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Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים
ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical ta ...
, Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an
ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or an ethno-religious group), or simply an ethnoreligion, is a grouping of people who are unified by a common Religion, religious and ethnic group, ethnic background. Furthermore, the term ethno-religious group, along wi ...
and
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
originating from the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The people of the Kingdom of Israel and the ethnic and religious group known as the Jewish people that descended from them have been subjected to a number of forced migrations in their history" and
Hebrews The terms ''Hebrews'' (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jude ...

Hebrews
of historical
Israel and Judah The Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were two related Israelites, Israelite kingdoms from the Archaeology of Israel#Iron Age/Israelite period, Iron Age period of the ancient Southern History of the ancient ...

Israel and Judah
. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, "Historically, the religious and ethnic dimensions of Jewish identity have been closely interwoven. In fact, so closely bound are they, that the traditional Jewish lexicon hardly distinguishes between the two concepts. Jewish religious practice, by definition, was observed exclusively by the Jewish people, and notions of Jewish peoplehood, nation, and community were suffused with faith in the Jewish God, the practice of Jewish (religious) law and the study of ancient religious texts" "This identification in the Jewish attitude between the ethnic group and religious identity is so close that the reception into this religion of members not belonging to its ethnic group has become impossible." as
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
is the
ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitut ...
of the Jewish people, although its observance varies from strict to none. "A person born Jewish who refutes Judaism may continue to assert a Jewish identity, and if he or she does not convert to another religion, even religious Jews will recognize the person as a Jew" Jews originated as an ethnic and religious group in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
during the second millennium BCE, in the part of the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
known as the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
. The
Merneptah Stele The Merneptah Stele – also known as the Israel Stele or the Victory Stele of Merneptah – is an inscription by the ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the plac ...
appears to confirm the existence of a people of Israel somewhere in
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
as far back as the 13th century BCE (Late Bronze Age).K. L. Noll (2012)
''Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: A Textbook on History and Religion,''
A&C Black, rev.ed. pp. 137ff.
Thomas L. Thompson Thomas L. Thompson (born January 7, 1939 in Detroit (strait) , nicknames = The Motor City, Motown, Renaissance City, City of the Straits, The D, D-Town, Hockeytown, The Automotive Capital of the World, Rock City, The 313 ...
(2000
''Early History of the Israelite People: From the Written & Archaeological Sources,''
Brill, pp. 275–76: 'They are rather a very specific group among the population of Palestine which bears a name that occurs here for the first time that at a much later stage in Palestine's history bears a substantially different signification.'
The Israelites, as an outgrowth of the Canaanite population, John Day (2005), ''In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel,'' Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 47.5 'In this sense, the emergence of ancient Israel is viewed not as the cause of the demise of Canaanite culture but as its upshot'. consolidated their hold with the emergence of the
kingdoms of Israel and Judah The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda''; arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt Dāwīḏ'') was an Iron Age The Ir ...
. Some consider that these Canaanite sedentary Israelites melded with incoming nomadic groups known as 'Hebrews'. Though few sources mention the exilic periods in detail, the experience of
diaspora A diaspora () is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer to the mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories, specifically the dispersion ...
life, from the Babylonian captivity and exile to the Roman occupation and exile, and the historical relations between Jews and their homeland thereafter became a major feature of
Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek records d ...
,
identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others ...
and memory. In the millennia following,
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
communities coalesced into three, major ethnic subdivisions according to where their ancestors settled: ''
Ashkenazim Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations ...
'' (Central and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...
), ''
Sephardim Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas or Hispanic Jew ...
'' (initially in
the Iberian Peninsula ''The'' () is a grammatical Article (grammar), article in English language, English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, readers or speakers. It is the definite art ...
), and ''
Mizrahim Mizrahi Jews ( he, יהודי המִזְרָח) or ''Mizrahim'' (), also sometimes referred to as Mizrachi (), Edot HaMizrach (; ) or Oriental Jews, are the descendants of the local Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Isra ...
'' (Middle East and North Africa).Dosick (2007), pp. 59, 60. Prior to
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the worldwide
Jewish population , the world's "core" Jews, Jewish population, those identifying as Jews above all else, is 15.7 million (or 0.2 % of the 7.89 billion humans). The "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewi ...
reached a peak of 16.7 million,, based on representing around 0.7 percent of the world population at that time. During World War II, approximately 6 million Jews were systematically murdered by
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
in Europe during
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
. Since then the population has slowly risen again, and was estimated at 14.6–17.8 million by the
Berman Jewish DataBank The Berman Jewish DataBank, founded as the North American Jewish Data Bank, is the central online source for social scientific studies of North American Jewry and world Jewish populations and communities. The DataBank's primary functions are to acq ...
, less than 0.2 percent of the total
world population In demography, demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living, and was estimated to have exceeded 7.9 billion people . It took over 2 million years of prehistory, human prehistory and human history, history fo ...

world population
. The modern
State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is ...
is the only country where Jews form a majority of the population. It defines itself as a
Jewish and democratic state "Jewish and democratic state" is the Israeli legal definition of the nature and character of the State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially ...
in the Basic Laws, Human Dignity and Liberty in particular, which is based on the
Declaration of Independence#REDIRECT Declaration of independence {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...
. Israel's
Law of Return The Law of Return ( he, חֹוק הַשְׁבוּת, ''ḥok ha-shvūt'') is an Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, ...

Law of Return
grants the right of citizenship to Jews who have expressed their desire to settle in Israel. Jews have significantly influenced and contributed to human progress in many fields, both historically and in modern times, including
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...
,
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
,
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...
,"Upon the foundation of Judaism, two civilizations centered on monotheistic religion emerged, Christianity and Islam. To these civilizations, the Jews added a leaven of astonishing creativity in business, medicine, letters, science, the arts, and a variety of other leadership roles."
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...
,
business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trad ...
, fine arts and architecture,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...
,
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The p ...
and
cinema Cinema may refer to: Film * Cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It ...

cinema
,
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...
, and
science and technology Science and technology is an interdisciplinary topic encompassing science, technology, and their interactions: * Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of explanations and predictions about nature and the ...

science and technology
, as well as
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...
; Jews authored the Bible, "During the subsequent five hundred years, under Persian, Greek and Roman domination, the Jews wrote, revised, admitted and canonized all the books now comprising the Jewish Old Testament""The fact that Jesus and his followers who wrote the New Testament were first-century Jews, then, produces as many questions as it does answers concerning their experiences, beliefs, and practices" founded
Early Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religi ...
"Early Christianity began as a Jewish movement in first-century Palestine" and had a profound influence on
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
. "Judaism also contributed to the religion of Islam for Islam derives its ideas of holy text, the Qur'an, ultimately from Judaism. The dietary and legal codes of Islam are based on those of Judaism. The basic design of the mosque, the Islamic house of worship, comes from that of the early synagogues. The communal prayer services of Islam and their devotional routines resembles those of Judaism." In these ways, Jews have also played a significant role in the development of
Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired ...
.Cambridge University Historical Series, ''An Essay on Western Civilization in Its Economic Aspects'', p. 40: "Hebraism, like Hellenism, has been an all-important factor in the development of Western Civilization; Judaism, as the precursor of Christianity, has indirectly had much to do with shaping the ideals and morality of Western nations since the Christian era."


Name and etymology

The English word "Jew" continues
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
'. These terms were loaned via the
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular o ...
', which itself evolved from the earlier ', which in turn derived from ' which through
elision In linguistics, an elision or deletion is broadly defined as the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase. However, it is also used to refer more narrowly to cases where two words are ...
had dropped the letter "d" from the
Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share ...
''Iudaeus'', which, like the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
term '' Ioudaios'', meant both "Jew" and "
Judean Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...
" / "of
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous ...

Judea
". The Greek term was a loan from
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
', corresponding to
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
, originally the term for the people of the
kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
. According to the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
, the name of both the
tribe of Judah According to the Hebrew Bible, the tribe of Judah (, ''Shevet Yehudah'') was one of the twelve Tribes of Israel. Biblical account The Tribe of Judah, its conquests, and the centrality of its capital in Jerusalem for the worship of the god Yah ...

tribe of Judah
and the kingdom of Judah derive from
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
, the fourth son of
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
. Genesis 29:35 and 49:8 connect the name "Judah" with the verb , meaning "praise", but scholars generally agree that the name of both the patriarch and the kingdom instead have a geographic origin—possibly referring to the gorges and ravines of the region. The Hebrew word for "Jew" is , with the
plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or ph ...

plural
.
Endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
s in other
Jewish language Jewish languages are the various languages and dialects that developed in Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of an ethnoreligious group and a nation originating from the ...
s include the Ladino (plural , ) and the
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...
(plural ). The etymological equivalent is in use in other languages, e.g., يَهُودِيّ ''yahūdī'' (sg.), ''al-yahūd'' (pl.), in
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
, "Jude" in
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, "judeu" in
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
, "Juif" (m.)/"Juive" (f.) in , "jøde" in
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
and
Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian language, including the t ...
, "judío/a" in
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, "jood" in
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
, "żyd" in
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
etc., but derivations of the word "Hebrew" are also in use to describe a Jew, e.g., in
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
(''Ebreo''), in
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
("Ebri/Ebrani" ( fa, عبری/عبرانی)) and
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
(''Еврей, Yevrey''). The German word "Jude" is pronounced , the corresponding
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
"jüdisch" (Jewish) is the origin of the word "Yiddish". According to ''
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language ''The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language'' (''AHD'') is an American English, American dictionary of English published by Boston publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin, the first edition of which appeared in 1969. I ...
'', fourth edition (2000),
It is widely recognized that the attributive use of the noun ''Jew'', in phrases such as ''Jew lawyer'' or ''Jew ethics'', is both vulgar and highly offensive. In such contexts ''Jewish'' is the only acceptable possibility. Some people, however, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of ''Jew'' as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own. In a sentence such as ''There are now several Jews on the council'', which is unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like ''Jewish people'' or ''persons of Jewish background'' may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew has a negative connotation when used as a noun.


