How Anti-Semitism Helped Create Israel | Foreign Policy

On Nov. 2, 1917, the British cabinet promised to support the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. Today, we consider the Balfour Declaration, as that promise has been known ever since, to be the foundation stone of modern Israel. But the views and motives of the British politicians who approved the epochal document were hardly simple, let alone pure.

What British leaders wanted more than anything in November 1917 was to win World War I all other goals were secondary. Victory, however, seemed increasingly distant at the time. After three and a half terrible years of war, Britains allies were shaky: French armies had mutinied, Italian armies had been catastrophically defeated, and the Russian Army stood upon the brink of total collapse. The United States had joined the conflict the previous June, but U.S. soldiers had not yet arrived in Europe in numbers sufficient to make much difference. Meanwhile, Germany was preparing to launch another great offensive on the Western Front.

In these circumstances, British leaders grasped at straws. They thought, for example, that they might bribe Germanys ally, Turkey, to leave the war. They offered territory and money. Turkey was interested but in the end, after numerous secret, back-channel meetings in Switzerland and elsewhere would not bite.

The British also sought new allies. In particular, they hoped to successfully attract to their side the one great power, as they mistakenly referred to it, that had remained on the sidelines: the forces of what they called international Jewry. During the lead-up to the Balfour Declaration, Britains leaders engaged in a sustained effort to woo Jewish support. With the declaration itself, they offered the engagement ring.

British leaders drew primarily on two anti-Semitic canards: that Jews simultaneously commanded the U.S. financial system and held the strings controlling Russian pacifism. In other words, they believed that American Jews could bring the United States into the war and that Russian Jews could keep their country from dropping out of it. They also believed that Jewish money could help finance the war effort. Moreover, they believed that all Jews were Zionists (which they werent). That is why the bribe or rather, the engagement ring took the form of the Balfour Declaration.

One of the most influential true believers of these anti-Semitic misapprehensions was Gerald Henry Fitzmaurice, who had served before the war as a British dragoman, interpreting and translating Ottoman interests to his superiors at the consulate in what was then known as Constantinople. There he had formed the opinion that Jews and Dnmes or crypto-Jews, whose ancestors had converted to Christianity, but who continued to practice the old faith in secret controlled the Turkish government. Their great goal, he thought, was to hand Palestine over to the Zionists. With the war on, Fitzmaurice had an epiphany: Britain should promise Palestine to the Jews right now. In return, the Dnmes would withdraw their support from the Turkish government, which would inevitably collapse.

Fitzmaurice, now attached to the intelligence division at the British Admiralty, lobbied Hugh James OBierne, an experienced and well-respected British diplomat. OBeirne responded positively to the idea. On Feb. 28, 1916, he composed the first Foreign Office memo linking the fate of Palestine with both Jewish interests and British chances of victory in World War I.

It has been suggested to me, he wrote to his colleagues, that if we could offer the Jews an arrangement as to Palestine which would strongly appeal to them, we might conceivably be able to strike a bargain with them as to withdrawing their support from the Young Turk government which would then automatically collapse. OBeirne went on to endorse this ridiculous plan.

As OBeirne was penning his memo, another British Foreign Office figure was mulling the same issues. Sir Mark Sykes had just finished negotiating the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement, by which Britain and France divided up the Ottoman Empire between them, despite the fact that they had not yet defeated the Ottomans. Palestine, they stipulated, should be governed by an international consortium of powers except for its northern part, which would come under French control. In March 1916, Sykes and French diplomat Franois Georges-Picot visited Russia, their eastern ally, to acquaint officials there with the terms of their understanding.

Picot, however, found his mission complicated by OBeirnes new suggestion that Britain should offer Palestine to the Jews. The British Foreign Office had just indicated to the Russians that it was favorable to this recommendation. The Russians had little difficulty with the new proposition so long as they got Constantinople, they were satisfied. But Picot, speaking for France, had serious issues with the proposal. His country had longstanding interests on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, which he feared were endangered by an agreement that did not give France direct control over parts of Palestine.

Sykes, however, had changed his tune. After reading OBeirnes memo and some other materials, he concluded that the Zionists represented the key of the situation, by which he meant the key to victory in the war. With Great Jewry against us, he warned, there would be no possibility of victory. This was because Zionism was a powerful if subterranean force in the world in his words, it was atmospheric, international, cosmopolitan, subconscious and unwritten, nay often unspoken.

Sykes now painted a dire picture of what would befall the allies if they did not endorse a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It would mean optimism in Berlin, dumps in London, unease in Paris, resistance to last ditch in Cople, dissension in Cairo, Arabs all squabbling among themselves, he wrote.

Sykes was only expressing what most in the Foreign Office already believed. Back in London, Robert Cecil, the parliamentary secretary of state for foreign affairs who also happened to be the son of former Prime Minister Lord Salisbury and cousin of the present foreign secretary, Lord Balfour was writing to his colleagues at just this time: I do not think it is easy to exaggerate the international power of the Jews.

As for the British government itself, philo- and anti-Semitism mixed uneasily in the minds of its principal members, most importantly Prime Minister David Lloyd George and Foreign Secretary Balfour. Lloyd George, who had been raised among devout Welshmen, once remarked during the war that he was more familiar with the geography of Palestine than that of Scotland and that the battles there interested him far more than the battles in France and Belgium. Yet this Christian Zionist, as scholars have sometimes termed him, once described his colleague Herbert Samuel as a greedy, ambitious and grasping Jew with all the worst characteristics of his race.

Balfour also operated under similarly conflicting stereotypes regarding Jews. He had been moved to tears by British Zionist leader Chaim Weizmanns recital of the ills done to the Jewish people. Nevertheless, he told Weizmann that he shared the anti-Semitic postulates of the virulent Cosima Wagner, who would become one of the first patrons of Adolf Hitler. Balfour apparently did not believe that Jews could be assimilated into Gentile British society.

In fact, the sole Jewish member of Lloyd Georges government, Edwin Montagu, strongly opposed the Balfour Declaration because he thought it would encourage anti-Semites throughout the world to expel Jews from their countries. Palestine will become the worlds ghetto, he warned.

Zionists did not take this argument seriously. However, they e ncouraged the British governing elite in its belief that Jewish influence was a global force. On June 10, 1917, Weizmann warned the Foreign Office that Germany was about to issue a Balfour Declaration of its own, and Zionists were increasingly beginning to question whether [they] were to realize their aims through Germany and Turkey or through Great Britain, he wrote. While Weizmann declared that he was absolutely loyal to Britain, he implied that other Jews would not be so dependable.

In October and November 1917, as the British cabinet debated the declaration, ministers voiced this very fear. So they decided to issue their own statement of support for a Jewish homeland first. Many [gentiles] have a residual belief in the power and the unity of Jewry, one of Weizmanns followers observed many years later. We suffer for it, but it is not wholly without its compensations. To exploit it delicately and deftly belongs to the art of the Jewish diplomat. Few exploited it more deftly than Chaim Weizmann.

Of course, British officials had other important reasons to favor the Balfour Declaration. They thought Britain must control Palestine because of its proximity to the Suez Canal, Britains economic windpipe. They thought British control of Palestine would allow the construction of a railway that would run from the northern city of Acre through Iraq to the Persian Gulf, facilitating trade with India. For these reasons, an autonomous Palestine within the British Empire, along the lines of South Africa or Canada, suited these men very well. They were also cognizant of the skills that Jewish immigrants could bring into the region, and sympathetic to the ancient claim to Palestine that Zionists invoked.

However, an even larger portion of their minds was occupied by anti-Semitic prejudices and stereotypes. Paradoxically, these beliefs only caused them to embrace the Balfour Declaration more readily and served as a crucial ingredient in determining British support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. History has never been the same.

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How Anti-Semitism Helped Create Israel | Foreign Policy

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Judaism and our sacred Torah provide incredible insight and guidance in how to be a responsible, respectful, compassionate and moral man. In a world of confusion, compromise, and corruption, now more than ever, we need to man up. Join Rabbi Goldberg for the following open and frank conversations about what Judaism believes it means to be a real man.

