Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Are Any Jews Left in Venezuela?

Nadene Goldfoot                                           

"“As far as the Jewish community goes,” journalist Gabriel Chocron noted in January 2019, “the chief Sephardi rabbi, Yitzhak Cohen, met with Maduro a month and a half ago because the Jewish community wants to keep living in the country as a community whose safety is ensured, and can keep importing kosher products and maintain its Jewish lifestyle.”

Jews first settled in Venezuela in 1850 and were Western Indian Sephardim.  Following their arrival were anti-Semitic outbreaks in Coro in 1855.  It happened again in 1902.  It wasn't over anything these Jews had done, but only who they were religiously.  Judaism was not welcome.

At the turn of the 19th century, Venezuela was fighting against the Spanish Empire in wars of independence and Simón Bolívar, celebrated as Venezuela's liberator, found refuge and material support for his army in the homes of Jews from Curaçao. The Jewish Cemetery of Coro is the oldest Jewish cemetery in continuous use in the Americas. Its origin can be located in the 19th century, when Sephardic Jews from the Dutch colony of Curaçao began to migrate to the Venezuelan city of Santa Ana de Coro in 1824.

Before they arrived, the Secret Jews had discovered the land and had already settled here.  " Their arrival dates to the middle of the 17th century, when records suggest that groups of marranos (Spanish and Portuguese descendants of baptized Jews suspected of secret adherence to Judaism) lived in TucacasCaracas and Maracaibo.  Jews usually do settle in capitals where they would congregate and build a synagogue, and for trading purposes and other sources of business.  We call former Jews who had been forcefully converted to Christianity the anusim, not the ugly word of marranos anymore.  It's a dated word.

In the 20th century, Eastern European and German Jews entered the country until they were barred after World War II.  This is AFTER, not before.  

However, those who had entered previously played a leading role in developing the country's trade and in modernizing the capital, Caracas.  

 By 1917, the number of Jewish citizens rose to 475, and to 882 in 1926. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Jewish community began to develop with the arrival of North African and eastern European Jews. Jewish immigration from Eastern and Central Europe increased after 1934 but, by then, Venezuela had imposed specific restrictions on Jewish immigration, which remained in effect until after the 1950s.

By 1990, there were 20,000 Jews in Venezuela, mostly in Caracas.  Some 90% of Jewish youth attend Jewish schools.  They would be private schools needing tuitions to attend.  

"Jews were hit especially hard by economic hardships and food shortages following a state-of-emergency declaration by the Venezuelan government in May 2016, caused by economic mismanagement combined with falling oil prices. 

Ex-Patriot Venezuelan Jews living in Israel and around the world sent food, medicine, clothing, and other items through organizations like Yajad, the main humanitarian group assisting the Venezuelan Jewish Community. The economic crisis caused many Venezuelan Jews to make aliyah to Israel during 2016.

About 20,000 Jewish Venezuelans have left the country in the past decade because of the declining economy and the way the Jewish community was treated under Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolás Marudo. About half of those remaining are wealthy and the other half in financial need.

SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. (JTA) — Sitting outside a Starbucks coffee shop in this small city north of Miami Beach, Paul Hariton recalls the dramatic night in 2002 when he and his wife decided to leave their native Venezuela." 
Leftist leader Hugo Chavez had just returned to power following a failed coup, and the Haritons feared the political fallout.  This happened in 2013.  "

Community that scattered during the anti-Israel leader’s long tenure appears unlikely to return now that he’s gone." 

Grafitti outside Israeli embassy in Caracas-
Look at this.  Our ancient HOME is Israel, yet people like this are so
anti-Semitic-Jews entering here may be just trying to do that very thing!  
Beyond the economic crisis that is affecting all Venezuelans, the situation for Jews is reasonably good. “The government tries to respect us and gives us freedom to live as Jews,” said Jewish community leader Elias Farache. “There are synagogues, schools, and all the Jewish services are fine.”

The Tiféret Israel Synagogue in Caracas was attacked in 2009.
At the beginning of 2019, Jews, like other Venezuelans, were trapped in the crossfire as the sitting president and his rival fight for power. The United States and other Latin American and Western governments do not recognize Marudo as the leader of Venezuela and are supporting opposition leader Juan Guaidó as head of state."

