infinitude of the universe and the brotherhood of man.
1553 CE: EDWARD VI > MARY I
Edward VI dies; succeeded by Mary I (“Bloody Mary”)
1553 CE: MICHAEL SERVETUS
Founder of a belief system which was to evolve into Unitaranism. (Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer and humanist)
He participates in the Protestant Reformation and later develops a nontrinitarian Christology (i.e a Christian belief system, which rejects the concept of the Trinity)
–condemned by Catholics and Protestant s alike
–burned-at-the-stake in Geneva as a heretic by order of the Protestant Geneva governing council.
1553 CE: FIRMAN (ROYAL DECREE)
In late 1553 or 1554, Suleiman the Magnificent, the reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, issues a firman (royal decree) formally denouncing blood libels against the Jews.
1554 CE: CORDOVERO
Establishes a Kabbalah academy in Safad (Israel)…the Ramak…Rav Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, also known as Moshe Cordevero…(1522–1570 CE).
Authors Pardes Rimonim (1548)…and the 16–volume magnum opus Ohr Yakar (Precious Light) commentary on the literature of the (Kabbalistic) Zohar.
Authors, as well, Mussar (ethical instruction) – work Tomer Devorah (Palm Tree of Deborah); Kabbalistic fundamentals Ohr Neerav, and philosophical–metaphysical Elimah Rabbati, among other works.
1554 CE: MARY I (“Bloody Mary”) COMES TO POWER IN ENGLAND
– Eldest daughter of Henry VIII
– the only surviving child of Catherine of Aragon
– the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty
– restores Catholicism to England
(later to be reversed by Elizabeth I (reign: 1558-1603) her
half-sister, who Mary had imprisoned for nearly a year on
suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels).
– marries Philip ( later Philip II of Spain), the son of her cousin Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor 1519-1556).
During Mary’s reign, about 300 Protestants are burned, including 5 bishops, 100 priests, 60 women. John Rogers, Tyndale’s close assistant (alias “Thomas Matthew”), was the first to burn.
The roster of other prominent victims would include Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London; and the reformers John Rogers and Hugh Latimer.
Protestants are forced into exile or hiding. An attempt by Cardinal Pole (Mary’s archbishop of Canterbury) to restore monasticism fizzles when, among 1500 surviving monks, nuns, and friars, fewer than 100 are willing to return to celibacy.
1554 CE: IGNATIUS
Principal founder and the first Superior General of the Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church…
…wrote Jesuit (Society of Jesus) constitution, adopted in 1554…motto of Ignatius, and then of the order, as a whole: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam—“For the greater glory of God.”
Jesuits today form the largest religious order of priests of the Catholic Church… 19,000+…nine Jesuit priests have been formally recognized by Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem for their valor in aiding and saving Jews during the Holocaust.
The Jesuits have morphed into a more benign and enlightened form, from their incarnations in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries.
The Jesuits are an important and dynamic intellectual force on the world landscape today.
1554 CE: CORNELIO DA MONTALCINO
September 4: Rome: A Franciscian Friar who converted to Judaism – was burned alive.
– Eli Birnbaum
1555 CE: NOSTRADAMUS PUBLISHES LES PROPHETIES
French apothecary, healer and seer who rides into history with his vague predictions. Over two hundred editions of his The Prophecies have appeared, with over 2,000 commentaries.
[b. 1503; d. 1566 (both in France)]
1555 CE: POPE PAUL IV
Papal bull Cum Nimis Absurdum, which among other travesties against the Jews, mandated a (single–street) ghetto for the Jews of Rome, the wearing of yellow conical hats by all Jewish males, confines Jews to ghettos, confines Jews to their homes at night, and bans them from working in most professions. Jewish ghettos would exist in Europe for the next 315 years.
[Same (yellow) color, concept and tactics employed 400 years later by the Nazis in their first–stage assaults on the Jews. Possibly, so there was precedent in the cumulative memory of Europe for the current Nazi denigration. Possibly so they could point to Church precedent to the masses—and/or be politically “bullet–proof” from potential Vatican attacks…(no comment at this point)].
Paul IV introduced the Index Liborum Prohibitorum or “Index of Prohibited Books” to Venice, then an independent state, in order to crack down on the growing threat of Protestantism and the recently introduced printing press.
Giovani Pietro Carafa was pope from May 1555 until his death August 1559..
[b. 1476 in Naples; d. 1559 in Rome]
1555 CE: PEACE OF AUGSBURG
–between Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes.
Augsburg (now in present-day Bavaria, Germany): Since the proclamation of a reformed church by Martin Luther, the problems of the co-existence of Catholics and Lutherans on the same territory had bedeviled the Holy Roman Empire. At Augsburg the Holy Roman Empire represented by the Ferdinand I, the brother of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, confronted an alliance of Lutheran princes, who came under the rubric of the Schmalkaldic League. An agreement was reached.
The Peace (treaty) established the principle of Cuius region, eius religio, meaning for each region, its religion. Meaning, the insurgent Lutheran princes effectively prevailed.
The Peace of Augsburg allowed each of the empire’s princes to select one of the two religions as the official state religion for his principality. Subjects, citizens or residents who did not wish to conform their own practices to that of the prince were urged to migrate to a religiously consonant principality.
1555 CE: THE MAHARSHA
Kraków, Poland (1555 CE – 1631 CE).
Rav Shmuel Eliezer Eidels, highly sophisticated and widely revered commentator. His works include, among others:
Chiddushei Halachot (“Novellae in Jewish Law”) commentary on the Torah, the Talmud, Rashi and Tosefot.
Chiddushei Aggadot (“Novellae in Aggadah”) commentary on the Aggadot of the Talmud…coursing through philosophy and Kabbalah.
1556 CE: MORE PAUL IV
March: Ancona, Italy
Under orders of Paul IV, privileges granted to Jews were revoked. Former Marranos were forced back into Christianity. 23 men and woman were burned for refusing.
The Sultan Suleiman complained (March 9th) that some of his Turkish Jewish subjects traveling through Italy had been imprisoned by the papacy, and that because of this he had lost a substantial amount of money. He demanded that all Turkish Marranos be set free.
1556 CE: EARTHQUAKE DAMAGES THE CITY OF JERUSALEM
1558 CE: REIGN OF ELIZABETH I
–through 1603. The first Marranos were unofficially allowed to enter England as Christians.
1558 CE: RECANATI (ITALY)
September 22: The Day of Atonement, a baptized Jew, Joseph (Paul) More entered a synagogue under the protection of Pope Paul IV. He held a crucifix planning to start a conversion sermon. The congregation evicted him that led to a subsequent execution of the Jews. Eventually the entire Jewish population was wiped-out.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1559 CE: MILITARY ORDER OF THE GOLDEN SPUR
–a papal Order of Chivalry (i.e. honorific) founded by Pope Paul IV
The highest papal order—The Order of Christ—was established (according to the Vatican, but disputed by Portugal) c. 1319. The Golden Spur is the second highest.
1559 CE: FIRST PRINTING OF THE TALMUD IN POLAND
The printing of Talmud in Poland occurred after the public burning of the Talmud in Rome.
1560 CE: GOA (INDIA) INQUISITION ESTABLISHED
Indian state of Goa: Portuguese Catholic Asia: Roman Catholic Inquisition established following Vasco da Gama’s intrusion into the area and the request of Jesuit (St.) Francis Xavier. This Inquisition continued for 252 years (aside from a 4–year hiatus 1774–778).
According to the research of H.P. Solomon and I.S.D. Sassoon, over the period 16,202 persons were brought to trial and 57 ultimately executed. The Inquisition was employed against a variety of cultures and groups: Jews, conversios, Hindus, and Muslims, among others, were all eligible “candidates” for arrest and trial.
Back in Europe, the Goa Inquisition became notorious for its torture and inter–related cruelty. The French philosopher Voltaire wrote: “Goa is sadly famous for its inquisition, which is contrary to morality as well as to commerce. The Portuguese monks deluded us into believing that the local populace was worshiping the Devil, while in reality it is these monks who serve him (the Devil).”
1560 CE: JOHN KNOX, SCOTLAND
August: John Knox and five other ministers draw up the ‘Scots Confession,’ which was to serve as a pillar of the embryonic Presbyterian Church, the ‘Kirk.’ This was followed several months later by the Book of Discipline, which articulated the organization of the new church.
1561 CE: MICHELANGELO DIES
–two weeks shy of his eighty–seventh birthday.
He has outlived twelve popes, and has worked for nine of them.
1561 CE: HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR FERDINAND I
Promised to ban the Jews from Prague. However, the Jewish leader and advocate Mordechai Zemach saved them. He went to Rome to convince Pope Pius IV to release the Emperor from his oath. While Zemach was gone, many Jews were forced to leave or were attacked by robber barons.
– after Eli Birnbaum
Reign as Holy Roman Emperor: 1531–1564
[b. 1503, Castile, Spain; d. 1564, Vienna, Austria]
1562 CE: TITIAN PAINTS THE RAPE OF EUROPA
1564 CE: THE TERM “PURITAN” FIRST USED
1564 CE: JOHN CALVIN DIES
1564 CE: POPE PIUS IV
March 24: Authorized the publication of the Talmud only after the deletion and modification of the name “Talmud.”
1564 CE: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE BORN
–in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
1564 CE: BREST LITVOSK (LITHUANIA)
July 13: The son of a wealthy and envied Jewish tax collector, Abraham, was accused to be the killer of the family’s Christian servant for ritual purposes. As punishment, the loacals tortured and executed him.
Future charges of ritual murder was forbidden by King Sigmund Augustus; he called them "groundless".
c. 1565 CE: ISAIAH BEN ABRAHAM HA-LEVI HOROWITZ
Prague, Bohemia-Tiberias, Eretz Israel
Known as the SheLaH Hakadosh for his major work Shnai Luchot Habrit (Two Tablets of the Covenant) which combines Halacha and Kabbalah as a way of life, Isaiah was perfect as Rabbi, kabbalist, and Jewish leader.
In 1621 after the death of his wife, he moved to Eretz Israel. In 1625 he was arrested with many other Rabbis and held for ransom by the Pasha.
As Ashkenazi Rabbi, Horowitz served as leader in Jerusalem. He served the community through his financial wealth and he believed that he was privileged to be able to observe the commandments tied to the land of Israel. He was buried in Tiberias, next to Maimonides.
1566 CE: THE “ROMAN CATECHISM”
…i.e. the Roman Catholic Catechism of 1566
–commissioned by the (Catholic) Council of Trent (noted above, 1545–1563 CE)
–to expound doctrine and to improve theological understanding – with the Catholic clergy itself as the primary intended audience.
It enjoyed an authority within the Catholic Church enjoyed by no other catechism until the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1992 (428 years later).
1566 CE: COMMENCEMENT OF REIGN OF SELIM II “THE MAGNIFICENT”
[ Bayezid I > Selim I > Suleiman I > Selim II ]
Don Joseph Nasi was appointed Duke of Naxos as one of the important positions in Selim II government. This is due to the support he received from the Jews in his claim to the throne. Selim II also permitted Marranos fleeing Portugal to settle in Turkey.
1567 CE: MARY STUART, QUEEN OF SCOTS
–is executed (at age 24) by order of a Death Warrant signed by her cousin Elizabeth I.
The two had never met.
Mary had been crowned at age of 9 months in December 1542. Her father, James V of Scotland had died when she was 6 days old. She spent the last 19 of her 24 years of life in custody in England.
Elizabeth I would, after the execution of her cousin, later assert (and historians would agree) that although she had signed the Death Warrant, she had never given the actual green light for the execution. Her Privy Councillor, William Davidson was then, as a consequence, imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Note: Mary I of England (“Bloody Mary”) had died at age 42 back in November, 1558.
1567 CE: “JESHIVA”
Jewish school – possibly accommodating 5–25 year olds – founded in Poland.
Connected with Rav Moses Isserles (lived 1520-1572 CE). Details of Jeshiva remain sketchy.
Note that subsequent to local and/or nationwide French, English, German, Swiss, Czech, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian expulsions of the Jews (sometimes overlapping or simultaneous) spanning the prior 500-1000 years, Poland had emerged as an important Jewish haven.
Due to similar dynamics, Lithuania also emerged as a key Jewish intellectual center.
Note that over the centuries Lithuania has been intermittently Prussian Russian, Polish, independent, and Nazi-occupied). Lithuania, situated in Northern Europe, is the southernmost of the three Balticstates – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Lithuania emerged as the center of gravity of the great yeshivas of Europe pre-Hitler.
These would ultimately include the iconic institutions of higher Talmudic study –
– and, offshoot yeshiva movements
(with some emphasis on slightly broader Jewish studies)
Brisker (ultimately morphs to Yeshiva University/
Modern Orthodox in Washington Heights,
Manhattan in the 20th century)
1569 CE: PAPAL STATES
February 26: Anyone who refused to convert was ordered by Pope Pius V to be evicted. This includes all the papal states except Rome and Verona.
Almost 1000 Jewish families decided to emigrate due to the threat.
1569 CE: THE UNION OF LUBLIN
July 1: The unity of the two countries, kingdom of Poland and Duchy of Lithuania, heightened the security of the two political leaders from Russia under Ivan IV. Jews help discover the new towns and villages near the borders of the two countries. Although Lithuania kept its security separately, the general status aligned with those of Poland. Less than total union retained its own independent Jewish council that had no connection to the Council of the Lands in Poland.
1571 CE: DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH
1571 CE: MEXICAN INQUISITION COMMENCES
San Diego, Mexico: Parallel to its forerunner, the notorious Spanish Inquisition (of the 1490s), the notorious inquisition follows the spread of Catholicism across Mexico. The Mexican Inquisition was directed primarily at Protestants, Native American “heretics,” and the occasional suspected (of potential “relapse” to Judaism) conversios. There were relatively few conversios or any Jews to begin with in Mexico, so the pool of potential targets from this particular group was small. In one form or another, the Roman Catholic Inquisition in Mexico lasts about 200 years.
1572 CE: THE ST. BARTHOLOMEW DAY’S MASSACRE
August 24: Roman Catholics kill thousands of Huguenots (a French protestant sect) in Paris. Similar massacres took place in other French towns in the weeks following. Modern estimates of the Huguenot death toll vary widely, ranging from between 5,000 and 30,000. In 1573 the Roman Catholic French powers that be pardoned the perpetrators.
1573 CE: DONNE
John Donne, England (1572 CE – 1631 CE) – and fellow British poets.
“No man is an island, entire of itself…
…any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
– Meditation XVII by Donne
1574 CE: DEATH OF SULTAN SULEIMAN II
The Ottoman Empire he had led then begins to decay, and the situation of its Jews deteriorates.
1575 CE: MIGUEL DE CERVANTES
At age 28, the future Spanish novelist is captured by pirates off the coast of Spain when the ship he was aboard, the Sol, is taken-over by Algerian pirates.
Cervantes will spend the next five years as a quasi–slave, imprisoned by the pirate group in Algiers. He will ultimately be ransomed by his parents back in Madrid in conjunction with the Trinitarians, a Catholic order.
The first part of his most famous literary work, Don Quixote, will incorporate, as well, some vignettes based on this captivity. His classic will appear in 1605 (~30 years later).
