Eyal Bitton
Cantor, composer, lyricist.

Jewish History 100 Years From Now

(Pixabay / Pexels)

One hundred years from now, what will be recorded in Jewish history books about our time? What follows is a fictional portrayal of a page from the history books in 2123.

An Overview of Jewish History (2123 edition)

The Ancient Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 CE, ending our sovereignty over our homeland. The Judean refugees, our ancestors, were then scattered through the Roman Empire, ending up in various parts of Europe, the Levant, and North Africa.

Centuries later, a great community of Judeans, Jews, flourished in Spain. This Golden Age ended in catastrophe with the Spanish Inquisition. Centuries later, another great Jewish community flourished in central and eastern Europe. This community was ultimately destroyed in the greatest catastrophe our people had experienced in two thousand years, the Holocaust.

The most pivotal moment in Jewish history since the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE occurred three years after the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 CE. This astounding development signified the return of Jewish sovereignty over our ancestral homeland after an exilic period of two thousand years.

The rebirth of the Jewish homeland was, and is, the unlikely yet triumphant tale of resilience, faith, and peoplehood. It was highly improbable that our people could be scattered around the world for two thousand years, face endless oppression, and succeed in returning to their homeland.

Jews of The Diaspora

What of Jewish communities outside of Israel?

Despite Jews regaining sovereignty over our homeland, Jews continued to live in the diaspora (the historical and global dispersion of Jewish communities outside of the land of Israel). In Hebrew, the word for diaspora is “exile” (“galut”).

There were strong Jewish communities around the world, including in France, the UK, Australia, Canada, and the United States of America.

American Jewry was simply a continuation of the typical migratory pattern of our people for two millennia: when one land in the diaspora became too dangerous, too hostile, to remain in, Jews moved to a more promising one. In this case, many Jews found that their American hosts were very welcoming and allowed Jews many opportunities for population growth, for religious freedoms, for economic success, and even for political participation.

Acceptance in American society, like in every other society, had its limits. In the US, Jews were ultimately accepted as a religious-based group and not as a nationality. There were times when Jews were not permitted in various circles and institutions. Then, for a brief period, they knew greater freedom. Return to the norm quickly ensued, as Jews had to renounce their attachment to their ancestral homeland in order to be accepted. Jews had to hide their identities to enter higher levels of education and upper echelons of society. Some Jews willingly rejected their Jewish peoplehood, their claim to indigeneity in their homeland. America proved very similar to every other diaspora experience Jews had had in its two thousand year history of exile.

The early years of the State of Israel were very similar to the early years of the Kingdom of Israel. The Kingdom faced significant existential threats under its first kings, King Saul and King David, as surrounding nations sought its destruction.  Similarly, the State of Israel faced serious existential threats from surrounding nations in its first century.

Despite certain movements and political parties that continued to reject the Jewish state, a great regional peace ensued and continues to this day. There are Jewish communities currently flourishing once again in several Arab countries. The term “diaspora” or “exile” no longer refers to these communities. The pivotal year of 1948 marked the end of the diaspora. Once the State of Israel was re-established in 1948, the period of exile had ended.

The Jewish people had entered a new era.

About the Author
Eyal Bitton is the cantor of Congregation Neveh Shalom in Portland, Oregon where he incorporates Sephardi/Moroccan music, Ashkenazi music, popular adaptations, and original compositions into the service. As a composer and writer, his theatrical works have been produced in the US, Canada, Kenya, and China.
Related Topics
Related Posts