A coalition of countries are with the United State in support of Guaido.  TV has just shown a vehicle run down a crowd up Venezuelans belonging to the state. Marudo is supported by Cuba and the Cubans have Russia on their side over this land fight.  It happens that Venezuela has more oil in it than any other country, so is oil rich and a plum to control for any nation.   

Bolton of USA "remarks followed massive uprisings across Venezuela on Tuesday after Guaido – who won a contentious presidential election earlier this year – called on members of the country's armed forces to cease their support for the regime of Nicolas Maduro, who continues to claim victory from the January election.
Russia has deployed military troops and equipment to Venezuela in support of Maduro, whose hardline administration it backs. Bolton said Tuesday that Cuba had sent as many as 25,000 security forces to prop up the regime.                                                                                                     
The New Standard jewish Encyclopedia

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Natan-Melech of Judah's Seal Found in Jerusalem Parking Lot

Nadene Goldfoot
Sacrificing the first born in Baal worship
to bring in a great harvest-and good luck-a Babylonian and Canaanite
belief that spread to the Israelite 12 tribes. 
Baal Peor was a local Canaanite deity worshipped with sexual orgies.
This may be why it was such a popular belief!  People really change very little.  The Baal belief has a lot to do with what was recently found.  
The horse-drawn chariots used to greet the sun
Found in II Kings 23:11 is a section that tells how even the Kohenim were breaking rules in worshipping foreign religions such as Baal right in the Temple.  It happened during king Josiah's reign from 637 BCE to 608 BCE just before the Babylonian attack led by Nebuchadnezzar when the Jews of Judah were kidnapped and taken to Babylonia in 597 BCE and again in 586 BCE.  
King Josiah learning about Judaism
Prophets Nahum, Zephaniah and Jeremiah no doubt
were educating him as well during his formative years.  

Josiah's father,  King Amon, who ruled only from 638 to 637 BCE , had been murdered when Josiah was but 8 years old so he was crowned king at that early age.  When he reached the age of manhood, probably at 21, he began a program of religious reform and removed the foreign cults which had taken hold in Judah and re-established the pure monotheistic religion of Judaism.  

Do we ever read about this period?  We get so caught up in the many holidays we have with their history and all that somehow we forget how fragile our religion is and that possibly the culture around it with its strange accompaniments to help us remember, have had reasons for their being.  Look how quickly our ancestors forgot and accepted these weird thoughts.

In the course of repairing the First Temple, the high priest Hilkiah announced the discovery of a BOOK OF THE LAW, a scroll,  which so influenced Josiah that he convened  an assembly of the entire people during Passover in 621 BCE at which a solemn covenant was made with G-d.  Many scholars have identified this book with Deuteronomy.  Josiah removed the high places and centralized worship at the Jerusalem Temple.  

Josiah was busy cleaning everything foreign out of the Temple.  First, he read out loud to the crowd of Judeans he had called for from this newly discovered  Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Temple.  To think that it had been in some corner somewhere not used is shocking, but that's what happened with a king who had been murdered which affected the whole community.  Such information stopped with him and his son had not been old enough to know the procedure.  

Manasseh had been king before Amon from 697 to 638 BCE, a long stretch of time.  

The priests during King Josiah's childhood, the Kohens-descendants of Aaron, had been burning offerings to Baal. They were the ones who should have been reading to the king from the Book of Law.    It is indeed shocking to us.  King Josiah (he) also abolished the horses that the kings of Judah had designated for worship of the sun which would race from the entrance to the Temple of Hashem to the office of Netan-melech, the officer in the outlying area of the city.  He burned the chariots of the sun in fire.  (The worship of the sun consisted in racing out towards the east at daybreak in horse-drawn chariots, to "greet" the rising sun).  
picture from Wnd, small clay object 

We'll skip ahead in time 2,600 years and see that the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University discovered an ancient bulla seal impression bearing the inscription BELONGING TO NATHAN-MELECH, SERVANT OF THE KING, in the City of David (Jerusalem) just outside the Old City of Jerusalem, according to an announcement on Sunday, April 2019 as read about in the newspaper, The Jerusalem Press of April 5th.  This shows verification of history being true as originally written in Kings II.  Dr. Anat Mendael-Geberovich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Center for the Study of Ancient Jerusalem was the one who deciphered the seal, and said in a statement that "Although it is not possible to determine with complete certainty that the Nathan-Melech, who is mentioned in the Bible, was in fact the owner of the stamp, it is impossible to ignore some of the details that link them together.  

