What are some important Jewish historical names dates and events?

All of the dates and information provided below are based on the Jewish Torah, Talmud and oral tradition. Note that many hundreds of names and dates have been omitted for the sake of brevity. Early Era:

  • Terah, Abraham's father was born, 1882 BCE.
Era of the Patriarchs:
  • Avraham, founder of Jewish belief, born 1812 BCE (= "Before the Common Era"). Abraham founded the tradition of monotheism, which is the belief in One God.
  • Yitzchak (Isaac), second of the Avot (Patriarchs), born 1712 BCE.
  • Yaakov (Jacob), third of the three Patriarchs, born 1652 BCE.
Era of the sojourn in Egypt:
  • Yosef (Joseph), born 1563 BCE, became Viceroy of Egypt.
  • The sojourn in Egypt was 1522-1312 BCE. The enslavement in Egypt began in 1428 BCE.
Era of Moses and Joshua:
  • Moshe (Moses) was born in 1392 BCE. He played a key role in the Exodus, and brought down the Two Stone Tablets from God.
  • The forty years in the Wilderness were 1312-1272 BCE.
  • The Israelites crossed the Jordan into Canaan, 1272 BCE. Yehoshua (Joshua, died 1244 BCE), leader after Moses, led the conquest of Canaan. His period of leadership was 1272-1244 BCE.
Era of the Judges: The era of the Judges was 1244-879 BCE. Here are some of the prominent Judges:
  • Devorah became leader in 1107 BCE. She was a female Torah-sage and Judge who led a miraculous victory over a Canaanite king (Judges ch.4-5).
  • Gideon became Judge in 1067 BCE. He led a miraculous victory over the Midianites (Judges ch.6-8).
  • Yiphtach (Jephthah) became leader in 982 BCE. He led a miraculous victory over the Ammonites (Judges ch.11).
  • Shimshon (Samson) became leader in 951 BCE. This Judge had unequaled strength and subdued the Philistines for many years (Judges ch.13-15).
  • Shmuel (Samuel) became leader in 890 BCE. He marked the transition from Judges to Kings.
  • The Mishkan (Tabernacle) at Shiloh is overrun by the Philistines, 888 BCE.
Era of the Kings: The era of the Kings lasted until the destruction of the First Temple in 422 BCE.

Here are some of the prominent kings, prophets and events:

