Contributions to the Jewish Community during the Time of Jesus
During the time of Jesus, there was a religious struggle between the Romans and the Jews. The Romans forced the Jews (two groups of Jews: the Pharisees and the Sadducees) to practice their religion, but the Jews would not conform. Eventually, the Romans relented and allowed the Jews to practice their religion, but imposed a tax on them because of it. In order to establish a better relationship with the Jews, Herod was made king in 37 B.C. In making Herod king, he made several contributions to the Jewish community.
First, Herod took a “backseat role in the day-to-day life of the Jews”. Second, Herod decided to celebrate the Olympic Games in Jerusalem, which drew much attention there. Also, he built many cities, fortresses, and palaces. His most famous project was the expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Then, he erected the third Jewish temple. “It evoked pride and awe among all those who made pilgrimages to the holy city.” The temple took a long time to build, but it was very well known and very well respected. Herod also built a large wall around the temple known as the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall). Many religious Jews and tourists still visit the wall to this day to come and pray.
Another person in the Bible who made significant contributions to the Jewish community was Ezra. From him, came the Book of Ezra (which was written around 450 B.C., recording events from about 538-458 B.C. [except for the time between 516-458 B.C.]) Ezra was a Jewish scribe, who was greatly respected for his vast knowledge of the Torah. He led about five thousand Israelite exiles, living in Babylon back to Jerusalem. Also, during his time, many Jews had married non-Hebrew women who were pagans. Ezra did all he could to prevent this from happening any more, as well as revoking many of the standing marriages between Jews and non-Hebrew pagans. Another contribution made by Ezra to the Jewish community,...