1575 CE: AZARIAH DE ROSSI
–Publishes his Me’or Einayim (Enlightenment to the Eyes). After a strong earthquake in Ferrara, he wrote the first Jewish historical work based on secular Jewish sources; over 100 secular quotes included. This controversial book was believed to not written based on historical truth as per De Rossi who examined talmudic legends with a critical view. He delved deeply into the chronology of events, comparing Jewish and secular sources. The book was severely criticized by Joseph Caro and Judah Loew b. Bezalel of Prague, among others, who believed in the UNION unqualified truth of the talmudic legends. For more than 100 years, the book received a ban.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1577 CE: HEBREW PRINTING PRESS
In Safad (northern Palestine)
1577 CE: ALLIANCE BETWEEN ENGLAND AND NETHERLANDS
1578 CE: MOROCCAN PURIM
Aug 4: Jews faced near disaster when the Moroccan opposition championed and spearheaded by King Sebastian of Portugal, nearly succeeded in overthrowing the leadership. The date of the Portuguese defeat at al–Qasr al–Kabir (the “Battle of Three Kings”) became a day of celebration and thanksgiving for the Jewish community of Morocco.
1579 CE: UNION OF UTRECHT
To counteract the League of Arras, a loose confederation in the Northern Netherlands (Holland) was formed by the Spanish Catholics in the Low Countries (i.e. Belgium), marking the beginning of an enlightened atmosphere regarding the Jews in the Netherlands.
1580 CE: “COUNCIL OF FOUR LANDS”
(Va’ad Arba’ Aratzot) meets for the first time in Poland.
Seventy delegates from four lands meet as a council in Lublin, Poland to discuss issues of importance to the Jews.
And which were these “Four Lands”?
Greater Poland, Little Poland, Ruthenia and Volhynia.
1581 CE: POPE GREGORY XIII
March 30: Many popes did not mind using Jews as their personal physicians although a Bull banning the use of Jewish doctors was issued by the Pope.
1581 CE: PRIVATEER > KNIGHT
(Sir) Francis Drake knighted by the British.
Had led the first British circumnavigation of the globe (1577-1580).
A hero to the British, but just a plain pirate to the a+
Spanish. His ‘work experience’ would include: privateer, slave trader, navigator and politician. Later, in 1588, Drake would become Vice Admiral of the British Fleet against the Spanish Armada.
1583 CE: SARALBO
February 19: Rome, Italy: One of the three Portuguese Marranos from Ferrara that was burned in Rome’s Campo dei Fiori at the command of Pope Gregory XIII was Joseph Saralbo. He had helped 800 Marranos return to Judaism. The reports indicated that he asked the Jews of Rome not to mourn for him stating “I am on my way to meet immortality.”
1585 CE: WALTER RALEIGH ESTABLISHES AN ENGLISH SETTLEMENT
–on Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina. However, the colony fails twice. Queen Elizabeth will make him a knight anyway, possibly enamored of his (alleged) charm.
However, after Elizabeth dies and is succeeded by King James I, Raleigh has a stormy relationship with the new king, with intense ups–and–downs. During the final “down,” Raleigh is beheaded at Whitehall, London.
c. 1585 CE: GOLEM
The Maharal of Prague creates his Golem.
The MaHaRaL is the Hebrew acronym of Moreinu ha–Rav Loew – “Our Teacher the Rabbi Loew.”
Judah Loew ben Bezalel, (c. 1520–1609) also known as Yehudah ben Bezalel Levai, was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who served as a leading rabbi in Prague (now in the Czech Republic) for most of his life. He is buried at the Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague in Josefov district. His grave with its tombstone intact, and can still be visited (as of 2010).
He is known for his works on Jewish philosophy and Jewish mysticism and his super commentary – the Gur Aryeh – on Rashi’s Torah commentary.
The Maharal is particularly known for the GOLEM story/legend/tale, which first appears in print close to 200 years after his death. According to the tale, using mystical powers the rabbi created a living entity/being – the GOLEM – out of clay – to defend the Jews of the Prague Ghetto from anti–Semitic attacks. The GOLEM story reverberates independent of its veracity, as a testament to the adoration and endearment in which the Maharal’s legacy is held.
1586 CE: POPE SIXTUS V
October 22: Gregory’s successor. He revokes Gregory’s policies which allowed Jews to reside in the Papal states and to print the Talmud.
The less strident policies which preceded Sixtus V were, however, reinstated upon his death.
1587 CE: SALAMONE DE ROSSI APPOINTED COURT MUSICIAN
–in Mantua, Italy
He was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer and a transitional figure between the late Italian Renaissance and early Baroque. The invitation by Alessandro, Duke of Mirandola, as “the Jew Salamone and his company,” had given him an opportunity to have his own orchestra. He was excused from wearing the yellow badge, the requirement made to the Jews in Mantua, because he was so well thought of at the court of Mantua.
1588 CE: “THE DEFEAT OF THE SPANISH ARMADA”
August: The English Channel, off of Gravelines, Flanders (then, Spanish Netherlands): Spanish Armada of 128 ships attacked by the 116 ships of the British Fleet. The British hoped to forestall the Spaniards from opening a sea lane to transport 30,000 of their soldiers by barges across the Channel (from Gravelines) to the English shore near London.
[Apparently, the Pope Sixtus-backed Spanish fleet had more priests on-board than trained gunners.]
The outnumbered British Fleet prevails. The Spanish Armada retreats.
Considered a turning point in the fortunes of the two countries. In any event, the (victorious) British lost 50-100 dead in the actual battle, but 6,000-8,000 underpaid sailors dead from typhus, dysentery and malnutrition upon discharge.
1590 CE: SHAKESPEARE
British, born 1564 CE and raised in Stratford–on–Avon. Later professional venues include The Globe Theatre in Southwark, London.
Works include 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and assorted poetry.
His play The Merchant of Venice (c. 1597) has both severely anti–Semitic themes, and themes simpatico to the Jews. Its rabid themes were used by the Nazis for their demonization-of-the-Jews propaganda, and the work was broadcast all over German airwaves shortly after Kristallnact 1938.
1592 CE: ESTHER CHIERA EXECUTED
Sultan Murad III’s cavalry executed Esther, the wife of a Jewish merchant, along with one of ther sons. She was known as a Chiera or Kiera, which means the women in charge of all relations (including commercial) between the wives in the sultan’s royal harem and the outside world. Esther was extremely influential with Safiyeh, the favorite wife of the Sultan. Jealousy on the part of other power players led to their arrest (officially for interfering in a military appointment) and execution.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1592 CE: GALILEO GRANTED THE CHAIR OF MATHEMATICS
–at the University of Padua (Italy), a year after dropping weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa—to prove his point on gravity.
1593 CE: POPE CLEMENT VIII
Expels the Jews from all Papal states except Rome and Ancona.
1594 CE: THE MARRANO LOPEZ EXECUTED
July 7: After being accused by the Earl of Essex of trying to poison Queen Elizabeth, Roderigo Lopez, the Queen's physician and a Marrano, was executed. The Earl became angry at Lopez's efforts to establish peace with Spain after the defeat of the Armada. The War Party was headed by Earl, along with his allied, the Portuguese pretender, Dom Antonio. The anti-Semitism was depicted by Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice trial.
1595 CE: GALILEO CONCURS WITH COPERNICUS
Writing a theory of tides, Galileo concludes that Copernicus was right in 1514 CE that the earth revolves around the sun, and not vice versa.
1596 CE: KEPLER PUBLISHES MYSTERIUM COSMOGRAPHICUM
(First edition) Tuebingen, Germany: (translation – The Cosmographic Mystery) – first published in defense of the Copernican system.
Johannes Kepler (1571–1630 CE) was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, and key figure in the seventeenth century Scientific Revolution. Best known for his laws on planetary motion, his works also laid the groundwork for Isaac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation (c. 1687).
1598 CE: BORIS GODUNOV
–seizes throne in Moscow upon death of Fyodor I of Russia.
Godonov was de facto Regent of Russia: 1598-1605.
1600 CE: ELIZABETH I GRANTS CHARTER TO EAST INDIA COMPANY
–initially to trade in the East Indies, of course. The company would be a powerful global force for over two hundred years, its tenure overlapping the establishment of the American colonies.
1600s CE: ASTROPHYSICS
Advance forward… through this day.
1900 years after the Greek astronomer Aristarchus got it right (heliocentrism: the sun at the center of the solar system), Prussian/Polish Copernicus ‘takes the baton.’
1603 CE: ELIZABETH I DIES
James VI proclaimed King of England, Scotland, France
(and as King of Ireland, as James I)
1604 CE: MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL BORN
–Portuguese rabbi, kabbalist, scholar, writer, diplomat, printer and publisher
Holland: A Marrano by birth, he became an outstanding man of letters. He insisted that Jews must stay at specific locations in every country before the return of the Messiah. This was the basis on which he approached the religiously-minded Cromwell with a petition for the resettlement of Jews in England. He was assisted by Antonio Carvajal, the first “denizenized” (foreigner granted residence and some other rights) Jew in England under Charles I. Menasseh was later offered a job in Brazil, although he remained in Amsterdam. In spite of the opposition of English clergy and merchants, Cromwell re-admitted the Jews, despite the fact that England and the Dutch states were at odds. (d. 1657)
– after Eli Birnbaum
1605 CE: MIGUEL DE CERVANTES PUBLISHES PART I OF DON QUIXOTE
1605 CE: “GUNPOWDER PLOT”
Guy Fawkes and other Roman Catholic conspirators fail in attempt to blow up (British) Parliament.
– after Wikipedia
1606 CE: REMBRANDT BORN
Dutch Grandmaster painter
1607 CE: PARLIAMENT REJECTS PROPOSALS FOR UNION
–between England and Scotland.
1607 CE: COLONY OF VIRGINIA
–is founded at Jamestown by John Smith
1607 CE: HENRY HUDSON
–begins voyage to eastern Greenland and (to-be) Hudson River. (To-be) Hudson Bay discovered 1610.
1607 CE: POCAHONTAS, 12, SAVES CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH
–of the historic Jamestown, Virginia settlement. Her Indian father had ordered his execution.
1608 CE: QUEBEC CITY
–founded by Samuel de Champlain.
1609 CE: TELESCOPE
–perfected by Galileo
1609 CE: BAPTIST CHURCH
–founded by John Smyth, due to his objections relating to infant baptism and to popular demands for church-state separation.
1610 CE: THE PAINTER CARAVAGGIO DIES
–in Tuscany, Italy
1610 CE: JACOB SASPORTAS
Oran, Morocco-Amsterdam, Holland
Upon ordination at age 24, he became rabbi successively of Tiemcen, Morocco, Fez and Sali.
Kabbalist and rabbi and a fierce opponent of Shabbetai Zevi. On the side, he also served as envoy of Morocco to the Spanish Court.
He later became head of the yeshiva in Amsterdam. In his battle against Sabbatianism he produced Tsitsit Novel Zvi in which he collected vast material, including pamphlets and letters, which he answered in detail. [b. 1610; d. 1698]
1611 CE: PUBLICATION OF KING JAMES BIBLE
The “Authorized King James Version” is an English translation of the Christian (and Jewish) Holy Bibles – begun 1604 and completed 1611 by the Church of England.
1611 CE: ULSTER, IRELAND
English and Scottish Protestant colonists settle in Ulster.
1613 CE: POCAHONTAS, NOW 18, KIDNAPPED
–by English colonist Captain Samuel Argall
Argall hopes to use her as a bargaining chip to ransom English captives held by her father, Chief Powhatan. In English captivity, Pocahontas will meet colonist John Rolfe and eventually marry him.
1618-1648 CE: THIRTY YEARS’ WAR
–between Catholic and Protestant forces in Europe. The fighting centered around Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands (Ferdinand II of Spain vs. Christian IV of Denmark).
In Vienna, Jews suffered during the occupation of Imperial soldiers. Throughout many towns in Germany and Moravia, the Jewish population was expelled, which resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing to Krakow and other Polish cities.
After the war, owing to the general destruction and decline of the local populations, France, Moravia, and Germany encouraged foreigners – including Jews – to settle and help rebuild their economies.
– Eli Birnbaum
1617 CE: URIEL ACOSTA RETURNS TO JUDAISM
A descendant of a Marrano family, he was raised as a Christian in Portugal and became chief treasurer of an abbey. After studying the Old Testament, Acosta decided to return to Judaism. He fled to the thriving Sephardic Jewish community in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, but he grew disillusioned with the local rabbinate. He viewed it as overly mechanistic, and insufficiently spiritual. He was excommunicated twice after being reinstated once. He found the disciplinary penance offered him in the presence of the Jewish congregation too difficult to bear and committed suicide. [b. c. 1585, d. 1640]
Author’s note: The Amsterdam rabbinate was peppered with former Marranos who had transitioned back to mainstream Orthodox Judaism. As such, to protect their bona fides, they were often severe in their application of Jewish law. This same community of rabbinics would later ostracize Spinoza.
1620 CE: THE PILGRIMS SET SAIL ABOARD THE MAYFLOWER
The Mayflower leaves Southampton, England for the East Coast of America with 102 adult colonist–settler–passengers on board. The voyage is organized and controlled by a 45–man group of colonist–passenger “Separatists” (a breakaway group) from the Church of England, later to be known as the Pilgrims. The balance of the passengers are referred to as “the Strangers” (author-No good would come of that appellation).
These 45 Pilgrims had originally fled England to the Netherlands to escape religious harassment by the Church of England. They then made their way back to Southampton, England for this voyage to the Americas.
The intended destination was the Verazanno Narrows area, where contemporary Elizabeth, NJ, Staten Island, NY and Brooklyn, NY intersect.
The settlers on board draft the “Mayflower Compact,” a document giving the Pilgrims the authority to unilaterally determine that their settlement be in nearby (but colder) Massachusetts, instead of the charter–designated Verazanno Narrows area, several hundred miles to the south (the destination strenuously preferred by “the Strangers”).
In any event, buffeted by a brutal 65–day journey, which included a myriad of serious travails, the ship weighed anchor November 21, 1620 in what is now Provincetown, RI (just west of, and contiguous to, Massachusetts) for the New England winter. After plague engulfs the anchored vessel over the next several winter months, by the spring of 1621, only 53 of the original 102 adult presumptive settlers remain alive.
These 53 then made their way eastward (approximately 30 miles) on the Mayflower from the Provincetown area to the Cape Cod (Massachusetts) area, to where they settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts (then Plimoth Plantation), formally leaving the Mayflower over the last 10 days of March (1621).
John Carver and William Bradford were the preeminent leaders of the small, but historic, Pilgrim group. Carver would die within the year, and Bradford would then dominate early Plymouth history through his death in 1657.
“Plymouth Rock” in Plymouth, MA, now an iconic landmark, marks the spot of the group’s disembarkation. Presumably first stepping onto the soon-to-be-legendary large granite rock from their landing boat, the Pilgrims were presumably able to avoid getting their squared–off, and brass–buckled hi–laced Pilgrim boots wet, as they entered American history.
Plymouth was the first significant, permanent continental European settlement in the New World.
(Jamestown, Virginia [colonized in 1607] to the south, whose settlers were directly from England, and not via the Netherlands, was the first large permanent English settlement.)
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote (in amazement) of the elevated status of the legendary (Plymouth) rock:
“It is treasured by a great nation. Its very dust is shared as a relic.”
1621 CE: THE FIRST THANKSGIVING
Nov: Plymouth Plantation, MA: The Pilgrim colony of Plymouth: According to the mythology surrounding the colony, neighboring Indian Chief Massasoit offered the first “Thanksgiving”—together with the Pilgrims at this point in time. The American Thanksgiving tradition is consequently venerated as having originated here in Plymouth.
