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Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people with around 15 million followers as of 2006. It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. The values and history of the Jewish people are a major part of the foundation of other Abrahamic religions such as Samaritanism, Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá'í Faith.

Judaism has seldom, if ever, been monolithic in practice (although it has been, and continues to be, monotheistic in theology), and differs from many religions in that its central authority is not vested in any person or group but rather in its writings and traditions (known as the Torah). Despite this, Judaism in all its variations has remained tightly bound to a number of religious principles, the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to be involved in its governance. According to traditional Jewish thought, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Jewish people, and revealed his laws and commandments to them in the form of the Torah. The practice of Judaism is devoted to the study and observance of these laws and commandments, as written in the Torah.

Judaism does not fit easily into conventional Western categories, such as religion, ethnicity, or culture, in part because most of its 5,000-year history predates the rise of Western culture, or occurred outside of the West. During this time, Jews have experienced slavery, anarchic and theocratic self-government, conquest, occupation, and exile; they have been in contact with, and have been influenced by ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenic cultures, as well as modern movements such as the Enlightenment (see Haskalah) and the rise of nationalism (which would bear fruit in the form of a Jewish state in the Levant. They also saw an elite convert to Judaism (the Khazars), only to disappear as the centers of power in the lands once occupied by that elite fell to the people of Rus and then the Mongols. Thus, Talmud professor Daniel Boyarin has argued that "Jewishness disrupts the very categories of identity, because it is not national, not genealogical, not religious, but all of these, in dialectical tension."

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What Is Judaism?

Judaism is a monotheistic religion just like Islam, or a religion believing that one God exists, the Source of all. It has three essential elements, found in all historical forms of Judaism, namely, Torah revelation,

The Torah ("Teaching," in Hebrew) is not only the revelation of God to the Jews that was revelated from Moses. Explicitly described as the eternal covenant that links both to each other, it also presents the fundamental paradigms for all later historical interaction of God. The Torah consists first of all of the Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), and secondly the entire Hebrew Scriptures (the Mosaic books of "Teaching" to which are added the "Prophets" and associated historical books, and the "Writings" of wisdom: Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim). These works are together traditionally termed the "Written Torah." There is also thirdly the "Oral Torah" or interpretative tradition, said to extend from the time of Moses with further elaborations down through the ages (even up to the present time) by sagely and inspired exegetes. These oral teachings were eventually consolidated, according to mainstream Judaism, in the Talmud and later Rabbinic writings and commentaries including the mystical writings of the Kabbalah. However, Ethiopian Jewry never knew of the Talmud and followed its own exegetical traditions, and Karaite Judaism quite intentionally developed its own separate oral traditions.

God is understood as the one source of the entire universe, transcendent of both space and time, but, although undifferentiated unity in itself, ever present and sustaining every moment and place in the universe, past, present and future, as Creator, Loving Ruler and ultimate Savior. Creation, i.e., the entire universe, arises out of divine wisdom and mirrors its Creator, God; humanity is also in the divine image, insofar as human beings can actualize the divine attributes of wisdom, love and mercy, justice, etc., in their own lives. In particular the nuclear family is stated in the first chapter of the Bible to reflect the divine image as a whole, since it unites male and female to each other with sustaining love, and creates out of this and nurtures together new life in their children.

What do Jews Believe?

There are a number of basic Jewish principles of faith that one is expected to uphold in order to be said to be in consonance with the Jewish faith. Unlike most Christian denominations, Judaism lacks a dogma. The closest anyone has come, though, is the list of Thirteen Principles by Maimonides (Rambam).

  1. God exists
  2. God is one and unique
  3. God is incorporeal
  4. God is eternal
  5. Prayer is to be directed to God alone and to no other
  6. The words of the prophets are true
  7. Moses' prophecies are true, and Moses was the greatest of the prophets
  8. The Written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral Torah (teachings now contained in the Talmud and other writings) were given to Moses
  9. There will be no other Torah
  10. God knows the thoughts and deeds of men
  11. God will reward the good and punish the wicked
  12. The Messiah will come
  13. The dead will be resurrected

The final two principles are two of the most controversial, with many outside of Orthodox Judaism not adhering to the final two principles.

A number of formulations of Jewish beliefs have appeared, though there is some dispute over how many basic principles there are. Rabbi Joseph Albo, for instance, in Sefer Ha-Ikkarim counts three principles of faith, while the Rambam (Maimonides) lists thirteen. While some later rabbis have attempted to reconcile the differences, claiming that the Rambam's principles are covered by Albo's much shorter list, the difference, and alternate lists provided by other medieval rabbinic authorities seem to indicate a some level of tolerance for varying theological perspectives.

In comparison to Christianity, Judaism tends to focus more on actions and practical results and less on theological understandings. Ultimately, however, theology is also quite important in Judaism.

w:Jewish principles of faith

Who is a Jew?