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The Israeli Wine Revolution with Steve Bachenheimer, founder and director of Wines of Israel Network. Mr. Bachenheimer is a sommelier certified by The Court of Master Sommeliers and offers wine education and services to organizations, restaurants and wine enthusiasts. Steves special focus is on increasing awareness and appreciation of the Israel Wine Revolution. He highlights the fine wines of Israel that have been gaining recognition and are increasingly being acknowledged as among the best in the world. $10 suggested donation.

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We all know the Dr. Ruth that is one of the worlds most recognized authorities on intimacy. She has delivered her advice on TV, radio and the web for decades and has written numerous books. But whats less known about Dr. Ruth is her upbringing in Germany in an Orthodox Jewish family, her escape from the Nazis on the Kindertransport, and her experiences fighting for Israels independence. Dr. Ruth is engaging and entertaining, and this is one lecture you wont want to miss!

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016 Hasidic Jews Watch “Fiddler on the Roof” For the First Time Bloomingburg mayor, trustee seek re-election Bloomingburgs mayor and a village trustee have filed their paperwork to run for re-election in March.

Mayor Frank Gerardi and trustee James Johnson will run again on the Rural Heritage ticket, an independent party that was built on its opposition to developer Shalom Lamms construction of a 396-unit Hasidic townhouse development within the village. The last two village elections were decided in a courtroom, after allegations of voter fraud and religious discrimination led to fierce legal battles. This election arrives under the shadow of a settlement reached this week between the Sullivan County Board of Elections and 10 Hasidic voters from Bloomingburg who alleged religious discrimination after the BOE tried to cancel their voter registrations. A federal monitor will be assigned to watch the Sullivan County Board of Elections for the next five years. Many residents in Bloomingburg and its surrounding Town of Mamakating have voiced discontent over the countys decision to settle.

I think were going to face the same voter fraud that the Sullivan Board of Elections backed off of, Johnson said.

Two years of controversies and lawsuits surrounding Chestnut Ridge have not been enough to dissuade the two officials from trying to continue in their positions. Gerardi said he is proud of all the things his administration has done to straighten up the village and increase public safety. He hired a code inspector and they have worked to increase property inspections and cite code violations. He has also planted flowers, added signs and paved the village hall parking lot. Right now he is chasing a sidewalk improvement grant.

Its all the little things, Gerardi said.

Bloomingburg has 293 registered voters as of Tuesday, with the last day to register March 4. Only two deeds have been filed out of 45 available homes in the highly scrutinized Chestnut Ridge development.

The campaign is a shot in the dark right now with no announced challengers, Gerardi said, but they will know by next Tuesday, the last day to file a petition to run.

Whatever will be, will be, Gerardi said. I cant control it. I can only hope for the best.

The Sullivan County Board of Elections will be under the watchful eye of the federal government for the next five years and will have to pay more than $500,000 as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit brought by Hasidic voters who accused the county of discrimination.

The settlement will require the county to pay $550,000 in legal fees and give each of the 10 Village of Bloomingburg residents who were part of the federal suit $2,500 each – or $25,000 total, according to the settlement documents filed in federal court in White Plains Monday.

The settlement is meant to stop the rising cost of the lawsuit, according to court documents.

The county’s insurance company will reimburse the county for any payments made as part of the settlement, according to a resolution approved by the legislature in a 7-1 vote on Thursday. It has yet to be signed by the court.

Legislator Cathy Owens, the wife of Mamakating Town Supervisor Bill Herrmann, was the only one to vote against the settlement.

The settlement will also require both sides to appoint a person as monitor.

The monitor will be tasked with reviewing the questionnaire given to people who’ve had their voter registration challenged to make sure it complies with state election law and that it doesn’t “impose an unnecessary burden on the constitutional right to vote.”

The monitor will also review any information in an investigation of a person’s voter registration and make recommendations for what the board should do. If the board disagrees with the monitor, the voter can then take their case immediately to a federal judge instead of having to first file a lawsuit in county court.

The board of elections will be under the watch of the independent monitor for five years, according to the settlement.

NYC attorney Steven Engel, who represented the Bloomingburg voters, said this was the first time he has heard of the federal court monitoring a county board of elections. He said he was pleased with the settlement.

“This is a victory not only for Bloomingburg’s Hasidic Jewish community, but citizens of every faith,” Engel said.

Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez said the county could benefit from an independent monitor.

“It’s just unbelievable when someone comes from the outside and you see something you didn’t see before,” Alvarez said.

This settlement brings an end to a federal suit filed by 10 Bloomingburg residents who said Elections Commissioners Ann Prusinski and now-deceased Rodney Gaebel, canceled more than 150 Hasidic voter registrations in early 2015 to prevent Hasidim from voting in the village election. The county has denied taking any discriminatory actions against voters.

The county, who was represented by outgoing county attorney Sam Yasgur, hired Middletown attorneys Bob Isseks and Alex Smith of Isseks and Smith to represent Prusinski in the lawsuit. Smith previously said this was done when a government perceives one of its employees did not act in its best interest.

I was surprised and saddened by Livia Levine’s recent article in the Sisterhood, “Can Haredi Women Learn to Lean In.” It is disappointing and disheartening that Haredi women in Israeli don’t see themselves as competent enough to be managers and surprised they viewed being a manager as a male role, considering that many Haredi men aren’t in the workforce at all. Levine concludes that Haredi women Israeli are not capable of leaning-in. What about Haredi or right-wing Orthodox women in America. Are they leaning in?

The answer is yes and no.

In my fifteen years of working in Orthodox women’ higher education in America, I haven’t encountered that same negative attitude among American Haredi women about their own capabilities that Levine found in Israel. On the contrary, I do see a growing number of Orthodox women in America “leaning in.” In mainly mid-size or small businesses, especially those geared towards the Orthodox community, women are achieving impressive levels of success. The growth of the Jewish Woman Entrepreneur, a non-profit organization that provides support, networking, education and mentoring to (mostly Orthodox) Jewish women in business, is testament to this rise. It has a network of over 1,200 women, some of whom are presiding over multi-million dollar companies.

The idea of Orthodox women occupying important professional positions is becoming more and more mainstream. In women’s magazines that cater to the right-wing Orthodox and Hasidic populations (such as “Mishpacha Family First” and “Ami Living”) articles profiling successful Orthodox women in business and on work-family balance have become commonplace. However, American Orthodox women aren’t reaching CEO level positions in great numbers. Not because they don’t believe themselves competent, but because they are not aspiring, or being encouraged to aspire for these positions. The Haredi Orthodox community is vehemently opposed to the feminist movement, believing it synonymous with women prioritizing their careers to the detriment of their families. To counteract the perceived threats to family life, Orthodox girls’ educators place great stress on the importance of prioritizing family life and choosing a career path that is consonant with being a mother. As a result, Orthodox women do generally prioritize their families and choose family-friendly career tracks, which is a legitimate and commendable choice (a choice that arguably most women make). However, some Orthodox women are reluctant to pursue opportunities that could actually be very doable for a working mother because they are conditioned to think small. These women may only be exposed to limited professional options and choices, and would likely not even know what it means to “lean in.”

Similarly, while some Orthodox women choose a career they love, others choose a job track they view as practical in terms of earning potential and family friendly hours, without considering if they actually enjoy that line of work or are a good fit. Since they have been told that their families should be their primary source of fulfillment, these women believe that it doesn’t matter if they like their work. I oftentimes encounter students who believe that whether or not they will enjoy their jobs is irrelevant because it is “just a job.” This is an erroneous approach that could lead to feelings of unfulfillment, low self-esteem, and general misery. It damages a woman’s chances of success in the professional world and family life.

Certainly, Orthodox women are doing what Sheryl Sandberg calls, “leaving before they leave”; the phenomenon of women turning down opportunities because they are thinking about starting a family in the future, even though they are not doing so imminently. Young, single Orthodox women opt out of good opportunities because they are hoping to get married and start a family soon, even though they’re not even dating anyone at the moment, and it could be years before they have children. A student of mine turned down a prestigious graduate program because she feared that maybe in the course of the program, she would get married to a man living in another city and would have to move.