For the record, research scholars allocate the honor of the actual first Thanksgiving to the town of Saint Augustine, Florida in 1565 CE. But mythology sometimes trumps
Aided by a local Native American Squanto, the Pilgrim colony, under the leadership of John Carver and William Bradford, is able to establish a treaty and entente with Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe, which procures the colony’s security and ultimate success.
In any event, Thanksgiving, a traditional North American holiday, which is a form of harvest holiday, is often commemorated as a thanksgiving to God for a family’s blessings. Thanksgiving, a late November holiday in the USA, parallels the Biblically–mandated Jewish “harvest holiday” of Succoth 40–70 days earlier in the fall worldwide. Indian corn is included in Jewish Succoth commemorations (in the Americas).
Venerating God, paralleling Succoth, celebrating freedom, honoring country, work ethic, and family values. Thanksgiving family dinner is not an optional get–together for Jewish American families. The only option is who gets to host.
The touchstones of Pilgrim–American lore, have become embedded in Thanksgiving Holiday, celebrated in the USA specifically on the 4th Thursday of November, and in Canada a touch earlier on the second Monday in October. (The Canadian date would generally intersect with Succoth, which falls between mid–September to mid–October.)
Plymouth Governor William Bradford’s important journal “Of Plymouth Plantation” (spanning the years 1620–1647) provides a chronicle of the Plymouth Colony’s history through his personal lens. The work, in turn, was pivotal in embedding Plymouth’s “thanksgiving” as the “initial” Thanksgiving in American lore.
1621 CE: THE FINCH PREDICTION
London: An important call to restore the Jews to their homeland was made by Sir Henry Finch, the legal advisor to King James I. In his treatise “The World’s Great Restoration,” Sir Henry predicted that Jews will once again soon have their own land and a world wide empire with it. Needless to say, King James was less than enthralled, especially as it implied that the present rulers would have to pay homage to the Jewish king.
1625 CE: GRAVESTONES FORBIDDEN
Oct 23: Roman Jews were forbidden by Pope Urban VIII (1623-44) to erect gravestones.
1632 CE: VERMEER BORN
Dutch Grandmaster painter
1633 CE: THE VATICAN’S INQUISITION OF GALILEO
The Heresy Trial of Galileo:
–for his theory (ultimately proven correct, of course) that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
After trial, the sentence of this Holy Vatican Inquisition against Galileo for heresy under Pope Urban VIII was 3–part:
1) Galileo was required to repudiate and renounce his theory.
2) Galileo was ordered incarcerated, first in prison, then under house arrest for the remainder of his life.
3) The publication or dissemination of his works – past, present and future – was banned.
The Church officially maintained Galileo’s guilt for 359 years, until October 31, 1992.
1634 CE: FIRST OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY
An intensely anti–Jewish and particularly incendiary rendering of the Passion Saga, performed in Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany for the past 375 years. Intermittently banned by Bavaria.
The way matters are structured across Christendom, the prime mode of conveying the central historical drama of Christianity is via representations of the Passion Saga, i.e. the events leading into and surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus. Wide latitude is given to local representations, constructs, and dramatizations of the Saga.
Since the four gospels diverge or are shaded or written differently regarding each of the dozen or so subcomponent events, the local Passion Saga can pick–and–choose among the four gospels for the intensity desired for each subcomponent. Even after cherry picking and choosing, the local saga can then shade or intensify or spin further, as per its predilections.
Thus, by hypothetically cherry picking the most negative portrayals of the Jews from across the four gospels in each subcomponent of the saga, (with the gospels themselves, in the first place anecdotal and highly politicized in the First Century CE to undermine the Jews in the eyes of the local Mediterranean population) and then by ratcheting–up the intensity even further, the local Passion Saga representation can implant a quite demonic, and subhuman caricature of the Jews. Along with a quite intense and potentially long–lasting hatred. A cancerous weed, which will only spread.
Any local bishop or pastor or teacher or political leader across Christendom, could at will incite and then ride this wave of hatred to consolidate his position vis à vis his flock or constituency.
It is not even necessary for the Vatican to proactively disseminate anti–Jewish directives; in the absence of Vatican prohibitions of ongoing demonizationsto the contrary, in times of financial stress or disease or food shortages or political weakness, the local Christian (or even non-Christian) protagonist need only ratchet–up the Passion Saga representation to channel the passion of the masses and towards a convenient scapegoat.
The ultimate and always convenient “safety valve” for the Church itself, as well, to channel anger.
The initial Oberammergau play originated in the depths of the bubonic plague.
The local Christian protagonist (cleric or mayor or local demagogue) will know full well how to ride the subsequent “wave of hatred” sweeping through the community, and now newly embedded in the minds of the Christian young, next generation’s potential hotheads, clerics and indeed, protagonists.
Once the gospels are laced with highly toxic to the Jews vignettes, and once local representations are given wide–berth in cherry picking the gospels, and once local representations are given wide berth in shading or intensifying even the most toxic anti–Jewish vignettes in the Passion Saga representations, and finally, in the absence of Vatican insistence on a mild representation of the Jews in these Passion Saga representations, the die–is–cast. Jews will suffer, and Jews will die; it is just a matter of time, circumstance and numbers of Jewish victims. Respectfully, the Popes, the College of Cardinals and the bishops all know this. All have been in–on–the–game. For centuries ongoing through this very date.
After 17+ centuries of defamation, some mild, some severe, by assorted Passion sagas around the world, the Catholic Bishops Declaration of 1988 (see below) was an effort to blunt this dynamic somewhat in Roman Catholic parishes, at least in North America.
1636 CE: HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL
–established in Cambridge, MA.
The oldest university in the Americas.
In November 2007, the Harvard Corporation and Board of Overseers approved the charter of its fourteenth school, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Harvard’s core school, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard College, politically shielded by its aura of sublime intellect, could currently probably use a nice booster shot of intellectual integrity and accountability. Sooner rather than later.
1636 CE: KAHAL ZUR YISRAEL SYNAGOGUE, BRAZIL
Recife, Brazil: The oldest synagogue in the Americas — “Congregation Rock of Israel” is established in Recife, the capital of (Dutch) Brazil by immigrants from the Netherlands. The synagogue served a community of approximately 1450 Jews.
The synagogue flourished initially for several decades until 1654 (more detail just below). The mid–1600s Jewish community of Recife apparently had, as well, a mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) and a yeshiva (Jewish religious school). The aforementioned synagogue had a cantor, Joseph Velosino, and a rabbi, Isaac Aboab da Fonseca, sent to Racife in 1642 from Amsterdam.
Now the synagogue and the rabbi are Dutch expats, but the bulk of the Jews there are Portuguese expats (from the 1492 Portuguese expulsion or prior). Of course, “expats” in this case mean refugees fleeing (often potentially lethal) religious persecution and/or outright expulsion.
Now, the plot thickens on various axes…
Portugal not only severely persecuted its Jews in the 1400s and expelled them in 1497–8, but in a somewhat unique historical nefariousness, their explorers (de Gama included) hounded the same refugee Jews in the lands the Portuguese subsequently exploited (Brazil and India included).
When the Portuguese exploiter–invaders arrive in Brazil from Portugal in 1654, armed with horses and hatred, the synagogue and Jewish community devolve. The street of the synagogue—Rua dos Judeos (the “Street of the Jews”)—is renamed by the Portuguese invaders as do Bom Jesus Street (the “Street of Jesus”). One gets the drift.
In 1654, these Dutch and Portuguese Jewish refugees, in turn, flee north up the Atlantic Coast generally as far away as they can get from the Portuguese invaders, and 23 or 24 of them are consequently among the founders of New Amsterdam, eventually to be known as New York.
Now, the Dutch rabbi sent (prior in 1642) from Amsterdam, de Fonseca, a scholar, kabbalist and writer, now in 1656 returns back across the Atlantic to Dutch Amsterdam, as well fleeing the Portuguese invaders of Brazil. De Fonseca becomes chief rabbi of the Sephardic Community of Amsterdam, and was none other than one of several senior elders of the Dutch–Israelite community who then (in 1656) excommunicate Baruch Spinoza (Benedict de Spinoza), whose name would later be immortalized, in part by this very excommunication.
But there may have been an underlying reason why da Fonseca was a party to the excommunication of the gentle Spinoza.
Da Fonseca had been born to a Marrano family, a family feigning conversion to Christianity (to avoid persecution/expulsion/execution), but secretly practicing Judaism. But baptized nevertheless. And an ex–Marrano Orthodox chief rabbi might just be motivated sub–consciously or otherwise to adopt a non–compromising “fundamentalist” position to re–enforce his Jewish bona fides.
Are we finished here? Not quite.
The physical building of the synagogue in Recife apparently remained intact for almost four centuries – until the early 20th century, when it was torn down for a development project. However, in 2001 a museum was created apparently replicating the original synagogue. [Now where are those exotic–destination nice Glatt–kosher Passover tours when you need them?]
1637 CE: DESCARTES COMES TO THE EPIPHANY – “COGITO, ERGO SUM”
(I think; therefore I am)
[Author – more carefully, it might have postulated—I think, therefore I think I am]
1637 CE: JESUIT PRIEST BALTASAR GRACIÁN WRITES THE ART OF WORLDLY WISDOM
Aragon, Spain: Gracián a.k.a. Baltasar Gracián y Morales; Spanish Baroque prose writer.
1639 CE: AUTO DA FE (ACT OF FAITH)
January 23: Lima, Peru: More than eighty New Christians were burned in this Auto Da Fe, including Francisco Maldonna da Silva (Elia Nazareno), the largest act of faith recorded in history. Da Silva learned Jewishness through his father, Diego Nunez da Silva, a Jewish physician. He was kidnapped and held for six years in the secret prisons of the Inquisition. The cause of his abduction was believed happen when he tried to convert his two sisters who converted to Catholicism and denounced him.
1641 CE: GALILEO INVENTS THE PENDULUM CLOCK
1641 CE: JOHN COTTON (ADVOCATE OF THEONOMY)
He helps to establish the social constitution of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1642 CE: ZHAO YINGCHENG
–a mandarin in China during the Ming Dynasty, and a Jew. Proficient in Hebrew and Chinese. Director of the provincial Ministry of Justice.
Zhao helped save the scrolls and rebuild the synagogue with the aid from his brother after the Yellow River flooded in Kai Fen. He and his brother held important positions with the government in the 1660s. He was remembered as an excellent Confucian scholar, a fighter against local bandits, as well as schools founder.
1643 CE: THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT
–A neo-treaty between Scots and the British primarily working out religious issues relating to service in the respective armies.
1644: QING EMPIRE, CHINA
The Qing Dynasty (1644 –1912 CE) is founded by the minority Manchus, and is also known as the Manchu Dynasty.
Empress Dowager Cixi, the “Dragon Lady,” gains control of the Qing in 1861. She rules China for 46+ years, during two separate spans, 1862–1874, and 1875–1908. Many historians consider her both one of the most formidable women and one of the most adroit politicians in modern history.
The Qing Dynasty, the last ruling dynasty of China, is not to be confused with the Qin Dynasty (c. 221–206 BCE), the first dynasty of imperial China. It was originally founded as the Later Jin Dynasty in 1616, it changed its name to “Qing,” meaning “clear” in 1636, and captured Beijing in 1644, now considered its official genesis–point.
1644 CE: LOPE DE VERA (JUDAH THE BELIEVER)
July 25: Spain
A brilliant young Christian scholar who was drawn to Judaism by the outrages of the Inquisition. He was arrested in Valladolid for his inclinations toward Judaism. During his five years in prison he resisted all attempts to get him to change his ways. He changed his name to Judah the Believer and even circumcised himself with a bone.
On July 25, 1644 he was burned alive for refusing to yield to the Inquisition. He chanted Hebrew prayers during the death procession. Even while the flames were burning he was heard reciting the psalm “Unto thee oh Lord do I lift my soul.” The Inquisitor Mirezo wrote: “He was the greatest Jewish heretic that I think has been in the church.”
1644 CE: THE “LONG PARLIAMENT”
The name of the English Parliament called by Charles I on November 1, 1640, following the Bishops Wars.
Among other acts, it directs that only Hebrew canon be read in the Church of England (effectively removed the Apocrypha).
1647 CE: WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY OF THE DIVINES
–was appointed by the Long Parliament to restructure the Church of England.
It meets for six years (1643-1649) and in the process recrafted the major (Confessional Standard) documents of the Presbyterian Faith, including the Westminster Confession of Faith and the “Larger Catechism” and “Shorter Catechism” and the Directory of Public Worship.
1648 CE: TREATY OF MUNSTER / PEACE OF WESTPHALIA
–ends the Thirty Years War (1618–1648 CE), initially a religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants, but ultimately a general war involving most of the European powers.
The War is fought mainly in Germany, which is devastated as a consequence.
The Swedish armies alone destroyed 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns in Germany.
1648 CE: SCOTS INVADE ENGLAND
–and are defeated by Cromwell at battle of Preston Pride’s Purge.
1648 CE: GEORGE FOX FOUNDS THE QUAKER MOVEMENT
1648 CE: LEIBNIZ BORN
Leipzig, Electorate of Saxony, Germany: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher, polymath and mathematician.
1648 CE: CHMIELNICKI MASSACRES
–against Polish gentry (approximately 65,000 murdered) and the Jews (approximately 65,000 murdered).
Note: Some non–mainstream estimates for the Jewish death toll are significantly higher.
1648 CE: TAJ MAHAL
Architectural designer Lahauri uses a labor force of over 20,000 workers, with building materials transported by over a 1,000 elephants. The construction takes 17 years to complete. The complex is built as a love homage by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Shortly after completion, the Shah is imprisoned for years by his “flesh and blood” political adversaries. From his prison, he has a (deliberately arranged) tangential view of his creation.
1649 CE: MEXICAN INQUISITION
April 11: Mexico
The largest Auto da Fe in the New World was held with 109 victims. All but one of them were accused of Judaizing. It was the largest number of Jews ever convicted in the New World. Thirteen were burned alive and 57 in effigy. Of the thirteen, twelve “repented” and so were garroted before being burned. Tomas Trevino, whose mother and wife had also been killed by the Inquisition, refused. For the most part this ended the prominence of crypto-Jews in Mexico.
1654 CE: FIRST JEWS IN AMERICA
September 1654, shortly before the Jewish New Year in the Fall, twenty–three Jews of Dutch ancestry from Recife, Brazil, arrived in NY (Dutch New Amsterdam at the time), the first known Jewish settlers.
Note: The Jews of seventeenth century Portuguese Brazil would most–often trace their lineage back to the 1496 Portuguese expulsion (which followed on the heels of the 1492 Spanish expulsion).
1654 CE: EARLIEST AMERICAN SYNAGOGUES
Built in Manhattan’s Central Park West opposite what is now the restaurant Tavern–on–the–Green.
The Spanish–Portuguese Synagogue founded in Manhattan, NY, 1654 CE; Touro Synagogue founded in Newport, RI, 1658 CE.
Both function to this day with Modern Orthodox services, very scrupulously within Orthodox parameters.
1655 CE: THE WEST INDIA COMPANY
April 26: North American Colonies
–refused to accept Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant’s request to ban the settling of Jews in New Amsterdam. In their letter, the West India Company relates the “large amounts of capital which the Jews have invested in the shares of this company” therefore “these people (Portuguese Jews) may travel and trade...live and remain there provided their poor shall not become a burden to the company or the community.”
