371 BCE- King Cyrus (Koresh) of Persia permitted the building of the second Beit Hamikdash. On this day they began to rebuild the wall.


42 CE- Rebuilding of Yerushalayim Wall Begun.  King Agrippa I, appointed by the Roman Emperor to rule over Judea, was pious and kind to his subjects. During his reign, the Jews began to prosper and live comfortably. The Sages of the time accorded him great respect. Agrippa I started construction to repair, broaden and heighten the walls around Yerushalayim. The Romans, wary of the Jews' rising prosperity, placed many obstacles in his way. Nonetheless, the wall was completed, though the finished product was not as magnificent as originally planned. The 16th of Adar, the day when the construction of a gate for the wall commenced, was designated a holiday.


March 10, 418-  Jews were prohibited from holding public office in the Roman Empire.


March 12, 1656-  Jews of New Amsterdam (eventually to become New York) were denied the right to erect a synagogue, by the well-known anti-Semitic Governor, Peter Stuyvesant. (The Pilgrims' idea of religious freedom did not include Jews and other non-Christians.)  In 1654 he wrote: "The Jews who have arrived would nearly all like to remain here, but... [we have] deemed it useful to require them in a friendly way to depart... that the deceitful race -- such hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ -- not be allowed further to infect and trouble this new colony."

Jews were spared eviction because the Dutch West Indian Company was heavily dependent on Jewish investments. Stuyvesant contented himself with subjecting the Jews to indignities: He denied them the right to serve in the military and forced them to pay extra taxes.

As for Stuyvesant's refusal to allow a synagogue, history would take revenge: On this same date in 1897, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary was incorporated as America's first Orthodox Jewish rabbinical seminary.


March 11, 1762- The Rhode Island court refused to grant citizenship to Aaron Lopez and Isaac Eliezer, stating that "no person who is not of the Christian religion can be admitted free to this colony". Lopez was granted citizenship by Massachusetts and the sentence "upon the true faith of a Christian" was excluded from the oath. Lopez was most likely the first Jew to be granted citizenship in Massachusetts.


1848- The ghetto pillars of Ferrara, Italy, were destroyed by the professors and students of the Athenaeum.


March 20, 1897-  The Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the first Orthodox Jewish rabbinical seminary in the United States, was founded.


Torah Portion




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Today is

Yom Chamishi, 17 Kislev, 5784

Thursday, November 30, 2023


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