There he is;  Natan-Melech named as an officer in the court of King Josiah.  The bulla was discovered in a 1st Temple period public building that is part of the excavations in the City of David National Park's Givati Parking Lot.  It was  "uncovered by Israeli archaeologist Yuval Gadot’s team during the ongoing Givati Parking Lot Excavation". This does verify, corroborate, substantiate, and confirm that what was written in our OLD TESTAMENT/TANAKH/II KINGS was about real people.  

Melech means king in Hebrew.  He had taken the surname of Melech.  Perhaps it would be read, Natan, of the King, meaning that he served the king.  In that period, people were like, David, son of Moshe which read as David ben Moshe.  So Natan here was not the son of the king.  ( My favorite song learned in Israel was (David, melech Yisrael, chai, chai, .vik ah yeh nu.  )...

Now, back in time to King  Manasseh, who ruled from 692 to 638 BCE.  He had succeeded his father, Hezekiah, at the age of 12 and was one of the worst Jewish monarchs.  Here's where our Judeans slid away from Judaism.  He was the problem.  He canceled his father's reforms, reintroduced PAGAN PRACTICES and so shocked the faithful that the destruction of the Temple was attributed to his wickedness as read in II KINGS 21: 11-17.  He had been forcefully opposed by the loyal monotheists, many of whom he put to death!  Manasseh paid tribute to Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal of Assyria and according to one report, spent some time as a captive in Babylon according to II Chron. 33:11-19.  It has been suggested that his pagan innovations were the result of Assyrian pressure.  

The Assyrians had raided the 10 Northern Tribes of Judah/Israel in 722-721 BCE and took as their slaves the best of the population.  That was only about 30 years previously, so they may have left their impression and beliefs somehow.  
Baal idol 

I can't blame Jezebel, because she was married to the king of Israel, Ahab, who ruled from 876 BCE to 853 BCE.  She's the one who introduced Baal to his Israelites.  She was the introduction of problems before the Assyrians had even attacked.  Maybe that's what made them weak, putting trust into clay statues instead of an unseen G-d that had showed the people strength many times over in the past.   
Worshipping Baal on Mt. Carmel

I think we have seen what happens to a people whose king no longer respects his people's G-dly worship.  Judaism was replaced with Baal and reintroduced whenever there was a weakness in the kingly leadership.  Baal was ugly.  They believed in human sacrifice.   Josiah came along just in time to clean house.  

Resource; Tanakh, The Stone Edition
The Jewish Press, April 5, 2019
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia


Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Only Roman Emperor Who Favored the Jews: Julian the Apostate

Nadene Goldfoot
Nudged by Victor Sharp                       

The most interesting Roman Emperor that my friend, Victor Sharp, had read about, was Flavius Claudius Julianus, known hatefully to Christians as Julian the Apostate who was the last pagan Roman emperor,  who reigned from 360 to 363 CE.  He was the nephew of Constantine the Great who was the first Christian emperor.  Julianus was actually educated as a Christian which must have angered and shocked him as he apostatized at the age of 20 when he was initiated into a religion based on Neoplatonism in 351 (oriental conceptions that conceive of the world as an emanation from the One with whom the soul is capable of being reunited in trance or in ecstacy.)  He was one of history's great ironies in that he was the last non-Christian emperor.  "A persistent enemy of Christianity, he publicly announced his conversion to paganism in 361, in essence, came out of the closet about his religious thoughts,  after 10 years when he was more successful,  thus acquiring the epithet “the Apostate.”
Because of this, he was vilified by most Christian sources beginning with John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzus in the later 4th century.  It seems that he was a force against the early Christians who were persecuting pagan Romans.  One never hears of that, usually it is the pagans persecuting the early Christians.  