The question of who is a Jew? (Hebrew: ?מיהו יהודי) is a religious, social and political debate on the exact definition of which persons can be considered Jewish. As Judaism shares some of the characteristics of an ethnicity and a religion, the definitions of a Jew may vary, depending on whether a religious, sociological, or ethnical approach to identity is used. This question has been tackled not only within the Jewish community, but also by outside parties trying to understand and/or regulate it.

According to most definitions, a Jew is either born into the Jewish people, or becomes one through religious conversion. The debate centers around the following questions:

  • Mixed parentage: Debate tries to identify when people with mixed parentage should be considered Jewish, and when they should not be.
Traditional view: If one's mother is Jewish, then the person is Jewish, and if one's mother is not Jewish, then the person is not.
  • Conversion: Debate centers around the process of religious conversion in an attempt to specify which conversions to Judaism should be considered valid, and which should not.
Traditional view: There are two or three required steps for a valid conversion: A male must be circumcised. Both males and females must freely consent to all the obligations of being a Jew. Both males and females must immerse in a mikveh (ritual bath) in the presence of a beit din (rabbinic court).
  • Life circumstances: Debate focuses on whether people's actions (such as conversion to a different religion) or circumstances in their lives (such as being unaware of Jewish parentage) affect their status as a Jew.
Traditional view: Judaism does not recognize conversion to another religion as valid: "Once a Jew, always a Jew." However, one who does so is viewed as having turned his back on his people, and therefore is denied many of the privileges of being a Jew (such as being counted towards a minyan (quorum for prayer) or being eligible for burial in a Jewish cemetery). In theory, a person is Jewish even if he was raised as a non-Jew and later learned that his mother (or his maternal grandmother, or his mother's maternal grandmother, and so on) was Jewish. But in practice, such cases might be founded on rumor or even just wishful thinking, and so (depending on how much evidence can be found) many rabbis might want the person to undergo a ritual conversion just to be sure.

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Jewish Population

According to Wikipedia "As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.19% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population. This number rises to 18 million with the addition of the "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewish backgrounds from at least one Jewish parent, and rises again to 21 million with the addition of the "enlarged" Jewish population, including those who say they have Jewish backgrounds but no Jewish parents and all non-Jewish household members who live with Jews. Counting all those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under Israel's Law of Return, in addition to Israeli Jews, raised the total to 23.8 million."

Movements of Judaism

Jewish religious movements edit

Jewish religious movements (Hebrew: התנועות הדתיות היהודית‎) (Yiddish: ייִדיש רעליגיעז מווומאַנץ), sometimes called "denominations" or "branches", include different groups which have developed among Jews from ancient times and especially in the modern era among Ashkenazi Jews living in anglophone countries. Despite the efforts of several of these movements to expand their membership in Israel and achieve official recognition by the Israeli government, non-Orthodox movements have remained largely a feature of Judaism in the diaspora. Historically, the division of Jews in many Western countries into denominations, which in the United States in particular took the form of three large groups known as Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, can be traced to Jewish reaction to the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) and its aftermath, and to a certain extent the philosophies of these movements were shaped in reaction to one another. Several smaller movements have emerged in the years since. In more recent years, all of these movements have been shaped by the challenge of assimilation. Common values. The movements share common values such as monotheism, charity, and klal Yisrael (a sense of being part of, and responsible for, the universal Jewish community). These Jewish values are the basis for cooperation and interplay among the various movements. Sacred texts. The movements share a recognition that the Torah and other Jewish spiritual writings such as Tanakh and Talmud are central to Jewish experience. However they differ in their approach to such texts.

The movements differ in their views on various religious issues. These issues include the level of observance, the methodology for interpreting and understanding Jewish Law, biblical authorship, textual criticism, and the nature or role of the messiah (or messianic age). Across these movements, there are marked differences in liturgy, especially in the language in which services are conducted, with the more traditional movements emphasizing Hebrew. The sharpest theological division occurs between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews who adhere to other denominations, such that the non-Orthodox movements are sometimes referred to collectively as the "liberal denominations" or "progressive streams."

Terminology edit

Some Jews reject the term denomination as a label for different groups and ideologies within Judaism, arguing that the notion of denomination has a specifically Christian resonance that does not translate easily into the Jewish context. However, in recent years the American Jewish Year Book has adopted "denomination," as have many scholars and theologians.[1] Other commonly used terms are movements, branches, trends, streams, or even flavors of Judaism. This article uses the terms interchangeably, without purporting to affirm the validity of one term over another.

The Jewish denominations themselves reject characterization as sects. Sects are traditionally defined as religious subgroups that have broken off from the main body, and this separation usually becomes irreparable over time. Within Judaism, individuals and families often switch affiliation, and individuals are free to marry one another, although the major denominations disagree on who is a Jew. It is not unusual for clergy and Jewish educators trained in one of the liberal denominations to serve in another, and left with no choice, many small Jewish communities combine elements of several movements to achieve a viable level of membership.