Levine presented her students with the low percentages of women in CEO positions. If we’re defining “leaning in” as aspiring for Fortune 500 CEO positions, then perhaps the answer to our question about American Orthodox women leaning in is no. The reality is that being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is a lofty goal that is improbable for most Orthodox women, or Orthodox men for that matter. It requires a level of dedication, in sheer number of hours, that is not consonant with an Orthodox lifestyle, both in terms of the emphasis on family and the time obligations of Shabbat and holidays (This relates to the global debate of can women “have it all”).

That said, there are many role models for Orthodox women who are achieving success in the professional world and in family life. This will likely become more and more commonplace in the coming years. What remains to be seen is if and how the growth of Orthodox women in leadership positions in the professional world will impact the structure of Orthodox communal life.

His frustration builds, until finally he stood up, like a strongman, in the middle of a field, rolled up his sleeves, girded his loins and began to blow with all his might. The wind begins to cry like a child. The blizzard he whips up causes such a frenzy that even the rich people didnt know what to do.

Then the wind hears small children wailing to their mother out of fear, and he chokes up. Their mother calls out to the wind to stop crying, but the wind throws a pile of snow at her face. She asks him to stop again, this time for the sake of the children, and he immediately quiets down. When Miriam Udel, a professor of Yiddish language, literature and culture at Emory University, stumbled upon The Wind That Got Angry at the New York Public Library, she noticed the microfiche stamp was dated a few months before her birthday, in 1976. Before she even delved in, she felt it was a sign, like the book had been waiting there for her. And it turned out that even as an adult, she related emotionally to the story.

She has two boys, ages 11 and 8, and a newborn baby, and felt the pain of this mother.

Ive always said that tantrums are like weather systems, she said. Theyre largely out of control, and you wait until its over, and then the sun comes out.

The Wind That Got Angry is one of the translations Udel is including in her upcoming anthology, Honey on the Page: An Annotated Anthology of Yiddish Childrens Literature, to be published by NYU Press in 2018.

Its an understudied field, she said, adding that in order to examine it, we have to be children again and we have to gain fluency.

Udel and two colleagues, Marshall Duke and Melvin Konner, received the 2015 Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellowship at Emory University to tackle, learn and analyze the history of childrens books printed in Yiddish from 1912 to 1974, with the bulk of the studies focusing on the interwar period. They just finished the first semester of their three-year study, which began with trying to grasp the basic traditions of Yiddish childrens literature. Udel compiled an email list and flagged down people in the hallways to recruit a small group of faculty, graduate students and anyone else to read selected stories and articles, and to have a discussion every other week.

I feel energized, Udel said. There was not a boring week, even when people came in and felt the literature they read wasnt the most stimulating. Now she is gearing up to begin the second portion of the scholarship: a comparative look at the works across Europe. Eventually there could be a documentary.

Yiddish childrens literature first appeared in the later part of the 19th century. Many point to Sholem Alecheims The Pocketknife from 1887, about a boy who suffers guilt after stealing a pocketknife, though Sholem Alecheim didnt originally write it for children. The industry, however, didnt begin to thrive until the 1920s and 30s in both Europe and America, mainly due to a rise of secular Jewish schools questioning traditional thought. The end of World War I led to the displacement of children, and therefore to an urgency to provide them with educational materials.Furthermore, the rise of childrens literature is attributed to a change in how society viewed and treated children, specifically developing the notion that there is such a thing as a childhood.

According to Gennady Estraikh, Kerstin Hoge, and Mikhail Krutikov, the editors of a forthcoming anthology titled Children and Yiddish Literature From Early Modernity to Post-Modernity, due for publication by Legenda in February, society ignored childrens interests, abilities and environment, and, like the community as a whole, had no conception of children as essentially different from adults. By the time the 20s and 30s came along, Yiddish books, poetry and periodicals for children could be found in Poland, Russia, the United States and Latin America.

More than 3,000 Hasidic Jewish women leaders from 81 countries are gathering in New York City this weekend for a conference to reconnect, build fellowship and discuss their approach to Judaism.

The conference is organized for women emissary-representatives of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, an Orthodox Jewish Hasidic movement known around the world for its outreach efforts. Chabad sends emissaries typically husband-and-wife teams to all corners of the globe to serve as resources and representatives for all Jews, regardless of their affiliation. Women at the conference are coming from places as near as Long Island and as far away as Thailand. The five-day event started Thursday night and runs through Monday morning.

Dini Freundlich, 41, is a conference attendee who traveled all the way from China with two of her young daughters. Freundlich, who is originally from South Africa, runs a Jewish day school with her husband in Beijing, where the couple and their six children serve as pillars for a small, revolving Jewish community. Freundlich says her husband is the first rabbi in the Chinese capital’s history.

Coming to this conference gives you a sense that youre not alone, Freundlich told International Business Times. You recharge your personal energy and refocus on why youre doing what you do. Our lives as emissaries are so communal, its nice to be at this conference and have a bit of time where your not working as the giver.

While their mothers attend workshops on how to better serve their communities and regain a spiritual commitment to their faith, Chabad girls age 8 to 14 will attend a concurrent conference for their age group. This year, girls will focus on the themes of being kind to one another and developing a love for the Jewish people.

Held at Lubavitch world headquarters in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, the conference is supported by many local residents who contribute in whatever ways they can. Some host dozens of guests in their homes, while others volunteer for other services, like helping to record and broadcast the sessions all over the world.

Detty Leverton, a Crown Heights resident who is helping with the event, says that its a privilege to serve the attendees.

What they do is amazing; they sacrifice so much to make the world a better place, and they give so much of their personal lives to the community, Leverton told

People in Crown Heights have an opportunity to host them, treat them, help them, make things go more smoothly for them, give them a little hospitality, a place they can put their feet up where they dont have to worry about anything, she added. They can just come in the door and know that their needs will be taken care of. Its a small gesture that we can offer them, saying, Were rooting for you, we support you, we respect you, we really care about you.

The Chabad movement was founded by a rabbi in Lithuania in 1775, later moving its headquarters to Warsaw. In 1940, after the Germans overran Poland, the movement’s headquarters shifted to Brooklyn. The name “Chabad” is a Hebrew acronym for the words “wisdom, understanding and knowledge.” The organization’s philosophy, which emphasizes learning, is based on both classical Judaic texts and also Jewish mysticism. There are more than 3,600 Chabad institutions around the world. While current estimates are hard to come by, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported in 2005 that about 1 million Jews attend Chabad services each year, though fewer are members of the movement.

A full weekend of activities and workshops ends on with a gala banquet on Sunday night, followed by a visit to sites important to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement on Monday morning.

One of the two rabbinical leaders of the anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect of Hasidim is due to visit Israel bearing cash for anti-draft yeshivas that boycott IDF draft notices, and for ultra-Orthodox students injured or beaten during anti-draft protests.

Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, who has tens of thousands of followers in the US, is due for a 24-hour visit for a family celebration. He has called for a list of yeshivas whose directors refuse to comply with Israel Defense Forces draft orders, Channel 2 reported. Many ultra-Orthodox yeshivas allow their students to go to army induction centers to go through the process of applying for deferments, which eventually become exemptions.

In a letter to yeshiva heads, Teitelbaum has also asked for the names of yeshiva students who have suffered injuries in anti-draft protests.

Both groups are to benefit from a fund at the rabbi’s disposal.

Jerusalem police on Tuesday arrested six ultra-Orthodox Israelis demonstrating in the capital against the detention of two Haredi men who failed to show up at the army induction center to enlist.

In December, thousands of Haredi protesters demonstrated against the draft. Several protesters clashed with police, who in turn sprayed tear gas at the rioters.

Many in the ultra-Orthodox community shun the mandatory national service that applies to most Israelis, and the community has historically enjoyed blanket exemptions from the army in favor of religious seminary studies.

Reforms passed in the Knesset in 2014 that sought to do away with the exemptions and gradually increase ultra-Orthodox recruitment met fierce opposition from many in the community.

Rabbinic leaders of the community view military service as a threat to their way of life.

In late November 2015, the Knesset approved an amendment to the Equal Service Law that dramatically rolled back the 2014 reforms and scrapped collective penalties imposed if annual quotas for ultra-Orthodox draftees were not met.