Julian, born in 331-332 in Constantinople,  was orphaned as a young child.  He was raised, not by his uncle Constantine's family members but by a Gothic eunuch slave, Mardonius, who had a profound influence on him.  He was the teacher of his master's daughter Basilina. In 330, Basilina would marry Julius Constantius, the half-brother of Constantine the Great, who had defeated Licinius (or Gaius Valerius Licinianus Licinius Augustus (c263-325) a Roman emperor from 308 to 324.  For most of his reign he was the colleague and rival of Constantine I, with whom he co-authored the EDICT OF MILAN that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empireand seized control of the entire Roman Empire

The couple had one son, the later emperor Julian. He provided Julian with an excellent education.  This is the role that many Greeks who had been taken as slaves played for Romans. As a result, Julian also became a philosopher and a writer as well.  He married another Helena, and had a son, Procopius.  He was not an only child, but had a half brother, Constantius Galius, 7 years older,   Their father had been Julius Constantius and Basilina was Julian's mother.  
Bishop Eusebius

Both Julian and Galius were exiled to the imperial estate of Macellum in Cappadocia, Turkey in 342 when Julian was about 11 years old.  This was after Eusebius, a Bishop and historian of Christianity,  died.  "During the Council of Antiochia (325) he was excommunicated for subscribing to the heresy of Arius (Libyan presbyter and ascetic, and priest in Baucalis in Alexandria, Egypt. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead in Christianity, which emphasized God's uniqueness and the Christ's subordination under the Father, and his opposition to what would become the dominant ChristologyHomoousian Christology, made him a primary topic of the First Council of Nicaea, which was convened by Emperor Constantine the Great in 325.   Thus Eusebius was withdrawn during the First Council of Nicaea where he accepted that the Homoousion referred to the Logos(The Gospel of John identifies the Christian Logos, through which all things are made, as divine (theos), and further identifies Jesus Christ as the incarnate Logos.). Never recognized as a saint, he became counselor of Constantine the Great, and with the bishop of Nicomedia he continued to polemicize against Saint Athanasius of AlexandriaChurch Fathers, since he was condemned in the First Council of Tyre in 335."

 In 351 Julian  converted to the pagan Neoplatonism
, recently “reformed” by Iamblichus, and was initiated into theurgy by Maximus of Ephesus"Neoplatonism is a term used to designate a strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the third century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encapsulates a chain of thinkers which began with Ammonius Saccas and his student Plotinus (c. 204/5 – 270 AD) and which stretches to the sixth century AD. Even though Neoplatonism primarily circumscribes the thinkers who are now labeled Neoplatonists and not their ideas, there are some ideas that are common to Neoplatonic systems, for example, the monisticidea that all of reality can be derived from a single principle, "the One"."

Julian became Caesar (This title was given to an heir to the throne. ) over the western provinces by order of Constantius II, his cousin,  in 355, and in this role he campaigned successfully against the Alamanni and Franks.  Later, he became a co-emperor in 361 with his cousin, Constantius II who was the Eastern emperor.  At this time, Christianity was still less popular than polytheism.   He was summoned to appear before the emperor in Mediolanum and on November 6 of 355 was made Caesar of the West, and married Constantius's sister, Helena.  She would be his cousin.  

Five years later in 360, Julian was proclaimed Augustus ( The title given to the ruling emperor as being the senior ruler of the empire.) by his soldiers at Lutetia (Paris), sparking a civil war with Constantius, his brother in law.  
       Kaveh Farrokh, artist                                                

Emperor Julian 'The Apostate' sought to emulate Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia, but Shapur II’s Savaran cavalry proved his undoing.

Julian was killed by the Persians just 2 years after his accession (coming into his highest seat of power.)  When he was killed it was the end of Roman official acceptance of polytheism. When Emperor Julian had received the wound [in Persia], he filled his hand with blood, flung it into the air and cried, Thou hast won, O Galilean,” wrote Theodoret of Cyrus. Emperor Julian, who reigned from 361 to 363 CE, had received that fatal wound during his last duel with the Savaran armored knights of Persia, but not before defeating the armored gladiator-type Persian infantry at the very gates of Ctesiphon, capital of the Sassanian Persian Empire. Had Julian the Apostate conquered Persia, he may well have become history’s second Alexander, leading Roman armies far to the east toward India and Central Asia. Julian already had proven his martial mettle in the crucible of battle against Europe’s Germanic warriors.