  • Shaul (Saul), died 876 BCE, was first of the Kings. 1 Samuel ch.8-31.
  • King David reigned 40 years, from 876 BCE.
  • The building of the First Temple commenced in 832 BCE, by King Solomon, who reigned 40 years. See 1 Kings ch.6-8. The First Temple stood for 410 years.
  • Yerav'am (Jeroboam) took power in 796 BCE. He split the Ten Tribes (the Northern Kingdom of Israel) away from the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings ch.12).
  • Eliyahu (Elijah), 8th century BCE, famous prophet. See 1 Kings ch.17 until 2 Kings ch.2.
  • Yeshayahu (Isaiah), best-known of the Prophets, began his prophecies in 619 BCE.
  • Exile of the Ten Tribes by the Assyrians to points presently unknown, in 555 BCE.
  • Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) began his prophecies in 463 BCE. Warned about the impending Destruction.
  • Yechezkel (Ezekiel) prophesied, 429 BCE.
Era of the Babylonian Exile (422-352 BCE):
  • Destruction of the First Temple, in 422 BCE.
  • Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream in 422 BCE.
  • Zerubavel led the Jewish return to Israel (Judea) in 371 BCE, after King Cyrus of Persia permitted it. 18 years later, another wave of Jews returned with Ezra, while Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls.
  • The events of Purim (Scroll of Esther) were in 355 BCE.
  • Mordecai institutes the annual Purim celebration, 354 BCE.
Second Temple Era (352 BCE-68 CE):
  • Building of the Second Temple, 352 BCE. The Second Temple stood for 420 years. Soon after its construction, prophecy ceased.
  • Anshei Knesset HaGedolah - The Men of the Great Assembly. This Sanhedrin (high court of sages) sealed the canon of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
  • Shimon HaTzadik died in 273 BCE. One of the early sages.
  • Writing of the Septuagint, in 246 BCE.
  • The revolt of Mattityahu the Chashmona'i (Hasmonean), against the Syrian-Greeks, in 168 BCE.
  • The miracle of Hanukkah, 165 BCE.
  • Sh'lomit (Queen Salome) ruled 73-64 BCE. A brief period of peace in the turbulent Second Temple era.
  • The Romans gained control of Judea in 61 BCE.
  • Hillel, died 8 BCE. A beloved sage, famous for his humility.
  • Agrippa I (grandson of Herod) ruled, 21 CE (= "Common Era"). A rare instance of a benign Roman ruler. Not to be confused with the wicked Agrippa II, who began ruling 35 years later.
  • Christianity started spreading around this time, but not among the Jews.
  • Destruction of the Second Temple, 68 CE.
  • Fall of Masada, 73 CE.
Era of the Mishna and Talmud-sages:
  • Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, died 74 CE, gained the favor of Vespasian and managed to rescue a number of leading Torah-sages and brought them to the yeshiva (Torah-academy) in Yavneh.
  • Betar fell, and Bar Kochba's revolt ended in tragedy, 133 CE.
  • Rabbi Akiva, died 134 CE, was a leading Torah-sage throughout the Roman upheavals.
  • Rabbi Judah Hanassi, died 188 CE, completed the collation of the Mishna (Oral Law), based on ancient tradition.
  • Rav (Rabbi Abba Aricha) left Israel and settled in Babylonia, from 219 CE. Founded the yeshiva (Torah academy) of Sura. Died 247 CE.
  • Rabbi Yochanan was the leading Talmudic authority, from 254 CE. Collated the Jerusalem Talmud.
  • Rabbi Yehudah was the leading Talmudic authority, from 298 CE. Disciple of Rav.
  • Abayei and Rava were the leading Talmudic authorities, from 325 CE. These two participated in the collation of the Babylonian Talmud.
  • Rav (Rabbi) Ashi was the leading Talmudic authority, from 392 CE.
  • End of the collation of the Talmud, 475 CE. It was put in writing 25 years later.
Era of the Geonim (Torah-leaders in Babylonia):
  • The yeshiva of Pumbeditha was reopened (after Persian persecutions), 589 CE. Era of the Geonim begins.
  • The yeshiva of Sura was reopened, 609 CE.
  • Rabbi Yitzchak was the last Gaon (sage) of Neharde'a (Firuz-Shabur). 636 CE.
  • Rabbi Achai Gaon left Bavel (Iraq) for Israel, 755 CE.
  • The Halakhot Gedolot, an early codex of halakha (Torah laws), was written at this time. 759 CE.
  • Rabbi Amram (who put the Siddur [prayerbook] in writing), became Gaon (Torah-leader) of Sura in 858 CE.
  • Rabbi Saadya (882-942) was appointed Gaon of Sura, from 928 CE. He led opposition against the breakaway Karaites.
  • Four sages were taken hostage and ransomed at around this time, 955 CE. This event contributed to the spread of Torah-learning to lands other than Babylonia.
  • Rabbi Sherira (906-1006) became Gaon of Pumbedita, from 968 CE.
  • Rabbi Hai Gaon (939-1038), last of the leading Babylonian Torah sages.
European Jewry:
  • Rabbi Gershom Me'or HaGolah (c.960-1040) was the sage who decreed against Jewish polygamy.
  • Rabbi Isaac Al-Fasi (1013-1103) was the author of a major compendium of Halakha.
  • Rashi (Rabbi Shelomo Yitzchaki, 1040-1105), author of the greatest of the Talmud commentaries.
  • First Crusade, 1096. First recorded blood libel, 1144.
  • Rabbenu Tam (Rabbi Yaakov Tam, 1100-1170), a leading Talmudist. He was a grandson of Rashi.
  • The Rambam (Maimonides), 1135-1204, author of several major works in halakha and Jewish thought.
  • A massive burning of the Talmud by anti-Semites took place in Paris, 1242.
  • The Inquisition began to use torture, 1252.
  • The Ramban (Nachmanides), 1194-1270, author of a leading commentary on the Torah.
  • All Jews were expelled from England, 1290.
  • The Maharam (Rabbi Meir) of Rothenburg (1215-1293), last of the Tosafists (early Talmud-commentators).
  • The Ralbag (Rabbi Levi ben Gershom), 1288-1344, author of a commentary on the Bible.
  • Rabbi Nissim (1320-1376), and other Torah-scholars in Spain, were imprisoned. 1367.
  • The expulsion of Jews from France, 1394.
  • Rabbi Yosef Albo (1380-1444) was in a forced debate with Christians, 1413.
  • The invention of printing, 1440s.
  • Rabbi Ovadya Bertinura (1445-1515), Rabbi in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) from 1488, author of the leading commentary on the Mishna.
  • Jews expelled from Spain and Sicily, 1492.
  • Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel (1437-1508), Rabbi in Naples from 1493. Author of a book on Jewish thought.
  • All Jews were expelled from Portugal, 1496.
  • The Turks (Ottoman Empire) conquered the land of Israel, 1516.
  • Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488-1575) published the Shulchan Arukh, a leading text of Jewish law, in 1566.
Later Rabbis and events:
  • Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572), was a leading kabbalist.
  • The Maharal (Rabbi Loewe), 1512-1609, Rabbi in Prague from 1573. Maker of the legendary Golem.
  • Rabbi Shmuel Eidels (1555-1631), Rabbi in Lublin from 1614, author of a leading Talmud commentary.
  • Rabbi Yoel Sirkes (1561-1640), author of a major commentary on the Shulchan Arukh.
  • Rabbi Shabsei Cohen (1621-1662) and Rabbi David Halevi (1586-1667) publish leading commentaries on the Shulchan Arukh in 1646.
  • Chmielnicki massacres, 1648-9.
  • Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707-1746), author of a famous text on piety.
  • Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov (1700-1760), founder of modern Hassidism.
  • The Pale of Jewish Settlement was established in Russia, 1791.
  • The Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, 1720-1797), famous Talmudist.
  • Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (1724-1806), sage and biliographer.
  • Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), charismatic pietist and Hassidic leader.
  • Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (1810-1883), founder of the modern Mussar movement.
  • Rabbi Meir Malbim (1809-1879), opponent of the secularists (Haskalah), authored a major commentary on the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
  • Rabbi Israel Meir Kohen (Chafetz Chaim), 1838-1933, beloved pietist and Talmudist.
  • Wave of Russian pogroms begins, 1881.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried (1804-1886), author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.
  • Rabbi Abraham Karelitz (Chazon Ish), 1878-1953, leading Torah sage in Israel from 1933.
  • Germany started World War II, and mass killing of 6 million Jews, 1939.