A number of ultra-Orthodox recruits have been disowned by their families and ultra-Orthodox soldiers often complain of harassment and violence by community members.

Police said a call threatening to detonate an explosive device was received by the Jewish Academy of Orlando, full of children, at around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

The facility which includes the Jewish Academy, the Roth Family JCC, the Holocaust Center and Federation offices was evacuated and all campus operations were suspended for the remainder of the day, according to the Orlando-based website Students were taken to the nearby Lake Sybelia Elementary School, where they waited to be picked up by their parents, who were informed of an emergency at the school.

Officers and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the Jewish center but found no explosives, according to Fox 35.

Lt. Louis Grindle said officials are keeping an eye on the Jewish Academy of Orlando to make sure theres no suspicious vehicles and things like that. He said figuring out if the bomb threat is serious or a mere prank is difficult.

It could be someone whos trying to make the threat and scare people, he explained. It could be a student from somewhere, sometimes when they dont want to go to school thats what the big thing was bomb threats.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando released a statement saying all campus buildings will resume normal operations on Wednesday morning, while local and federal authorities continue to investigate.

We commend Maitland Police and Fire Rescue personnel for their outstanding response to this situation, said Olga Yorish, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. Their professionalism and guidance enabled us to conduct a safe and orderly evacuation. We know that hundreds of community members come to our campus daily, and we want to assure you that we will continue to take every measure necessary to ensure a safe and secure Jewish Community Campus.

The Mandel Jewish Community Center in Palm Beach Gardens was also evacuated on Tuesday after receiving a similar bomb threat, Fox 35 reported.

Anyone with information on the bomb threat is asked to call the Maitland Police Department.

Layers and layers of bureaucracy and politics plague New York as a direct result of this unnecessary municipal structure, serving up a recipe of red tape and patronage on steroids. Residents suffer additional tax burdens. Heightened quarrels erupt over municipal services, education and the division of property. And it is a lightning rod for brutal in-fighting among town residents, who may have one overall town supervisor overseeing the varied villages/hamlets/town/city, and then a few individual mayors. Who gets more pieces of the pie? And why?

Those who live in Kiryas Joel, which is a village within the Town of Monroe, want more, but others who reside in the town (some from the Village of Monroe and the Village of Harriman) dont want to provide it. Perhaps, given the lunacy inherent in this municipal structure, it is understandable why the Harriman and Monroe village persons are adverse to turning over more of that desired pie, but the tactics and the message spread by the opposition is unfair and, in many manners, inaccurate. More so, the decision sought against the Kiryas Joel residents who seek land annexation can be summed up in one legal word: unconstitutional.

Kiryas Joel is unlike nearly every other municipality in New York; its unlike nearly every other in the country. For starters, it is comprised of virtually one type of people meaning there is almost no ethnic/religious diversity whatsoever. Almost one hundred percent of the Kiryas Joel residents are Hasidic Jews; even more constrained, they are Hasidic Jews who are part of the Satmar Hasidic dynasty. English is not the first language of the vast majority of these people it is Yiddish that they primarily speak at home. Their uniformity is not limited to language. Their dress, hairstyles, and style of living are fundamentally identical. Mostly, they live in town house/condo type homes built on small parcels of property, in a very close-knit community. Their attire is plain, notably men wearing white dress shirts with dark pants; women adorn long dresses.

Family sizes are large an average of 6 7 immediate family members per household. It is not unusual for a couple to have 10 or more children. Divorce is practically non-existent.

Critics of Kiryas Joel argue that its poverty rate is the highest in New York, if not the nation. And that their usage of food stamps is also at the top level. Yet, there are no homeless people on the streets and there is virtually no crime in Kiryas Joel. Kids apparently dont even play hooky.

These oddities, as many find them or just differences in culture as all should view them are the backdrop for the plight of those who seek annexation of property on behalf of Kiryas Joel. The spin doctors who oppose their annexation request have cleverly attacked it at its corethey have redefined, to the public, what the legal word annexation means in this circumstance. They have misled the public into thinking that Kiryas Joel residents are seeking something that they are not; they have weaved a tale that Kiryas Joel is attempting to seize land that is not owned by them. That Kiryas Joel is attempting some twisted form of eminent domain to overtake property that is not theirs. This is false.

Kiryas Joel is indeed seeking to annex property from the Town of Monroe. Very specifically, the village is asking for an annexation of a 507 acre parcel of land. The Town of Monroe, by a 4 to 1 governing body vote in September, permitted a 164 acre annexation instead. The village is appealing that decision in the New York appellate courts.

Journal News/lohud reporter Adrienne Sanders will appear on PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly this weekend to discuss secular education in Hasidic yeshivas.

An investigation conducted by Sanders in November revealed that, contrary to state law, some Rockland County Hasidic yeshivas fail to offer general studies such as English, mathematics and science. Following Sanders’ report, parents of students in several East Ramapo Hasidic yeshivas, and former students who attended them, filed a class-action civil rights lawsuit that accuses education officials of failing to provide boys with a sound, basic education.

Several of the subjects of Sanders’ reports will also appear.

In New York City, the show will air at 10:30 a.m., on WNET-13 on Saturday, Jan. 30, and 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 31. Check your local PBS station for exact dates and times.

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly correspondents “travel around the nation and the globe to explore how issues of faith, religion and ethics shape both national and international events.” Menachem Daum, the producer of the segment on secular education, was also the producer of “A Life Apart,” a 1997 feature-length documentary about Hasidim for PBS.

A kosher fast-food restaurant believed to be the only one of its kind in Ecuador opened in its largest city to serve the tiny Jewish community and more.

“We Jews did not have a place to eat. So I have persuaded the local Jewish community leaders” to open the restaurant, Israeli businessman Ofir Belaishe told the Diario Judio news portal. He had been offering shawarma at night to local kashrut-observant Jewish friends since he moved to Guayquil four years ago.

Kosher Pita Grill serves Middle Eastern-style food to the coastal city’s nearly 30 Jewish families. After the inauguration of the restaurant one month ago under supervision of the local Chabad rabbi, the Israeli owner has decided to expand the target audience, although it will remain closed on Shabbat.

“The restaurant is not intended for Jews only,” said Shahar Matza, who praised the food-handlers and the cleanliness of the restaurant. “Some people get here thinking it’s one more ordinary fast-food house.”

Until three years ago, the kosher infrastructure in the city reportedly was poor. Since then, kosher food can be found in supermarkets and the new restaurant, which will now serve Orthodox Jewish customers and visitors.

The 2015 figure is 13 per cent up on the previous year and 75 per cent higher than the 258 recorded in the 12 months to June 2013.

The figures released on Holocaust Memorial Day showed almost half the incidents took place in the boroughs of Barnet and Hackney, home to most of Londons 250,000-strong Jewish population.

The crimes include physical assaults, verbal abuse and criminal damage to Jewish property or buildings. Campaigners have blamed the rise on the Mets failure to prosecute enough cases.

Scotland Yard said the increase was partly due to an increased willingness to come forward in the wake of anti-Semitic outrages in other countries, particularly France.

The mass shootings in Paris that marred 2015 and the threat of similar attacks in London and elsewhere have led to the highest number of Jews emigrating to Israel.

The Jewish Agency reported that 800 British Jews left the UK for Israel last year. In total 9,880 western European Jews, including 8,000 from France, moved to the country the highest annual number ever.

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Yemenite Jews – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yemenite Jews Total population (400,000 (est.)) Regions with significant populations Israel 350,000 United States 50,000 United Kingdom 5,000 Yemen 90 (est.)[1] Languages Hebrew, Arabic, English, Religion Judaism Related ethnic groups Mizrahi Jews, Sephardi Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Arabs

Yemenite Jews (Hebrew: Yehudei teiman; Arabic: ) are those Jews who live, or once lived, in Yemen. The term may also refer to the descendants of the Yemenite Jewish community. Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen’s Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet. After several waves of persecution throughout Yemen, most Yemenite Jews now live in Israel, while small communities are found in the United States and elsewhere. Only a handful remain in Yemen. The few remaining Jews experience intense, and at times violent, anti-Semitism on a daily basis.[2]

Yemenite Jews have a unique religious tradition that marks them out as separate from Ashkenazi, Sephardi and other Jewish groups. Yemenite Jews are generally described as belonging to “Mizrahi Jews”, though they differ from the general trend of Mizrahi groups in Israel, which have undergone a process of total or partial assimilation to Sephardic culture and Sephardic liturgy. (While the Shami sub-group of Yemenite Jews did adopt a Sephardic-influenced rite, this was in no small part due to it essentially being forced upon them[3] and did not reflect a demographic or cultural shift).