Relationships between Jewish religious movements are varied; they are sometimes marked by interdenominational cooperation outside of the realm of halakha (Jewish Law), and sometimes not. Some of the movements sometimes cooperate by uniting with one another in community federations and in campus organizations such as the Hillel Foundation. Jewish religious denominations are distinct from, but often linked to, Jewish ethnic divisions and Jewish political movements.

Modern movements or denominations edit

Perhaps the greatest divisions since the time of the division between the Sadducees and Pharisees two millennia ago are the divisions within the Ashkenazic community that have arisen in the past two centuries, ever since the Enlightenment and the Renaissance influenced Jews from northern and eastern Europe.

The first evidence of this great dogmatic schism was the development of the Reform Judaism movement, which rejected "ethnic Judaism" and preferred to regard Judaism as a religion rather than an ethnicity or a culture. Over time three large movements emerged:

  • Orthodox Judaism. Orthodox Jews generally see themselves as practicing normative Judaism, rather than belonging to a particular movement. Within Orthodox Judaism there is a spectrum of communities and practices, including Modern Orthodox Judaism, Haredi Judaism, and a variety of movements that have their origins in Hasidic Judaism.
  • Conservative Judaism or Masorti Judaism. Originated in Germany in the 19th century, but became institutionalized in the United States. After the division between Reform and Orthodox Judaism, the Conservative movement tried to provide Jews seeking liberalization of Orthodox theology and practice with a more traditional and halakhically based alternative to Reform Judaism. It has spread to Ashkenazi communities in Anglophone countries and Israel.
  • Reform Judaism or Progressive Judaism. Originally formed in Germany as a reaction to traditional Judaism, stresses integration with society and a personal interpretation of the Torah.
Additionally, a number of smaller groups have emerged:
  • Reconstructionist Judaism. A small, liberal Jewish movement, found primarily in the United States. It began as a liberal movement within Conservative Judaism and formally separated in the 1980s.
  • Jewish Renewal. Founded in the counter-cultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s, Jewish Renewal tends to embrace the ecstatic worship style and mysticism of hasidism, while rejecting the halakhic rigor of Orthodox Judaism. Jewish Renewal congregations tend to be inclusive on the subject of who is a Jew. The Jewish Renewal movement lacks the formal institutional structure of the other liberal movements.
  • Classical Reform Judaism. A Jewish movement which regards Judaism as a religious faith with a universal message for all people. It sees Judaism primarily as a religion, rather than an ethnic, cultural or nationalist identity.
  • Humanistic Judaism. A pluralistic movement that emphasizes Jewish culture and history as the sources of Jewish identity. Founded by Rabbi Sherwin Wine, it is centered in North America but has spread to Europe, the Far East, Latin America, and Israel.
  • Neolog Judaism, a small movement found primarily in Hungarian-speaking countries, which is similar to the more traditional branch of American Conservative Judaism.
  • Jewish Science. Formed in the early 20th century by Rabbi Alfred G. Moses and Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein. Jewish Science was founded as a counterweight Jewish movement to Christian Science. Jewish Science sees God as a force or energy penetrating the reality of the Universe and emphasis is placed upon the role of affirmative prayer in personal healing and spiritual growth. The Society of Jewish Science in New York is the institutional arm of the movement regularly publishing The Interpreter, the movement's primary literary publication.

Jewish Ethnic Divisions

By sheer numbers, the overwhelming majority of Jews fall into only a handful of communities. The largest ethnically Jewish community, constituting the majority of world Jewry, are the Ashkenazim (historically meaning "German" in Medieval Hebrew) who can ultimately be traced back to Jews who migrated from Israel to Italy in the first and second centuries" and from Italy to southern Germany in the 7th-8th centuries, spreading thereafter to central and eastern Europe. The Sephardim (Hebrew for "Spanish") are those descended from Jews who migrated from the Middle East to the Iberian Peninsula, and were scattered in 1492 throughout North Africa, the Netherlands, south-eastern Europe, back to the Near and Middle East, and parts of the Americas. Together, Ashkenazim and Sephardim comprise 90-95% of the world's Jewish population — though the Ashkenazim alone constitute around 80% of Jews worldwide.

The designations "Ashkenazi" and "Sephardi" encompass cultural, religious, culinary, linguistic and other differences. Some scholars maintain that Ashkenazi Jews are inheritors of the religious traditions of the great Babylonian Jewish academies, and that Sephardi Jews are descendants of those who originally followed the Judean Jewish religious traditions.