Who is a Jew?

Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
shares some of the characteristics of a
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
, "The Jews are a nation and were so before there was a Jewish state of Israel" "That there is a Jewish nation can hardly be denied after the creation of the State of Israel" "Jews are a people, a nation (in the original sense of the word), an ethnos" an
ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ancest ...

ethnicity
, a
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
, and a
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
,: "Judaism is a culture and a civilization which embraces the secular as well": Although culture - and Judaism is a culture (or cultures) as well as religion - can be subdivided into different analytical categories...": "Although Judaism is a culture - or rather has a culture - it is eminently more than a culture" making the definition of who is a Jew vary slightly depending on whether a religious or national approach to identity is used. Generally, in modern secular usage Jews include three groups: people who were born to a Jewish family regardless of whether or not they follow the religion, those who have some Jewish ancestral background or lineage (sometimes including those who do not have strictly
matrilineal descent Matrilineality is the tracing of kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often d ...
), and people without any Jewish ancestral background or lineage who have formally
converted to Judaism Conversion to Judaism ( he, גיור, ''giyur'') is the process by which gentile, non-Jews adopt the Judaism, Jewish religion and become members of the Jewish ethnoreligion, ethnoreligious community. It thus resembles both religious conversion, ...
and therefore are followers of the religion. Historical definitions of
Jewish identity up Ashkenazi Jews praying in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, showing traditional Jewish clothing and practice, including tallit, the Torah, and head coverings. (1878 painting by Maurice Gottlieb) Jewish identity is the objective or subjective state ...
have traditionally been based on ''
halakhic ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ; also transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', ''halachah'', or ''halocho''; ) is the collective body of Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people ...
'' definitions of matrilineal descent, and halakhic conversions. These definitions of who is a Jew date back to the codification of the
Oral Torah According to Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, C ...
into the
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has ...

Babylonian Talmud
, around 200 CE. Interpretations of sections of the Tanakh, such as
Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, דְּבָרִים), "the words f Moses F, or f, is the sixth Letter (alphabet), let ...
7:1–5, by Jewish sages, are used as a warning against intermarriage between Jews and
Canaanites A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Phoenician Phoenician may refer to: * Phoenicia, an ancient civilization * Phoenician alphabet * Phoenician language * List of Phoenician cities * Phoenix, Arizona See also * Phoenix (mytho ...
because " he non-Jewish husbandwill cause your child to turn away from Me and they will worship the gods of others." says that the son in a marriage between a Hebrew woman and an
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...
man is "of the community of Israel." This is complemented by , where Israelites returning from Babylon vow to put aside their
gentile Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jews, Jew". Other groups claiming affiliation with Israelites, groups that claim Israelite heritage sometimes use the term ''gentile'' to describe outsiders, notably Mormons. More ...

gentile
wives and their children. A popular theory is that the rape of Jewish women in captivity brought about the law of Jewish identity being inherited through the maternal line, although scholars challenge this theory citing the Talmudic establishment of the law from the pre-exile period. Another argument is that the rabbis changed the law of patrilineal descent to matrilineal descent due to the widespread rape of Jewish women by Roman soldiers. Since the anti-religious ''
Haskalah The ''Haskalah'', often termed Jewish Enlightenment ( he, השכלה; literally, "wisdom", "erudition" or "education"), was an intellectual movement among the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organ ...
'' movement of the late 18th and 19th centuries, ''halakhic'' interpretations of Jewish identity have been challenged. According to historian Shaye J. D. Cohen, the status of the offspring of mixed marriages was determined patrilineally in the Bible. He brings two likely explanations for the change in
Mishnaic The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
times: first, the Mishnah may have been applying the same logic to mixed marriages as it had applied to other mixtures ('' Kil'ayim''). Thus, a mixed marriage is forbidden as is the union of a
horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to ...

horse
and a
donkey The donkey or ass is a domestic animal This page gives a list of domestic animals, also including a list of domestication of animals, animals which are or may be currently undergoing the process of domestication and animals that have an exten ...
, and in both unions the offspring are judged matrilineally. Second, the
Tannaim ''Tannaim'' ( arc, תנאים , singular , ''Tanna'' "repeaters", "teachers") were the rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study ...
may have been influenced by
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
, which dictated that when a parent could not contract a legal marriage, offspring would follow the mother. Rabbi Rivon Krygier follows a similar reasoning, arguing that Jewish descent had formerly passed through the patrineal descent and the law of matrilineal descent had its roots in the Roman legal system.


Origins

A factual reconstruction for the origin of the Jews is a difficult and complex endeavor. It requires examining at least 3,000 years of ancient human history using documents in vast quantities and variety written in at least ten near Eastern languages. As archaeological discovery relies upon researchers and scholars from diverse disciplines, the goal is to interpret all of the factual data, focusing on the most consistent theory. The prehistory and ethnogenesis of the Jews are closely intertwined with archaeology, biology, and historical textual records, as well as religious literature and mythology. The ethnic stock to which Jews originally trace their ancestry was a confederation of Iron Age
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...

Semitic
-speaking tribes known as the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
that inhabited a part of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
during the tribal and monarchic periods. Modern Jews are named after and also descended from the southern Israelite
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
. According to the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...
narrative, Jewish ancestry is traced back to the
Biblical patriarchs#REDIRECT Patriarchs (Bible) The patriarchs ( he, אבות ''Avot'' or ''Abot'', singular he, אב ''Ab (Semitic), Ab'') of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor ...
such as
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
, his son
Isaac Isaac, ''Isaák''; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, ; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gener ...

Isaac
, Isaac's son
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
, and the Biblical matriarchs
Sarah Sarah (; ar, سَارَة ) born Sarai ( ''Sāray'') is a biblical matriarch and prophetess In religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, ...

Sarah
,
Rebecca Rebecca, ; SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, ...

Rebecca
,
Leah Leah ''La'ya;'' from wikt:𒀖, () is an important figure in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the unloved wife of the Biblical patriarch Jacob. Leah was Jacob's first wife, and the older sister of his second (and favored) wife Rachel. She is the ...
, and
Rachel Rachel () was a Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form ...

Rachel
, who lived in
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
. The
Twelve Tribes The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Judeo-Christian texts, the descendants of the Biblical patriarch Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب '' Yaʿqūb'', g ...
are described as descending from the twelve sons of Jacob. Jacob and his family migrated to
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
after being invited to live with Jacob's son
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef (יוֹסֵף). The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in th ...
by the
Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the conte ...
himself. The patriarchs' descendants were later enslaved until the
Exodus Exodus or the Exodus may refer to: Religion *Book of Exodus, second book of the Hebrew Torah and the Christian Bible *The Exodus, the biblical story of the migration of the ancient Israelites from Egypt into Canaan Historical events * Jujuy E ...

Exodus
led by
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
, after which the Israelites conquered Canaan under Moses' successor
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
, went through the period of the
Biblical judges The biblical judges ''šōp̄êṭ''/''shofet'', pl. ''šōp̄əṭîm''/''shoftim'') are described in the Hebrew Bible, and mostly in the Book of Judges, as people who served roles as military leaders in times of crisis, in the period before an ...

Biblical judges
after the death of Joshua, then through the mediation of
Samuel Samuel ''Šəmūʾēl''; ar, إِشْمَوِيل ' or '; el, Σαμουήλ ''Samouḗl''; la, Samūēl is a figure who, in the narratives of the , plays a key role in the transition from the period of the to the institution of a under ...

Samuel
became subject to a king,
Saul Saul (; he, , translit=Šāʾūl; gr, Σαούλ; ), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first monarch of the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kingdom of Israel. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, suppose ...

Saul
, who was succeeded by
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...

David
and then
Solomon Solomon (; he, , ), ''Šlēmūn''; : سُلَيْمَان ', also : ' or '; el, Σολομών ''Solomōn''; : Salomon) also called Jedidiah (, ), was, according to the and Christian , a fabulously wealthy and wise monarch of the who suc ...