Some Jewish families have preserved traditions relating to their tribal affiliation, based on partial genealogical records passed down generation after generation. In Yemen, for example, some Jews trace their lineage to Judah, others to Benjamin, while yet others to Levi and Reuben. Of particular interest is one distinguished Jewish family of Yemen who traced their lineage to Bani, one of the sons of Peretz, the son of Judah.[4]

There are numerous accounts and legends concerning the arrival of Jews in various regions in Southern Arabia. One legend suggests that King Solomon sent Jewish merchant marines to Yemen to prospect for gold and silver with which to adorn his Temple in Jerusalem.[5] In 1881, the French vice consulate in Yemen wrote to the leaders of the Alliance (the Alliance Israelite Universelle) in France, that he read in a book by the Arab historian Abu-Alfada that the Jews of Yemen settled in the area in 1451BCE.[6] Another legend says that Yemeni tribes converted to Judaism after the Queen of Sheba’s visit to king Solomon.[7] The Sanaite Jews have a legend that their ancestors settled in Yemen forty-two years before the destruction of the First Temple.[8] It is said that under the prophet Jeremiah some 75,000 Jews, including priests and Levites, traveled to Yemen.[9] Another legend states that when Ezra commanded the Jews to return to Jerusalem they disobeyed, whereupon he pronounced a ban upon them. According to this legend, as a punishment for this hasty action Ezra was denied burial in Israel. As a result of this local tradition, which can not be validated historically, it is said that no Jew of Yemen gives the name of Ezra to a child, although all other Biblical appellatives are used. The Yemenite Jews claim that Ezra cursed them to be a poor people for not heeding his call. This seems to have come true in the eyes of some Yemenites, as Yemen is extremely poor. However, some Yemenite sages in Israel today emphatically reject this story as myth, if not outright blasphemy.[10]

Archaeological records referring to Judaism in Yemen started to appear during the rule of the Himyarite Kingdom, established in Yemen in 110 BCE.[11] Various inscription in Musnad script in the second century CE refer to constructions of synagogues approved by Himyarite Kings.[12] The kingdom’s aristocracy was eventually to convert to Judaism in the 6th century CE.[13] The Jews became especially numerous and powerful in the southern part of Arabia, a rich and fertile land of incense and spices and a way station on the routes to Africa, India, and the Orient. The tribes in Yemen did not oppose Jewish presence in their country.[14] By 516, tribal unrest broke out and several tribal elites fought for power. One of those elites was Joseph Dhu Nuwas or “Ysuf Asar Yaar” as mentioned in ancient south Arabian inscriptions.[15] Ysuf (Joseph) was a converted Jew.[16][17]Nestorian accounts, however, claim that his mother was a Jewess taken captive from Nisibis and bought by a king in Yemen, whose ancestors had formerly converted to Judaism.[18] Syriac and Byzantine sources maintain that Ysuf Asar sought to convert other Yemeni Christians, but they refused to renounce Christianity. Some scholars think is unlikely because Judaism is not missionary in nature, and it is believed that Syriac sources reflected a great deal of hatred toward Jews.[19] In 2009 a BBC broadcast defended a claim that Ysuf Asar offered villagers the choice between conversion to Judaism or death and then massacred 20,000 Christians. The program’s producers stated that, “The production team spoke to many historians over 18 months, among them Nigel Groom, who was our consultant, and Professor Abdul Rahman Al-Ansary [former professor of archaeology at the King Saud University in Riyadh].”[20] Inscriptions attributed to Ysuf Asar himself show the great pride he expressed after killing more than 22,000 Christians in afr and Najran.[21] According to Jamme, Sabaean inscriptions reveal that the combined war booty (excluding deaths) from campaigns waged against the Abyssinians in afr, the fighters in Aarn, Rakbn, Farasn, Muwn (Mocha), and the fighters and military units in Najran, amounted to 12,500 war trophies, 11,000 captives and 290,000 camels and bovines and sheep.[15] Historian Glen Bowersock described this as a “savage pogrom that the Jewish king of the Arabs launched against the Christians in the city of Najran. The king himself reported in excruciating detail to his Arab and Persian allies about the massacres he had inflicted on all Christians who refused to convert to Judaism.”[22] There were also reports of massacres and destruction of places of worship by Christians too.[23]

According to Irfan Shahids Martyrs of Najran New Documents, Dhu-Nuwas sent an army of some 120,000 soldiers to lay siege to the city of Najran, which siege lasted for six months, and the city taken and burnt on the 15th day of the seventh month (i.e. the lunar month Tishri). The city had revolted against the king and they refused to deliver it up unto the king. About three-hundred of the citys inhabitants surrendered to the kings forces, under the assurances of an oath that no harm would come to them, and these were later bound, while those remaining in the city were burnt alive within their church. The death toll in this account is said to have reached about two-thousand. However, in the Sabaean inscriptions describing these events, it is reported that by the month Dhu-Madra’an (between July and September) there were 1000 killed, 1500 prisoners [taken] and 10,000 head of cattle.[24]

There are two dates mentioned in the letter of Simeon of Beit Aram. One date indicates the letter was written in Tammuz in the year 830 of Alexander (518/519 CE), from the camp of GBALA (Jebala), king of the SNYA (Ghassanids or the assn clan). In it he tells of the events that transpired in Najran, while the other date puts the letters composition in the year 835 of Alexander (523/524 CE). The second letter, however, is actually a Syriac copy of the original, copied in the year 1490 of the Seleucid Era (= 1178/79 CE). Today, it is largely agreed that the latter date is the accurate one, as it is confirmed by the Martyrium Arethae, as well as by epigraphic records, namely Sabaean inscriptions discovered in the Asir of Saudi-Arabia (Bir im), photographed by J. Ryckmans in Ry 507, 8 ~ 9, and by A. Jamme in Ja 1028, which give the old Sabaean year 633 for these operations (said to correspond with 523 CE).

Jacques Ryckmans, who deciphered these inscriptions, writes in his La Perscution des Chrtiens Himyarites, that Sarah’il Yaqbul-Yaz’an was both the tribal chief and the lieutenant of Ysuf Asar (the king) at the time of the military campaign, and that he was sent out by the king to take the city of Najran, while the king watched for a possible Abyssinian/Ethiopian incursion along the coastal plains of Yemen near Mokh (al-Mo) and the strait known as Bb al-Mandab. It is to be noted that the Ethiopian church in afr, which had been built by the king of Yemen some years earlier, and another church built by him in Aden (see: Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, Epitome of Book III, chapter 4), had been seen by Constantius II during the embassage to the land of the imyarites (i.e. Yemen) in circa 340 CE. This church was set on fire and razed to the ground, and its Abyssinian inhabitants killed. Later, foreigners (presumably Christians) living in Haramawt were also put to death before the kings army advanced to Najran in the far north and took it.