History edit

As long ago as Biblical times, cultural and linguistic differences between Jewish communities even within the area of Palestine are observed both within the Bible itself as well as from archeological remains. The full extent of these differences, however, is unknown at this time. Following the defeat of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the Jewish people were dispersed throughout the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Yemen and Mesopotamia. By the height of the Roman Empire, Jewish communities could be found in nearly every notable settlement throughout the Empire, as well as scattered communities found in settlements beyond the Empire's borders in northern Europe and in Africa. In the east, Jewish communities could be found throughout Parthia and empires even further east into India, China and in eastern Europe and southwestern Asia, where as much as a third of the population of Khazaria is believed to have been Jewish at one time. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, and especially after the Moorish invasion of Iberia, communications between the communities in various parts of the former Empire became sporadic. With increasing persecution in "Ashkenaz", i.e., the areas that are now northern France and Germany, masses of Jews began to move further to the east, where they were welcomed by the king of Poland. At the same time, as a result of the freer communications within the Muslim world, the communities in Iberia were in more frequent communication with those in North Africa and the Middle East. Meanwhile, communities further afield, in central and south Asia and central Africa, remained isolated and continued to develop their own unique traditions. Following the 1492 expulsion from Spain, the Sephardim were dispersed to the Americas, the Netherlands, the Balkans, North Africa and in smaller numbers to other areas of the Middle East.

In Israel edit

Although the Jewish population was severely reduced after the Arab invasions of the 7th century and the Christian Crusades, Jews were always present in Palestine. Over the centuries following the Crusades, Jews from around the world began returning in small numbers. Upon arrival, these Jews adopted the customs of the Mizraḥi and Sephardi communities into which they moved. With the rise of Zionism in the late 19th and early 20th century, and Nationalsozialisme in the 1930ties Ashkenazi immigration brought the Jewish population of Palestine to several hundred thousand, the majority of whom were Ashkenazim, by the time the State of Israel was proclaimed in 1948. Following the declaration of the State, a flood of Jewish immigrants entered Israel from Arab countries, most of whom were Sephardim or so-called "Arab-Jews" from the Maghreb, Yemen, Iraq, and smaller communities, principally from Egypt and Libya, and a number of Jews who came from non-Arab Muslim countries, mainly Persia and Turkey. More recently, other communities have also arrived, including large groups of Jews from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. Because of the relative homogeneity of Ashkenazic Jewry, over time, all Jews from Europe came to be called "Ashkenazi" in Israel, regardless of whether they were Ashkenazim, while Jews from Africa and Asia have come to be called "Sephardi", regardless of whether or not they are actually Sephardim. Tensions between the two groups instigated shortly after the declaration of the state. The European-descended people, claiming social superiority, occupied virtually all the important political positions. The student and lecturer body of Israel's universities was overwhelmingly Ashkenazi. Sephardim (in its wider meaning) were often victim to discrimination, and were sometimes called "Schwartze" (meaning "black" in Yiddish). An immigrant from Iraq recalls when he first arrived to Israel he was given a tent, while a friend of his from Germany was given an apartment. Another incident occurred when a young Ashkenazi girl nearly drowned in a lake in Ramath Gan and a teenaged Persian boy dove in and saved her. The boy did not receive any official recognition from the school or city, which he probably would have if he had been Ashkenazi. Marriage between the two groups of Jews was initially uncommon, but in recent generations, the social discrimination has diminished due to extensive intermarriage and assimilation as a whole into a common Israeli identity. Another community often written of are Mizraḥim. This is not an actual community, but rather a convenient "catch-all" for Jews from the Muslim world who are not Sephardim. For a more detailed discussion, see Mizrahi Jew.

Divisions edit

Because of the independence of local communities, Jewish "ethnicities", even when they circumscribe differences in liturgy, language, cuisine and other cultural accoutrements, are more often a reflection of geographic and historical isolation from other communities. It is for this reason that communities are referred to by referencing the historical region in which the community cohered when discussing their practices, regardless of where those practices are found today. The Jewish communities of the modern world can all be found represented today in Israel, which is as much a melting pot as it is a salad bowl. The smaller groups number in the hundreds to tens of thousands, with the Gruzim and Beta Israel being most numerous at somewhat over 100,000 each. Many members of these groups have now emigrated from their traditional homelands, largely to Israel. For example, only about 10 percent of the Gruzim remain in Georgia. A brief description of the extant communities is as follows, by the geographic regions with which they are associated:

