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Happy 3,323rd Birthday to People of Israel

It was none other than Pharaoh whose mention of the “People of Israel” is the first such Biblical reference, 3323 years ago, using calculations by Serbian-born Eliezer Shulman, who was exiled to Siberia by the former Soviet Union in the 1930s.

In the first chapter of Exodus (Shemot), verse 8 states, "And there rose up a new king [pharaoh] over Egypt who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people. ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel and more numerous and strong than we are.'"

Until then, the Bible referred to Jews as the Children of Yaakov (Jacob), who at one point was also named Israel, while the Bible generally continues to refer to him as Yaakov – until the time of Pharaoh.

Yaakov left the famine stricken Land of Israel with 11 sons to join his long-lost son Joseph. He had became the most powerful man in Egypt under Pharaoh after having been sold by his brothers and undergoing severe hardships that did not dampen his faith in the Creator.

The Passover holiday recalls the days of slavery in Egypt under the new pharaoh and the Exodus to freedom, which is the theme of the traditional Passover Seder.

However, the freedom of the Jews also marks their birthday as a people.

Shulman calculated the dates in the Bible while he was in Siberia. Starting with the Creation as year One on the Jewish calendar and adding up the number of years the earlier generations lived, Shulman determined that Noah was born in the year 1056 and died in 2006.

The Jewish forefather Avraham was born in the year 1948, and100 years later, Yitzchak was born.

After calculating the years of Yitzchak's son Yaakov (Jacob) and the sale of his son Joseph by his brothers to Egypt, Shulman concluded that Joseph died in the year 2309.

Yaakov and all of his family "went down" to Egypt in the year 2238, and the People of Israel left in the "Exodus" in the year 2448. Passover in 2011 falls in the year 5771 on the Jewish calendar.

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