 He's buried at the Church of the Holy Apostles.  "It was a Greek Eastern Orthodox church in Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire." " It was second in size and importance only to the Hagia Sophia among the great churches of the capital. When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the Holy Apostles briefly became the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church. Three years later the edifice, which was in a dilapidated state, was abandoned by the Patriarch, and in 1461 it was demolished by the Ottomans to make way for the Fatih Mosque."
The remarkable bestseller about the fourth-century Roman emperor who famously tried to halt the spread of Christianity, Julian is widely regarded as one of Gore Vidal’s finest historical novels.Julian the Apostate, nephew of Constantine the Great.  Julian himself wrote a book titled "Against the Galileans."  
 He was so interesting to so many that Gore Vidal wrote about his life as a Roman emperor.  He rebelled against the growing power of Christianity in the Roman Empire at the young age of 22, as he was more in favor of restoring the Jewish homeland.  

His opposition to Christianity culminated in his attempt to restore the Roman paganism which led him to regard the Jews more favorably.  In 362, he announced his intention of restoring the Jerusalem Temple and appointed an official named Alypius in charge of the building operation.  This stopped after a short time, probably because of the political uncertainties created by Julian's Persian campaign.  Christian sources attributed it to a miraculous fire.  

"The Jews already tried to rebuild the Temple. In 363 A.D., egged on by the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate, the Jews tore down every remaining stone from the old temple to begin rebuilding it. But God miraculously halted this work.

Jesus predicted that not one stone of the Jewish Temple would remain atop another.  The Romans utterly destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D.  What many people don't know is that in 363 A.D. the Jews tried to rebuild it, but God would have none of this.  In doing so, Jews themselves took the remaining stones from the Temple Mount.  In hindsight, the extraordinary act of Moshe Dayan handing over the Temple Mount to the Muslims can actually be seen as an Act of God in 1967.  This is because, according to Scripture -only after the Lord returns will the Jewish Temple be rebuilt."That's the Christian theory.  For the Jews, it's that the moshiach (messiah) , a human leader, will rebuild the Temple.  It's a prerequisite to be the moshiach.  

A few, very small, Jewish groups support constructing a Third Temple today, but most Jews oppose this, for a variety of reasons. " My 3rd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot, was one of the leaders of a group planning for the day it is rebuilt.  His home was in Jerusalem.  He belonged to the Jerusalem Temple Foundation, or the Faithful of the Temple Mount.  

It was in c37 that Jesus had died.  It took almost 300 years for Rome to become Christianized to the point of meeting about this new religion that was slowly spreading throughout their realm by 312 and again in 325.  Most people were still happy being pagans and worshipping the many gods populating Mt. Olympus.  Why would anyone want to trade off their exciting holidays, virgin methods of bringing on good harvests, etc.?  

King Alaric I, of Visigoths in Athens : Alaric was also a Roman magister militum"master of soldiers," making him a valued member of the Roman Empire.  Despite his allegiance to Rome, Alaric knew he would conquer the eternal city because it had been prophesied.     

Our Julian was educated by a Gothic slave, Mardonius.  Who were the Goths?  "The Goths were a people who flourished in Europe throughout ancient times and into the Middle Ages. Referred to at times as “barbarians,” they are famous for sacking the city of Rome in A.D. 410. 
Ironically, however, they are often credited with helping preserve Roman culture. After the sacking of Rome, a group of Goths moved to Gaul (in modern-day France) and Iberia (Spain)  and formed the Visigothic Kingdom. This kingdom would eventually incorporate Catholic Christianity, Roman artistic traditions and other aspects of Roman culture. The last Gothic kingdom fell to the Moors in A.D. 711."
Resource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusebius
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

Friday, April 26, 2019

The First Christian Empire and the Nicene Creed Against Jews

Nadene Goldfoot                                               
Constantine I the Great, also known as Constantine I, born February 27, 272, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 and 337 AD. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, town now known as Niš now in Serbia, he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius Chlorus, a Roman Army officer. His mother was his father's consort, Helena.  Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. 

