In honor of this sequence of highly significant commemorations, we are pleased to repost here on our blog Rabbi Schwartz's list of the ten most important modern Jewish events, which originally was published on April 24th in his online column for the Times of Israel, under the heading of The Rabbi’s Top 10 Jewish Modern Events:
As we approach Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, I offer a history list – my compilation of the most consequential events of modern Jewish history. As always, I welcome your comments.
1. Spinoza’s Excommunication—Launched thinker’s epic contribution to “modernity” and the notion of the secular Jew.
2. Mendelssohn’s “Jerusalem”—First modern attempt to reconcile faith and reason.
3. Rise of Hasidism—Kabbalistic spirit becomes energizing movement.
4. Parisian Sanhedrin—Challenges of citizenship become evident.
5. Frankfort Rabbinical Conference—Reform of Judaism finds its place even as a backlash ensues that helps create Conservative and Modern Orthodox denominations.
6. Emigration to America—Demographic shift begins to the new world.
7. Dreyfuss Trial—Persistence of anti-Semitism shook Herzl and Europe.
8. First Zionist Congress—Herzl’s reply and the first achievement of modern Zionism.
9. Holocaust—Tragedy on an unimaginable scale.
10. Birth of Modern Israel—Triumph on an unimaginable scale.
Previous posts in this series include The Rabbi’s Top Ten: The Best of Everything Jewish, and The Rabbi’s Top 10 Jewish Foods.