Judaism chapter X : Modern times.
The Great Jewish War ended when Rome’s Titus Caesar destroyed Jerusalem and killed 1.5 million Jews in their homeland. That marked the beginning of the Great Jewish Exile. Since then, Jews have been spread all over the world. If only there was a word to describe that scattering of people. Wait...there is: diaspora.
And all throughout those troubles and exile, they kept hope alive. Hope in the coming of a Messiah to return (literally) the Jews to their homeland and (literally and figuratively) peace and happiness to the world. Along the way, during the reign of Augustus Caesar and Roman rule, Jesus was born and became a defining figure in history and the catalyst for the founding of Christianity. But he was not the Jewish messiah.
Judaism’s teachings focused on the Law.
Jesus’s teachings focused on Love.
The Jewish leaders of this time were Pharisees, and their focus was on getting people to return to the religion as taught before the Exile to Babylon. They were opposed to any teachings that seemed contrary to Mosaic Law or the early prophets’ teachings. They did not believe in heaven or hell, in life after death and they argued with Jesus over the importance of adhering to the letter of the Law. His popularity and teachings led them to believe he was not the Messiah they had hoped for.
So they waited, and suffered, and stayed scattered throughout the world for centuries. Always hoping. Over time their hope to return to Jerusalem changed from being hope for a miracle to pragmatic strategizing.
They dreamed and hoped, and toward the end of the 19th century, hope began to take form in the shape of a book, The Jewish State, by Dr. Theodor Herzl. Their plan to return the Land of Israel became known as Zionism.
Dr. Herzl convened a World Congress of Zionism and predicted that within 50 years Israel would be restored and the Jewish people would have a homeland again.
Recap II (70 AD - Present).
One of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century took place as the end of that 50 years approached. Millions of Jews were killed in the Holocaust; a dark period for the Jewish people and for humanity.
On May 14, 1948, fifty years after the first Zionist Congress, a new Jewish state was established.
Across the world, Jews knew that they had a homeland to return to and a place for their faith to grow.
Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, Judaism has continued to thrive and flourish amidst ongoing troubles and conflicts. But the fact that it has survived, has thrived, and has rebuilt a national homeland speaks to the resilience of the Jewish people and the undying hope and pragmatism they possess. As the oldest of the Abrahamic religions, its influence and importance continues to be felt throughout the world. And it is a reminder of the ways in which laws, traditions, and stories shape every culture and religion and help to meld the past with the present.
Great Jewish Exile, diaspora, Pharisees, Zionism, Holocaust
This is an introduction to a ten-unit survey of Judaism - its history, peoples, beliefs and impact on the world today.
Education for most ages and for all curious people.
Written by Joseph Ivan Long with curiosity, humbleness, and a big grin.