Solomon
, after whom the
United Monarchy The United Monarchy () is the name given to the united Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near Ea ...
ended and was split into a separate Kingdom of Israel and a
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
. The Kingdom of Judah is described as comprising the
Tribe of Judah According to the Hebrew Bible, the tribe of Judah (, ''Shevet Yehudah'') was one of the twelve Tribes of Israel. Biblical account The Tribe of Judah, its conquests, and the centrality of its capital in Jerusalem for the worship of the god Yah ...

Tribe of Judah
, the
Tribe of Benjamin According to the Torah, the Tribe of Benjamin () was one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The tribe was descended from Benjamin, the youngest son of the patriarch Jacob (later given the name Israel) and his wife Rachel. In the Samaritan Pentateuch ...

Tribe of Benjamin
, partially the
Tribe of Levi According to the Bible, the Tribe of Levi is one of the tribes of Israel The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Judeo-Christian texts, the descendants of the Biblica ...

Tribe of Levi
, and later adding remnants of other tribes who migrated there from the Kingdom of Israel. Modern Jews claim lineage from those tribes since the ten northern tribes were lost following
Assyrian captivity The Assyrian captivity (or the Assyrian exile) is the period in the history of ancient Israel and Judah during which several thousand Israelites from the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Kingdom of Israel were forcible relocated by the Neo-Assyrian Em ...
. Modern
archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better underst ...
and the current historical view has largely discarded the historicity of this narrative, with it being reframed as constituting the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
' inspiring
national myth A national myth is an inspiring narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Travel literature, travelogue, etc.) or fict ...
narrative. The Israelites and their culture, according to the modern archaeological and historical account, did not overtake the region by force, but instead branched out of the Canaanite peoples and culture through the development of a distinct
monolatristic Monolatry (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately ...
—and later
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousn ...
—religion of
Yahwism Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of History of ancient Israel and Judah, ancient Israel. Yahwism was Polytheism, polytheistic, with a plethora of Deity, gods and Goddess, goddesses. Heading the pantheon was Yahweh, wi ...
centered on
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
, one of the gods of the Canaanite pantheon. The growth of Yahweh-centric belief, along with a number of cultic practices, gradually gave rise to a distinct Israelite
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
, setting them apart from other Canaanites. The Israelites become visible in the historical record as a people between 1200 and 1000 BCE. It is not certain if a period like that of the
Biblical judges The biblical judges ''šōp̄êṭ''/''shofet'', pl. ''šōp̄əṭîm''/''shoftim'') are described in the Hebrew Bible, and mostly in the Book of Judges, as people who served roles as military leaders in times of crisis, in the period before an ...

Biblical judges
occurredFor a bibliography of scholars who doubt anything like the period of the Judges ever occurred, see nor if there was ever a
United Monarchy The United Monarchy () is the name given to the united Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near Ea ...
. There is well accepted archeological evidence referring to "Israel" in the
Merneptah Stele The Merneptah Stele – also known as the Israel Stele or the Victory Stele of Merneptah – is an inscription by the ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the plac ...
, which dates to about 1200 BCE, and the Canaanites are archeologically attested in the Middle Bronze Age.Jonathan M Golde
''Ancient Canaan and Israel: An Introduction,''
OUP USA, 2009 pp. 3–4.
There is debate about the earliest existence of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and their extent and power, but historians agree that a Kingdom of Israel existed by c. 900 BCE and that a
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
existed by c. 700 BCE.The Pitcher Is Broken: Memorial Essays for Gosta W. Ahlstrom, Steven W. Holloway, Lowell K. Handy, Continuum, 1 May 1995
Quote: "For Israel, the description of the battle of Qarqar in the Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III (mid-ninth century) and for Judah, a Tiglath-pileser III text mentioning (Jeho-) Ahaz of Judah (IIR67 = K. 3751), dated 734–733, are the earliest published to date."
It is widely accepted that the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed around 720 BCE, when it was conquered by the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
.


History

The term Jew originated from the Roman "Judean" and denoted someone from the southern kingdom of Judah. The shift of
ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος 'nation' and 'name') is a name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given ...
from "Israelites" to "Jews" (inhabitant of Judah), although not contained in the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
, is made explicit in the
Book of Esther The Book of Esther (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans ...
(4th century BCE), a book in the
Ketuvim Ketuvim (; hbo, כְּתוּבִים Kethūvīm "writings") is the third and final section of the Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afro ...
, the third section of the Jewish
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, ...
. In 587 BCE
Nebuchadnezzar II Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylonian cuneiform: ''Nabû-kudurri-uṣur'', meaning "Nabu, watch over my heir"; Biblical Hebrew: ''Nəḇūḵaḏneʾṣṣar''), also spelled Nebuchadrezzar II, was the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling f ...
, King of the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire, also known as the Second Babylonian Empire and historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with Nabopolassar's coronation as ...

Neo-Babylonian Empire
, besieged Jerusalem, destroyed the
First Temple According to the Biblical narrative, Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was a temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, t ...

First Temple
, and deported the most prominent citizens of Judah. According to the
Book of Ezra The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible; which formerly included the Book of Nehemiah in a single book, commonly distinguished in scholarship as Ezra–Nehemiah. The two became separated with the first printed Mikraot Gedolot, rabbinic bi ...
, the Persian
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
ended the
Babylonian exile The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
in 538 BCE, the year after he captured Babylon. The exile ended with the return under
Zerubbabel According to the biblical narrative, Zerubbabel, ''Zorobabel''; la, Zorobabel; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Wo ...

Zerubbabel
the Prince (so-called because he was a descendant of the royal line of
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...

David
) and Joshua the Priest (a descendant of the line of the former High Priests of the Temple) and their construction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
in the period 521–516 BCE. The
Cyrus Cylinder The Cyrus Cylinder or Cyrus Charter is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian language, Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persia's Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid king Cyrus the ...

Cyrus Cylinder
, an ancient tablet on which is written a declaration in the name of Cyrus referring to restoration of temples and repatriation of exiled peoples, has often been taken as corroboration of the authenticity of the biblical decrees attributed to Cyrus, but other scholars point out that the cylinder's text is specific to Babylon and Mesopotamia and makes no mention of Judah or Jerusalem. Professor Lester L. Grabbe asserted that the "alleged decree of Cyrus" regarding Judah, "cannot be considered authentic", but that there was a "general policy of allowing deportees to return and to re-establish cult sites". He also stated that archaeology suggests that the return was a "trickle" taking place over decades, rather than a single event. As part of the
Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in founded by . Ranging at its greatest extent from the and proper in the west to the in the east, it ...

Persian Empire
, the former Kingdom of Judah became the province of Judah (''
Yehud Medinata Yehud, also known as Yehud Medinata or Yehud Medinta (), was the Aramaic-language name that was retained and used by the Achaemenid Persian Empire for one of its administrative provinces in the region of Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by P ...
'') with different borders, covering a smaller territory. The population of the province was greatly reduced from that of the kingdom, archaeological surveys showing a population of around 30,000 people in the 5th to 4th centuries BCE. The region was under control of the
Achaemenids The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offic ...

Achaemenids
until the fall of their empire in c. 333 BCE to
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
. Jews were also politically independent during the
Hasmonean dynasty The Hasmonean dynasty ( audio
; he, חַשְׁמוֹנַּאִים, ''Ḥašmona'īm'') was a ruling ...

Hasmonean dynasty
spanning from 110 to 63 BCE and to some degree under the
Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty#REDIRECT Herodian dynasty 260px, Coin of Herod the Great The Herodian dynasty was a royal dynasty of Idumea, Idumaean (Edomite) descent, ruling the Herodian Kingdom and later the Herodian Tetr ...
from 37 BCE to 6 CE. Since the
destruction Destruction refers to damage to an object, system, being or idea (as in legal damages and physical vandalism) beyond the capability to repair. Concepts * Destruktion, a term from the philosophy of Martin Heidegger * Destructive narcissism, a pat ...
of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
in 70 CE, most Jews have lived in
diaspora A diaspora () is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer to the mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories, specifically the dispersion ...
.
Genetic studies on Jews Genetic studies on Jews are part of the population genetics Population genetics is a subfield of that deals with genetic differences within and between s, and is a part of . Studies in this branch of examine such phenomena as , , and . Popu ...
show that most Jews worldwide bear a common genetic heritage which originates in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, and that they share certain genetic traits with other Gentile peoples of the
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental orga ...

Fertile Crescent
. Natural History 102:11 (November 1993): 12–19. The genetic composition of different Jewish groups shows that Jews share a common gene pool dating back four millennia, as a marker of their common ancestral origin. Despite their long-term separation, Jewish communities maintained their unique commonalities, propensities, and sensibilities in culture, tradition, and language.