All of the dates and information provided below are based on the Jewish Torah, Talmud and oral tradition. Note that many hundreds of names and dates have been omitted for the sake of brevity.Early Era:

  • The Creation: 3760 BCE.

Related Link: The Creation

  • The Flood: 2104 BCE.

Link: The Flood

  • Terah, Abraham's father was born, 1882 BCE.


Era of the Patriarchs:

  • Avraham, founder of Jewish belief, born 1812 BCE (= "Before the Common Era"). Abraham founded the tradition of monotheism, which is the belief in One God.
Link: A biography of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
  • Yitzchak (Isaac), second of the Avot (Patriarchs), born 1712 BCE.
  • Yaakov (Jacob), third of the three Patriarchs, born 1652 BCE.

Era of the sojourn in Egypt:

  • Yosef (Joseph), born 1563 BCE, became Viceroy of Egypt.
Link: Joseph's importance
  • The sojourn in Egypt was 1522-1312 BCE. The enslavement in Egypt began in 1428 BCE.

Era of Moses and Joshua:
  • Moshe (Moses) was born in 1392 BCE. He played a key role in the Exodus, and brought down the Two Stone Tablets from God.
Link: A biography of Moses and Joshua
  • The forty years in the Wilderness were 1312-1272 BCE.
Link: The Exodus
  • The Israelites crossed the Jordan into Canaan, 1272 BCE. Yehoshua (Joshua, died 1244 BCE), leader after Moses, led the conquest of Canaan. His period of leadership was 1272-1244 BCE.


Era of the Judges: The era of the Judges was 1244-879 BCE.

Link: Who were the Judges? Here are some of the prominent Judges:

  • Devorah became leader in 1107 BCE. She was a female Torah-sage and Judge who led a miraculous victory over a Canaanite king (Judges ch.4-5).
  • Gideon became Judge in 1067 BCE. He led a miraculous victory over the Midianites (Judges ch.6-8).
  • Yiphtach (Jephthah) became leader in 982 BCE. He led a miraculous victory over the Ammonites (Judges ch.11).
  • Shimshon (Samson) became leader in 951 BCE. This Judge had unequaled strength and subdued the Philistines for many years (Judges ch.13-15).
  • Shmuel (Samuel) became leader in 890 BCE. He marked the transition from Judges to Kings.
Link: More about Samuel
  • The Mishkan (Tabernacle) at Shiloh is overrun by the Philistines, 888 BCE.


Era of the Kings: The era of the Kings lasted until the destruction of the First Temple in 422 BCE.