He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed and  wrongly, the so-called Edict of Toleration issued at Milan in 312 which established the supremacy of Christianity.  Although Constantine  lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen (student of Christianity) , he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia.  His mother, Helena, had converted earlier and was influential in his becoming a Christian.  

Commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was the Eastern Roman Emperor for most of his life, taking the throne as an infant in 402 and ruling as the Eastern Empire's sole emperor after the death of his father Arcadius in 408. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople. He also presided over the outbreak of two great Christological controversiesNestorianism and Eutychianism.
The Edict of Milan gave Christianity a legal status, but did not make Christianity the State church of the Roman Empire; this took place under Emperor Theodosius I in 380 with the Edict of Thessalonica.  

Note below that the purple land belongs to empire of Constantinople.
Green belongs to Venice
Pink belongs to Greek successor states of Byzantine Empire                                                             
 Nicaea was an ancient Greek city in Anatolia. Emperor Constantine the Great convened the First Ecumenical Council there, and the city gave its name to the Nicene Creed. The city remained important in the 4th century, seeing the proclamation of Emperor Valens (364) and the failed rebellion of Procopius (365). During the same period, the See of Nicaea became independent of Nicomedia and was raised to the status of a metropolitan bishopric. However, the city was hit by two major earthquakes in 363 and 368, and coupled with competition from the newly established capital of the Eastern EmpireConstantinople, it began to decline thereafter. 

Many of its grand civic buildings began to fall into ruin, and had to be restored in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian I

 What became of Milan?  After the city was besieged by the Visigoths in 402, the imperial residence was moved to Ravenna. An age of decadence began which worsened when Attila, King of the Huns, sacked and devastated the city in 452 AD. In 539, the Ostrogoths conquered and destroyed Milan during the Gothic War against Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

"The Nicene Creed was adopted to resolve the Arian controversy, whose leader, Arius, a clergyman of Alexandria, "objected to Alexander's (the bishop of the time) apparent carelessness in blurring the distinction of nature between the Father and the Son by his emphasis on eternal generation". In reply, Alexander accused Arius of denying the divinity of the Son and also of being too "Jewish" and "Greek" in his thought. Alexander and his supporters created the Nicene Creed to clarify the key tenets of the Christian faith in response to the widespread adoption of Arius' doctrine, which was henceforth marked as heresy."

In 315, Constantine I's decrees took an anti-Jewish turn, canceling Jewish exemptions from municipal office and prohibiting proselytization or interference with Jewish converts to Christianity.  Constantine's legislation initiated the legal degradation of Jews characteristic of the Middle Ages and set the pattern of emperors that followed him.  

 Niš has long been a crossroads between East and West. Founded by the Celtic Scordisci in 279 BC, the city would serve as the birthplace of three Roman emperors: Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor and the founder of ConstantinopleConstantius III; and Justin I. Later playing a prominent role in the history of the Byzantine Empire, the city's past would earn it the nickname The Emperor's City.

 Constantine's  reign was from July 25, 306 to 337.  At first it was  to October 29, 312, as a Caesar in the West and self proclaimed Augustus from 309, recognized as such in the east in April 310.  He ruled in competition with Flavius Severus from 306 to 307, Maximian from 306 to 308 and 310, Maxentius from 306 to 312 and Licinius from 308 to 313.  In September 19, 324 he was the undisputed Augustus in the West, Senior Augustus in the Empire.  
The first Christian Empire didn't start until May 11, 330 with Constantine I, the Byzantine emperor.  This was the Eastern Roman Empire.  Traditionally, the line of Byzantine emperors is held to begin with the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, who rebuilt the city of Byzantium as an imperial capital, Constantinople (much later renamed as Istanbul), a Turkish city , and who was regarded by the later emperors as the model ruler. It was under Constantine that the major characteristics of what is considered the Byzantine state emerged: a Roman polity centered at Constantinople and culturally dominated by the Greek East, with Christianity as the state religion.  This is the new Roman governing rules these early Christians were using for their land which was deemed to be all Christian of former Roman polytheists who had believed in many gods who lived in Mt. Olympus.  