Babylon and Rome

After the destruction of the Second Temple, Judaism lost much of its sectarian nature. Without a Temple, Greek-speaking Jews no longer looked to Jerusalem in the way they had before. Judaism separated into a linguistically Greek and a Hebrew / Aramaic sphere. The theology and religious texts of each community were distinctively different. Hellenized Judaism never developed yeshivas to study the Oral Law. Rabbinic Judaism (centered in the Land of Israel and Babylon) almost entirely ignores the Hellenized Diaspora in its writings. Hellenized Judaism eventually disappeared as its practitioners assimilated into Greco-Roman culture, leaving a strong Rabbinic eastern Diaspora with large centers of learning in Babylon. By the first century, the Jewish community in
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
, to which Jews were exiled after the Babylonian conquest as well as after the
Bar Kokhba revolt The Bar Kokhba revolt ( he, מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא, links=no; ''Mered Bar Kokhba'') was a rebellion of the Jews of the , led by , against the . Fought circa 132–136 CE, it was the last of three major , so it is also known as T ...
in 135 CE, already held a speedily growingמרדכי וורמברנד ובצלאל ס רותת "עם ישראל – תולדות 4000 שנה – מימי האבות ועד חוזה השלום", ע"מ 95. (Translation: Mordechai Vermebrand and Betzalel S. Ruth – "The People of Israel – the history of 4000 years – from the days of the Forefathers to the Peace Treaty", 1981, p. 95) population of an estimated one million Jews, which increased to an estimated two millionDr. Solomon Gryazel, "History of the Jews – From the destruction of Judah in 586 BC to the present Arab Israeli conflict", p. 137 between the years 200 CE and 500 CE, both by natural growth and by immigration of more Jews from the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
, making up about one-sixth of the world Jewish population at that era. The 13th-century author
Bar Hebraeus Gregory Bar Hebraeus ( syc, ܓܪܝܓܘܪܝܘܣ ܒܪ ܥܒܪܝܐ, b. 1226 - d. 30 July 1286), known by his Syriac ancestral surname as Bar Ebraya or Bar Ebroyo, and also by a Latinisation of names, Latinized name Abulpharagius, was a Maphrian (reg ...
gave a figure of 6,944,000 Jews in the Roman world; considered the figure convincing. The figure of seven million within and one million outside the Roman world in the mid-first century became widely accepted, including by
Louis Feldman Louis Harry Feldman (October 29, 1926 – March 25, 2017) was an American professor of classics Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity, and in the Western world The Western world, also known as the ...

Louis Feldman
. However, contemporary scholars now accept that Bar Hebraeus based his figure on a census of total Roman citizens, the figure of 6,944,000 being recorded in Eusebius' Chronicon. Louis Feldman, previously an active supporter of the figure, now states that he and Baron were mistaken. Feldman's views on active Jewish missionizing have also changed. While viewing classical Judaism as being receptive to converts, especially from the second century BCE through the first century CE, he points to a lack of either missionizing tracts or records of the names of rabbis who sought converts as evidence for the lack of active Jewish missionizing. Feldman maintains that conversion to Judaism was common and the Jewish population was large both within the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora. Other historians believe that conversion during the Roman era was limited in number and did not account for much of the Jewish population growth, due to various factors such as the illegality of male conversion to Judaism in the Roman world from the mid-second century. Another factor that made conversion difficult in the Roman world was the halakhic requirement of
circumcision Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin The foreskin is the double-layered fold of smooth muscle tissue, blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. Th ...
, a requirement that proselytizing Christianity quickly dropped. The
Fiscus Judaicus 250px, A coin issued by calumnia sublata'', "abolition of malicious prosecution">calumnia_(Roman_law).html" ;"title="Nerva reads ''fisci Judaici calumnia (Roman law)">calumnia sublata'', "abolition of malicious prosecution in connection with the ...
, a tax imposed on Jews in 70 CE and relaxed to exclude
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...

Christians
in 96 CE, also limited Judaism's appeal.


Diaspora

Following the Roman conquest of Judea and the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, hundreds of thousands of Jews were taken as slaves to
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
, where they later immigrated to other European lands. The Jews who immigrated to
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a penin ...

Iberia
and
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
comprise the
Sephardic Jews Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas ...
, while those who immigrated to the
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly Middle Rhine, its middle section. Term ...

Rhineland
and
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
comprise the
Ashkenazi Jews Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in ...
. Additionally both before and after the Roman conquest of Judea many Jews lived in
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
and
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
as well as other Middle eastern countries, these Jews comprise the Mizrachi Jews. In
Francia Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankish Kingdom, Frankland or Frankish Empire, was the largest History of the Roman Empire, post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks du ...

Francia
, Jews like Isaac Judaeus and Armentarius occupied prominent social and economic positions, as opposed to in Spain, where Jews were persecuted under
Visigoth The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is kno ...

Visigoth
rule. In Babylon, from the 7th to 11th centuries the
Pumbedita Pumbedita (sometimes Pumbeditha, Pumpedita, or Pumbedisa; arc, פוּמְבְּדִיתָא ''Pūmbəḏīṯāʾ'' ), literally meaning in Aramaic: "The Mouth of the River," was the name of a city from the area called by ancient Jewish sources Bab ...
and
Sura A ''surah'' (; ar, سورة, sūrah) is the equivalent of "chapter" in the Qur'an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be ...
academies lead the Arab and to an extant the entire Jewish world. The deans and students of said academies defined the Geonic period in Jewish history. Following this period were the
Rishonim Rishonim (; he, ; sing. he, , ''Rishon'', "the first ones") were the leading rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study of Jewis ...
who lived from the 11th to 15th centuries, it was during this time that the Ashkenazi Jews began experiencing extreme persecution in France and especially the Rhineland, which resulted in mass immigration to
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
and
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...

Lithuania
. Meanwhile, Sephardic Jews experienced a golden age under Muslim rule, however following the
Reconquista The ' (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portug ...

Reconquista
and subsequent
Alhambra decree The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = E ...

Alhambra decree
in 1492, most of the Spanish Jewish population immigrated to North Africa and the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
. However some Jews chose to remain and pretended to practice Catholicism. These Jews would form the members of
Crypto-Judaism Crypto-Judaism is the secret adherence to Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Reli ...
.


Culture


Religion

The Jewish
people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field wh ...

people
and the
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
of
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
are strongly interrelated.
Converts to Judaism Conversion to Judaism ( he, גיור, ''giyur'') is the process by which gentile, non-Jews adopt the Judaism, Jewish religion and become members of the Jewish ethnoreligion, ethnoreligious community. It thus resembles both religious conversion, ...
typically have a status within the Jewish ''ethnos'' equal to those born into it. However, several converts to Judaism, as well as ex-Jews, have claimed that converts are treated as second-class Jews by many born Jews. Conversion is not encouraged by mainstream Judaism, and it is considered a difficult task. A significant portion of conversions are undertaken by children of mixed marriages, or would-be or current spouses of Jews. The
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
, a religious interpretation of the traditions and early history of the Jews, established the first of the
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family ...

Abrahamic religions
, which are now practiced by 54 percent of the world.
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
guides its adherents in both practice and belief, and has been called not only a religion, but also a "way of life," which has made drawing a clear distinction between Judaism,
Jewish culture Jewish culture is the culture of the Jewish people, from its Return to Zion, formation in ancient times until the current age. Judaism itself is not a faith-based religion, but orthoprax, pertaining to deed and practice. Jewish culture covers m ...
, and
Jewish identity up Ashkenazi Jews praying in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, showing traditional Jewish clothing and practice, including tallit, the Torah, and head coverings. (1878 painting by Maurice Gottlieb) Jewish identity is the objective or subjective state ...
rather difficult. Throughout history, in eras and places as diverse as the ancient Hellenic world, in Europe before and after
The Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=n ...
(see
Haskalah The ''Haskalah'', often termed Jewish Enlightenment ( he, השכלה; literally, "wisdom", "erudition" or "education"), was an intellectual movement among the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organ ...
), in ,Sharot (1997), pp. 29–30. in
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
and the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...
, or the contemporary
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
and
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
, cultural phenomena have developed that are in some sense characteristically Jewish without being at all specifically religious. Some factors in this come from within Judaism, others from the interaction of Jews or specific communities of Jews with their surroundings, and still others from the inner social and cultural dynamics of the community, as opposed to from the religion itself. This phenomenon has led to considerably different
Jewish culture Jewish culture is the culture of the Jewish people, from its Return to Zion, formation in ancient times until the current age. Judaism itself is not a faith-based religion, but orthoprax, pertaining to deed and practice. Jewish culture covers m ...
s unique to their own communities.


Languages

Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
is the
liturgical language A sacred language, holy language or liturgical language is any language that is cultivated and used primarily in church service or for other religion, religious reasons by people who speak another, primary language in their daily lives. Concep ...
of Judaism (termed ''lashon ha-kodesh'', "the holy tongue"), the language in which most of the Hebrew scriptures (
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, ...
) were composed, and the daily speech of the Jewish people for centuries. By the 5th century BCE,
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
, a closely related tongue, joined Hebrew as the spoken language in
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous ...