Link: Who were the Kings? Here are some of the prominent kings, prophets and events:

  • Shaul (Saul), died 876 BCE, was first of the Kings. 1 Samuel ch.8-31.
  • King David reigned 40 years, from 876 BCE.
Link: About King David
  • The building of the First Temple commenced in 832 BCE, by King Solomon, who reigned 40 years. See 1 Kings ch.6-8. The First Temple stood for 410 years.
  • Yerav'am (Jeroboam) took power in 796 BCE. He split the Ten Tribes (the Northern Kingdom of Israel) away from the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings ch.12).
Link: Why did the Ten Tribes break away?
  • Eliyahu (Elijah), 8th century BCE, famous prophet. See 1 Kings ch.17 until 2 Kings ch.2.
Link: What was the role of the Prophets?
  • Yeshayahu (Isaiah), best-known of the Prophets, began his prophecies in 619 BCE.
  • Exile of the Ten Tribes by the Assyrians to points presently unknown, in 555 BCE.
Link: Where are the Ten Tribes?
  • Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) began his prophecies in 463 BCE. Warned about the impending Destruction.
  • Yechezkel (Ezekiel) prophesied, 429 BCE.


Era of the Babylonian Exile (422-352 BCE):

  • Destruction of the First Temple, in 422 BCE.
  • Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream in 422 BCE.
Link: More about Daniel
  • Zerubavel led the Jewish return to Israel (Judea) in 371 BCE, after King Cyrus of Persia permitted it. 18 years later, another wave of Jews returned with Ezra, while Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls.
Link: More about Nehemiah
  • The events of Purim (Scroll of Esther) were in 355 BCE.

Link: More about Esther

  • Mordecai institutes the annual Purim celebration, 354 BCE.


Second Temple Era (352 BCE-68 CE):

  • Building of the Second Temple, 352 BCE. The Second Temple stood for 420 years. Soon after its construction, prophecy ceased.
  • Anshei Knesset HaGedolah - The Men of the Great Assembly. This Sanhedrin (high court of sages) sealed the canon of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
Link: The history of the Hebrew Bible
  • Shimon HaTzadik died in 273 BCE. One of the early sages.
  • Writing of the Septuagint, in 246 BCE.
  • The revolt of Mattityahu the Chashmona'i (Hasmonean), against the Syrian-Greeks, in 168 BCE.
  • The miracle of Hanukkah, 165 BCE.
Link: More about Hanukkah
  • Sh'lomit (Queen Salome) ruled 73-64 BCE. A brief period of peace in the turbulent Second Temple era.
  • The Romans gained control of Judea in 61 BCE.
  • Hillel, died 8 BCE. A beloved sage, famous for his humility.
  • Agrippa I (grandson of Herod) ruled, 21 CE (= "Common Era"). A rare instance of a benign Roman ruler. Not to be confused with the wicked Agrippa II, who began ruling 35 years later.
  • Christianity started spreading around this time, but not among the Jews.
Link: Why the Jews didn't accept Jesus
  • Destruction of the Second Temple, 68 CE.

Link: Destruction and Diaspora

  • Fall of Masada, 73 CE.


Era of the Mishna and Talmud-sages:

  • Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, died 74 CE, gained the favor of Vespasian and managed to rescue a number of leading Torah-sages and brought them to the yeshiva (Torah-academy) in Yavneh.
Link: What Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai did for Judaism
  • Betar fell, and Bar Kochba's revolt ended in tragedy, 133 CE.
  • Rabbi Akiva, died 134 CE, was a leading Torah-sage throughout the Roman upheavals.
  • Rabbi Judah Hanassi, died 188 CE, completed the collation of the Mishna (Oral Law), based on ancient tradition.
Link: More about Judah Hanassi
  • Rav (Rabbi Abba Aricha) left Israel and settled in Babylonia, from 219 CE. Founded the yeshiva (Torah academy) of Sura. Died 247 CE.
  • Rabbi Yochanan was the leading Talmudic authority, from 254 CE. Collated the Jerusalem Talmud.
  • Rabbi Yehudah was the leading Talmudic authority, from 298 CE. Disciple of Rav.
  • Abayei and Rava were the leading Talmudic authorities, from 325 CE. These two participated in the collation of the Babylonian Talmud.
Link: More about the Talmud
  • Rav (Rabbi) Ashi was the leading Talmudic authority, from 392 CE.
  • End of the collation of the Talmud, 475 CE. It was put in writing 25 years later.