1655 CE: CROMWELL
Ruler (Lord Protector) of England (1653–1658 CE)
Party to the execution of King Charles I, Cromwell dominated the short–lived Commonwealth of England.
In 1655–1657, Cromwell encourages the return of the Jews to England.
In 1290, 366 years prior, King Edward I via his Edict of Expulsion had expelled all the Jew of England (and conveniently confiscated all their wealth). During his reign, Edward I had also executed 300 Jewish heads–of–households in England, and mandated a yellow badge for the entire Jewish populace.
It is believed that Cromwell in 1655, viewing the prosperity that the Jews were credited with bringing to Holland, England’s prime commercial rival, hoped that returning Jews would help England recover after its devastating civil wars.
The backdrop to the invitation to the Jews includes ongoing conflict between Catholics and Protestants across England, Scotland and Ireland. Cromwell (Protestant) had been Military Commander 1649–50 of the Parliament–directed campaign, which conquered first Ireland and then Scotland (both Catholic).
1664 CE: NEW YORK, NY
England seizes New Amsterdam from the Dutch, change name to New York.
1664 CE: THE SEPHARDI IN NEW YORK
The Sephardi community drew up regulations for Jewish communal organizations. They were known as the Ascamot or Agreement. The original document was written in Portuguese. One of the regulations against the founding of another synagogue was later to cause controversy.
1665 CE: PROBLEMATION! SHABBETAI TZEVI
FALSE MESSIAH Shabbetai Tzevi, at age 22, “reveals himself” as the messiah to his group in Smyrna (today Izmir, Turkey) wreaking havoc on the Jewish world.
“As a young man, Shabbetai steeped himself in the influential body of Jewish mystical writings known as the Kabbala. His extended periods of ecstasy and his strong personality combined to attract many disciples.
Driven from Smyrna by the aroused rabbinate, he journeyed to Salonika (now Thessaloníki), an old Kabbalistic centre, and then to Constantinople (now Istanbul). There he encountered an esteemed and forceful Jewish preacher and Kabbalist, Abraham ha–Yakini, who possessed a false prophetic document affirming that Shabbetai was the messiah. Shabbetai then traveled to Palestine and after that to Cairo, where he won over to his cause Raphael Halebi, and the wealthy and powerful [Jewish] treasurer of the Turkish governor.
With a retinue of believers and assured of financial backing, Shabbetai triumphantly returned to Jerusalem.
Threatened with excommunication by the rabbis of Jerusalem, Shabbetai returned to Smyrna in the autumn of 1665, where he was wildly acclaimed. His movement spread to Venice, Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, and several other European and North African cities.
At the beginning of 1666, Shabbetai went to Constantinople and was imprisoned on his arrival. After a few months, he was transferred to the castle at Abydos, which became known to his followers as Migdal Oz, the Tower of Strength. In September, however, he was brought before the sultan in Adrianople and, having been previously threatened with torture, converted to Islam. The placated sultan renamed him Mehmed Efendi, appointed him his personal doorkeeper, and provided him with a generous allowance. All but his most faithful or self–seeking disciples were disillusioned by his apostasy. Eventually, Shabbetai fell out of favor and was banished, dying in Albania.
The movement that developed around Shabbetai Tzevi became known as Shabbetaianism.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/537449/Shabbetai–Tzevi (accessed July 1, 2009)
After Shabbetai’s death in 1676, the sect continued to flourish. The nihilistic tendencies of Shabbetaianism reached a peak in the eighteenth century with Jacob Frank, whose followers reputedly sought redemption via “adventurous” mystical festivals.
1665 CE: JOHN MILTON FINISHES WRITING PARADISE LOST
Two years later, he finds a publisher – who pays him £10.
1665-1666 CE: THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON
Sunday, Sept 2 – Wednesday, Sept 5: The fire totally guts the medieval City of London.
St. Paul’s Cathedral, 87 parish churches, and 13,200 houses were destroyed. Unknown number of dead. It is estimated that 70,000 out of the city’s 80,000 inhabitants lost their homes.
1668 CE: POPE CLEMENT IX
January 28: He cancelled the humiliating forced races of near naked Jews through the streets of Rome during carnival time (known as the Palio).
In return for this revocation, the Jews of Rome had to pay a special cancellation tax of 200 ducats. This tax was paid for almost 200 years.
The races had first been introduced by Pope Paul II in 1464.
– Eli Birnbaum
1670 CE: SECRET TREATY OF DOVER
–between Charles II of England and Louis XIV of France to restore Roman Catholicism to England
1670 CE: HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY FOUNDED
1672 CE: SYNOD OF JERUSALEM
–Greek Orthodox a.k.a. Synod of Bethlehem.
1678 CE: JOHN BUNYAN PUBLISHES PILGRIM’S PROGRESS
1678 CE: JEWS IN YEMEN
Imam Ahmed he Hassan made an offer to Jews whether converting or being expelled to a hot barren land near Aden, known as Mawza. He also prohibited public prayer by Jews by closing all synagogues.
A year later they were allowed to return. As many as 2/3 of them did not survive the year. Upon their return, they discovered their homes occupied by Moslems. Many of the smaller communities vanished. Among the exiles was Shalem (Shalom) Shabazi, who wrote over 550 historical, ethical and religious poems. He is considered the greatest Yemenite Jewish poet.
– Eli Birnbaum
1679 CE: ACT OF HABEAS CORPUS PASSED
–by British Parliament – forbidding imprisonment without trial
1682 CE: PETER THE GREAT BECOMES TSAR OF RUSSIA
–at age 10
1683 CE: PACHELBEL’S CANON
Johann Pachelbel’s major musical works are primarily published from 1683–1699 in Austria and Germany.
1684 CE: ATTACK ON THE GHETTO
August 20: Padua, Italy
During the war between Venice and Turkey, the Jews were accused of praying for the Turks during their attack on Buda (today: Budapest, Hungary). In actuality, it was the 9th of Av and all the Jews were in the synagogue mourning the destruction of the Temple. Soon after, the attack on the ghetto began. When the gates were opened to allow for an emissary to the Duke to leave, the crowd rushed in, and harassed the Jews.
As soon as the authorities heard about the disturbances, an order to forcibly curb the anti–Jewish elements was given. The day of the order (10 Elul) became a day of thanksgiving, or Purim Buda.
– Eli Birnbaum
1684 CE: ROGER WILLIAMS (THEOLOGIAN)
…advocate of Separation of church and state, founds of Providence, Rhode Island.
1685 CE: EDICT OF FONTAINEBLEAU
–outlaws Protestantism in France
1685 CE: BACH
Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer and organist, lives 1685 CE – 1750 CE.
Among his many enduring works are The Brandenburg Concertos; The Goldberg Variations; The English Suites, French Suites, Partitas; The Well–Tempered Clavier; Mass in B Minor.
1687 CE: JAMES II
–issues Declaration of Liberty of Conscience, extends toleration to all religions.
1687 CE: NEWTON
British: (Sir) Isaac Newton publishes Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
Considered by many as the single greatest work in the history of science, it describes universal gravitation and the three laws of motion.
A primary protagonist in the development of: the telescope; theories of gravitation; color–spectrum theory; laws of cooling; theories on the speed of sound; and the calculus, among other extraordinary contributions/achievements.
On another front, Newton learned Hebrew so he could study the Bible (Torah) in the original. Newton actually wrote more on Religion, Bible, and Religious Philosophy than he did on science, but his works in these areas did not achieve significant lasting traction.
1688 CE: ENGLAND’S “GLORIOUS REVOLUTION”
William III of Orange is invited to save England from Roman Catholicism, lands in England, James II flees to France.
1689 CE: CONVENTION PARLIAMENT ISSUES BILL OF RIGHTS
–establishes a constitutional monarchy in Britain; bars Roman Catholics from the throne; William III and Mary II become joint monarchs of England and Scotland (to 1694).
Toleration Act grants freedom of worship to dissenters in England.
1689 CE: NORTH AMERICAN COLONIES
Fighting erupts between the English and French along the northern border of New York. One of the first Jews known to have fought under the British flag was Joseph Isacks. Isacks, a butcher from New York, was an active member of the synagogue until his death at age 78.
– Eli Birnbaum
1690 CE: JOHN LOCKE
English philosopher, publishes the “Two Treatise of Civil Government”
–advocating the limiting of monarchy, presenting the concept of a “social contract” between those governing and those being governed. His works are influential in developing the theories of democracy.
1692 CE: SALEM WITCH TRIALS
–in Colonial America
1693 CE: JACOB AMMAN
1698 CE: BAAL SHEM TOV
Born 1698 in Galicia (now in Ukraine); died 1760 CE Lithuania (now in Ukraine).
In print, the acronym BESHT is used.
A towering figure in Judaism. Founder of Hasidism.
Originally the core Hasidic theme was ivdu et ha–Shem b’simcha’ (worship God through meditation and fervent joy). However, the denomination has morphed into a heavily scholarly denomination.
But their great historical contribution revolves around the area of spiritualizing down–to–earth humanism.
For a major historical Jewish personage, the BESHT is a total anomaly. According to lore, he was a terrible student, and probably spent more time in the woods connecting with nature, than connecting with his Gemara books. He was never an ordained rabbi or scholar in the classic sense. He left no books; however, it would appear that he tapped–into cosmic currents astutely.
Considered by Judaism to be a populist, which is accurate, his doctrine of panentheism –that the whole universe is a manifestation of the Divine Being—of course, flies in the face of classic mainstream Jewish doctrine (which is neo–Aristotelian). Of course, respectfully, in my humble opinion, it was the BESHT who was correct.
[Some of the better–known Hassidic sects today include the Bobover, the Breslover, Gerer, Lubavitch (Chabad) and Satmar Hasidism.]
[Historical note: Opus Dei, the unique Roman Catholic order founded later in 1928 in Spain, has as its core doctrine, themes almost verbatim from the BESHT, to the effect that daily life is a path to sanctity. Founded by (Saint) Josemaría Escrivá, Opus Dei is currently under the Prelature of Bishop Javier Echevarría. Opus Dei is treated as a “personal prelature” of the Pope.]
Baal Shem Tov means “Holder of a Good Name (i.e. a good reputation).”
1698 CE: JOSEPH SUSS OPPENHEIMER
He was responsible for the financial planning of Karl Alexander, the Catholic ruler of Protestant Germany. After Karl’s death, Joseph was accused, among other things, of trying to bring back Catholicism. He had lived a life of opulence and had no dealings with his religion or his fellow Jews. Despite this, the community tried to ransom him to no avail. He returned to Jewish beliefs while in prison and died while reciting the Shema.
Early 1700s CE: THE MASHADI AND PERSIAN RULER NADER SHAH
Nader Shah returns from Persian war with India with great treasure of gold and gems. He consequently builds a treasure fortress in the city of Mashad to house his winnings. Trusting his Jewish constituents, Nader Shah compels 20 Jewish families from across Persia to move to Mashad to guard his new–found treasures.
Over a hundred years later, after forced conversion in 1839 CE, subsequent to a local Shiite pogrom during Ramadan, the Jews of Mashad de facto became Persian marranos. Practicing their Jewish faith sub rosa (secretly), unerringly and uncompromisingly in Mashad—generation after generation. Through the 1800s and the 1900s, the Mashadi hang–tough.
To some extent, after several years their Jewish practice had presumably become an “open secret” in Mashad. In any event, all concerned—both the Jews and the respective governing bodies—maintained the charade for political reasons. The community maintained secret synagogues and kosher butchers. They married–off their daughters at very young age into fellow Mashadi families, to avoid any suitors or other issues with the local populace.
They are considered 100 percent Jewish by the Jewish community at–large. In the ‘60s, many started emigrating to the USA from Iran (latter–day Persia). There are USA constituencies of the Mashadi in Queens and nearby, in Great Neck, Long Island. Around 4,000 live in the USA, and another 1,200 out of the USA. Notwithstanding their historical religious valor, the ongoing Mashadi intense devotion post–Persia/Iran to focus marrying within the quite–quite–small Mashadi community is a dangerous recipe for genetic trouble.
In any event, today, 300 years after Nader Shah built his treasure fortress, many Mashadi find themselves in the gem business, their “family business,” worldwide.
1700 CE: JUDAH THE PIOUS
He settles in Jerusalem, with 1,000 followers.
1701 CE: FREDERICK I OF BRANDENBURG DECLARES HIMSELF (the first) KING OF PRUSSIA
Prussia spanned 1527–1947. It was the leading state of the German Empire during Prussia’s tenure on this planet. The last capital of Prussia was Berlin.
[Frederick I of Prussia (1657-1713) is not to be confused with sundry other ‘Frederick I’ personages, including Frederick I (1122-1190), Holy Roman Emperor a.k.a. Frederick Barbarosa. Nor is he to be confused with Frederick I of Sweden, who had an overlapping lifetime (1676-1751) and political tenure.]
Frederick II, grandson of Frederick I of Prussia, was to be known as Frederick the Great (1740-1786). He wrote deprecatingly of his grandfather: “All in all, he was great in small matters, and small in great.”
During the eighteenth century Prussia itself became a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great (Frederick II). During the nineteenth century, Otto von Bismarck (first a Prussian statesman, and then Chancellor of the Northern German Federation and then of the German Empire) pursued a policy of successfully uniting the German principalities and of astutely projecting German political power across Europe.
1703-1705 CE: HEAVY TAXATION
Jerusalem city revolts against heavy (Muslim) taxation. It is finally put down two years later by Jurji Muhammad Pasha.
1705 CE: RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED
–against the Jews of Jerusalem (by Muslim rulers).
1705 CE: ENGLAND
The first Hebrew printing press in England was opened.
1707 CE: PETER THE GREAT
He conquered Vilna and the Grodno province. He fined Jews who did not support the Russians. When Karl XII "The Great" of Sweden liberated it from the Russians, the Jews again had to pay a heavy fine for not having supported the Swedes.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1714 CE: JOHN TOLAND
Published anonymously his Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland on the Same Footing with all Other Nations. Toland, An Irish born deist (a Biblical rationalist movement), believed that the naturalization of foreign-born Jews would encourage foreign-born Jews to settle in England.
– Eli Birnbaum
1719 CE: DANIEL DEFOE PUBLISHES ROBINSON CRUSOE
–relating the saga of an English castaway who spends twenty–eight years on an island off Venezuela.
–based on the actual shipwreck and survival of one Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who spends four years on the Pacific Island of Más a Tierra.
Sorry, all castaways are not created equal.
1720 CE: HARVARD COLLEGE
The first Jew in America to receive a degree from any college, Judah Monis, received a degree of Masters of the Arts for his book on Hebrew grammar. After two years, he was then offered the position of Instructor of Hebrew at the college that led to his conversion to Christianity.
1720 CE: VILNA GAON
–Scholar, Halakhist, Kabbalist, and prominent antagonist of Hasidism, a.k.a. Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman “Kremer” (known in Hebrew as ha’Gaon ha’Chasid mi’Vilna).
1721 CE: OLDEST VICTIM
May 18: Madrid, Spain
Maria Barbara Carillo was 96 years old when she was burned alive as the oldest victim of the Inquisition.
1724 CE: IMMANUEL KANT BORN
1723 CE: MARCUS ELIEZER BLOCH
(Jewish) physician and zoologist who was the first modern fish naturalist (ichthyologist). He classified 1500 species in his 12 volume work Allegemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische. Part of the Berlin Zooligical Museum came from his aquarium.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1726 CE: FAMILIANTS LAWS
Charles VI of Habsburg (1685-1740) introduced the laws, which remained in force until 1848. Although for the most part the Habsburgs protected the Jews in their realm they decided to limit their numbers. Accordingly, no Jew could marry unless he possessed one of the "family numbers" (Familiennummern). This led to many Jews marrying "under the table", which made the children illegitimate. Many families were forced to wander from town to town because they were not allowed to permanently settle anywhere. There were strict regulations as to how the numbers were passed on in each family. These laws led to both immigration and assimilation.