Judea
. By the 3rd century BCE, some Jews of the diaspora were speaking
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
. Others, such as in the Jewish communities of Babylonia, were speaking Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages of the
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has ...
. These languages were also used by the Jews of Israel at that time. For centuries, Jews worldwide have spoken the local or dominant languages of the regions they migrated to, often developing distinctive
dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety (linguis ...
al forms or branches that became independent languages.
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...
is the Judaeo-German language developed by
Ashkenazi Jews Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in ...
who migrated to
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
. Ladino is the Judaeo-Spanish language developed by
Sephardic Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or sefarditas), pt, Judeus sefarditas or His ...
Jews who migrated to the
Iberian peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a peni ...

Iberian peninsula
. Due to many factors, including the impact of
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
on European Jewry, the
Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, or Jewish exodus from Arab countries, was the departure, flight, expulsion, evacuation and migration Migration, migratory, or migrate may refer to: Human migration * Human migration, physical ...
, and widespread emigration from other Jewish communities around the world, ancient and distinct
Jewish languages Jewish languages are the various languages A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system comp ...
of several communities, including
Judaeo-Georgian Judaeo-Georgian ( ka, ყივრული ენა) (also known as Kivruli and Gruzinic) is the traditional Georgian dialect spoken by the Georgian Jews, the ancient Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciatio ...
,
Judaeo-Arabic The Judeo-Arabic dialects ( ''ʿArabiyya Yahūdiyya''; ''‘Aravít Y'hudít'') are a continuum of Jewish languages, specifically Jewish varieties of Arabic formerly spoken by the Arab Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa. The ...
, Judaeo-Berber, Krymchak, Judaeo-Malayalam and many others, have largely fallen out of use. For over sixteen centuries Hebrew was used almost exclusively as a liturgical language, and as the language in which most books had been written on Judaism, with a few speaking only Hebrew on the
Sabbath In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Isra ...

Sabbath
. Hebrew was revived as a spoken language by
Eliezer ben Yehuda Eliezer Ben‑Yehuda ( he, אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֵּן־יְהוּדָה‬}; ; born Eliezer Yitzhak Perlman, 7 January 1858 – 16 December 1922) was a Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languag ...
, who arrived in
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
in 1881. It had not been used as a
mother tongue A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language or dialect that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period hypothesis, critical pe ...
since
Tannaic ''Tannaim'' ( arc, תנאים , singular , ''Tanna'' "repeaters", "teachers") were the rabbinic Sage (philosophy), sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 10–220 CE. The period of the ''Tannaim'', also referred to as t ...
times.
Modern Hebrew Modern Hebrew ( he, עברית חדשה, ''ʿivrít ḥadašá ', , ''Literal translation, lit.'' "Modern Hebrew" or "New Hebrew"), also known as Israeli Hebrew or Israeli, and generally referred to by speakers simply as Hebrew ( ), is the ...
is designated as the "State language" of Israel. Despite efforts to revive Hebrew as the national language of the Jewish people, knowledge of the language is not commonly possessed by Jews worldwide and
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
has emerged as the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
of the Jewish diaspora. Although many Jews once had sufficient knowledge of Hebrew to study the classic literature, and
Jewish languages Jewish languages are the various languages A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system comp ...
like
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...

Yiddish
and Ladino were commonly used as recently as the early 20th century, most Jews lack such knowledge today and English has by and large superseded most Jewish vernaculars. The three most commonly spoken languages among Jews today are Hebrew, English, and
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
. Some
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
, particularly and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, are also widely used. Yiddish has been spoken by more Jews in history than any other language, but it is far less used today following
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
and the adoption of
Modern Hebrew Modern Hebrew ( he, עברית חדשה, ''ʿivrít ḥadašá ', , ''Literal translation, lit.'' "Modern Hebrew" or "New Hebrew"), also known as Israeli Hebrew or Israeli, and generally referred to by speakers simply as Hebrew ( ), is the ...
by the
Zionist movement was the founder of the Modern Zionist movement. In his 1896 pamphlet '' Der Judenstaat'', he envisioned the founding of a future independent Jewish state during the 20th century. Zionism ( he, צִיּוֹנוּת ''Tsiyyonut'' after ''Zion'' ...
and the
State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is ...

State of Israel
. In some places, the mother language of the Jewish community differs from that of the general population or the dominant group. For example, in
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
, the Ashkenazic majority has adopted English, while the Sephardic minority uses French as its primary language. Similarly,
South African Jews The history of Jews in South Africa mainly began under the British Empire, following a general pattern of increased Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (n ...
adopted English rather than
Afrikaans Alaric speaking Afrikaans. Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 5 ...
. Due to both Czarist and Soviet policies, Russian has superseded Yiddish as the language of
Russian Jews The history of the Jews in Russia and areas historically connected with it goes back at least 1,500 years. Jews in Russia have historically constituted a large religious and ethnic diaspora; the Russian Empire at one time hosted the largest popu ...
, but these policies have also affected neighboring communities. Today, Russian is the first language for many Jewish communities in a number of
Post-Soviet states The post-Soviet states, also known as the former Soviet Union (FSU), the former Soviet Republics and in Russia as the near abroad (russian: links=no, ближнее зарубежье, blizhneye zarubezhye), are the 15 sovereign state A sovere ...
, such as
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
and
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a landlocked country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land ...

Uzbekistan
, as well as for Ashkenazic Jews in
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
, Georgia, and
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
. Although communities in
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
today are small and dwindling, Jews there had shifted from a multilingual group to a monolingual one (or nearly so), speaking French in
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
,
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
, and the city of
Tunis Tunis ( ar, تونس ') is the and largest city of . The greater metropolitan area of Tunis, often referred to as "", has about 2,700,000 inhabitants. , it is the fourth-largest city in the region (after , and ) and the in the . Situated on ...

Tunis
, while most North Africans continue to use
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
or Berber as their mother tongue.


Leadership

There is no single governing body for the Jewish community, nor a single authority with responsibility for religious doctrine. Instead, a variety of secular and religious institutions at the local, national, and international levels lead various parts of the Jewish community on a variety of issues. Today, many countries have a
Chief Rabbi Chief Rabbi ( he, רב ראשי ''Rav Rashi'') is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', " Juda ...
who serves as a representative of that country's Jewry. Although many Hassidic Jews follow a certain hereditary
Hasidic dynasty Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism ( he, חסידות, Ḥăsīdut, ; originally, "piety"), is a subgroup of Haredi Judaism that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory of contemporary Weste ...
, there is no one commonly accepted leader of all Hasidic Jews. Many Jews believe that the
Messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Ag ...
will act a unifying leader for Jews and the entire world.


Theories on ancient Jewish national identity

A number of modern scholars of nationalism support the existence of Jewish national identity in antiquity. One of them is David Goodblatt, who generally believes in the existence of nationalism before the modern period. In his view, the Bible, the parabiblical literature and the Jewish national history provide the base for a Jewish collective identity. Although many of the ancient Jews were illiterate (as were their neighbors), their national narrative was reinforced through public readings, a common practice in the ancient eastern Mediterranean area. The Hebrew language also constructed and preserved national identity. Although it was not spoken by most of the Jews after the 5th century BCE, Goodblatt contends that: :"the mere presence of the language in spoken or written form could invoke the concept of a Jewish national identity. Even if one knew no Hebrew or was illiterate, one could recognize that a group of signs was in Hebrew script. … It was the language of the Israelite ancestors, the national literature, and the national religion. As such it was inseparable from the national identity. Indeed its mere presence in visual or aural medium could invoke that identity." It is believed that Jewish nationalist sentiment in antiquity was encouraged because under foreign rule (Persians, Greeks, Romans) Jews were able to claim that they were an ancient nation. This claim was based on the preservation and reverence of their scriptures, the Hebrew language, the Temple and priesthood, and other traditions of their ancestors.


Demographics


Ethnic divisions

Within the world's
Jewish population , the world's "core" Jews, Jewish population, those identifying as Jews above all else, is 15.7 million (or 0.2 % of the 7.89 billion humans). The "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewi ...
there are distinct ethnic divisions, most of which are primarily the result of geographic branching from an originating
Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israe ...
population, and subsequent independent evolutions. An array of Jewish communities was established by Jewish settlers in various places around the
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of 's total su ...
, often at great distances from one another, resulting in effective and often long-term isolation. During the
millennia A millennium (plural millennia or millenniums) is a period of one thousand year A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in Earth's orbit, its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the ...
of the
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
the communities would develop under the influence of their local environments:
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

political
,
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an int ...

cultural
,
natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and ...

natural
, and populational. Today, manifestations of these differences among the Jews can be observed in Jewish cultural expressions of each community, including Jewish linguistic diversity, culinary preferences, liturgical practices, religious interpretations, as well as degrees and sources of
genetic admixture Genetic admixture occurs when previously diverged or isolated genetic lineages mix.⅝ Admixture results in the introduction of new genetic lineages into a population. Examples Climatic cycles facilitate genetic admixture in cold periods and gene ...
. Jews are often identified as belonging to one of two major groups: the ''
Ashkenazim Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations ...
'' and the ''
Sephardim Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas or Hispanic Jew ...
''. Ashkenazim, or "Germanics" (
Ashkenaz Ashkenaz ( he, אַשְׁכְּנָז) in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. Thes ...