Europe and the Caucasus edit

▪ Ashkenazim are Jews who migrated north from Italy into Germany and France, and later into Eastern Europe. Ashkenazim comprise far-and-away the majority of Jews, with approximately 70 percent of the Jewish total. Among the Ashkenazim are a number of cultural groups, roughly: ▪ Western (sometimes called Yekkes), stemming from northern France, from the Lowlands, historical Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Scandinavia. ▪ Oberlander, Western Yiddish speaking Jews originating in the Oberland region of Hungary and the district surrounding Bratislava in Slovakia. ▪ Central (Galitzianers) from Hungary, southwestern Poland, western Ukraine and northern Serbia and Montenegro ▪ Northeastern (see Litvak) ▪ Southeastern, predominantly from Ukraine, Moldova and Romania ▪ Bené Roma or Italkim are the Jews of Italy. ▪ Chuts were Dutch Jews, observing an amalgam of Ashkenazi and Sephardi customs, living in London, although this community has almost completely been lost to history. ▪ Gruzim are Georgian-speaking Jews from Georgia in the Caucasus. ▪ Juhurim are mountain Jews mainly from Daghestan and Azerbaidjan in the eastern Caucasus. ▪ Krymchaks and Karaim are Turkic-speaking Jews of the Crimea and Eastern Europe. The Krymchaks practice rabbinical Judaism, while the Karaim are Karaites. Whether they are primarily the descendants of Israelite Jews who adopted Turkic language and culture, or the descendants of Turkic converts to Judaism, is still debated. ▪ Romaniotes are Greek-speaking Jews from the Balkans that lived there from the Hellenistic era until today. ▪ San Nicandro Jews - A group of mid-20th century converts from Italy ▪ Sephardim are Jews whose ancestors lived in Spain or Portugal, where they lived for possibly as much as two millennia before being expelled in 1492 (see Alhambra decree); they subsequently migrated to North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, Latin America, the Netherlands, the Balkans, and other parts of Europe. During the 1950s and '60s most Jews from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia fled to either Israel (where they presently comprise approximately 50% of the Jewish population) or to France (where they have become the majority of a Jewish population that was traditionally Ashkenazi). ▪ Spanish and Portuguese Jews Nação - West Europe Sephardi ▪ Conversos Belmonte, Portugal and some parts of Brazil ▪ Baleares Chueta ▪ Maghreb Anusim ▪ Amazonian Hebraicos - Moroccan Jewish communities in Belém, Santarém, Manaus and many river villages in the Amazon basin. ▪ Salonika Jews

Middle East and Central Asia edit

▪ Bukharan Jews are Jews from Central Asia. They get their name from the Uzbek city of Bukhara, which once had a large community. ▪ Iraqi Jews are descendants of the Jews who have lived in Mesopotamia since the time of the Assyrian conquest of Canaan ▪ Kurdish Jews from Kurdistan, as distinct from the Persian Jews of central and eastern Persia ▪ Persian Jews from Iran (commonly called Parsim in Israel) have a 2700-year history. ▪ Yemenite Jews are Oriental Jews whose geographic and social isolation from the rest of the Jewish community allowed them to develop a liturgy and set of practices that are significantly distinct from other Oriental Jewish groups; they themselves comprise three distinctly different groups. ▪ Egyptian Jews are generally Jews thought to have descended from the great Jewish communities of Hellenistic Alexandria. ▪ Lebanese Jews are the Jews that lived around Beirut. After the Lebanese Civil War, the community's emigration appears to have been completed; few remain in Lebanon today. ▪ Omani Jews are the early Jewish community of Sohar. They are thought to be descendants of Ishaq bin Yahuda, a Sohari merchant around the first millennia. This community is believed to have disappeared by 1900. ▪ Syrian Jews are generally divided into two groups: those who inhabited Syria from the time of King David (1000 B.C.), and those who fled to Syria after the Spanish Inquisition (1492 A.D). There were large communities in both Aleppo and Damascus for centuries. In the early twentieth century a large percentage of Syrian Jews emigrated to the U.S., South America, and Israel. Today there are almost no Jews left in Syria. The largest Syrian-Jewish community is located in Brooklyn, New York, and estimated at 40,000.

Africa edit

▪ Abayudaya of Uganda ▪ Beta Israel from Ethiopia, tens of thousands of whom were brought to Israel during Operation Solomon and Operation Moses ▪ The House of Israel, several hundred Sefwi tribesmen in Ghana ▪ The emergent Jewish community among the Igbo in Nigeria, perhaps as many as 30,000 strong ▪ Various other small African Jewish populations are also found, from the Lemba in Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe; the "prophetic" Jews from the vicinity of Rusape, Zimbabwe; as well as vestigial communities in São Tomé e Príncipe and Timbuktu, Mali.

India and China edit

▪ Bene Israel are the Jews of Mumbai, India, most of whom presently reside in Israel. ▪ Cochin Jews are also Indian Jews from southwestern India, most of whom also now reside in Israel. Included among these are the Paradesi Jews. ▪ Baghdadi Jews [3] Those Jews came from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Arab countries and settled in India in 18th Century. ▪ Bnei Menashe. A group of Jews living in Manipur and Mizoram in northeastern India, claiming descent from the dispersed Biblical Tribe of Menasseh. ▪ Bene Ephraim, the Telugu-speaking Jews of Kottareddipalem in Andhra Pradesh, India. ▪ Chinese Jews: most prominent were the Kaifeng Jews, an ancient Jewish community in China, descended from merchants living in China from at least the era of the Tang dynasty. Today functionally extinct, although several hundred descendants have recently begun to explore and reclaim their heritage.

