April 18, 2007

Today in Jewish History - 1 Iyar

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In 372 BCE, the foundation of the Second Holy Temple was laid in Jerusalem, as recorded in the Book of Ezra (3:8). The grandson of a Jewish king, Zerubavel, led the first band of Jews back from the Babylonian exile. He helped clear away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the Second Temple, and the foundation was laid amid public excitement and rejoicing. This Second Temple would become the center of Jewish worship for 420 years, before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Today, the Western Wall is a remnant of the Temple complex, the focal point of Jewish prayers for millennia.