History puts a date on the first Diaspora from the Land of Israel, also known as the Babylonian exile, as 586 B.C.E. The Second Diaspora from the Land of Israel came after Christianity took hold. Jews that were not banished from the land of Israel packed up and left on their own accord. This scattering of tribes, clans and tents found their way into Southern Europe, Germany, France and Asia Minor. Archeological digs in Southern Europe have uncovered ancient Jewish artifacts dating back to the early Christian Roman era when Jews arrived as prisoners. Probably some of these prisoners regained their freedom and were eventually able to participate in Europe’s cultural growth of art, religion, math and science. You may have never thought your ancestors lit candles on a menorah but they may have.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy a how-to for finding ancient Jewish ancestry available at Amazon, B&N and Ocean-Hose.