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... the defeat of the First Jewish Revolt of 66-73 CE at the hands of the Romans had a staggering cost in human losses, in plundered resources, and in retaliatory measures? It is estimated that over one million Jews perished during the revolt while about one hundred thousand were taken as prisoners of war. A lot of the country was destroyed. In 71 CE, the Land of Israel was officially established as the Roman province of Judaea, thereby ending any appearance of Jewish autonomy. Heavy punitive taxation, the ‘Fiscus Judaicus’, was introduced. Also in 71 CE, and also as a punitive measure, the Menorah and other Temple artifacts, as well as the Temple treasures, were seized and taken to Rome. The same was the fate of many of the Jewish prisoners of war. To celebrate what they perceived as a highly significant victory after a bitterly fought campaign, the Romans minted new coins with the words ‘Judaea Capta’. To further memorialize this campaign, in particular the conquest of Jerusalem, an Arch of Triumph was built in Rome. Under this triumphal arch, the Temple artifacts and treasures, as well as the Jewish war prisoners were paraded. The Zealot leaders
of the Jewish revolt led the parade and were later executed. Notably, the construction of the Colosseum in the heart of Rome which started around this time, was made possible by the spoils of the revolt. It relied to a large extent on the financing provided by the looting during the campaign, first and foremost of the Temple treasures, and on the free and expendable labor provided by the thousands of prisoners of war. Yet, despite all of these losses, Jews continued to live in the Land of Israel in significant numbers. It is estimated that about 2/3 of the population in the Galilee and 1/3 of the coastal regions were Jewish. Of the greatest relevance was the fact that the Roman rulers allowed Jews to continue to practice Judaism, although now a Judaism without the Holy Temple as a reference point.