Byzantine emperor Justin I sent a fleet to Yemen and Joseph Dhu Nuwas was killed in battle in 525 CE.[25] The persecutions ceased, and the western coasts of Yemen became a tributary state until Himyarite nobility (also Jews) managed to regain power.[26]

There are also several historical works which suggest that a Jewish kingdom existed in what is now Yemen during pre-Islamic late antiquity.[27] In Yemen, several inscriptions dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries CE have been found in Hebrew and Sabaean praising the ruling house in Jewish terms for “helping and empowering the People of Israel”.[28] In Bayt al-ir, a village situated near Tanim, Professor Walter Mller also discovered in the central mosque of the village an important Judeo-imyarite inscription showing a partial list of the 24-priestly wards described in IChronicles 24, which said inscription happened to be engraved upon a column believed to have formerly belonged to a synagogue.[29] Yet, even here, part of the inscription was embedded in the ground belonging to the mosque. The inscription is believed to date back to the 4th century CE, and attests to the antiquity of the Jews in that area. To that same period belongs another bilingual Sabaean-Hebrew inscription, which Professor Giovnn Garbin of Naples discovered in 1970. The inscription is found on a column in Bayt al-Awl near afr [Dhofr] (ca. 17 km. from the town of Yarim) and shows, interposed on an earlier writing, the words, “The writing of Judah, of blessed memory, Amen shalom amen,” engraved in antiquated Assyrian (Hebrew) script in between larger, sculpted Sabaean script.[30]

As Ahl al-Kitab, protected Peoples of the Scriptures, the Jews were assured freedom of religion only in exchange for the jizya, payment of a poll tax imposed on certain non-Muslim monotheists (people of the Book). In exchange for the jizya, non-Muslim residents are then given safety, and also are exempt from paying the zakat which must be paid by Muslims once their residual wealth reaches a certain threshold. Active persecution of Jews did not gain full force until the Zaydi clan seized power, from the more tolerant Sunni Muslims, early in the 10th century.[31]

The Zaydi enforced a statute known as the Orphan’s Decree, anchored in their own 18th century legal interpretations and enforced at the end of that century. It obligated the Zaydi state to take under its protection and to educate in Islamic ways any dhimmi (i.e. non-Muslim) child whose parents had died when he or she was a minor. The Orphan’s Decree was ignored during the Ottoman rule (18721918), but was renewed during the period of Imam Yahya (19181948).[32]

Under the Zaydi rule, the Jews were considered to be impure, and therefore forbidden to touch a Muslim or a Muslim’s food. They were obligated to humble themselves before a Muslim, to walk to the left side, and greet him first. They could not build houses higher than a Muslim’s or ride a camel or horse, and when riding on a mule or a donkey, they had to sit sideways. Upon entering the Muslim quarter a Jew had to take off his foot-gear and walk barefoot. If attacked with stones or fists by youth, a Jew was not allowed to fight them. In such situations he had the option of fleeing or seeking intervention by a merciful Muslim passerby.[33]

Yemenite Jews also experienced violent persecution at times. In the 12th century, the Yemenite ruler ‘Abd-al-Nab ibn Mahdi left Jews with the choice between conversion to Islam or martyrdom.[34] While a popular local Yemenite Jewish preacher called Jews to choose martyrdom, Maimonides sent what is known by the name Iggeret Teman (Epistle to Yemen), requesting that they remain faithful to their religion, but if at all possible, not to cast affronts before their antagonists.[35]

In the 13th century, persecution of Jews subsided when the Rasulids took over the country, ending Zaydi rule and establishing the Rasulid dynasty, which lasted from 1229 to 1474. In 1547, the Ottoman Empire took over Yemen. This allowed Yemenite Jews a chance to have contact with other Jewish communities; contact was established with the Kabbalists in Safed, a major Jewish center, as well as with Jewish communities throughout the Ottoman Empire.[36]

Ottoman rule ended in 1630, when the Zaydis took over Yemen. Jews were once again persecuted. In 1679, under the rule of Al-Mahdi Ahmad, Jews were expelled en masse from all parts of Yemen to the distant province of Mawza, and many Jews died there of starvation and disease as consequence. As many as two-thirds of the exiled Jews did not survive.[37] Their houses and property were seized, and many synagogues were destroyed or converted into mosques.[38] This event was later known as the Mawza exile, and it is recalled in many writings of the Yemenite Jewish rabbi and poet Shalom Shabazi, who experienced it himself. About a year after the expulsion, the survivors were allowed to return for economic reasons; Jews were the majority of craftsmen and artisans, and thus a vital asset in the country’s economy. However, they were not allowed to return to their former homes and found that most of their religious articles had been destroyed. They were instead resettled in special Jewish quarters outside the cities.[36]

The Jews of Yemen had expertise in a wide range of trades normally avoided by Zaydi Muslims. Trades such as silver-smithing, blacksmiths, repairing weapons and tools, weaving, pottery, masonry, carpentry, shoe making, and tailoring were occupations that were exclusively taken by Jews. The division of labor created a sort of covenant, based on mutual economic and social dependency, between the Zaydi Muslim population and the Jews of Yemen. The Muslims produced and supplied food, and the Jews supplied all manufactured products and services that the Yemeni farmers needed.[39]

During the 18th century, Yemenite Jews gained a brief respite from their status as second-class citizens when the Imamics came to power. Yemen experienced a resurgence of Jewish life. Synagogues were rebuilt, and some Jews achieved high office. One of them was Rabbi Shalom ben Aharon, who became responsible for minting and for the royal coffers. When the Imamics lost power in the 19th century, Jews were again subjected to persecution. In 1872, the Ottoman Empire again took over, and Ottoman rule would last until Yemeni independence in 1918. Jewish life again improved during Ottoman rule; Jewish freedom of religion was more widely respected, and Yemenite Jews were permitted to have more contact with other Jewish communities.[36]

In the years preceding their immigration to Israel, Yemenite Jews lived principally in Sana (7,000 +), with the largest Jewish population and twenty-eight synagogues, followed by Rada’a, with the second largest Jewish population and nine synagogues,[62]Saada (1,000), Dhamar (1,000), Aden (200), and in more than 1,200 villages scattered across Yemen. Other significant Jewish communities in Yemen were based in the south central highlands in the cities of: Taiz (the birthplace of one of the most famous Yemenite Jewish spiritual leaders, Mori Salem Al-Shabazzi Mashta), Ba’dan, and other cities and towns in the Shar’ab region. Many other Jewish towns and villages in Yemen were long since abandoned by their Jewish inhabitants. Yemenite Jews were chiefly artisans, including gold-, silver- and blacksmiths in the San’a area, and coffee merchants in the south central highland areas.

During this period messianic expectations were very intense among the Jews of Yemen (and among many Arabs as well). The three pseudo-messiahs of this period, and their years of activity, are:

According to the Jewish traveler Jacob Saphir, the majority of Yemenite Jews during his visit of 1862 entertained a belief in the messianic proclamations of Shukr Kuhayl I. Earlier Yemenite messiah claimants included the anonymous 12th-century messiah who was the subject of Maimonides’ famous Iggeret Teman, or Epistle to Yemen,[35] the messiah of Bayhan (c. 1495), and Suleiman Jamal (c. 1667), in what Lenowitz[63] regards as a unified messiah history spanning 600 years.

Yemenite Jews and the Aramaic speaking Kurdish Jews[64] are the only communities who maintain the tradition of reading the Torah in the synagogue in both Hebrew and the Aramaic Targum (“translation”). Most non-Yemenite synagogues have a specified person called a Baal Koreh, who reads from the Torah scroll when congregants are called to the Torah scroll for an aliyah. In the Yemenite tradition each person called to the Torah scroll for an aliyah reads for himself. Children under the age of Bar Mitzvah are often given the sixth aliyah. Each verse of the Torah read in Hebrew is followed by the Aramaic translation, usually chanted by a child. Both the sixth aliyah and the Targum have a simplified melody, distinct from the general Torah melody used for the other aliyot.

Like most other Jewish communities, Yemenite Jews chant different melodies for Torah, Prophets (Haftara), Megillat Aicha (Book of Lamentations), Kohelet (Ecclesiastes, read during Sukkot), and Megillat Esther (the Scroll of Esther read on Purim). Unlike Ashkenazic communities, there are melodies for Mishle (Proverbs) and Psalms.[65]

In larger Jewish communities, such as Sana’a and Sad’a, boys were sent to the melamed at the age of three to begin their religious learning. They attended the melamed from early dawn to sunset on Sunday through Thursday and until noon on Friday. Jewish women were required to have a thorough knowledge of the laws pertaining to Kashrut and Taharat Mishpachah (family purity) i.e. Niddah. Some women even mastered the laws of Shechita, thereby acting as ritual slaughterers.