Americas edit

▪ Hispanic Crypto-Jews are the descendants of those Sephardi Jews who migrated to the New World at the onset of the Spanish Inquisition, and who then hid their Jewish ancestry and beliefs in fear of persecution by the inquisition's franchises that had followed them to Latin America. Their numbers are difficult to assertain as most are at least nominally Catholic. Collectively, they could possibly reach the millions. Most are mixed descendants, although some communities may have been able to maintain a degree of endogamy (marrying only other Crypto-Jews) throughout the centuries. They may or may not consider themselves Jewish, some may continue to preserve some of their Jewish heritage in secrecy, many others may not even be aware of it. Most are not recognised as Jews according to halakha. Small numbers of various communities have formally returned to Judaism over the past decade after over five centuries of isolation. See also anusim. ▪ Iquitos Jews are the "accidental" descendants of mostly Moroccan Jewish traders and tappers who arrived in the Peruvian Amazon city of Iquitos during the rubber boom of the 1880s. Because usually only one in four or eight of their ancestors was Jewish, and being that the Jewish descent was paterilineal (the Jewish traders were all males who had coupled up with local mestizo or Amerindian females), their Jewishness is not recognised according to halakha. The Iquitos Jews are integrated into the local mestizo population. Because of the still existing Peruvian race/class system, there is virtually no interaction between the small halakhic Jewish population concentrated in Lima (under 3,000, most of whom are integrated into Lima's elite white minority) and the Jews of Iquitos. Iquitos Jews have only recently begun rediscovering their Jewish roots thanks to efforts made by Israeli outreach programmes. Some have formally returned to Judaism and now live in Israel after having made aliyah. ▪ Inca Jews are converts to Judaism originally from the Andes Mountains north of Lima, Peru. Some of these individuals are of indigenous Amerindian descent — hence Inca — though most are mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian, though none with any known Sephardi ancestors). Again, there is virtually no interaction between Peru's small Ashkenazi population and the Inca Jews. The Ashkenazi community in Lima only approved of their conversions to Judaism if they were not conducted under the authority of the local beit din, and that they agree to emigrate from Peru once converted. The conversions were subsequently conducted under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, most then made aliyah and now live in Israel. There are still some left in Peru, and a few hundred more of the same community are awaiting conversions. ▪ Other Jewish communities throughout the Americas are the descendants of Jews who found their way to the New World at different periods in modern history. Most of these Jews, particularly American Jews, are Ashkenazi, and they in fact compose the majority of recognised Jews on the American continent today. There are also Sephardi, Mizraḥi and other historic groups represented, as well as mixes of any or all of these, but they are included in their respective groups discussed in earlier sections of the article.

Sources edit


The first wave of modern Jewish immigration to Israel, or Aliyah (עלייה) started in 1881 as Jews fled persecution, or followed the Socialist Zionist ideas of Moses Hess and others of "redemption of the land." Jews bought land from Ottoman and individual Arab landholders. After Jews established agricultural settlements, renewed tensions erupted between the Jews and Arabs.

Theodor Herzl (1860–1904), an Austrian Jew, founded the Zionist movement. In 1896, he published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), in which he called for the establishment of a national Jewish state. The following year he helped convene the first World Zionist Congress. The establishment of modern Zionism led to the Second Aliyah (1904–1914) with the influx of around 40,000 Jews. In 1917, the British Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration that "view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people". In 1920, Palestine became a League of Nations mandate administered by Britain. Jewish immigration reached peaks in third (1919–1923) and fourth (1924–1929) waves after World War I. Arab riots in Palestine of 1929 killed 133 Jews, including 67 in Hebron.

The rise of Nazism in 1933 led to a fifth wave of Aliyah. The Jews in the region increased from 11% of the population in 1922 to 30% by 1940. The subsequent Holocaust in Europe led to additional immigration from other parts of Europe. By the end of World War II, the number of Jews in Palestine was approximately 600,000.

In 1939, the British introduced a White Paper of 1939, which limited Jewish immigration over the course of the war to 75,000 and restricted purchase of land by Jews, perhaps in response to the Great Arab Uprising (1936-1939). The White Paper was seen as a betrayal by the Jewish community and Zionists, who perceived it as being in conflict with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and was viewed with great alarm as the occurrences of the Nazi holocaust became apparent. The Arabs were not entirely satisfied either, as they wanted Jewish immigration halted completely. However, the White Paper guided British policy until the end of the term of their Mandate.

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w:Israel israel charron moutlak

Jewish Cooking

Kosher refers to that which is prepared in accordance with Jewish Law. Kosher foods are foods that practicing Jews are allowed to consume. The specific rules are enumerated in the Torah, and refined in the Talmud.

There are two groups of rules - what can be eaten and how it can be prepared.

