Highlighting the permanent Jewish presence and the relevance of Jewish contributions in Eretz Israel as well as the continuous connection between Diaspora Jews and Eretz Israel throughout the centuries between the Destruction of the Second Temple and the onset of modern Zionism, through a series of one-page notes distributed weekly.
DID YOU KNOW THAT... In c.538, Mar Zutra, a descendant of the exilarchs in Babylonia, settled in Tiberias and was appointed head of its rabbinical academy as the 1st Exilarch of Tiberias? Mar-Zutra III [520-589], aka Mar-Zutra bar Mar-Zutra, was, according to the Seder Olam Zutta, the posthumous and only son of the 30th Exilarch of Babylon, Mar-Zutra II [c.488-520]. Mar-Zutra II led a successful military revolt that achieved political independence for the Jews of Machoza. Autonomy lasted seven years, until 520, when Mar-Zutra II was finally defeated and crucified in an access bridge to the area. Mar-Zutra III, is said to have been born in Machoza on the same day of his father's death. Due to the situation, he was not considered for the office of exilarch of Babylon and was raised secretly. At the age of 18 he moved to the Land of Israel, where he eventually became head of the Academy of Tiberias under the title of "Resh Pircha", or the 1st Exilarch of Tiberias. This represented the beginning of a new dynasty of Jewish leaders in the Land of Israel, the first after the demise of the Sanhedrin in 425. After Mar Zutra III died, several generations of his descendants succeed him in this office as exilarchs of Tiberias. These include, among others, the 2nd Exilarch of Tiberias, Mar Zutra II Sa'adya, born in Ramla in 558 and died also in Ramla in 615; the 3rd Exilarch of Tiberias, Mar Zutra I Guriya, born in Ramla in 589 and died in Baghdad in 670; the 4th Exilarch of Tiberia, Mar Zutra II bar Guriya, born in Baghdad in 633; the 5th Exilarch of Tiberia, Rav Yaakov Zakai ben Mar Zutra II, born in Tiberias in 660 and died in Ramla. In addition, his great-grandson, Paltoi ben Abaye [ruled: 841-858] and his great-great-grandson, Zemah ben Paltoi [ruled: 872-890], both served in the post of Gaon of the Academy of Pumbedita, a key rabbinical academy in Babylon with a sphere of influence well beyond the confines of Babylonian Jewry.
[Seder Olam Zutta is an anonymous text dating from the ninth or tenth centuries, which provides what is accepted as an historically reliable list of thirty nine generations of Exilarchs of Babylon starting with the names mentioned in the I Book of Chronicles]