Era of the Geonim (Torah-leaders in Babylonia):

  • The yeshiva of Pumbeditha was reopened (after Persian persecutions), 589 CE. Era of the Geonim begins.
  • The yeshiva of Sura was reopened, 609 CE.
  • Rabbi Yitzchak was the last Gaon (sage) of Neharde'a (Firuz-Shabur). 636 CE.
  • Rabbi Achai Gaon left Bavel (Iraq) for Israel, 755 CE.
  • The Halakhot Gedolot, an early codex of halakha (Torah laws), was written at this time. 759 CE.
  • Rabbi Amram (who put the Siddur [prayerbook] in writing), became Gaon (Torah-leader) of Sura in 858 CE.
  • Rabbi Saadya (882-942) was appointed Gaon of Sura, from 928 CE. He led opposition against the breakaway Karaites.
Link: What were the Karaites
  • Four sages were taken hostage and ransomed at around this time, 955 CE. This event contributed to the spread of Torah-learning to lands other than Babylonia.
  • Rabbi Sherira (906-1006) became Gaon of Pumbedita, from 968 CE.
  • Rabbi Hai Gaon (939-1038), last of the leading Babylonian Torah sages.


European Jewry:

  • Rabbi Gershom Me'or HaGolah (c.960-1040) was the sage who decreed against Jewish polygamy.
  • Rabbi Isaac Al-Fasi (1013-1103) was the author of a major compendium of Halakha.
  • Rashi (Rabbi Shelomo Yitzchaki, 1040-1105), author of the greatest of the Talmud commentaries.
  • First Crusade, 1096. First recorded blood libel, 1144.
  • Rabbenu Tam (Rabbi Yaakov Tam, 1100-1170), a leading Talmudist. He was a grandson of Rashi.
  • The Rambam (Maimonides), 1135-1204, author of several major works in halakha and Jewish thought.
Link: About Maimonides
  • A massive burning of the Talmud by anti-Semites took place in Paris, 1242.
  • The Inquisition began to use torture, 1252.
  • The Ramban (Nachmanides), 1194-1270, author of a leading commentary on the Torah.
  • All Jews were expelled from England, 1290.
  • The Maharam (Rabbi Meir) of Rothenburg (1215-1293), last of the Tosafists (early Talmud-commentators).
  • The Ralbag (Rabbi Levi ben Gershom), 1288-1344, author of a commentary on the Bible.
  • Rabbi Nissim (1320-1376), and other Torah-scholars in Spain, were imprisoned. 1367.
  • The expulsion of Jews from France, 1394.
  • Rabbi Yosef Albo (1380-1444) was in a forced debate with Christians, 1413.
  • The invention of printing, 1440s.
  • Rabbi Ovadya Bertinura (1445-1515), Rabbi in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) from 1488, author of the leading commentary on the Mishna.
  • Jews expelled from Spain and Sicily, 1492.
  • Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel (1437-1508), Rabbi in Naples from 1493. Author of a book on Jewish thought.
  • All Jews were expelled from Portugal, 1496.
  • The Turks (Ottoman Empire) conquered the land of Israel, 1516.
  • Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488-1575) published the Shulchan Arukh, a leading text of Jewish law, in 1566.


Later Rabbis and events:

  • Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572), was a leading kabbalist.
  • The Maharal (Rabbi Loewe), 1512-1609, Rabbi in Prague from 1573. Maker of the legendary Golem.
  • Rabbi Shmuel Eidels (1555-1631), Rabbi in Lublin from 1614, author of a leading Talmud commentary.
  • Rabbi Yoel Sirkes (1561-1640), author of a major commentary on the Shulchan Arukh.
  • Rabbi Shabsei Cohen (1621-1662) and Rabbi David Halevi (1586-1667) publish leading commentaries on the Shulchan Arukh in 1646.
  • Chmielnicki massacres, 1648-9.
  • Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707-1746), author of a famous text on piety.
  • Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov (1700-1760), founder of modern Hassidism.
  • The Pale of Jewish Settlement was established in Russia, 1791.
  • The Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, 1720-1797), famous Talmudist.
  • Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (1724-1806), sage and biliographer.
  • Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), charismatic pietist and Hassidic leader.
  • Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (1810-1883), founder of the modern Mussar movement.
  • Rabbi Meir Malbim (1809-1879), opponent of the secularists (Haskalah), authored a major commentary on the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
  • Rabbi Israel Meir Kohen (Chafetz Chaim), 1838-1933, beloved pietist and Talmudist.
  • Wave of Russian pogroms begins, 1881.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried (1804-1886), author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.
  • Rabbi Abraham Karelitz (Chazon Ish), 1878-1953, leading Torah sage in Israel from 1933.
  • Germany started World War II, and mass killing of 6 million Jews, 1939.