If you need to feed someone who keeps kosher, fresh, uncooked, un-processed fruits and vegetables are always OK (except if they are grown in the land of Israel, in which case additional restrictions apply). For some, any vegetarian food cooked in your home may be fine. There is a wide variety of stringency observed by individuals. Your best bet is to ask.

What can be eaten edit

  • Any fish that has both scales and fins. This means that shellfish are not kosher, and neither are fish like catfish.
  • Any land animal that chews its cud and has split hooves. Sheep and cows are kosher animals, while pigs, horses and dogs are not kosher. Pigs do have a split hoof, but they do not chew their cud, so they are not kosher. Both deer and goats are kosher if properly slaughtered. There are also restrictions as to what parts of the animal may be eaten. Some parts may never be eaten and some parts are not normally processed as kosher meat in the United States due to the additional labor involved. (kosher hot dogs cannot contain some of the filler and miscellaneous scraps that are added to most non-kosher hot dogs)
  • There is a list of non-kosher birds in the Torah, which names predominantly scavengers and predators. Kosher birds include duck, chicken, and turkey. Ostrich is not kosher.
  • There are some kosher insects that are types of grasshopper or locust. Ashkenazi and most Sepharadi groups have lost the tradition of which exact species are kosher, but Yemenites and some Sepharadi groups have maintained this tradition and can properly identify them (though to most people the prospect of eating insects is not appealing, rendering this a largely academic point).
  • Animal blood is not to be eaten.
  • Eggs from kosher birds are kosher. Eggs are not used if any blood spots are found.
  • Honey made by bees is kosher even though it is processed by a non-kosher insect.
  • Other than this one exception, any bi-product of a non-kosher animal is not kosher, e.g. milk from a non-kosher animal such as a pig or a camel.
  • An animal that is sick or injured cannot be eaten.
  • All kosher animals must be slaughtered properly, according to a particular method, in order for the meat to be permissible.
  • There are some restrictions on plants, like they need to be checked that there are no insects. Any beverages made from grapes including grape juice and wine require special processing and supervision to be kosher.
  • Gelatin is usually made from non kosher animals' hooves/bones, but it is possible to get kosher gelatin either made from kosher fish, kosher animals or vegetable products.
  • Ask a local Rabbi for more details.

How it can be Prepared edit

  • It is not enough for an animal to be kosher, that animal must also be slaughtered in a specific way as to minimise the amount of pain dealt to the animal, and otherwise in accordance with Jewish law (halachah).
  • Meat must be "kashered", which removes the blood from the meat. This is done either using salting or roasting. Most kosher meat that one can buy is already kashered.
  • Milk and meat cannot be cooked or eaten together. This includes eating dairy and meat within certain time periods. Depending on the family's custom, the most common of which are 6 hours or 3 hours before consuming dairy products after meat products. Some hold that it is permissible to wash out your mouth before consuming meat products after dairy products, except for hard cheese, which requires the same waiting period as is required to eat dairy after meat. One must have two entirely different sets of cooking pots and table dishes for milk and meat. Both birds and mammals are considered meat, while fish, insects, and eggs are considered to be neither dairy nor meat. Fish can be eaten with meat or dairy, although some hold that one should not eat fish and meat off of the same dish. Some Jews of Sephardic backgrounds follow Maimonides' ruling, and do not mix fish with dairy products of any kind.

Store Bought Goods edit

Ever wonder what the U or K in a circle means? Well, those are two of many symbols used by Jews in the USA to identify kosher products. A "plain k" [a K all by itself] does not mean that the food is certified kosher, but rather that the company declares it to be kosher. Many Jews do not accept "plain k" as a legitimate kashrut certification.

A list of many of the kosher certification agencies are found here: http://www.kashrut.com/agencies/

Some Jews will not accept certain certifications as interpretations and levels of observance vary from Jew to Jew.

Notes edit

  • If you are entertaining for people that you know or think may keep kosher, be sure to ask them about their personal rules, as there are many interpretations and subtle variations that different people will follow. Depending on their observance, they may be fine eating a vegetarian dish cooked in your home, or may not be comfortable doing anything more than eating unprepared fruit.
  • A more detailed explanation of Kashrut

Union of Orthodox Congregations, the largest kosher- certification organisation in the USA and other places worldwide.

SOURCE: Cookbook: Kosher

The Hebrew Alphabet

For now see Hebrew/Aleph-Bet.

  Lessons on the
Hebrew Aleph-Bet
  1 א בּ תE
  2 ב ה נןE
  3 מם שׁשׂE
  4 ל וE
  5 ד ר יE
  6 ג ז חE
  7 ט ככּך E
  8 ס קE
  9 ע פפּףE
  10 צץE
edit templatetalk

Common Jewish Expressions

Jewish culture covers an extensive number of languages and dialects. Throughout history, it was common for Jews to codeswitch between one or more Jewish languages and the non-Jewish languages they might encounter. Most Jewish dialects and languages are written in Hebrew script and can be demonstrated to each contain numerous Hebrew and Tanakhic influences on linguistic factors such as vocabulary and tone, reflecting their common origin. While not all Jews are religious, practically all contemporary Jewish culture can find religious and spiritual influence in its roots.

