1492-1695 | 1700s | 1800s | 1900s | 2000s
Year World Events American Jewish Events American Events

Sigmund Freud publishes The Interpretation of Dreams

1900 Paris Exposition

Jewish population estimated at between 938,000 -1.058 million (1.23-1.39 percent of total population)

Workmen's Circle is established in New York to promote mutual aid, Yiddish culture, and labor solidarity among Jewish workers

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union is founded



The Industrial Removal Office is established to help relocate Jewish immigrants from the Lower East Side, New York, to communities across the United States

President William McKinley is assassinated; Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt becomes the U.S. President



Agudath ha-Rabbanim, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, is founded in New York


1903 Kishineff Massacre

Forty-nine Jews are killed and 92 are severely wounded in the Kishinev pogram

Settlers of the Second Aliyah begin to arrive in Palestine

A bronze tablet containing Emma Lazarus's poem, "The New Colossus" is affixed to the base of the Statue of Liberty

Wright Brothers

Orville and Wilbur Wright make first sustained airplane flight

U.S. gains control over the Panama Canal

Henry Ford founds Ford Motor Company



American Jews celebrate the 250th anniversary of receiving the right to settle in New Amsterdam




In response to the Kishinev pogroms, the American Jewish Committee is founded to safeguard Jewish rights internationally

Oscar Straus is appointed Secretary of Labor and Commerce, the first Jew to hold a U.S. Cabinet post

San Francisco earthquake

Upton Sinclair writes The Jungle

1909 Robert E. Peary

Robert E. Peary reaches the North Pole


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is founded

Protesting intolerable working conditions, 20,000 shirtwaist makers go on strike


Roald Amundsen reaches South Pole

Triangle Shirtwais Fire sheet music, 1911

One hundred and forty-six women die tragically in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York


Titanic sinks on maiden voyage across Atlantic ocean

Henrietta Szold

Henrietta Szold founds Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America

Financier and philanthropist Jacob Schiff purchases large Hebrew book collection for Library of Congress, leading to the establishment of the Semitic Division in the following year



In Kiev, Mendel Beilis, target of a blood libel, is acquitted after a sensational trial

B'nai B'rith founds the Anti-Defamation League to combat anti-Semitism in the United States, in response to the Atlanta trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager wrongly accused of murder



World War I begins

During First World War, Russian forces in retreat drive 600,000 Jews from their homes

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is founded to provide funds and assistance for Jewish war relief

First boarding house for Jewish vacationers opens in the Catskills, which will lead to the development of the area into a major vacation destination of national reputation

Panama Canal

Panama Canal is opened



A mob kidnaps and lynches Leo Frank on learning that the governor of Georgia had committed Frank's death sentence to life in prison




Louis Brandeis

Louis Brandeis becomes first Jewish Supreme Court justice



Russian Revolution brings Vladimir Lenin to power in Russia

Balfour Declaration declares that the British government favors the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine


United States enters World War I



American Jewish Congress is founded to help secure Jewish rights in post-War Europe and Palestine

Worldwide influenza epidemic strikes, killing more than 25 million people over two years


Prohibition begins

Anarchist Emma Goldman is deported to the Soviet Union




League of Nations is established in Geneva, Switzerland, and the United States does not join

Jewish population: between 3.3-3.6 million (3.12-3.41 percent of total population)

Women casting votes in New York

Constitutional amendment grants women the right to vote

Henry Ford publishes anti-Semitic propaganda in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent




Margaret Sanger forms the America Birth Control League, the predecessor to Planned Parenthood Clinics



Mordecai M. Kaplan founds the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, the cradle of the Reconstructionist movement; Judith Kaplan (Eisenstein), Kaplan's daughter, celebrates first American Bat Mitzvah




George Gershwin

George Gershwin composes "Rhapsody in Blue"




Immigration Act severely limits immigration


Hebrew University opens in Jerusalem with American rabbi Judah L. Magnes as chancellor

First volume of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf is published

Florence Prag Kahn of San Francisco becomes the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives

The Scopes Trial puts the theory of evolution on trial


Charles Levine becomes the first transatlantic air passenger

Warner Brothers produces drama of Jewish acculturation, The Jazz Singer, the first film with sound

Charles A. Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic


Alexander Fleming formulates penicillin

Yeshiva College is dedicated in New York

The first chair in Jewish history at a secular university in the United States is endowed at Columbia University

First scheduled television broadcast in New York




U.S. Stock market crashes on October 29th


Mahatma Gandhi leads the March to the Sea, where thousands gather to protest a government tax on salt

Jewish population: between 4.228–4.4 million (3.44–3.58 percent of total population)




Empire State Building

Construction of Empire State Building completed, making it the tallest building in the world at the time




Amelia Earhart is the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean

1933 Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein leaves his academic post in Nazi Germany to reside in United States

Adolf Hitler becomes German chancellor, and initiates a series of anti-Jewish actions

The American Jewish Congress declares a boycott of German goods to protest the Nazi persecution of Jews

Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated President



Hank Greenberg, first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, refuses to play on Yom Kippur



Nuremberg Laws deprive German Jews of their civil rights




Spanish Civil War begins

Edward VIII abdicates the British throne to wed American divorcee Wallis Simpson




Pablo Picasso paints Guernica


Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge is completed in San Francisco

1938 Berlin Jewish shop owners and wreckage, photograph 1938

German synagogues and Jewish businesses are destroyed on Kristallnacht, or "The Night of Broken Glass"

Germany annexes Austria


Father Charles E. Coughlin launches a media campaign against Jews on his popular radio program and in his widely-read magazine, Social Justice


Germany invades Poland, World War II begins


America refuses entry to the St. Louis carrying 907 Jewish refugees from Germany

Irving Berlin introduces his song "God Bless America"


Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Jewish population: between 4.77 and 4.83 million (3.63-3.68 percent of total population)

First electron microscope is demonstrated in New Jersey




Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and the United States officially enters World War II



Rabbi Stephen S. Wise receives the "Riegner Telegram" confirming the Nazi intention to murder the Jews of Europe and turns to the State Department for help

War Relocation Authority interns Japanese Americans

Electronic computer is developed in the U.S.

"Manhattan Project" of atomic research begins

1944 D-Day-Normandy invasion

D-Day. Allied forces attack at the beaches of Normandy, France

Camp for Jewish war refugees is opened at Oswego, New York

Franklin Delano Roosevelt establishes the War Refugee Board


World War II ends

International tribunal for war crimes is established at Nuremberg

United Nations is established

Bess Myerson

Bess Myerson becomes the first Jewish woman to win the Miss America Pageant

President Franklin Roosevelt dies in office and Vice-President Harry S Truman takes over

U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II


Winston Churchill gives his "Iron Curtain" speech in Missouri


Bernard Baruch presents the U.S. policy statement for the control of atomic energy to the United Nations


Dead Sea Scrolls are discovered in the Judean desert

The U.N. General Assembly votes to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab


Marshall Plan for post-war recovery of European nations is introduced


State of Israel is established

Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated in India

Brandeis University is founded as first nonsectarian, Jewish-sponsored, institution of higher education

President Harry S Truman recognizes the State of Israel within its first hour of existence

U.S. Congress passes the Marshall Plan


Chaim Weizmann is elected first president of Israel

N.A.T.O. treaty signed




The Korean War breaks out

Jewish population: between 4.5 and 5 million (2.98-3.31 percent of total population)





Color television is introduced


Yiddish writers and other Jewish cultural figures are executed in the U.S.S.R. on "Night of the Murdered Poets"

Elizabeth II becomes Queen of England




James Watson and Francis Crick decipher the structure of DNA


Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted and executed for espionage

1954 American Jewish Tercentenary medal, 1954

American Jewish community celebrates tercentenary of Jewish life in America

Stern College for Women is created as a branch of Yeshiva University in New York City

Supreme Court issues ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ending legal segregation in U.S. schools

The phrase "under God" is added to the Pledge of Allegiance




Dr. Jonas Salk

Polio vaccine is developed by Jonas Salk and is licensed for use

Martin Luther King Jr. initiates the bus boycott to end racial segregation on public transportation in the South


Suez Canal Crisis




The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I into orbit and begins the "space race"





For That Extra Tangy Taste by Bill Mauldin, 1958.