People also sat on the floors of synagogues instead of sitting on chairs, similar to the way many other non-Ashkenazi Jews sat in synagogues. This is in accordance with what Rambam (Maimonides) wrote in his Mishneh Torah:

The lack of chairs may also have been to provide more space for prostration, another ancient Jewish observance that the Jews of Yemen continued to practise until very recent times.[67] There are still a few Yemenite Jews who prostrate themselves during the part of everyday Jewish prayer called Tachanun (Supplication), though such individuals usually do so in privacy. In the small Jewish community that exists today in Bet Harash prostration is still done during the tachanun prayer. Jews of European origin generally prostrate only during certain portions of special prayers during Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Prostration was a common practise amongst all Jews until some point during the late Middle Ages or Renaissance period.

Like Yemenite Jewish homes, the synagogues in Yemen had to be lower in height than the lowest mosque in the area. In order to accommodate this, synagogues were built into the ground to give them more space without looking large from the outside. In some parts of Yemen, minyanim would often just meet in homes of Jews instead of the community having a separate building for a synagogue. Beauty and artwork were saved for the ritual objects in the synagogue and in the home.

Yemenite Jews also wore a distinctive tallit often found to this day. The Yemenite tallit features a wide atara and large corner patches, embellished with silver or gold thread, and the fringes along the sides of the tallit are netted. According to the Baladi custom, the tzitzit are tied with chulyot, based on the Rambam.

During a Yemenite Jewish wedding, the bride was bedecked with jewelry and wore a traditional wedding costume, including an elaborate headdress decorated with flowers and rue leaves, which were believed to ward off evil. Gold threads were woven into the fabric of her clothing. Songs were sung as part of a seven-day wedding celebration, with lyrics about friendship and love in alternating verses of Hebrew and Arabic.[68]

In Yemen, the Jewish practice was not for the groom and his bride to be secluded in a canopy (chuppah) hung on four poles, as is widely practiced today in Jewish weddings, but rather in a bridal chamber that was, in effect, a highly decorated room in the house of the groom. This room was traditionally decorated with large hanging sheets of colored, patterned cloth, replete with wall cushions and short-length mattresses for reclining.[69] Their marriage is consummated when they have been left together alone in this room. This ancient practice finds expression in the writings of Isaac ben Abba Mari (c. 1122 c. 1193), author of Sefer ha-’Ittur,[70] concerning the Benediction of the Bridegroom: “Now the chuppah is when her father delivers her unto her husband, bringing her into that house wherein is some new innovation, such as the sheets surrounding the walls, etc. For we recite in the Jerusalem Talmud, Sotah 46a (Sotah 9:15), ‘Those bridal chambers, (chuppoth hathanim), they hang within them patterned sheets and gold-embroidered ribbons,’ etc.”

After immigration to Israel, the regional varieties of Yemenite bridal jewelry were replaced by a uniform item that became identified with the community: the splendid bridal garb of Sana’a.[71]

Before the wedding, Yemenite and other Eastern Jewish communities perform the henna ceremony, an ancient ritual with Bronze Age origins.[72] The family of the bride mixes a paste derived from the henna plant that is placed on the palms of the bride and groom, and their guests. After the paste is washed off, a deep orange stain remains that gradually fades over the next week.[73]

Yemenites had a special affinity for Henna due to biblical and Talmudic references. Henna, in the Bible, is Camphire, and is mentioned in the Song of Solomon, as well as in the Talmud.

A Yemenite Jewish wedding custom specific only to the community of Aden is the Talbis, revolving around the groom. A number of special songs are sung by the men while holding candles, and the groom is dressed in a golden garment.[74]

The three main groups of Yemenite Jews are the Baladi, Shami, and the Maimonideans or “Rambamists”.

The differences between these groups largely concern the respective influence of the original Yemenite tradition, which was largely based on the works of Maimonides, and on the Kabbalistic tradition embodied in the Zohar and in the school of Isaac Luria, which was increasingly influential from the 17th century on.

Towards the end of the 19th century, new ideas began to reach Yemenite Jews from abroad. Hebrew newspapers began to arrive, and relations developed with Sephardic Jews, who came to Yemen from various Ottoman provinces to trade with the army and government officials.

Two Jewish travelers, Joseph Halvy, a French-trained Jewish Orientalist, and Eduard Glaser, an Austrian-Jewish astronomer and Arabist, in particular had a strong influence on a group of young Yemenite Jews, the most outstanding of whom was Rabbi Yiyah Qafi. As a result of his contact with Halvy and Glaser,[citation needed] Qafi introduced modern content into the educational system. Qafi opened a new school and, in addition to traditional subjects, introduced arithmetic, Hebrew and Arabic, with the grammar of both languages. The curriculum also included subjects such as natural science, history, geography, astronomy, sports and Turkish.[78]

The Dor Daim and Iqshim dispute about the Zohar literature broke out in 1912, inflamed Sana’a's Jewish community, and split it into two rival groups that maintained separate communal institutions[79] until the late 1940s. Rabbi Qafi and his friends were the leaders of a group of Maimonideans called Dor Daim (the “generation of knowledge”). Their goal was to bring Yemenite Jews back to the original Maimonidean method of understanding Judaism that existed in pre-17th century Yemen.

Similar to certain Spanish and Portuguese Jews (Western Sephardi Jews), the Dor Daim rejected the Zohar, a book of esoteric mysticism. They felt that the Kabbalah which was based on the Zohar was irrational, alien, and inconsistent with the true reasonable nature of Judaism. In 1913, when it seemed that Rabbi Qafi, then headmaster of the new Jewish school and working closely with the Ottoman authorities, enjoyed sufficient political support, the Dor Daim made its views public and tried to convince the entire community to accept them. Many of the non-Dor Deah elements of the community rejected the Dor Deah concepts. The opposition, the Iqshim, headed by Rabbi Yiya Yiaq, the Hakham Bashi, refused to deviate from the accepted customs and from the study of the Zohar. One of the Iqshim’s targets in the fight against Rabbi Qafi was his modern Turkish-Jewish school.[78] Due to the Dor Daim and Iqshim dispute, the school closed 5 years after it was opened, before the educational system could develop a reserve of young people who had been exposed to its ideas.[80]

Yemenite Hebrew has been studied by scholars, many of whom believe it to contain the most ancient phonetic and grammatical features.[81] There are two main pronunciations of Yemenite Hebrew, considered by many scholars to be the most accurate modern day form of Biblical Hebrew, although there are technically a total of five that relate to the regions of Yemen. In the Yemenite dialect, all Hebrew letters have a distinct sound, except for sme (Hebrew: ) and n (Hebrew: ), which are both pronounced /s/.[82] The Sanaani Hebrew pronunciation (used by the majority) has been indirectly critiqued by Saadia Gaon since it contains the Hebrew letters jimmel and guf, which he rules is incorrect. There are Yemenite scholars, such as Rabbi Ratzon Arusi, who say that such a perspective is a misunderstanding of Saadia Gaon’s words.

Rabbi Mazuz postulates this hypothesis through the Djerban (Tunisia) Jewish dialect’s use of gimmel and quf, switching to jimmel and guf when talking with Gentiles in the Arabic dialect of Jerba. While Jewish boys learned Hebrew since the age of 3, it was used primarily as a liturgical and scholarly language. In daily life, Yemenite Jews spoke in regional Judeo-Arabic.

The oldest Yemenite manuscripts are those of the Hebrew Bible, which the Yemenite Jews call “Taj” (“crown”). The oldest texts dating from the 9th century, and each of them has a short Masoretic introduction, while many contain Arabic commentaries.[83]

Yemenite Jews were acquainted with the works of Saadia Gaon, Rashi, Kimhi, Nahmanides, Yehudah ha Levy and Isaac Arama, besides producing a number of exegetes from among themselves. In the 14th century Nathanael ben Isaiah wrote an Arabic commentary on the Bible; in the second half of the 15th century Saadia ben David al-Adeni was the author of a commentary on Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Abraham ben Solomon wrote on the Prophets.