Ashkenaz
meaning "
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
" in Hebrew), are so named denoting their
German Jewish The history of the Jews in Germany goes back at least to the year 321, and continued through the Early Middle Ages (5th to 10th centuries CE) and High Middle Ages (''circa'' 1000–1299 CE) when Jews, Jewish settlers founded the Ashkenazi Jews, ...
cultural and geographical origins, while Sephardim, or "
Hispanics The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano or ) refers to people, cultures, or countries related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazon ...
" (Sefarad meaning "Spain/Hispania" or "Iberian peninsula, Iberia" in Hebrew), are so named denoting their Spanish/Portuguese Jewish cultural and geographic origins. The more common term in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
for many of those broadly called Sephardim, is ''
Mizrahim Mizrahi Jews ( he, יהודי המִזְרָח) or ''Mizrahim'' (), also sometimes referred to as Mizrachi (), Edot HaMizrach (; ) or Oriental Jews, are the descendants of the local Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Isra ...
'' (lit. "Easterners", Mizrach being "East" in Hebrew), that is, in reference to the diverse collection of Middle Eastern and North African Jews who are often, as a group, referred to collectively as ''Sephardim'' (together with Sephardim proper) for liturgical reasons, although Mizrahi Jewish groups and Sephardi Jews proper are ethnically distinct. Smaller groups include, but are not restricted to, Jews in India, Indian Jews such as the Bene Israel, Bnei Menashe, Cochin Jews, and Bene Ephraim; the Romaniote Jews, Romaniotes of Greece; the Italian rite Jews, Italian Jews ("Italkim" or "Bené Roma"); the Teimanim from Yemen; various Jews and Judaism in Africa, African Jews, including most numerously the Beta Israel of Ethiopia; and History of the Jews in China, Chinese Jews, most notably the Kaifeng Jews, as well as various other distinct but now almost extinct communities. The divisions between all these groups are approximate and their boundaries are not always clear. The Mizrahim for example, are a heterogeneous collection of
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
n, Central Asian, Caucasus (geographic region), Caucasian, and Middle Eastern Jewish communities that are no closer related to each other than they are to any of the earlier mentioned Jewish groups. In modern usage, however, the Mizrahim are sometimes termed ''Sephardi'' due to similar styles of liturgy, despite independent development from Sephardim proper. Thus, among Mizrahim there are Egyptian Jews, Iraqi Jews, Lebanese Jews, Kurdish Jews, Moroccan Jews, Libyan Jews, Syrian Jews, Bukharian Jews, Mountain Jews, Georgian Jews, Iranian Jews, Afghan Jews, and various others. The Teimanim from Yemen are sometimes included, although their style of liturgy is unique and they differ in respect to the admixture found among them to that found in Mizrahim. In addition, there is a differentiation made between Sephardi migrants who established themselves in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
and
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal in the 1490s and the pre-existing Jewish communities in those regions. Ashkenazi Jews represent the bulk of modern Jewry, with at least 70 percent of Jews worldwide (and up to 90 percent prior to
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
and
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
). As a result of their emigration from Europe, Ashkenazim also represent the overwhelming majority of Jews in the New World continents, in countries such as the United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. In
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, the immigration of Jews from
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
(Sephardim) has led them to outnumber the Ashkenazim. Only in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
is the Jewish population representative of all groups, a melting pot independent of each group's proportion within the overall world Jewish population.


Genetic studies

Y chromosome, Y DNA studies tend to imply a small number of founders in an old population whose members parted and followed different migration paths. In most Jewish populations, these male line ancestors appear to have been mainly
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
ern. For example, Ashkenazi Jews share more common paternal lineages with other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than with non-Jewish populations in areas where Jews lived in Eastern Europe,
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
and the French Rhine, Rhine Valley. This is consistent with Jewish traditions in placing most Jewish paternal origins in the region of the Middle East. Conversely, the maternal lineages of Jewish populations, studied by looking at mitochondrial DNA, are generally more heterogeneous. Scholars such as Harry Ostrer and Raphael Falk believe this indicates that many Jewish males found new mates from European and other communities in the places where they migrated in the diaspora after fleeing ancient Israel. In contrast, Behar has found evidence that about 40 percent of Ashkenazi Jews originate maternally from just four female founders, who were of Middle Eastern origin. The populations of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities "showed no evidence for a narrow founder effect." Subsequent studies carried out by Feder et al. confirmed the large portion of non-local maternal origin among Ashkenazi Jews. Reflecting on their findings related to the maternal origin of Ashkenazi Jews, the authors conclude "Clearly, the differences between Jews and non-Jews are far larger than those observed among the Jewish communities. Hence, differences between the Jewish communities can be overlooked when non-Jews are included in the comparisons." A study showed that 7% of Ashkenazi Jews have the haplogroup G2c, which is mainly found in Pashtuns and on lower scales all major Jewish groups, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese. Studies of Autosome, autosomal DNA, which look at the entire DNA mixture, have become increasingly important as the technology develops. They show that Jewish populations have tended to form relatively closely related groups in independent communities, with most in a community sharing significant ancestry in common. For Jewish populations of the diaspora, the genetic composition of Ashkenazi Jews, Ashkenazi, Sephardi Jews, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jews, Mizrahi Jewish populations show a predominant amount of shared Middle Eastern ancestry. According to Behar, the most parsimonious explanation for this shared Middle Eastern ancestry is that it is "consistent with the historical formulation of the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrews, Hebrew and Israelites, Israelite residents of the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
" and "the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of 's total su ...
".
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
n, Italian Peninsula, Italian and others of Iberian Peninsula, Iberian origin show variable frequencies of admixture with non-Jewish historical host populations among the maternal lines. In the case of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews (in particular Moroccan Jews), who are closely related, the source of non-Jewish admixture is mainly southern European, while Mizrahi Jews show evidence of admixture with other Middle Eastern populations. Behar ''et al.'' have remarked on a close relationship between Ashkenazi Jews and modern Italians. A 2001 study found that Jews were more closely related to groups of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks, and Armenians) than to their Arab neighbors, whose genetic signature was found in geographic patterns reflective of Islamic conquests. The studies also show that Sephardic Bnei Anusim (descendants of the "anusim" who were Forced conversion, forced to convert to Catholicism), which comprise up to 19.8 percent of the population of today's Iberia (Spain and Portugal) and at least 10 percent of the population of Ibero-America (Hispanic America and Brazil), have Sephardic Jewish ancestry within the last few centuries. The Bene Israel and Cochin Jews of India, Beta Israel of Ethiopia, and a portion of the Lemba people of Southern Africa, despite more closely resembling the local populations of their native countries, are also thought to have some more remote ancient Jewish ancestry.


Population centers

Although historically, Jews have been found all over the world, in the decades since World War II and the establishment of Israel, they have increasingly concentrated in a small number of countries. In 2013, the United States and Israel were collectively home to more than 80 percent of the global Jewish population, each country having approximately 41 percent of the world's Jews. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics there were 13,421,000 Jews worldwide in 2009, roughly 0.19 percent of the world's population at the time. According to the 2007 estimates of The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, the world's Jewish population is 13.2 million. Adherents.com cites figures ranging from 12 to 18 million. These statistics incorporate both practicing Jews affiliated with synagogues and the Jewish community, and approximately 4.5 million unaffiliated and Jewish secularism, secular Jews. According to Sergio Della Pergola, a demographer of the
Jewish population , the world's "core" Jews, Jewish population, those identifying as Jews above all else, is 15.7 million (or 0.2 % of the 7.89 billion humans). The "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewi ...
, in 2015 there were about 6.3 million Jews in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
, 5.7 million in the United States, and 2.3 million in the rest of the world.


Israel

Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
, the Jewish nation-state, is the only country in which Jews make up a majority of the citizens. Israel was established as an independent Parliamentary democracy, democratic and Jewish state on 14 May 1948. Of the 120 members in its parliament, the Knesset, , 14 members of the Knesset are Arab citizens of Israel (not including the Druze), most representing Arab political parties. One of Israel's Supreme Court of Israel, Supreme Court judges is also an Arab citizen of Israel. Between 1948 and 1958, the Jewish population rose from 800,000 to two million. Currently, Jews account for 75.4 percent of the Israeli population, or 6 million people. The early years of the State of Israel were marked by the Aliyah, mass immigration of Holocaust survivors in the aftermath of the Holocaust and Jews Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, fleeing Arab lands.. "And most [Oriental-Sephardic Jews] came... because of Arab persecution resulting from the very attempt to establish a Jewish state in Palestine." Israel also has a large population of Ethiopian Jews, many of whom were airlifted to Israel in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Between 1974 and 1979 nearly 227,258 immigrants arrived in Israel, about half being from the Soviet Union. This period also saw an increase in Aliyah, immigration to Israel from Western Europe, Latin America, and North America. A trickle of immigrants from other communities has also arrived, including Indian Jews and others, as well as some descendants of Ashkenazi Holocaust survivors who had settled in countries such as the United States, Argentina, Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Some Jews have emigrated from Israel elsewhere, because of economic problems or disillusionment with political conditions and the continuing Arab–Israeli conflict. Jewish Israeli emigrants are known as Yerida, yordim.Dosick (2007), p. 340.