Hebrew & Aramaic edit

Baruch Hashem B''H

yasher koach

Chazak Chazak V'Nitchazek "be strong, be strong and have courage" the words spoken to Joshua after the death of Moses

tzadek a virtuous Jew and renowned Torah scholar

tzedakah charity





Yimak Sh'mo "may his name be blotted out" an epithet for particularly infamous, heinous and evil individuals, desiring the name be disremembered.

Yiddish edit





"If my sheep had a beard, it would be a goat"

"What is justice to the sheep when the wolf is the judge?"

"A worm at the bottom of a jar of horseradish, thinks its life is sweetest in all the world"

"A child's wisdom is also wisdom"

"If two soldiers could see what the other sees, there would be no more war"

"A language is a dialect with a navy and army"

Yinglish & Yeshivish edit

What am I, chopped liver?

Don't hide your light under a bushel

"For this," as in "For this, I came all this way? For this, I waited so long? For this, I raised you?"

You are giving me a conniption! -while conniption is not a Hebraic vocabulary word, it has been adopted as a favorite word of English-speaking Jews [1]

"The Yod, The Hey, the Vav, the Hey" a way of referencing the tetragammaton without invoking and disrespecting this divine name, sanctified in the Torah and forbidden from being erased or defaced. This is an important principle to many observant Jews. The names of God are regarded with increasing sanctity the closer they approach the true name of God. This name is treated with utmost sanctity, second only to the true name. Kabbalah indicates that a Golem can be created by the act of speaking the true name, which due to its many syllables requires several hours of intense concentration and reportedly carries mortal consequences for making a single mistake.

Yoshke - a dismissive name for Jesus, who is believed to be neither divine nor a prophet.

Ladino edit

Judeo-Arabic edit


  1. Brawarsky, Sandy; Mark, Deborah; Two Jews, Three Opinions: 1998 University of California 9780399524493

God's Name

After about 70 of the C.E the Romans finally fought against the Israelis, destroyed their temple and exiled the people of the land so that they spread all over the world. These carried the Name of the almighty G-D. The Romans then forbid to call that name even unto death penalty. Therefore the rabbis also were forbidding to use that name in order to save the lives of many Jews. They developed a ceremony that they held every 7th year were the chosen rabbi taught a disciple standing over a surface of water the Holy Name making sure he heard it right. As we all know the Tetragrammaton is יהוה and as it is knowledge of those who have been taught that the vowels are Sheva, Cholam, Kamatz. That is to speak Yehova in English language.

Freely I have contributed this knowing from the Prophet [1] that the heathen will know HIS name and later in the big fight of Gog from Magog ([2]) also the Nation of Israel will come to know HIM and I am sure you will not speak HIS name in vain, because you will stand in awe as in the time of our blessed Moishe when he received the 10 commandments, which originals will be shown by the Israeli government soon.

Torah Readings

The Rabbis divided the Torah into 54 Torah readings.

Bereishit, Genesis

  • Bereishit, Genesis 1:1-6:8
  • Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32
  • Lech-Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27
  • Vayeira, Genesis 18:1-22:24
  • Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18
  • Toledot, Genesis 25:19-28:9
  • Vayetze, Genesis 28:10-32:3
  • Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4-36:43
  • Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23
  • Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17
  • Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27
  • Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26

Shemot, Exodus

  • Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
  • Va'eira, Exodus 6:2-9:35
  • Bo, Exodus 10:11-3:16
  • Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
  • Yitro, Exodus 18:12-0:23
  • Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18
  • Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19
  • Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10
  • Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11-34:35
  • Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20
  • Pekudei, Exodus 38:21-40:38

Vayikra, Leviticus

  • Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26
  • Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36
  • Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47
  • Tazria, Leviticus 12:1-13:59
  • Metzora, Leviticus 14:1-15:33
  • Acharei, Leviticus 16:1-18:30
  • Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27
  • Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23
  • Behar, Leviticus 25:1-26:2
  • Bechukotai, Leviticus 26:3-27:34

Bamidbar, Numbers

  • Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20
  • Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89
  • Behaalotecha, Numbers 8:1-12:16
  • Shlach, Numbers 13:1-15:41
  • Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32
  • Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1
  • Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9
  • Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1
  • Matot, Numbers 30:2-32:42
  • Masei, Numbers 33:1-36:13

Devarim, Deuteronomy

  • Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
  • Va'etchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
  • Eikev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
  • Re'eh, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17
  • Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
  • Ki Teitzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
  • Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
  • Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20
  • Vayelech, Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30
  • Haazinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52
  • V'Zot HaBerachah, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12


What is meant by Kabbalah?

  1. Ezekiel 36:23
  2. Ezekiel 39:7