– Eli Birnbaum
1727 CE: JOSEPH TEOMIM
Rabbi, halachic authority, and teacher. Teomim composed the Pri Migadim (Sweet Fruits), one of the most comprehensive commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch. Originally intended as a super-commentary on the Shach and Taz (on the Shulchan Aruch), he actually solved problems raised by himself. His work, accepted by all Orthodox Jews (Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Hasidic), is based on a systematic analysis of previous commentators (Rishonim) upon whom the commentators based themselves. At the same time he emphasized that his decisions are not to be taken as definitive halacha. He was an authority on grammar as well as the Talmud, and understood rudimentary logic. He also authored a commentary on the Torah entitled Rav Peninim (Many Pearls). In addition he wrote Porat Yosef and Rosh Yosef novellae to various talmudic tractates.
– Eli Birnbaum
1729 CE: HASKALAH!
Moses Mendelssohn (1729 CE – 1786 CE), Prussian Jewish scholar, popular philosopher, and man of letters, emerges as a beacon for the Haskalah (Enlightenment) Movement.
He calls for greater integration of secular sciences, arts and literature into Jewish education. Pro–Hebrew, wary of Yiddish.
The resonant Haskalah Movement was a pandora’s box, as far as classic old–line Orthodox was concerned.
The maskilim (adherents of Haskalah) impacted, among other movements, the embryonic Reform Movement, the Mussar Movement, Torah im Derech Eretz (Torah Ethics Movement), Zionism to come later, and Modern Orthodoxy (Yeshiva University, etc.).
1730 CE: FRANCE
After two centuries, the New Christians of Southern France (Bordeaux) were recognized as Jews. Two years later their residency was legalized.
– Eli Birnbaum
1730s & 1740s CE: “FIRST GREAT AWAKENING” (USA)
a.k.a. The Great Awakening: A period of heightened religious activity in the British North American colonies.
1732 CE: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 26, PUBLISHES POOR RICHARD’S ALMANAC
–a miscellany of advice, tables, reports and assorted information.
1735 CE: “LUZZATTO”
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, rabbi, mystic, philosopher, ethicist (and diamond cutter by trade), leaves Italy for Amsterdam, where he writes his ethical/mystical masterpieces, The RaMHal.
Will also write–
|Mesillat Yesharim||The Path of the Just
(his most well–known work)
|Derech Hashem||The Way of God|
|Da’at Tevunoth||The Knowledge of Understanding|
|Derech Tevunoth||The Ways of Reason|
1738 CE: JOSEPH OPPENHEIMER HUNG
Oppenheimer, the finance minister (see 1698), was arrested after the sudden death of Prince Karl of Wurttemberg. He was offered a pardon if he agreed to be baptized. Although not a practicing Jew, he refused and was placed in a cage in the center of Stuttgart declaring: "I will die as a Jew. I am suffering violence and injustice." He died while shouting "Shema Yisrael."
– Eli Birnbaum
1738 CE: METHODIST MOVEMENT
–led by John Wesley and his hymn-writing brother Charles, begins.
1739 CE: ANTÓNIO JOSÉ DA SILVA
Oct 19: Portugal
António José da Silva, a well-known dramatist, whose parents had been persecuted by the Inquisition, was burned at the stake for alleged heresy. Although the King was pretty tolerant, Da Silva was burned to death while one of his plays was being performed in a popular theater in Lisbon.
1740 CE: NATURALIZATION ACT PASSED
Also known as the Plantation Act,passed, making it possible for a Jew in any of Britain's American colonies to become naturalized. However, it was not always implemented (i.e. in Rhode Island). Between 1740 and the American Revolutionary War, around 200 Jews were naturalized, most of them in Jamaica, a British colony since 1670.
– Eli Birnbaum
1741 CE: CHABAD LUBAVITCH CHASIDIC DYNASTY
Shneur Zalman of Liadi founds the first of the current–day large Hasidic dynasties in Lyubavichi, Russia.
Lyubavici will serve as the movement’s base for over a century. Chabad Lubavitch has over 200,000 adherents, but its intellectual, organizational and outreach dynamism has a very significant force–multiplier effect over Jewry worldwide.
1742 CE: CZARINA ELIZABETH PETROVNA
December 1: Daughter of Catherine I and Peter the Great of Russia
Expelled 35,000 Jews from parts of Russia. When advised of the financial loss she allegedly responded, “I do not want any benefit from the enemies of Christ.”
– Eli Birnbaum
1743 CE: ABRAHAM ALEXANDER
(Jewish) Revolutionary War officer and the first secretary general of the Masonic supreme council in Charleston. He married one of the first Jewish converts in the United States, Ann Sarah Huguenin Irby. He served as a hazzan in the local congregation, hand-wrote a High Holiday prayer book, and also worked as an auditor for the United States Customs Service.
– Eli Birnbaum
1744 CE: ROTHSCHILD
Mayer Amschel Rothschild is born in the ghetto of Judengasse in Frankfurt–am–Main (Germany).
He will become the founder of a financial and political dynasty via his five sons, who he stationed in five European capitals; Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Naples and Paris.
The clan will single–handedly advance the fortunes of the Jewish people over a 200 year span.
1744 CE: THE ENGLISH REFERENCE BOOK
Modern history or the present state of all nations stated that “Jerusalem is still reckoned the capital city of Palestine.”
1745 CE: GERSHON MENDES SEIXAS
Son of a Portuguese immigrant and was the first native Jew to become a rabbi. He was first a rabbi in New York and then founded Mikve Israel congregation in Philadelphia. Rather than living under British rule, Seixas renowned patriot and left New York as the British approached. He participated in George Washington’s inauguration.
1745 CE: EMPRESS MARIA THERESA
May 15: Prague, Bohemia
After several appeals and petitions, she ended a decree banishing all Jews from Moravia and Bohemia. She allowed Jews to live there without any limitation. The Jews in Prague were still under the order. They were soon permitted to return on a restricted basis.
1746 CE: SAMUEL JOHNSON’S DICTIONARY
Begun in 1746, it will be published in 1755.
For 150 years, until the publication of the Oxford Dictionary, it will be the preeminent English dictionary in the world.
Johnson, in turn, becomes the focus of one of the most important biographies in English literature, James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson.
1748 CE: MONTESQUIEU PUBLISHES THE SPIRIT OF THE LAWS
Montesquieu lived during the Era of the Enlightenment, and was a French social commentator and political thinker.
Advocating separation of powers of government into three distinct areas—judicial, legislative and executive—Montesquieu impacted world history.
His model became the centerpiece of Jeffersonian Democracy in the United States.
1749 CE: GOETHE BORN
Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, and polymath. His writings span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, philosophy, humanism and science.
1753 CE: TEMPORARY REPRIEVE
ENGLAND: This legislation allowed Jews to own land and to “prefer bills in parliament without receiving the sacrament.” Mobs and pamphleteers protested by calling it the end of Christianity in England and giving lie to the prophesies of the New Testament which implies that Jews must wander the earth.
The next year it was revoked and reenacted over a hundred years later in 1858.
– Eli Birnbaum
1754 CE: SOLOMON MAIMON
POLAND: Inspired by Maimonides’ Moreh Nevuchim (Guide to the Perplexed), he adopted the name Maimon, abandoned religion, embraced philosophy, and embarked on the life of a wanderer.
He met some of the greatest minds during his lifetime, including Moses Mendelssohn. Among his works are a critique on Kant and a commentary on Maimonides entitled Givat Hamoreh (Hill of the Teacher). He correctly prevised that “the Christians won’t say Mass and the Jews won’t say Kaddish at my grave.”
His autobiography (Lebensgeschichte) provided important insights into Eighteenth Century Polish Jewry, particularly the Hasidic Movement.
– Eli Birnbaum
1756 CE: MOZART AND BEETHOVEN
Composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), both of Austria.
In 1787, Beethoven traveled to Vienna in hopes of studying with Mozart, but it is not clear if he succeeded.
1757 CE: THE TALMUD WERE BURNED AND DESTROYED
November 13: Poland
Jacob Frank, a follower of the false Messiah Shabbetai Zevi, had begun his own movement which emphasized the Kabbalah and denigrated the Talmud. His practices, some of which were sexual in nature, were condemned by the local Rabbinate.
In revenge, he arranged a dispute in Lvov (June 20) between himself and the local Jewish leaders. Bishop Nicholas Dembowski, who presided over the disputation, ruled in favor of Frank and ordered all copies of the Talmud found to be dragged through the streets and burned. Around 1000 copies of the Talmud were destroyed.
Within a few years, many of Frank’s followers converted to Christianity.
– Eli Birnbaum
1759 CE: VOLTAIRE WRITES CANDIDE
Basically, Voltaire was a one–man literary army.
1759 CE: LOUISIANA COLONY
January: Despite what was known as the Louisiana Black Code, there were at least 5 Jewish families living there. The law denied residence to Jews or the practice of any religion except Catholicism in the territory.
– Eli Birnbaum
1759 CE: SCHILLER BORN
Marbacham Neckar, Wurttemberg (currently Germany): Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright.
1760 CE: KING GEORGE III
–ascends the throne of England
1760 CE: ENGLISH PRAYER BOOK
1760 CE: THE BIRTH OF BOARD OF DEPUTIES
–founded in Great Britain
It is the oldest Jewish communal organization in Great Britain. Ashkenazi or Sephardi Jews (and later the Reform) had a privilege to elect their deputies, who would represent the entire community. Overtime, many other organizations were added. Membership was originally based on synagogues.
1761 CE: MOZART BEGINS COMPOSING
–at age five, in Salzburg, now Austria
Included in Mozart’s “pre–K period” are his Andante
(K. 1a) and Allegro in C (K. 1b). Both were transcribed by his father, a local composer and music teacher.
1762 CE: MOZART, AGE 6, MAKES HIS DEBUT
–at the Hapsburg Palace at Schonbrunn
After his keyboard performance, he sits in the empress’s lap. In the audience is another seven–year–old, the empress’s niece, Marie Antoinette.
1767 CE: CHARLES TOWNSHEND
London: A series of acts (Townshend Acts) passed by the British Parliament which established precedent for taxing the American colonies. The acts were strenuously opposed by the Colonies.
1768 CE: ISRAEL JACOBSON
(b. 1768, Halberstadt, Germany; d. 1828, Berlin, Germany)
A German Jewish philanthropist, Jacobson was also the financial agent of Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia
A “Father of (the American Jewish) Reform Movement.” [see also Abraham Geiger, Samuel Holdheim, and Leopold Zunz.]
He organized the first Reform service and later founded the first Reform Temple with the help of Jacob Herz Beer. Due to his belief in inter-racial association, he established a school for Jewish and Christian children in the Herz mountains in 1801. The Reform movement was also known as the “Liberal” or “Progressive” movement. It developed partly out of the political and cultural emancipation of Jews in Western Europe. Although Jacobson sought a basis for his ideas in traditional Judaism, the Reform movement soon sought to distance itself from Orthodoxy, nationalism, and the authority of the written and Oral Law and concentrate on the “universal” aspects of Judaism.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1768 CE: UKRANIAN HAIDAMAK MASSACRES
The Haidamaks were a para-military Ukranian breakaway group of organized brigands – mostly of local Cossacks and peasantry – directed mainly against the Polish nobility in right-bank Ukraine. However, the Jews and the Jesuits often became the ‘targets of opportunity.’
Russia: The Haidamaks reach Uman. The Haidamak peasant serfs and Cossacks rioted much in the same vein as Chemielnicki one hundred and twenty years earlier. At Uman, the Poles and Jews defended the city together under the Polish commander, Ivan Gonta. The next day, convinced by Zheleznyak the Polish revolutionary that only the Jews would be attacked, Gonta (betrayed the Jews and) allowed the fortified city to be entered by the Haidamaks without a fight. Approximately 8000 Jews were killed, many of them trying to defend themselves near the synagogue.
As soon as the Jews were all massacred, the Haidamaks (the paramilitary bands) began to kill the Poles. Although the Haidamaks began in the 1730’s, the main rioting was during the years 1734, 1750 and 1768. It is estimated that during these years 20,000 (and up to possibly 33,000) Jews were killed. The Haidamaks became part of the Ukrainian national movement and are celebrated in folklore and literature.
[Historians lack precision on all the various inter-related components here.]
– after Eli Birnbaum
1770 CE: THE BOSTON MASSACRE
March 5: King Street (now State Street), Boston: British troops sent to the Colonies to enforce the aforementioned Townshend Acts open fire on militantly protesting colonists. Three colonists were killed at the scene and two die later from their wounds. This is the first “spilt blood.” It was probably the point of no return.
1770 CE: HORATIO NELSON ENTERS THE ROYAL NAVY
–as a midshipman aboard the Raisonnable. He is 12.
1772 CE: DAVID RICARDO
Founded Political Economy as a science. His chief work was Principles of Politics and Taxation. Ricardo’s theories provided the scientific basis for the rule of free trade.
1772 CE: POLAND PARTITIONED
–involved the first of three partitions (1772, 1794, 1795). The Ukraine went to Russia, Galicia to Austria (whose Jewish population now doubled), and Lithuania to Prussia.
Thus Catherine II inherited many of the same Jews she was trying to be rid of. Each monarch made an effort to integrate and assimilate its Jews into the “State of Order” and central administration, thus abolishing self-rule for the most part.
1773 CE: TEA ACT
May 10: London: The British Parliament passes the Tea Act, which included provisions which strengthened taxation of tea to the American colonies (in furtherance of the aforementioned Townshend Acts)
1773 CE: THE BOSTON TEA PARTY
December 16: Colonial protest in Boston Harbor
The American colonists were opposed to the taxation of tea imports from Britain. After British officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of activist American colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor.
1774 CE: FIRST CONTINENTAL CONGRESS
September 15: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen British North American colonies met at Carpenter’s Hall. Fifty six delegates total from twelve of the thirteen colonies; Georgia did not send a delegation.
Called in response to the (earlier in 1774) British Coercive Acts; called the Intolerable Acts by the colonists.
The denouement of the Congress was an appeal by the Congress to the (British) Crown to rescind the Coercive Acts. The Crown did not budge.
1775 CE: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR COMMENCES
The Colonists commence overthrowing the British; the war will span 1775–1783.
1775 key events include–
|April 18:||The midnight ride of Paul Revere|
|April 19:||The Battles of Lexington and Concord (Mass.)
The colonial “Minutemen” v. the British “Redcoats”
|May 10:||Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys seize Fort Ticonderoga (in upstate NY)|
|May 10:||Second Continental Congress (see just below)|
|June 15:||George Washington named Commander–in–Chief|
|June 17:||Battle of Bunker Hill (Boston, Mass.)|
|Dec. 31:||American forces under Benedict Arnold fail to seize Quebec.|
France allies itself with the American Colonists.
1775 CE: BEGINNING OF THE SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS
May 10: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Convened shortly after warfare had commenced.
Between the Colonists and the British.
Included delegates from all thirteen original colonies. The Congress would manage the Colonists war effort, and moved steadily towards independence. It raised armies, set overall strategy; appointed senior generals and diplomats, and executed formal treaties. The Congress acted as the de facto government of the United States.