Reform Jewish Temple in Atlanta is dynamited by a group of extreme segregationists

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein becomes first American-born musician to be appointed Music Director and Conductor of the New York Philharmonic Symphony

1959 1959, Liberacion poster with Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro takes power in Cuba


Alaska and Hawaii become the 49th and 50th states


Adolf Eichmann is captured and later stands trial in Israel for World War II crimes against Jews and humanity

Exodus poster, 1961

The movie version of Leon Uris's novel Exodus is released


Berlin Wall goes up, dividing East and West Germany






President John F. Kennedy is assassinated

Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.



Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry founded to protest Soviet anti-Jewish policies

Fiddler on the Roof opens on Broadway

Thousands of activists travel to Mississippi to register African-American voters during Freedom Summer. Three, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, are murdered




Abraham Joshua Heschel walks with Martin Luther King Jr.

Abraham Joshua Heschel walks with Martin Luther King Jr. on civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama


"Six Day War" between Israel and its neighbors




Polish government outlaws Jewish language and institutions


Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy are assassinated



Association for Jewish Studies founded

Vietnam War protest march

Vietnam War protests take place across the country

Neil Armstrong becomes first man on moon



Jewish population estimated at between 5.37 and 6 million (2.64-2.95 percent of total population)



Eleven Israeli Olympians in Munich are murdered in terrorist attack

Hebrew Union College ordains Sally J. Priesand, making her America's first woman rabbi



"Yom Kippur War" between Israel and its neighbors

The first National Jewish Women's Conference is held in New York, attended by over 400 women





Jackson-Vanick amendment passes, linking free emigration from Russia to "most favored nation" trade status

In the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal, President Richard M. Nixon resigns


The Concorde, a supersonic jet, takes flight and starts regular service between London, Paris, and U.S.

Lilith, the Jewish feminist magazine, begins publication

The United States of America celebrates its bicentennial




First flight of space shuttle


Camp David Accords result in peace treaty between Israel and Egypt

First "test-tube" baby is born in England

Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

American Nazi party marches in Skokie, Illinois


Margaret Thatcher becomes first woman prime minister of Britain

Shah of Iran is ousted and Ayatollah Khomeini sets up an Islamic Republic


U.S. hostages are taken in Iran

Three Mile Island nuclear accident


First Jewish film festival is held in San Francisco

Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington state

1981 Anwar Sadat

Anwar Sadat is assassinated


Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is identified



Jewish Theological Seminary votes to ordain women as Conservative rabbis

Sally Ride becomes the first American female astronaut


Israel launches "Operation Moses," the clandestine airlift of 25,000 Ethiopian Jews in Sudanese refugee camps to Israel (through 1985)

Madeleine M. Kunin is elected governor of Vermont, becoming the first Jewish woman governor in the United States

Shoshana Cardin of Baltimore becomes the first woman president of the National Council of Jewish Federations

Macintosh computer with "mouse" is launched

15,000 Holocaust survivors gather in Washington, D.C


Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in Ukraine

Elie Wiesel wins Nobel Peace Prize

Space shuttle Challenger explodes


Soviet Union permits Jews to emigrate freely

The Berlin Wall falls

Tiananmen Square Massacre




Anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela is freed in South Africa




Republics of the Soviet Union gain independence


U.S. and allies begin Operation Desert Storm


NAFTA Trade Pact signed by U.S., Canada, and Mexico

The first Jewish women senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, are elected to the U.S. Senate – representing California



Oslo Accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are signed in a ceremony on the White House lawn

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes first Jewish woman Supreme Court justice

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opens in Washington, D.C.


Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated


Oklahoma City bombing of U.S. federal building

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