Six Centuries of Jewish Happenings: 18th Century

The Age of Enlightenment meant people started focusing much more on secular and classical knowledge instead of religion. With a religion that seemed to constantly attract negative attention, this was very positive for the Jews. During this time, individualism also became very important. This meant that every human was valued as important and civil rights became more common. 

The 18th century also brought along Napoleon. As he marched through Europe, he freed Jews from their ghettos. His philosophy was that if he could help the Jews change and become more like everyone else than they would finally be accepted as equals. In the end, Napoleon lost his war but set in motion events that would help Jews be granted citizenship in every country in Europe. 

During the year 1776 the Jews both fought and helped finance the War of Independence. The Jews were always loyal fighters to the lands that they lived in. 

There was also the development of the Hassidic movement as some Jews clung to their changing culture. These Jews stressed the importance of spirituality in all parts of everyday life.