Diaspora (outside Israel)

The waves of immigration to the United States and elsewhere at the turn of the 19th century, the founding of Zionism and later events, including pogroms in Imperial Russia (mostly within the Pale of Settlement in present-day Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and eastern Poland), the massacre of European Jewry during
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
, and the founding of the state of Israel, with the subsequent Jewish exodus from Arab lands, all resulted in substantial shifts in the population centers of world Jewry by the end of the 20th century. More than half of the Jews live in the Diaspora (see Population table). Currently, the largest Jewish community outside Israel, and either the largest or second-largest Jewish community in the world, is located in the United States, with 5.2 million to 6.4 million Jews by various estimates. Elsewhere in the Americas, there are also large Jewish populations in Canada (315,000), Argentina (180,000–300,000), and Brazil (196,000–600,000), and smaller populations in Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and several other countries (see History of the Jews in Latin America)., based on According to a 2010 Pew Research Center study, about 470,000 people of Jewish heritage live in Latin America, Latin-America and the Caribbean. Demographers disagree on whether the United States has a larger Jewish population than Israel, with many maintaining that Israel surpassed the United States in Jewish population during the 2000s, while others maintain that the United States still has the largest Jewish population in the world. Currently, a major national Jewish population survey is planned to ascertain whether or not Israel has overtaken the United States in Jewish population. Western Europe's largest Jewish community, and the third-largest Jewish community in the world, can be found in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, home to between 483,000 and 500,000 Jews, the majority of whom are immigrants or refugees from North African countries such as
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
,
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
, and Tunisia (or their descendants). The United Kingdom has a Jewish community of 292,000. In East Europe, Eastern Europe, the exact figures are difficult to establish. The number of Jews in Russia varies widely according to whether a source uses census data (which requires a person to choose a single nationality among choices that include "Russian" and "Jewish") or eligibility for immigration to Israel (which requires that a person have one or more Jewish grandparents). According to the latter criteria, the heads of the Russian Jewish community assert that up to 1.5 million Russians are eligible for aliyah. In
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
, the 102,000 Jews registered with the Jewish community are a slowly declining population, despite the immigration of tens of thousands of Jews from the former Soviet Union since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Thousands of Israelis also live in Germany, either permanently or temporarily, for economic reasons. Prior to 1948, approximately 800,000 Jews were living in lands which now make up the Arab world (excluding Israel). Of these, just under two-thirds lived in the French-controlled Maghreb region, 15 to 20 percent in the Kingdom of Iraq, approximately 10 percent in the Kingdom of Egypt and approximately 7 percent in the Kingdom of Yemen. A further 200,000 lived in Pahlavi Iran and the Republic of Turkey. Today, around 26,000 Jews live in Arab countries and around 30,000 in Iran and Turkey. A small-scale exodus had begun in many countries in the early decades of the 20th century, although the only substantial aliyah came from Yemen and Syria. The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, exodus from Arab and Muslim countries took place primarily from 1948. The first large-scale exoduses took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily in Iraq, Yemen and Libya, with up to 90 percent of these communities leaving within a few years. The peak of the exodus from Egypt occurred in 1956. The exodus in the Maghreb countries peaked in the 1960s. Lebanon was the only Arab country to see a temporary increase in its Jewish population during this period, due to an influx of refugees from other Arab countries, although by the mid-1970s the Jewish community of Lebanon had also dwindled. In the aftermath of the exodus wave from Arab states, an additional migration of Iranian Jews peaked in the 1980s when around 80 percent of Iranian Jews left the country. Outside Europe, the Americas, the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, and the rest of Asia, there are significant Jewish populations in Australia (112,500) and Jewish population of South Africa, South Africa (70,000). There is also a 6,800-strong community in New Zealand.


Demographic changes


Assimilation

Since at least the time of the Ancient Greece, Ancient Greeks, a proportion of Jews have assimilated into the wider non-Jewish society around them, by either choice or force, ceasing to practice Judaism and losing their
Jewish identity up Ashkenazi Jews praying in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, showing traditional Jewish clothing and practice, including tallit, the Torah, and head coverings. (1878 painting by Maurice Gottlieb) Jewish identity is the objective or subjective state ...
.Johnson (1987), p. 171. Assimilation took place in all areas, and during all time periods, with some Jewish communities, for example the Kaifeng Jews of China, disappearing entirely. The advent of the Jewish Enlightenment of the 18th century (see
Haskalah The ''Haskalah'', often termed Jewish Enlightenment ( he, השכלה; literally, "wisdom", "erudition" or "education"), was an intellectual movement among the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organ ...
) and the subsequent Jewish emancipation, emancipation of the Jewish populations of Europe and America in the 19th century, accelerated the situation, encouraging Jews to increasingly participate in, and become part of, Secularism, secular society. The result has been a growing trend of assimilation, as Jews marry non-Jewish spouses and stop participating in the Jewish community. Rates of Interfaith marriage, interreligious marriage vary widely: In the United States, it is just under 50 percent, in the United Kingdom, around 53 percent; in France; around 30 percent, and in Australia and Mexico, as low as 10 percent. In the United States, only about a third of children from intermarriages affiliate with Jewish religious practice. The result is that most countries in the Jewish diaspora, Diaspora have steady or slightly declining religiously Jewish populations as Jews continue to assimilate into the countries in which they live.


War and persecution

The Jewish people and
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
have experienced various persecutions throughout
Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek records d ...
. During Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages the Roman Empire (in its later phases known as the Byzantine Empire) repeatedly repressed the History of the Jews in the Roman Empire, Jewish population, first by ejecting them from their homelands during the pagan Roman era and later by officially establishing them as Justinian I#Suppression of religions, second-class citizens during the Christian Roman era. According to James P. Carroll, James Carroll, "Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13 million." Later in Middle Ages, medieval Western Europe, further persecutions of Jews by Christians occurred, notably during the Crusades—when Jews all over Germany Rhineland massacres, were massacred—and a series of expulsions from the Edict of Expulsion, Kingdom of England, Germany, France, and, in the Alhambra Decree, largest expulsion of all, Spain and Portugal after the
Reconquista The ' (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portug ...

Reconquista
(the Catholic Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula), where both unbaptized Sephardic Jews and the ruling Muslim Moors were expelled. In the Papal States, which existed until 1870, Jews were required to live only in specified neighborhoods called ghettos. Islam and Judaism have a complex relationship. Traditionally Jews and Christians living in Muslim lands, known as dhimmis, were allowed to practice their religions and administer their internal affairs, but they were subject to certain conditions.Lewis (1984), pp. 10, 20 They had to pay the jizya (a per capita tax imposed on free adult non-Muslim males) to the Islamic state. Dhimmis had an inferior status under Islamic rule. They had several social and legal Disabilities (Jewish), disabilities such as prohibitions against bearing arms or giving testimony in courts in cases involving Muslims. Many of the disabilities were highly symbolic. The one described by Bernard Lewis as "most degrading" was the requirement of Yellow badge, distinctive clothing, not found in the Quran or hadith but invented in Early Middle Ages, early medieval Baghdad; its enforcement was highly erratic.Lewis (1999), p.131 On the other hand, Jews rarely faced martyrdom or exile, or forced compulsion to change their religion, and they were mostly free in their choice of residence and profession. Notable exceptions include the massacre of Jews and forcible conversion of some Jews by the rulers of the Almohad Caliphate, Almohad dynasty in Al-Andalus in the 12th century, as well as in Islamic conquest of Persia, Islamic Persia, and the forced confinement of Moroccan Jews to walled quarters known as mellahs beginning from the 15th century and especially in the early 19th century. In modern times, it has become commonplace for standard Anti-Zionism and antisemitism, antisemitic themes to be conflated with anti-Zionist publications and pronouncements of Islamic movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas, in the pronouncements of various agencies of the Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran, and even in the newspapers and other publications of Turkish Refah Partisi." Throughout history, many rulers, empires and nations have oppressed their Jewish populations or sought to eliminate them entirely. Methods employed ranged from Deportation, expulsion to outright genocide; within nations, often the threat of these extreme methods was sufficient to silence dissent. The history of antisemitism includes the First Crusade which resulted in the massacre of Jews;Johnson (1987), pp. 207–08. the Spanish Inquisition (led by Tomás de Torquemada) and the Portuguese Inquisition, with their persecution and ''Auto-da-fé, autos-da-fé'' against the New Christians and Marrano Jews; the Bohdan Chmielnicki Cossack massacres in
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
; the Pogroms backed by the Russian List of Russian rulers, Tsars;Johnson (1987), pp. 364–65. as well as expulsions from Spain, Portugal, England, France, Germany, and other countries in which the Jews had settled.Johnson (1987), pp. 213, 229–31. According to a 2008 study published in the ''American Journal of Human Genetics'', 19.8 percent of the modern Iberian Peninsula, Iberian population has Sephardic Jewish ancestry, indicating that the number of conversos may have been much higher than originally thought. The persecution reached a peak in
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
's Final Solution, which led to
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify wi ...
and the slaughter of approximately 6 million Jews. Of the world's 15 million Jews in 1939, more than a third were murdered in the Holocaust. The Holocaust—the state-led systematic persecution and genocide of European Jews (and certain communities of North African Jews in History of North Africa#European colonization, European controlled North Africa) and other minority groups of Europe during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
by Germany and its Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II, collaborators remains the most notable modern-day persecution of Jews. The persecution and genocide were accomplished in stages. Nuremberg Laws, Legislation to remove the Jews from civil society was enacted years before the outbreak of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. Nazi concentration camps, Concentration camps were established in which inmates were used as Slavery, slave labour until they died of exhaustion or disease. Where the Nazi Germany, Third Reich conquered new territory in Eastern Europe, specialized units called Einsatzgruppen murdered Jews and political opponents in mass shootings. Jews and Romani people, Roma were crammed into Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe, ghettos before being transported hundreds of kilometres by freight train to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, the majority of them were murdered in gas chambers. Virtually every arm of Germany's bureaucracy was involved in the logistics of the mass murder, turning the country into what one Holocaust scholar has called "a genocidal nation."Berenbaum, Michael. ''The World Must Know," United States Holocaust Museum'', 2006, p. 103.


