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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Wandering Jew in the Diaspora and Why

Nadene Goldfoot
Jews lost their land of Judea in 70 CE when the Romans overpowered them and took Jerusalem.  Since then the remaining Jews were forced to live in the Diaspora, which proved to bring insecurity to their lives.  They have  suffered persecution, forced conversions, massacres and expulsions from wherever they had found refuge.  Jews had been blamed for killing the son of G-d of the newly created Christians.  I don't think that the people of the world thought kindly of them for this reason.  After 2,000 years, Jews have felt that they must regain their own Eretz Israel again or perish for sure. Some 600,000 Jews entered Canaan and settled there from the Exodus from Egypt.  Israel's state started off on May 14, 1948 with a populaton of 650,000.   3 million Jews returned when Israel was then created as a state so on May 1972 had 3,164,000.  35% in 1948 were Sabras (native born).  Today over 70% are Sabras.  5,874,000 Jews live in Israel in a total population of 7,797,400. 

In 115  Jews were expulsed from Cyprus. 

This was followed by a descendant of King David,  Bar Kokhba and his  uprising in Jerusalem against the Romans, a last stand to take Judea back in 132 where he and his men were slaughtered. 135  Romans rename the land as "Palestine."  Revolt of 3 years caused by Romans stopping circumcision,  rebuilding Jerusalem as Roman colony, managed to recapture Jerusalem.  580,000 died and more from hunger and disease. 

640, 721, 873  those Jews living under the Byzantine Empire were forcibly converted to Christianity.  In West (Balkans, Asia Minor, eastern shores of Mediterranean, Egypt, part of N. Africa, Constantinople) of eastern Orthodox Christianity speaking Greek, 

1096 The German Crusade (part of the Crusaders that went to Jerusalem to take it back from the Muslims) massacred Jews while going through European towns. 

1099 The Crusaders massacred the Jewish community remaining in Jerusalem.
1146-1391  Jews living in Spain forcibly converted to Christianity.
1290  Jews living in England were expulsed. 
1306 Jews living in France were expulsed.
1348  900 Jews burned alive in Strasbourg accused of causing the plague (Black Death)
1349-60  Jews living in Hungary were expelled.
1355 A mob in Toledo, Spain massacred 12,000 Jews.
1396  100,000 Jews living in France expelled.

1420-1421 Jews living in Toulouse, France were annihilated;Thousands of Jews living in Austria expelled, fled to Poland.
1492  180,000 Jews living in Spain  expulsed and 50,000 converted to Christianity in order to remain there. The Italian Christopher Columbus sailed to find the New World. Wrote letters to his son in Hebrew. 
1495  Jews living in Lithuania expelled.
1497  Jews living in Sicily, Sardinia and Portugal expulsed. 

A Quarter of a million Sephardic Jews had been forcibly converted at the end of this 15th Century. 

1502  Jews living in Rhodes forced to convert or were expelled or taken into slavery.
1541 Jews living in the Kingdom of Naples "Italy" were expelled.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) and the Protestant Reformation's teachings reflected intolerance towards Jews causing the decimation of many Jewish communities. 

1648-56  100,000 Jews living in Chmielnick, Poland were  massacred.
1727, 1747  Jews living in Russia were expelled. 
1838  Jews living in Meshed, Persia (today Iran) forced to convert to Islam.
1871-1921  Jews living in towns of Russia suffered from anti-Jewish pogroms.  My paternal grandfather was born in 1871 in Lithuania (part of the Pale of Settlement) and immigrated to the USA sometime around 1900 as many did. 
1882-1890  750,000 Jews living in Russia forced to re-settle in the "Pale of Settlement." 
1891  Jews living in Moscow and St. Petersburg expelled.
1917 to today Jews in Soviet Union denied right of national identity; Judaism persecuted (no religion for all)
1939-45  Holocaust, 6 million Jews murdered by German Nazis and European collaborators
1941  Jews living in Baghdad attacked by mobs: 180 dead
1948 to today:  Jews living in Arab countries, persecuted, mass expulsions
May 14, 1948:  Announcement of Israel's birth through United Nations' Approval. 

Jews had been living in the Diaspora (living outside of Eretz Israel) in the First Temple period.  When Judah, in 6th Century BCE fell, large-scale deportations were carried out by the Babylonian conquerors.  Many did not return to their place of birth and were later scattered throughout 127 provinces of the Persian Empire.  A Jewish colony in Egypt was found in the 5th century BCE.  Alexander the Great unified various cultures.  Romans brought Jews into the Latin circle.  There were many Jewish settlements in Italy. 

Reference:  Facts About Israel  from Divison of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
The Standard Jewish Encylopedia

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