The Roman Empire itself had divided in 395.  This Byzantine Empire was a continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire.  Until then, the Roman Empire had been ruled by or jointly by Constantine and his dynasty, and Valentinian, In 395 Theodosius ruled from 379 through 457.  The Western Roman Empire kept going until 476. The Leonid dynasty lasted from 457 to 518 and then Justinian's dynasty took over from 518 to 602.  

Justinian was emperor from 527 to 565.  He was highly intolerant to any religious minorities so held a highly anti-Jewish policy.  No Jew could serve in an civil or military post.  They could not own Christian slaves.  A word on this.  Jews treated slaves much differently than other people.  For instance, they were allowed to rest on Shabbat, just like the Jewish family they lived with.  Now they would not even get the relief of living with Jews.  In court, they could not give evidence against Christians.  They could not celebrate Passover at the same time as Easter.  That was a hard rule.  We just had  our first night of Passover fall on the Christian GOOD FRIDAY, and Easter fell on Sunday which was still during Passover.  In 553, Justinian issued an edict regulating the synagogue service and forbidding the DEUTROSIS/commentary, the rabbinic expositions/comments.  In Africa Justinian outlawed synagogues in 535 and forcibly converted the Jews of Borion.  Samaritans and Jews revolted against him but were unsuccessful in Caesarea in 556.  

 Byzantine emperors considered themselves to be the rightful Roman emperors since Augustus, the Roman Emperor who ruled from 31 BCE to 14 CE.  He was not friendly towards Jews.  He had made Herod a king and had returned to him land taken by Cleopatra.  Herod in turn named cities for Augustus such as Sebaste (Greek for Augustus) and Caesarea in his honor.  Augustus honored Herod's will in leaving his lands to his 3 sons-Archelaus, Philip and Antipas but lated converted Judea into a region governed by a procurator living in Caesarea. 

 The word Byzantine wasn't created until the 16th century.  The ruling of the land came from THE ROMAN EMPEROR IN CONSTANTINOPLE (now renamed as Istanbul).  This wasn't contested until Empress Irene, being a woman, was not recognized as the ruler by Pope Leo III.  This was in the Papal coronation of the Frankish Charlemagne as the Holy Roman EmperorESS  on December 25, 800.  

Many empires came and left with the last emperor being Constantine X1 that ended in 1453 with the beginning of the Ottoman Empire of the Muslim Turks that lasted for 400 years until the end of World War I.  
Seen in Istanbul's Jewish Museum : Shalom-Peace, Hello, goodbye
Jews lived in Constantinople, Turkey and were found there by researcher Benjamin of Tudela in 1165 when he counted 2,000 Jews and 500 Karaites living there.  They were suffering continuous persecution from the Christians.  We already know what they were not allowed to do.  It was the first of being treated as Dhimmis or 2nd class citizens which the Muslims would continue in their countries.  The city was later captured by the Turks in 1453 and the number of Jews increased through a transfer from various Ottoman provinces and the arrival of Spanish exiles of the Spanish Inquisition from Christian Spain.  

The Jews were organized into 44 distinct congregations divided into Greek, Spanish and Italian and Karaite.  The Ashkenazim made up a small minority of the Jews.  They had a chief rabbi in the city, and Hebrew printing presses of Constantinople were noted from the end of the 15th century.  Jews developed the city's commerce, while others were distinguished as physicians and in court circles.  The 19th century saw a decline in the economic and culture of the community, weakened by political reforms and modern schools.  The Jewish population exceeded 90,000 in 1919, but was reduced to 20,000 by 1990.  One would hope that the decline was due to moving to Israel.  

Resource:  https://jewishbubba.blogspot.com/2019/04/mother-of-roman-emperor-who-had-last.html
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia-Justinian
 He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed.[
Also, read JULIAN by Gore Vidal; found in college libraries only; library can get it for you.  Excellent; keeping my attention every night as I read then. Tells all about these emperors in a very interesting manner.