Migrations

Throughout Jewish history, Jews have repeatedly been directly or indirectly expelled from both their original homeland, the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
, and many of the areas in which they have settled. This experience as Jewish refugees, refugees has shaped
Jewish identity up Ashkenazi Jews praying in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, showing traditional Jewish clothing and practice, including tallit, the Torah, and head coverings. (1878 painting by Maurice Gottlieb) Jewish identity is the objective or subjective state ...
and religious practice in many ways, and is thus a major element of Jewish history. The patriarch
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
is described as a migrant to the land of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
from Ur of the Chaldees, Ur of the Chaldea, Chaldees after an attempt on his life by King Nimrod. His descendants, the Children of Israel, in the Biblical story (whose historicity is uncertain) undertook the Exodus (meaning "departure" or "exit" in Greek) from ancient Egypt, as recorded in the Book of Exodus. Centuries later, Assyrian policy was to deport and displace conquered peoples, and it is estimated some 4,500,000 among captive populations suffered this dislocation over three centuries of Assyrian rule. With regard to Israel, Tiglath-Pileser III claims he deported 80% of the population of Lower Galilee, some 13,520 people. Some 27,000 Israelites, 20 to 25% of the population of the Kingdom of Israel, were described as being deported by Sargon II, and were replaced by other deported populations and sent into permanent exile by Assyria, initially to the Upper Mesopotamian provinces of the Assyrian Empire. Between 10,000 and 80,000 people from the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
were similarly exiled by
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
ia,Daniel L. Smith-Christophe
''The Religion of the Landless: The Social Context of the Babylonian Exile ,''
Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015 pp. 30ff.
but these people were then returned to
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous ...

Judea
by
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Many Jews were exiled again by the Roman Empire. The 2,000 year dispersion of the
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
beginning under the Roman Empire, as Jews were spread throughout the Roman world and, driven from land to land, settled wherever they could live freely enough to practice their religion. Over the course of the diaspora the center of Jewish life moved from History of the Jews in Iraq, Babylonia to the Golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula, Iberian Peninsula to
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
to the Jewish American, United States and, as a result of Zionism, back to
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
.Gartner (2001), p. 431. There were also many expulsions of Jews during the Middle Ages and Enlightenment in Europe, including: 1290, 16,000 Jews were expelled from England, see the ''(Statute of Jewry)''; in 1396, 100,000 from France; in 1421 thousands were expelled from Austria. Many of these Jews settled in East-Central Europe, especially Poland.Gartner (2001), pp. 11–12. Following the Spanish Inquisition in 1492, the Spanish population of around 200,000 Sephardic Jews were expelled by the Spanish crown and Roman Catholic Church, Catholic church, followed by expulsions in 1493 in Sicily (37,000 Jews) and Portugal in 1496. The expelled Jews fled mainly to the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, the Netherlands, and
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, others migrating to Southern Europe and the Middle East.Johnson (1987), pp. 229–31. During the 19th century, France's policies of equal citizenship regardless of religion led to the immigration of Jews (especially from Eastern and Central Europe).Johnson (1987), p. 306. This contributed to the arrival of millions of Jews in the New World. Over two million Eastern European Jews arrived in the United States from 1880 to 1925. In summary, the pogroms in Eastern Europe, the rise of modern antisemitism,Gartner (2001), pp. 213–15. the Holocaust, and the rise of Arab nationalism all served to fuel the movements and migrations of huge segments of Jewry from land to land and continent to continent, until they arrived back in large numbers at their original historical homeland in Israel. In the latest phase of migrations, the Iranian Revolution, Islamic Revolution of Iran caused many Iranian Jews to flee Iran. Most found refuge in the US (particularly Los Angeles, California and Long Island, New York) and Israel. Smaller communities of Persian Jews exist in Canada and Western Europe. Similarly, when the History of the Soviet Union (1985–1991)#Dissolution of the USSR, Soviet Union collapsed, many of the Jews in the affected territory (who had been refuseniks) were suddenly allowed to leave. This produced a wave of migration to Israel in the early 1990s.


Growth

Israel is the only country with a Jewish population that is consistently growing through natural population growth, although the Jewish populations of other countries, in Europe and North America, have recently increased through immigration. In the Diaspora, in almost every country the Jewish population in general is either declining or steady, but Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox and Haredi Jewish communities, whose members often shun birth control for religious reasons, have experienced rapid population growth. Orthodox and Conservative Judaism discourage proselytism to non-Jews, but many Jewish groups have tried to reach out to the assimilated Jewish communities of the Diaspora in order for them to reconnect to their Jewish roots. Additionally, while in principle Reform Judaism favors seeking new members for the faith, this position has not translated into active proselytism, instead taking the form of an effort to reach out to non-Jewish spouses of intermarried couples. There is also a trend of Orthodox movements reaching out to secular Jews in order to give them a stronger
Jewish identity up Ashkenazi Jews praying in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, showing traditional Jewish clothing and practice, including tallit, the Torah, and head coverings. (1878 painting by Maurice Gottlieb) Jewish identity is the objective or subjective state ...
so there is less chance of intermarriage. As a result of the efforts by these and other Jewish groups over the past 25 years, there has been a trend (known as the Baal teshuva movement) for secular Jews to become more religiously observant, though the demographic implications of the trend are unknown. Additionally, there is also a growing rate of conversion to Jews by Choice of gentiles who make the decision to head in the direction of becoming Jews.


Contributions

Jews have made many contributions to humanity in a broad and diverse range of fields, including the sciences, arts, politics, and business. For example, over 20 percent of Nobel Prize laureates have been of Jewish descent, with List of Jewish Nobel laureates, multiple winners in each category.


See also

* Jewish studies * Lists of Jews


Notes


References


Further reading

* Salo Wittmayer Baron, Baron, Salo Wittmayer (1952). ''A Social and Religious History of the Jews'', Volume II, ''Ancient Times'', Part II. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Bernard Lewis, Lewis, Bernard (1984). ''The Jews of Islam''. Princeton: Princeton University Press. * Lewis, Bernard (1999). ''Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice''. W. W. Norton & Co. * * * Leon Poliakov, Poliakov, Leon (1974). ''The History of Anti-semitism.'' New York: The Vanguard Press. * Ruderman, David B. ''Early Modern Jewry: A New Cultural History'' (Princeton University Press; 2010) 326 pages. Examines print culture, religion, and other realms in a history emphasizing the links among early modern Jewish communities from Venice and Kraków to Amsterdam and Smyrna. * * Norman Stillman, Stillman, Norman (1979). ''The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book''. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. * *


External links

*
Official website
of the
Berman Jewish DataBank The Berman Jewish DataBank, founded as the North American Jewish Data Bank, is the central online source for social scientific studies of North American Jewry and world Jewish populations and communities. The DataBank's primary functions are to acq ...

Official website
of the Jewish Agency for Israel
Official website
of the ''Jewish Encyclopedia''
Official website
of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Official website
of the Jewish Virtual Library
Maps related to Jewish history

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