(With the adoption of the Articles of Confederation six years later in 1781, the Congress became known as the Congress of the Confederation.)
1775 CE: JUDAH TOURO
[b. 1775, Newport, RI; d. 1854, New Orleans, LA]
His father, Isaac Touro of Holland, was chosen in 1762 (Judah was then 7) as the hazzan of Portugues Sephardic congregation [later, to become the iconic Touro Synagogue extant todayas a Moden Orthodox synagogue] in Newport. The synagogue itself was built from 1759 to 1763 for the Yeshuat Israel congregation.
Merchant-philanthropist. Judah Touro moved to New Orleans at the age of 22 and became a successful trader. He enlisted in the War of 1812 under Andrew Jackson and was wounded in the defense of New Orleans. Touro never married but left large funds (estimated $500,000) for various philanthropic purposes. Some of them included completing the Bunker Hill monument, enclosing the Jewish Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island, and numerous almshouses and Jewish congregations in New Orleans and other cities. His funds joined with Montefiore’s to help build the first housing complex outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, Mishkenot Shananim.
The Touro Synagogue of Newport and the Spanish Portuguese Synagogue of Central Park West, Manhattan, both Sephardic, are the oldest synagogues in America.
1775 CE: “GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH”
–a Founding Father of the United States and advocate for American Revolution and proactive armed resistance:
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
This will be music to the Jews across the steppes of Russia, in the shtetls of the hinterland, and in the parlors of effete European capitals.
Indeed, the Jews had been seeking precisely the same for 2,000 years. America was at–hand.
1775 CE: GEORGE WASHINGTON APPOINTED
June 15: Commander–in–Chief of the Continental forces
Born February 22, 1732, Westmoreland county, Virginia; died December 14, 1799, Mount Vernon, Virginia.
“American Revolutionary commander–in–chief (1775–83) and first president of the U.S. (1789–97).
Born into a wealthy family, he was educated privately. In 1752 he inherited his brother’s estate at Mount Vernon, including 18 slaves; their ranks grew to 49 by 1760, though he disapproved of slavery. In the French and Indian War he was commissioned a colonel and sent to the Ohio Territory.
After Edward Braddock was killed, Washington became commander of all Virginia forces, entrusted with defending the western frontier (1755–58). He resigned to manage his estate and in 1759 married Martha Dandridge Custis (1731–1802), a widow. He served in the House of Burgesses (1759–74), where he supported the colonists’ cause, and later in the Continental Congress (1774–75). In 1775 he was elected to command the Continental Army. In the ensuing American Revolution, he proved a brilliant commander and a stalwart leader, despite several defeats.
With the war effectively ended by the capture of Yorktown (1781), he resigned his commission and returned to Mount Vernon (1783). He was a delegate to and presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention (1787) and helped secure ratification of the Constitution in Virginia. When the state electors met to select the first president (1789), Washington was the unanimous choice. He formed a cabinet to balance sectional and political differences but was committed to a strong central government. Elected to a second term, he followed a middle course between the political factions that later became the Federalist Party and the Democratic Party. He proclaimed a policy of neutrality in the war between Britain and France (1793) and sent troops to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion (1794). He declined to serve a third term (thereby setting a 144–year precedent) and retired in 1797 after delivering his “Farewell Address.” Known as the “father of his country,” he is universally regarded as one of the greatest figures in U.S. history.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/636381/George–Washington# (accessed September 15, 2009)
1776 CE: COMMON SENSE
January 15: Thomas Paine’s booklet advocating independence for the Colonies distributed.
1776 CE: MISSION DOLORES, SAN FRANCISCO
Spanish Catholic – Franciscan Order Mission complex; oldest surviving structure in San Francisco. It was the sixth religious settlement established as part of the California chain of religious and military outpost of the Order.
1776 CE: THE AMERICAN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
(See additional in 1776 timeline below)
1776 CE: SOME KEY 1776 EVENTS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
include, among others–
Jan 15: Paine’s Common Sense (noted above)
Mar 3: The Continental fleet captures New Providence Island in the Bahamas
Mar 17: The British evacuate Boston
Jul 1–4: Congress debates and revises the Declaration of Independence
Jul 4: Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence; sent to printer
Jul 8: The Declaration of Independence is read publicly
Aug 2: Delegates begin to sign the Declaration of Independence
Sep 15: The British occupy NY City
Oct 11: Benedict Arnold defeated at Battle of Valcour Island (Lake Champlain)
Dec 26: Washington crosses the Delaware and captures Trenton from (British–aligned) Hessians
1776 CE: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN APPOINTED U.S. AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE
Born Jan 17, 1706; died Apr 17, 1790.
“American printer and publisher, author, inventor and scientist, and diplomat. One of the foremost of the Founding Fathers, Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers, represented the United States in France during the American Revolution, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He made important contributions to science, especially in the understanding of electricity, and is remembered for the wit, wisdom, and elegance of his writing…”
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/217331/Benjamin–Franklin (accessed July 1, 2009)
1776 CE: JEFFERSONIAN DEMOCRACY
Enlightened Founding Fathers meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to establish, among other things, a system of checks and balances and the Bill of Rights.
Emancipation of the slaves comes only 89 later, subsequent to the Civil War, via the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. (Apparently, not all men were created equal in 1776.)
Enfranchisement of women comes much later, sparked by Susan B. Anthony’s multi–decade crusade in the 19th century, via the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote.
From the get–go, the Jews breathe true freedom—enshrined in the charter of their new country—probably for the first time since the time of Judah the Maccabee in Judea approximately 1900 years prior.
Transcending assorted discrimination, quotas, glass–ceilings, one lynching, and assorted low–level anti–Semitism in America, the Jews prosper and flourish.
The goldena medinah….The Golden Country!
By the early 21st century, not infrequently, a majority of the presidents of the Ivy League universities would be Jewish–Americans.
While pockets of residual issues remain, the Jews flourish in America, particularly going–into the 21st century.
Back in 1776 there were approximately 2,000 Jews in America, primarily of Spanish and Portuguese descent (Sephardim). One of them, Haym Solomon was one of the financiers of the Revolution.
1776 CE: EDWARD GIBBON PUBLISHES
–the first volume of The DECLINE and FALL of the ROMAN EMPIRE
The first of six volumes. The total endeavor would consume fifteen years. The last of the six volumes was released thirteen years later, in 1789.
Gibbon’s work has been attacked as a polemic by the Catholic Church for its scathing treatment of same. Historically, any work castigating the Church is branded as a “polemic” by the Church. There is, alas, much to criticize about the Catholic Church, and if one criticizes just 5 percent of their misdeeds, the work appears polemical. In any event, the Gibbons work was banned (as a consequence of Church criticism) in several European countries.
In any event, in chapters 15 and 16, Gibbons thematically attacks the Church for “supplanting in an unnecessarily destructive way, the great cultures which preceded it,” and for “the outrage of practicing religious warfare and intolerance.”
No choir boy, himself, Gibbons, although immortalized by his work, was not a master of tolerance.
1776 CE: BETSY ROSS, 24, SEWS THE AMERICAN FLAG
She persuades her client George Washington to change the stars in his design from six points to five.
1777 CE: THE AMERICAN ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION
–proposed to the States for ratification November 1777; ultimately ratified well into the revolution, March, 1781; precursor to the U.S. Constitution (1787).
1777 CE: GAUSS BORN
Braunschweig, Holy Roman Empire: Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician and scientist. The fields he contributed include number theory, statistics, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics and others. Sometimes known as the Princeps mathematicorum, the Prince of Mathematicians.
1777 CE: SOME KEY 1777 EVENTS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Jan 3: Washington victorious at Princeton (New Jersey)
Apr 27: Benedict Arnold’s troops force a British retreat
at Ridgefield, Connecticut
Jun 14: “Flag Resolution”—13 stripes and thirteen stars (in a circle)
Jul 5: American General St. Clair surrenders Fort Ticonderoga to the British
Jul 27: General Lafayette arrives in Philadelphia
Sep 11: The British win the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania
Sep 20: Paoli Massacre: British General Howe routs forces of American Anthony Wayne at Paoli, Pennsylvania
Sep 26: The British under Howe occupy Philadelphia
Oct 4: Americans repulsed by British at Battle of Germantown (Pennsylvania)
Oct 17: British General Burgoyne surrenders to American General Gates at Saratoga, NY
Dec 19: Washington’s army retires to winter headquarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
1778 CE: FRENCH ALLIANCE
February 6: Paris: The Americans and France sign formal alliance
Later ratified by Congress in the U.S. two months later on May 4 of that same year.
1778 CE: SOME KEY 1778 EVENTS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Feb 6: The French Alliance (noted just–above)
Jun 18: British abandon Philadelphia
Jun 19: Washington leaves Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Aug 8: French and American forces besiege Newport, Rhode Island
Dec 29: The Redcoats (British) occupy Savannah, Georgia
1778 CE: CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
–First European captain to visit the Hawaiian Islands.
Captain James Cook (1728–1779) was a legendary British explorer, navigator, and cartographer. As a seaman in the Royal Navy in his youth, Cook charted the St. Lawrence Seaway environs, as well as the Quebec and Newfoundland areas in Canada.
Twelve years of Cook’s explorations of the Pacific Ocean environs (1768–1779 CE) significantly advanced Western knowledge. Cook’s explorations and cartography spanned, among other destinations, Australia, New Zealand, the Great Barrier Reef, Friendly Islands, Easter Islands, Norfolk Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, as well as the aforementioned Hawaiian Islands.
He then traversed the Antarctic Circle, the Alaskan coast, the western Canadian coast, the putative Northwest Passage, the California coast, and the Bering Strait. (Please allow for some zig–zagging.) Cook, over his legendary three major voyages, was a man on the move.
1778 CE: JUEDISCHE FREISCHULE (PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR POOR CHILDREN)
Isaac Daniel Itzig and his brother in law, David Friedlaender established the school. The school concentrated on math, German, French, and commercial courses rather than Talmud and Hebrew studies. After 1806, non-Jewish students were accepted, and they soon became one-third of the student body. (Due to Juedische Freischule being the first Haskalah school established, the date marked the beginning of the Haskalah (Enlightenment) Movement, whose initial aim was to “modernize” Judaism by opening it to European culture and specifically to a philosophy of rationality which was spreading throughout Europe. Jews were encouraged to adopt the manners, dress, and language of their host country. In the beginning there were Orthodox leaders who supported some of the educational aims of the movement. When it became apparent that the movement was leading to an anti-halachic and assimilationist direction, the Orthodox establishment banned the movement, and established its own educational response to it through Samson Rafael Hirsch and others.
Following the Napoleonic Wars, the Prussian government forbade Christian children to attend Jewish schools in 1819, which, in turn led to many Jewish students exiting. The school was closed, in due course, by 1825.
1779 CE: VIRGINIA STATUTE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
–“Jesus never coerced anyone to follow him, and the imposition of a religion by government officials is impious.”
1779 CE: SOME KEY 1779 EVENTS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Jun 21: Spain declares war on Great Britain
Jul 8: Fairfield, CT burned by the British
Jul 11: Norwalk, CT burned by the British
Jul 16: American General “Mad” Anthony Wayne captures Stony Point, NY
Sep 23: American Admiral John Paul Jones, aboard the Bonhomme Richard, captures British man–of–war Serapis near the English coast
Nov 15: Washington spends second winter at Morristown, NJ; will camp there until June 23, 1780
1780 CE: VON CLAUSEWITZ
Death of military theoretician Carl von Clausewitz, author of the classic treatise On War
–(a work–in–progress at the time of his death).
Studied to this day, it is difficult to attempt to summarize the extraordinary work, as it deals multi–dimensionally with war theory—from the inter–related perspectives of morality, strategy, and tactics, among others.
1780 CE: SOME KEY 1780 EVENTS IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR
|May 12:||British capture Charleston, South Carolina|
|Sep 25:||Benedict Arnold’s plans to betray the US,
and cede West Point to the British are uncovered
|Oct 14:||Washington names Nathaniel Greene
Commander of the Southern army
1781 CE: SOME KEY 1781 EVENTS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
|Jan 1:||Mutiny of unpaid Pennsylvania soldiers|
|Jan 17:||Patriot Morgan defeats the British at Cowpens,
|Mar 2:||Articles of Confederation adopted (noted above)|
|Jun 6:||Americans recapture Augusta, Georgia|
|Sep 15:||French fleet drives British from Chesapeake Bay
(near Washington, DC)
|Oct 19:||British General Cornwallis – surrounded by land
and sea by the Americans and French – surrenders
at Yorktown, Virginia
(pivotal battle ending the war)
1781 CE: CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
Immanuel Kant publishes his masterwork
–then issues a heavily revised second edition in 1787.
One of the most renowned works in the history of European philosophy; it is followed by his “Critique of Practical Reason.”
(See exhibit Timeline of the Enlightenment Period – The Age of Reason)
Kant was born in 1724 in Königsberg, then the capital of Prussia (contemporary northern Germany). In his entire life, Kant (apparently) never traveled more than 100 miles from Königsberg.
Although baptized “Emanuel” by his Pietist parents, he changed his first name to “Immanuel” at an early age after learning Hebrew.
1781 CE: PLANET URANUS
–discovered by Sir William Frederick Hershel. (German-born British astronomer, technical expert and composer)
1781 CE: STATE OF GEORGIA
(British appointee) Governor James Wright orders the Jews of the Georgia to leave, accusing them of being disloyal to his majesty by supporting the revolution. The order was never carried out.
– Eli Birnbaum
1782 CE: SOME KEY 1782 EVENTS: FINALE OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
|Mar 20:||Lord North resigns as British Prime Minister|
|July 11:||British evacuate Savannah, Georgia|
|Nov 30:||British and Americans sign preliminary
Articles of Peace
|Dec 14:||British leave Charleston, South Carolina|
c. 1782 CE: MOSES ELIAS LEVY BORN
Pioneer in Florida. (Moroccan-American) Orthodox Jewish Levy (b. 1782; d. 1854) was a plantation developer who was rumored to have been the first to introduce the growing of sugar cane there. Levy was a prominent advocate for the abolition of slavery, and as well, helped establish the earliest free public school. On the Jewish front, Levy also tried to encourage European Jewish immigration of the Florida area. Levy was not particularly successful on the Jewish-front at home, however, as both of his children converted-out. One of them, David Levy-Yulee, became the first senator of Florida (and consequently the first Jewish-born senator of the Unite States).
1783 CE: THE TREATY OF PARIS
September 3: Paris: The formal British abandonment of any claims to the United States of America
1783 CE: SOME KEY 1783 EVENTS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Apr 19: Congress ratifies preliminary peace treaty
Sep 3: Treaty of Paris signed
Nov 25: British troops leave NY City
Dec 23: Washington resigns as Commander
1785 CE: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN INVENTS BIFOCALS
He proposed daylight savings time the year prior.
1787 CE: THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
1788 CE: BOTANY BAY (AUSTRALIA)
The first convicts arrived, at least six of whom were, according to lore, Jewish. One of them was John Harris who, after being freed, became the first policeman in Australia.
1789 CE: MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY
April 28: Near Tahiti, Pacific Ocean: Legendary, but actual, mutiny on the ship Bounty:
Captain William Bligh was relieved of his command, for cruelty to the crew, by (mutinying) acting–Officer Fletcher Christian.
