The Jewish calendar does not start with the birth of Abraham, with the Exodus from Egypt or even with the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. The calendar starts with Adam and Eve, says Rabbi Allen S. Maller of Temple Akiba in Culver City.
Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah and begins at sunset Wednesday, September 15th.
This year will be 5,765 years since the beginning of recorded history, according to the Jewish calendar.
Why does the Jewish calendar start so many centuries prior to the birth of Judaism and the Jewish people?
Rabbi Maller says rabbis in the third or fourth century wrote the current calendar based on a second century book of chronology by Rabbi Yosi ben Halafta.
Rabbi Halafta followed the example of the Book of Genesis and began the chronology with Adam and Eve.
Rabbi Maller says the Jewish calendar records the chronology of all the generations of historical civilizations and starts with Adam and Eve because God is the creator of all humans and God is the one God of all nations.
“If one understands that Adam and Eve mark the beginning of historical humanity rather than the beginning of physical humanity, much of the conflict over evolution versus the Garden of Eden disappears,” said Rabbi Maller.
The Garden of Eden was where Adam and Eve lived.
The earliest rabbis equated human history with urban civilization and writing.
Rabbi Maller said the earliest writing — Erech Genesis chapter ten, verse ten — comes from the Mesopotamian city of Uruk approximately 5,500 years ago.
All written references to human events in the archeological records of the earliest civilizations can be dated within the Jewish calendar.
To Jews, there is no time before Adam and Eve from a historical point of view.