Perhaps a factor in the mutiny – Fletcher and several other sailors had married or connected romantically with female Tahitian islanders during the recent five–month stay over on the island, and they and their new women may not have relished leaving the seductive tranquility, abundant bounty and lush beauty of Tahiti (then called “Otaheite”) for gloomy and class–stifled eighteenth Century England.
Now, Bligh had received his command of the ship Bounty twenty months earlier (in 1787), at age 33. Bligh had been an up–and–coming sailing master on Captain James Cooke’s noted HMS Resolution during the legendary Cook’s third and final voyage (1776–1779). [See above entry on Cook 1778 CE]
The British ship Bounty was on the second leg of an England > Tahiti > West Indies > England voyage. To be precise, the mutiny occurred 24 days into the leg headed towards the West Indies, after a five month stay in Tahiti.
Ship’s Captain Bligh was arrested by Master’s Mate and Acting Lieutenant Fletcher and associates, and set adrift on–board the ship’s launch with 18 Bligh–loyalists.
Remaining on board Bounty were 4 loyalists (against their will) needed in key ship specialties by the rebels, as well as the 18 mutineers headed by Fletcher, (plus two passive players).
Ever the tenacious survivor and astute seaman, Bligh not only survived an epic 47 days on the longboat, but, equipped with only a sextant and a pocket watch, but without charts or a compass; somehow he managed to navigate and steer 3,618 nautical miles (6,710 km) to Tofua, and then on to larger Timor.
But the saga was to continue further on multiple fronts. The British sent out the Royal Navy ship Pandora to hunt down the Bounty and bring the mutineers to justice. Although Fletcher had burned the Bounty, and although Fletcher and several other mutineers died of assorted wounds or illnesses in–the–interim (either on Pitcairn Island or back on Tahiti to which some had returned), several mutineers were caught and brought back to Naval Court in Spithead, England, for trial.
One was ultimately hanged.
Bligh resumed his career as a senior seaman, and ultimately attained the rank of Vice Admiral. Later, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales (southeast Australia).
However, inconveniently interrupting his New South Wales stewardship, in 1808 Bligh was the object of a land–based troop mutiny, known as the Rum Rebellion.
Thus, he was one of the few British officers to have been mutinied–against both on sea and on land.
1789 CE: REVOLUTION / STORMING OF THE BASTILLE
July 14, Paris: Flashpoint of the French Revolution. The storming of the medieval fortress–prison Bastille, symbol of royal French authority in the center of Paris. 25 Royal French troops die. All seven of the Bastille’s prisoners “liberated.”
August 26: Declaration of the Rights of Man
• Defines a single set of universal (valid in all times and places) individual and collective “rights”
• Eliminates the special rights of the nobility and clergy
• “All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally admissible to all public dignities, places, and employments, according to their capacity and without distinction, other than that of their virtues and of their talents”
• Does not address status of women, slaves
• Does not include the Jews, either, who only gain “emancipation” 15 years later via the Napoleonic Code (1804), which included Emancipation of the Jews in Napoleonic France and within its sphere–of–influence. French Jews were guaranteed full civil rights under the Code.
France remains anti–Semitic right through the Nazi conquest 150 years later. But in 2008, two hundred and twenty years after the Declaration of the Rights of Man, France finds itself with both a President and Foreign Minister with significant Jewish blood coursing through their veins. So the country is perhaps, at last, 150 years later, "making progress."
1790 CE: LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
–George Washington’s historic “Letter to the Jews of America”
Washington envisions America as a country “which gives bigotry no sanction…persecution no assistance…[the Jews] shall continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants…there shall be none to make him afraid.”
The letter is currently mounted on the back wall of Touro Synagogue’s Main Chapel in Newport, Rhode Island.
In the original colonies, anti–Semitism was essentially non–existent. The overwhelming bulk of the colonists were Protestant. The original Thirteen Colonies were a good place to be Jewish.
Tolerance “filled the air.” The Protestants had come to America in the first place to flee Catholic persecution back in Europe.
Ultimately, Catholic immigrants would come in several waves and ultimately in great numbers; with Catholic pastors and often virulent lore and Passion Sagas in–tow; the super–tolerant climate in America towards the Jews would gradually deteriorate, infecting a wide spectrum of American society beyond Catholic parishes; toxicity towards the Jews would increasingly manifest and would steadily increase up through and until the point of the Nazi Death Camp photograph–images and the gruesome murder–torture details and statistics, which started to emerge in 1945; the images burst the toxic bubble to some extent.
1790s – 1840s CE: THE “SECOND GREAT AWAKENING”
A second period of great religious revival in the USA – paralleling the First Great Awakening (1730s and 1740s noted above).
1791 CE: THE U.S. BILL OF RIGHTS
1791 CE: GIACOMO (JACOB) MEYERBEER
Pianist and operatic composer, including the operas Le Huguenots and Le Prophets. Meyerbeer was mainly associated with French Opera. Despite numerous obstacles placed in his way by many people, he remained a proud and faithful Jew all his life.
1791 CE: THE PALE
–In Russia (Catherine the Great) creates the Pale of Settlement at the western border of Imperial Russia for Russian, and then Polish, Jews of the incorporated Polish territories.
At its peak in the late 1930s, the Pale would contain over 5,000,000 Jews, who are eventually decimated by Nazi murder squads during the Holocaust in the 1940s.
1793 CE: MARIE ANTOINETTE GUILLOTINED
Paris: After four years of imprisonment, the Queen of France (and recent widow of King Louis XVI, executed nine months earlier) is officially charged with high treason and illicit sexual practices - but most of the resentment is apparently over how much she spent on jewelry. (Is this the France we know?)
1793 CE: GHETTO GATE FIRE
Rome: A tragedy was narrowly averted in the Jewish ghetto after a mob set fire to the ghetto gates. The riot was partially in reaction to the liberalism of the French Revolution and partly in response to a Jewish protest after two Jewish orphans were forcibly baptized. Only a fortunate downpour which put out the fire prevented the ghetto from catching fire. The day was celebrated as holiday by Roman Jews.
– Eli Birnbaum
1794 CE: ROBESPIERRE EXECUTED
–at age 36
Maximilien Francois Marie Isidore de Robespierre, a leader at the vortex of the French Revolution
Robespierre had been a protagonist of the revolutionary Committee for Public Safety (a.k.a. The Reign of Terror).
He thus lived—and died—by the guillotine.
1794 CE: THADDEUS (TADEUSZ) KOSCIUSZKO
Praised the role played by Jews in his abortive revolt against Russia. Singling out Warsaw’s Jews he wrote, “(they showed) to the whole world that when it comes to human rights they do not spare their blood.” As part of his revolt he granted Joseph Aronowicz and Berek Joselowicz permission to form a Jewish legion. Five hundred men volunteered to a call to arms issued in Yiddish, and fought in Praga, a suburb of Warsaw.
– Eli Birnbaum
1795 CE: “THE AGE OF REASON”
–written by Thomas Paine, advocated Deism
1796 CE: TREATY WITH TRIPOLI (1796), ARTICLE 11:
“The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
This portion of the treaty – meant to calm the Muslim nation of Tripoli – has often been cited by strict separationists of Church and State.
(Author – And so it should be)
The treaty was approved unanimously by the United States Senate and was printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two NY papers with no evidence of any dissent. [See book by Frank Lambert (February 3, 2005) Introduction: The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America. Princeton University Press]
1796 CE: ST. THOMAS, CARIBBEAN
The synagogue Berakha ve Shalom u Gemilut Hassidim was founded and is still in existence today.
1796 CE: HOLLAND BECOMES THE BATAVIAN REPUBLIC
…and grants equality to its 50,000 Jews.
1797 CE: HEINRICH HEINE
German lyrical poet and essayist. He converted to Christianity at age 28 in the hope of obtaining a professorship in German literature, calling it his admission ticket to European culture, but he denounced Eduard Gans as a scoundrel for converting. Heine referred to Judaism as one of the three maladies, the other two being poverty and pain. Notwithstanding this, he used his position to defend Jewish rights at times. Although he experienced personal rejection due to his Jewish past and pro-Napoleonism, his works (published in 21 volumes in 1863) achieved universal fame – notably for his wit and sarcasm. His famous Buch der Lieder (Book of Songs) (1827) included Auf Fluegeln des Gesanges (On Wings of Song), and the Lorelei (Loreley).
– Eli Birnbaum
1798 CE: MARSHAL OF FRANCE
After the occupation of Rome by Marshal of France General Berthier, the local republicans dethroned the Pope, and the Jews removed the yellow badge. Two days later, a tree of freedom was planted in front of the synagogue.
1798 CE: SWITZERLAND
Special taxes on Jews are finally abolished.
1799 CE: NAPOLEON CAPTURES GAZA
This was his first encounter with “Palestinian” Jews. It is said that he offered “the re-establishment of ancient Jerusalem” as a Jewish homeland in return for Jewish loyalty.
– Eli Birnbaum
1799 CE: HAIFA CAPTURED BY NAPOLEON
This marked the greatest extent of Napoleon’s French conquest of Eretz Israel. The next day the French reached Acre. It was successfully defended by both British warships and local townspeople, including the Jewish inhabitants. By June, Napoleon gave up and returned to Egypt.
– Eli Birnbaum
Late 1700s CE: BEGINNING OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
“The main features involved in the Industrial Revolution were technological, socioeconomic, and cultural. The technological changes included the following: (1) the use of new basic materials, chiefly iron and steel, (2) the use of new energy sources, including both fuels and motive power, such as coal, the steam engine, electricity, petroleum, and the internal–combustion engine, (3) the invention of new machines, such as the spinning jenny and the power loom that permitted increased production with a smaller expenditure of human energy, (4) a new organization of work known as the factory system, which entailed increased division of labor and specialization of function, (5) important developments in transportation and communication, including the steam locomotive, steamship, automobile, airplane, telegraph, and radio, and (6) the increasing application of science to industry. These technological changes made possible a tremendously increased use of natural resources and the mass production of manufactured goods.
In the period 1760 to 1830 the Industrial Revolution was largely confined to Britain. Aware of their head start, the British forbade the export of machinery, skilled workers, and manufacturing techniques. The British monopoly could not last forever, especially since some Britons saw profitable industrial opportunities abroad, while continental European businessmen sought to lure British know–how to their countries. Two Englishmen, William and John Cockerill, brought the Industrial Revolution to Belgium by developing machine shops at Liège (c. 1807), and Belgium became the first country in continental Europe to be transformed economically. Like its English progenitor, the Belgian Industrial Revolution centered in iron, coal, and textiles.
France was more slowly and less thoroughly industrialized than either Britain or Belgium. While Britain was establishing its industrial leadership, France was immersed in its Revolution, and the uncertain political situation discouraged large investments in industrial innovations. By 1848 France had become an industrial power, but, despite great growth under the Second Empire, it remained behind England.
Other European countries lagged far behind. Their bourgeoisie lacked the wealth, power, and opportunities of their British, French, and Belgian counterparts. Political conditions in the other nations also hindered industrial expansion. Germany, for example, despite vast resources of coal and iron, did not begin its industrial expansion until after national unity was achieved in 1870. Once begun, Germany’s industrial production grew so rapidly that by the turn of the century that nation was out producing Britain in steel and had become the world leader in the chemical industries. The rise of U.S. industrial power in the 19th and 20th centuries also far outstripped European efforts. And Japan too joined the Industrial Revolution with striking success.
The eastern European countries were behind early in the 20th century. It was not until the five–year plans that the Soviet Union became a major industrial power, telescoping into a few decades the industrialization that had taken a century and a half in Britain. The mid–20th century witnessed the spread of the Industrial Revolution into hitherto non–industrialized areas such as China and India.
Despite considerable overlapping with the “old,” there is mounting evidence for a ‘new’ Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and 20th centuries.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/287086/Industrial–Revolution (accessed July 1, 2009)
1800 CE: ONE TENTH OF THE GERMAN JEWISH POPULATION CONVERTS
c. 1800 CE: ABRAHAM MORDECAI
He founded a store and cotton gin on the bluffs near the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers in Alabama. In 1805, the Indians burned it down and cut off his left ear for allegedly cavorting with a chief’s squaw. He returned in 1814 to rebuild what was later to become the city of Montgomery.
1800 CE: FREDRICH SCHLEIERMACHER
–publishes his first book, beginning Liberal Christianity movement
1800 CE: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS ESTABLISHED
“The de facto national library of the United States and the largest library in the world…
The library was founded in 1800 with $5,000 appropriated by the Congress when the U.S. capital moved from Philadelphia, PA, to Washington, DC. It was housed within the new Capitol building, where it remained for nearly a century. However, on Aug. 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, the library’s original collection of 3,000 volumes was destroyed when the British burned the Capitol as well as the White House. To rebuild the library’s collection, Congress, on January 30, 1815, approved the purchase of former president Thomas Jefferson’s personal library of 6,487 books for $23,950. On Christmas Eve 1851, another fire destroyed two–thirds of the collection. Many of the volumes have since been replaced.
The Library of Congress provides direct research assistance to the U.S. Congress through the Congressional Research Service (originally the Legislative Reference Service), which was founded in 1914. Established in 1832, the Law Library provides Congress with comprehensive research on foreign, comparative, international, and U.S. law, drawing upon its collection of some 2.6 million volumes.
In 1994 the Library of Congress launched the National Digital Library Program (NDLP), making freely available on the Internet high–quality electronic versions of American historical material from the library’s special collections.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/132563/Library–of–Congress (accessed July 1, 2009)
1801 CE: ZECHARIA FRANKEL
–Bohemian-German rabbi and historian
He was the first rabbi with a modern education. He introduced some modifications in Jewish prayer services and opposed any innovation which was objectionable to Jewish sentiment. His position on the prayer book, new Hamburg siddur stirred controversy between two parties, the liberals and the Orthodox. He was chosen president of the new rabbinical seminary at Breslau in 1854.
1802 CE: MADAME TUSSAUD
–Wax sculptor Marie Tussaud (hailing from France) opens a wax museum in London
1802 CE: SOLOMON MUNK
–German-born Jewish-French Orientalist
Historian and orientalist. He was a friend of Leopold Zunz (German Reform rabbi and writer) and wrote a translation and criticism of Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed, tracing his sources back to the original sources of Maimonides. His works also included his famous History of Eretz Israel in which he traced events from the Crusaders until the present time.
– Eli Birnbaum
1803 CE: START OF NAPOLEONIC WARS
Napoleon v. a shifting set of European alliances…
The tide turns against Napoleon after his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812.
Napoleon defeated at Waterloo, June 18, 1815.
As a result of France’s overreaching (meaning, of Napoleon’s over–reaching), and subsequent military collapse, Britain emerged as the dominant world power for the next century.
– after Wikipedia
1804 CE: (U.S.) VICE PRESIDENT AARON BURR KILLS ALEXANDER HAMILTON IN A PISTOL DUEL
As dueling (in New Jersey) was by–then illegal in most northeast states, Burr fled to his daughter’s home in South Carolina to avoid prosecution by both New Jersey and New York. After matters quieted down, he eventually made his way back to Washington, DC to complete his vice presidential term. (Not necessarily the world’s greatest role model.)
1804 CE: JEWISH STATUTE
Dec 9: Alexander I published legislation for the future of Jews in Russia after two years of deliberation. With assumption that the Jews, especially from Poland, were less desirable people and the legislation declared them to change into productive civilians. Nonetheless, they were restricted to do many activities that could lead to productivity such as attending university, founding own schools and involving in the industry and farming. They also could not own any property. It is a statement of discrimination against the Russian Jews.
1804 CE: LEWIS & CLARK SET OUT
–on their journey up the Missouri River towards the Pacific Ocean.
The historic Meriwether Lewis and William Clark Expedition dramatically focused America’s attention on the West and specifically on the Pacific Coast.
1804 CE: TALLEYRAND NAMED FRENCH GRAND CHAMBERLAIN
...and Vice Elector of the French Empire – by Napoleon.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand–Périgord, consummate French diplomat, served as a senior diplomat from the regime of Louis XVI through the French Revolution, and then under Napoleon I, Louis XVII, Charles X, and Louis–Philippe.
Known as one of the most talented, versatile and extraordinary diplomats in European history. His immortal quotes are perhaps his prime legacy...
“We were given speech to hide our thoughts”
“Treason is a matter of dates”
“Regimes may fall and fail, but I do not”
1805 CE: TRAFALGAR!
Battle of Trafalgar: British Navy under Admiral Nelson defeats allied French and Spanish navies (west of Cape Trafalgar, Trafalgar, Spain).
Score: The British sink 22 ships. Their adversaries, none.
London gets Trafalgar Square and a new iconic hero, Lord Nelson.
Trafalgar was part of the War of the Third Coalition (a segment of the Napoleonic Wars just–noted above) and was a pivotal 19th century naval battle (Nelson was killed in the battle).
– after Wikipedia
1806 CE: GERMANY: JEWISH JOURNAL SULAMITH
–part of the origins of the German Reform Movement:
(meaning, the origins of Reform Judaism in Germany)
Starting in 1806, the journal Sulamith provided a forum for Jewish educators to discuss their vision of religious reform. The journal was started by two teachers of Judaism in Dessau (Germany), David Frankel and Joseph Wolf.
Articles in the journal presented ideas that often repeated in the discussions of previous reformers:
• an appreciation for Kantian universalism as a universal religion
• the belief that Judaism represented the highest form of morality but was backwards in other ways
• a distinction between ceremony and “true religion”
• envisioning reform as a separation ‘of the wheat from the chaff’
• concern that traditional Jewish customs made Jews too different from their neighbors
1806 CE: NAPOLEON AND THE JEWS
– (re–) establishes the Sanhedrin
(Jewish Assembly) of France
– made Judaism, along with Roman Catholicism,
Lutheranism and Calvinism the official religions of France
– in conquered countries, abolished laws restricting Jewish
rights and abolished ghettos
– nullified debts to Jews
– nullifies nullification of debts to Jews
(so, debts to Jews are, indeed, debts)
1806 CE: COLLAPSE OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
The Holy Roman Empire was a union of territories in Central Europe during the Middle Ages.
The first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was Otto I, crowned in 962 CE. The last was Francis II who abdicated and dissolved the Empire in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.
It had been officially known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
Notwithstanding its name, for most of its history it did not incorporate Rome within its boundaries.
1808 CE: THE VILNA GAON
–sends 500 disciples to Israel
The famed rabbinic from Poland dispatches these 500 disciples—called Perushim—to make aliyah (ascent) to Eretz Israel.
[The Vilna Gaon’s Perushim are not to be confused with the classic term Perushim of the same precise spelling and pronunciation. Albeit with a different nuanced meaning to the term]. The earlier Perushim–Pharisees are the wing of Judaism, which supplanted the Tzadikkim – Sadducee wing. The final fall of the Tzadikkim – Sadducees was contemporaneous with the Destruction of Temple II by the Romans c. 70 CE. The earlier Perushim–Pharisees subsequently fully evolved and morphed into contemporary normative Judaism, to the extent that the term is not used by contemporary Jewry, its precise parameters are not generally known by the overwhelming bulk of contemporary Jewry. Presumably, that is why the Vilna Gaon felt free to allow the (re–) utilization of the term for his designated student settlers (aliyah–niks) even 200 years ago, back in 1808.] Now, back to our text...
Safed, Eretz Israel/Palestina: In accordance with the wishes of the Vilna Gaon, three groups of his disciples and their families, numbering approximately 500 total, make aliyah to Israel between 1808 –1812. They traveled first from Lithuania to Constantinople (today Istanbul, Turkey) on foot and by horse and wagon. From Constantinople, they traveled eastward across the Mediterranean by boat to Acre on the northwest coast of Eretz Israel/Palestina, and then again, eastward by land to their final destination, Safed. The student–families apparently endured significant hardships, including intermittent starvation, on this land–sea odyssey, on this 15–month journey in the midst of the Napoleonic wars raging across Europe.
Considered by some to be the first modern settlement of Israel. Ultimately many of these Perushim left Safed due to a combination of plague, Arab persecutions and/or earthquake. Migrating southward to their kindred metaphysical locus, Jerusalem, the Perushim settlers would ultimately end up as core components, as well, of the contiguous neighborhood of Mea Shearim, and at the time new Jerusalem–outskirt neighborhoods of Mishkenot Sha’ananim and Nachalat Shiva.
On multiple levels these Perushim interacted with the Rothschild family, (Sir) Moses Montefiore in particular (see separate entry later, 1827 CE). The Rothschilds (again and again) historically provided financial, logistical, conceptual, moral and emotional support for this genre settler, whether religious or secular.
In any event, these student–family groups had been designated by the Vilna Gaon as Perushim, meaning separated, because they were ascetic and separated themselves from the community at–large and from worldly pleasures, to study Torah. They, as well, played a key role in the ongoing establishment endeavors of the Hurva Synagogue (separate entry later, 1856 CE) in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Some mystics would posit that an invisible metaphysical corridor of sorts would seem to run between Safed in the northern Israel and the Old City of Jerusalem in mid–central Israel. These mystics would be right, of course.
1808 CE: HIRSCH
–Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch born in Hamburg, Germany
“Major Jewish religious thinker and founder of Trennungsorthodoxie (Separatist Orthodoxy), or Neo–Orthodoxy, a theological system that helped make Orthodox Judaism viable in Germany.
Hirsch [b. 1800; d. 1808] was a rabbi successively in Oldenburg, Emden, Nikolsburg, and Frankfurt am Main. While still chief rabbi at Oldenburg, he published Neunzehn Briefe über Judenthum (1836; Nineteen Letters of Ben Uziel), in which he expounded Neo–Orthodoxy.
This system required two chief courses of action: (1) an educational program that combined strict training in the Torah (Jewish Law) with a modern secular education—so that Orthodoxy could withstand the challenge of Reform Judaism, which interpreted the Torah with the aid of modern textual and historical data; and (2) a separation of Orthodox congregations from the larger Jewish community when the latter deviated from a strict adherence to Jewish tradition. In 1876 Hirsch was a prime mover in getting the Prussian parliament to pass a law permitting Jews to secede from the state–recognized Jewish religious community (which Hirsch considered unfaithful to the Torah) and to establish separate congregations. Among his many works are Horeb, Versuche über Jissroéls Pflichten in der Zerstreuung (1837; “Essays on the Duties of the Jewish People in the Diaspora”), an Orthodox textbook on Judaism, and commentaries on the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses (1867–78). In addition he founded (1855) and edited the monthly Jeshurun (the poetic name for Israel). Six volumes of his essays were published posthumously (1902–12).
In one respect, Hirsch’s theology was akin to Reform Judaism, in that he interpreted Judaism to be essentially a community of faith; therefore, return to the land of Israel is not necessary for Jewish survival. Unlike the Reform Jews, however, he rejected the application of historical methods to the study of the Bible and of Judaism in general.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/266851/Samson–Raphael–Hirsch (accessed July 1, 2009)
[Author – Note that the German Jewish “Reform Movement” is en toto radically much closer to the contemporary American Jewish “Modern Orthodox movement” than to the American Jewish “Reform movement.”]
1809 CE: TENNYSON
–born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet et al., British, 1800s CE (1809–1892 CE).
Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom. Many of his works are based on mythological themes.
Masterworks include Ulysses; The Charge of the Light Brigade; Crossing the Bar, among others.
1809 CE: THOMAS CAMPBELL (of PHILADELPHIA)
Launches restoration movement in the USA
–Furthered by his son Alexander, the movement sought to unify all Christian creeds – Catholic and Protestant – under one fundamentalist Catholic umbrella. In general the philosophy/theology was heavy on Scripture and light on ritual.
1810 CE: ARGENTINA GAINS INDEPENDENCE FROM SPAIN
–and, consequently, an organized Argentinean Jewish community begins to develop.
The first traditional Argentinean Jewish wedding is held in Buenos Aires 58 years later in 1868, and the first Argentinean synagogue is inaugurated there in 1875.
Many Russian Jewish émigrés establish themselves in Argentina through the international organizational efforts of the JCA (see 1891 CE entry Jewish Colonization Association – the JCA). Many of these Jews acquired land through the JCA and established small agricultural colonies (“comunas”) in the interior of the country, especially in the provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Rios.
In May 2008 there were approximately 200,000 Jews in Argentina, down from 300,000 in the early 1960s. In particular, severe economic problems post–1990 in Argentina drove many to emigrate.
Most of Argentina’s Jews live in Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Rosario. Argentina’s Jewish population is similar in size to that of Brazil. The Argentinean Jewish population is 80 percent Ashkenazi (almost Russian/Northern European extraction). Argentinean law allows the Jews two days of vacation on Rosh Hashanah–Yom Kippur and on the first two and the last two days of Passover under legal cover.
[The 1990 and 1994 bombings are covered later – in that time era of the TimeLine.]
1812 CE: BROTHERS GRIMM PUBLISH
–first collection of fairy tales (86) – in Germany
Among their gems: Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and the Frog Prince.
The Grimm brothers were actually German academics, and researchers in linguistics. The linguistic classic by the elder Grimm brother, Deutsche Grammatik (1822), develops linguistic breakthroughs by von Schlegel (1806) and Rask (1818) into “Grimm’s Law” of linguistics.
1812 CE: HANNAH ADAMS
Wrote History of the Jews from the Destruction of Jerusalem to the Present Time. Adams, who was not Jewish, also included information on American Jewry and is considered one of the first woman professional writers in America.
– Eli Birnbaum
1812 CE: 1812 OVERTURE
(Russian) Tchaikovsky’s stirring orchestral tribute
–with orchestra canon–fire included
–Symphonic overture to Russia’s defiant defense of Borodina, via the Russian defensive line 75 miles west of Moscow, against Napoleon’s advancing and devastating ‘Grand Armies’… the Battle of Borodina will mark the turning–of–the–tide against Napoleon’s brutal foray into the heart of Russia …Napoleon’s defeat at Borodina (Russia) will, in turn, set–the–stage for his later defeat at Waterloo.
(Waterloo was in north–eastern France at–the–time, but in present–day Belgium).
1812 CE: WAR OF 1812: THE AMERICAS
Britain v. America, fought 1812–1815.
Ended by Treaty of Ghent (Jan 1815), but fighting continued several months after that point in several regions. No border changes, in any event. A stalemate, the treaty ratified the pre–War boundaries.
Great Britain had been at war with Napoleonic France since 1793, and consequently aggressively attempted to restrict American trade with France, and, as well, had a habit of impressing (seizing) American seamen (although many were, indeed, British deserters) for service with Her Majesty’s Navy against France.
With the British defeat of Napoleon in 1814, the above encroachments ceased, and, although Britain now had more forces to send to the Americas, the stage was set for an armistice.
America had made moves on Canadian territory, but was rebuffed militarily.
Amateur poet American Francis Scott Key witnesses the bombardment by British ships in Chesapeake Bay of US Fort McHenry (Baltimore, Maryland), and composes the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner, to be combined with a popular tavern melody to eventually, 117 years later in 1931, become America’s national anthem, supplanting both the song “Hail Columbia.” (1789) and the patriotic song (also by Francis Scott Key) “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (1831).
– after Wikipedia
1813 CE: “EL LIBERTADOR”
–Simón Bolívar leads his first military campaign in Latin America.
Of aristocratic descent, Bolivar is credited with leading the fight for independence in what are now the countries Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia.
Widely venerated and beloved in Latin America, he is known as “El Libertador,” the Liberator.
1814 CE: DENMARK
The king officially allows Jews to find employment in all professions and made racial and religious discrimination punishable by law.
– Eli Birnbaum
1814 CE: JEFFERSON
Jefferson conceptualizes the Jefferson Bible, a version of the New Testament removing all of the miracles, hearsay and vituperation.
He calls his edition The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, Extracted Textually from the Gospels.
1815 CE: WATERLOO
–Napoleon of France is defeated
…by the (British) Duke of Wellington at the historic Battle of Waterloo
The battle ends
• The Napoleonic wars
• Napoleon’s emperorship of the French
• The “Hundred Days” after his return from 9 months in exile in Elba
(As noted above, the Belgian battlefield is, as well in present–day Belgium, 7.5 miles southeast of Brussels.)
1815 CE: METTERNICH
June: The conclusion of the Congress of Vienna
–organized by the Foreign Minister of Austria, Prince Klemens Metternich, helps redraw the boundaries of Europe
Subsequent to Napoleon’s defeat by the Russians in Borodina (Russia). The Congress of Vienna concludes ten days before Napoleon’s final defeat by the British at Waterloo (Belgium).
A diplomatic practitioner of balance–of–power politics, Metternich is considered a paradigm of foreign policy management.
Metternich warned against giving too much power to the German populace, as it might unleash aggressive German nationalism.
Napoleon (previously exiled to Elba, an island off of Italy, for 9 months before his escape and return to leadership in France) now spends the balance of his life imprisoned on the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, approximately one thousand miles west of Africa.
1816 CE: COUNT ARTHUR DE GOBINEAU
–French ‘aristocrat’ develops Aryan theories
Radical author, he upheld the credo of purity of race. In his book The Inequality of Human Races Gobineau “proved” that only the white or “Aryan” race was capable of preserving civilization. His works inspired Alfred Rosenberg (Nazi theorist).
– Eli Birnbaum
1817 CE: ADAM GIMBEL
A poor immigrant from Bavaria, he built a retail empire in America which included the iconic department store Saks Fifth Avenue and, of course, Gimbels.
1818 CE: LETTER FROM JOHN ADAMS
Statesman and President. In a letter to Mordecai Manuel Noah of Philadelphia, he wrote: “I wish your nation may be admitted to all the privileges of citizens in every country of the world.” Regarding the re-establishment of a Jewish state, he wrote in the same year: “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.” (Spanish-Portuguese descended) Noah (b. 1785, Philadelphia; d. 1851, NYC) was an American playwright, diplomat and journalist.
New York, Philadelphia and then Charleston.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1820s CE: SECOND WAVE OF JEWISH IMMIGRATION TO AMERICA
The Jewish population of the United States rose from 10,000 to 250,000. (From 1830-1870 mostly German Jews arrived.)
1820 CE: WASHINGTON IRVING
Washington Irving publishes Rip Van Winkle and
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
In 1842, after an endorsement by Secretary of State Daniel Webster, Washington Irving was appointed as Minister to Spain by President John Tyler.
1820 CE: ALEXANDER I
Czar of Russia (1801-1825)
March 4: St. Persburg, Russia
Prohibited the employment of Christian servants by Jews.
1821 CE: HEINRICH HEINE
He was born in 1797 in Dusseldorf, Germany; writes the play Almansor.
Dort, wo man Bucher verbrent,
am Ende auch Menschen
Where they burn books,
they will inevitably
ultimately also burn men
– displayed at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial
Museum in Jerusalem
Jews, Church & Civilization
in Volume V