Among the midrash collections from Yemen mention should be made of the Midrash ha-Gadol of David bar Amram al-Adeni. Between 1413 and 1430 the physician Yaya Zechariah b. Solomon wrote a compilation entitled “Midrash ha-efe,” which included the Pentateuch, Lamentations, Book of Esther, and other sections of the Hebrew Bible. Between 1484 and 1493 David al-Lawani composed his “Midrash al-Wajiz al-Mughni.”[84] The earliest complete Judeo-Arabic copy of Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed, copied in Yemen in 1380, was found in the India Office Library and added to the collection of the British Library in 1992.[85]

Among the Yemenite poets who wrote Hebrew and Arabic hymns modeled after the Spanish school, mention may be made of Zechariah (Yaya) al-Dhahiri and the members of the Shabazi family. Al-Dhahiri’s work, which makes use of the poetic genre known as maqmah, a style inspired by ariri, was written in 1573 under the title Sefer ha-Musar. Herein, the author describes in 45 chapters his travels throughout India, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, the Land of Israel and Egypt, including a description of Rabbi Yosef Karo’s seat of learning in Safed. The philosophical writers include: Saadia b. Jabe and Saadia b. Mas’ud, both at the beginning of the 14th century; Ibn al-awas, the author of a treatise in the form of a dialogue written in rhymed prose, and termed by its author the “Flower of Yemen”; asan al-Dhamari; and Joseph ha-Levi b. Jefes, who wrote the philosophical treatises “Ner Yisrael” (1420) and “Kitab al-Masaah.”[86]

DNA testing between Yemenite Jews and members of the world’s other various Jewish communities shows a common link, with most communities sharing similar paternal genetic profiles. Furthermore, the Y-chromosome signatures of the Yemenite Jews are also similar to those of other Middle Eastern populations.[87]

According to several genetic studies on the autosomal DNA, Yemenite Jews are genetically related to Saudis, Bedouins and Palestinians, who all have ancestry from Arabia; this may be via an ancestral origin in southwestern Arabia of Yemenite Jews through conversions of Bedouins and southwestern Arabians in pre-Islamic antiquity.

The Y chromosome data on Yemenite Jews show greater evidence of shared Jewish ancestry. In particular, four Y haplogroups (A3b2, E3b3a, E3b1, and J2e) are shared between Yemenite and the Ethiopian Jewish population, whereas no exact mitochondrial haplotypes are shared between these two populations. Additionally, four Yemenite Jewish Y haplogroups (E3b1, E3b1b, J1, and R1b10) are also shared with other Jewish populations (including Ashkenazi, Iraqi, Libyan, and Moroccan Jews), as well as Druze and Palestinians. This paternal similarity across Jewish populations is consistent with the theory that most Jewish Diaspora populations share more paternal ancestry than maternal ancestry (Thomas et al., 2002). In sum, neither Yemenite Jewish mtDNA nor Y data support the origin theory of large-scale conversions of Yemeni Arabs to Judaism during the fifth to sixth centuries CE, based on minimal contribution from the neighboring non-Jewish Yemeni population. In contrast, molecular genetic data support descent from ancient Israeli exiles due to haplotypes shared with other Jewish populations (as seen in the Y chromosome) in addition to shared East African and more generalized Middle Eastern ancestry (supported by both mtDNA and Y). [89][90][91][92]

The three major population centers for Jews in southern Arabia were Aden, Habban and Hadramaut. The Jews of Aden lived in and around the city, and flourished during the British Aden Protectorate.

Emigration from Yemen to Palestine began in 1881 and continued almost without interruption until 1914. It was during this time that about 10% of the Yemenite Jews left. Due to the changes in the Ottoman Empire citizens could move more freely and in 1869 travel was improved with the opening of the Suez Canal, which reduced the travel time from Yemen to Palestine. Certain Yemenite Jews interpreted these changes and the new developments in the “Holy Land” as heavenly signs that the time of redemption was near. By settling in Palestine they would play a part in what they believed could precipitate the anticipated messianic era.

From 1881 to 1882, some 30 Jewish families left Sanaa and several nearby settlements and made the long trek by foot and by sea to Jerusalem, where most had settled in Silwan.[93] This wave was followed by other Jews from central Yemen who continued to move into Palestine until 1914. The majority of these groups would later move into Jerusalem proper and Jaffa. Rabbi Avraham al-Naddaf who immigrated to Jerusalem in 1891 described in his autobiography the hardships the Yemenite Jewish community faced in their new country, where there were no hostelries to accommodate wayfarers and new immigrants. On the other hand, he writes that the Sephardic seminaries (Heb. Kollelim) had taken under their auspices the Yemenite Jews from the moment they stepped foot in Jerusalem. Later, however, the Yemenites would come to feel discriminated against by the Sephardic community, who compelled them to no longer make use of their own soft, pliable matzah, but to buy from them only the hard cracker-like matzah made weeks in advance prior to Passover. He also mentions that the Yemenite community would pay the prescribed tax to the public coffers, yet they were not being allotted an equal share or subsidy as had been given to the Sephardic Jews. By 1910, the Yemenites had broken away from the Sephardic seminaries.[94]

Before World War I there was another wave that began in 1906 and continued until 1914. Hundreds of Yemenite Jews made their way to Palestine and chose to settle in the agricultural settlements. It was after these movements that the World Zionist Organization sent Shmuel Yavne’eli to Yemen to encourage Jews to emigrate to Palestine. Yavne’eli reached Yemen at the beginning of 1911 and returned to Palestine in April 1912. Due to Yavne’eli’s efforts about 1,000 Jews left central and southern Yemen with several hundred more arriving before 1914.[95]

In 1922, the government of Yemen, under Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din (Imam Yahya) reintroduced an ancient Islamic law entitled the “orphans decree.” The law dictated that, if Jewish boys or girls under the age of 12 were orphaned, they were to be forcibly converted to Islam, their connections to their families and communities were to be severed and they had to be handed over to Muslim foster families. The rule was based on the law that the prophet Mohammed is “the father of the orphans,” and on the fact that the Jews in Yemen were considered “under protection” and the ruler was obligated to care for them.[96]

A prominent example is Abdul Rahman al-Iryani, the former president of the Yemen Arab Republic, who was alleged to be of Jewish descent by Dorit Mizrahi, a writer in the Israeli ultra-Orthodox weekly Mishpaha, who claimed he was her maternal uncle. According to her recollection of events, he was born Zekharia Hadad in 1910 to a Yemenite Jewish family in Ibb. He lost his parents in a major disease epidemic at the age of 8 and together with his 5-year-old sister, he was forcibly converted to Islam and they were put under the care of separate foster families. He was raised in the powerful al-Iryani family and adopted an Islamic name. al-Iryani would later serve as minister of religious endowments under northern Yemen’s first national government and he became the only civilian to have led northern Yemen.[96][97]

However, YemenOnline, an online newspaper claimed to have conducted several interviews with several members of the al-Iryani family and residents of Iryan, and alleges that this claim of Jewish descent is merely a “fantasy” started in 1967 by Haolam Hazeh, an Israeli tabloid. It states that Zekharia Haddad is in fact, Abdul Raheem al-Haddad, Al-Iryani’s foster brother and bodyguard who died in 1980. Abdul Raheem is survived by tens of sons and grandsons.[98]

The largest part of both communities immigrated to Israel after the declaration of the state. Israel initiated Operation Magic Carpet in June 1949 and airlifted most of Yemen’s Jews to Israel by September 1950.[99]

In 1947, after the partition vote of the British Mandate of Palestine, Arab Muslim rioters, assisted by the local police force, engaged in a pogrom in Aden that killed 82 Jews and destroyed hundreds of Jewish homes. Aden’s Jewish community was economically paralyzed, as most of the Jewish stores and businesses were destroyed. Early in 1948, the unfounded rumour of the ritual murder of two girls led to looting.[100]

This increasingly perilous situation led to the emigration of virtually the entire Yemenite Jewish community between June 1949 and September 1950 in Operation Magic Carpet. During this period, over 50,000 Jews immigrated to Israel.

Operation Magic Carpet (Yemen) began in June 1949 and ended in September 1950.[101] Part of the operation happened during the 1948 Palestine war (November 30, 1947 July 20, 1949) and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (May 15, 1948 March 10, 1949). The operation was planned by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The plan was for the Jews from all over Yemen to make their way to the Aden area. Specifically, the Jews were to arrive in Hashed Camp and live there until they could be airlifted to Israel. Hashed was an old British military camp in the desert, about a mile away from the city of Sheikh Othman.[102] The operation took longer than was originally planned. Over the course of the operation, hundreds of migrants died in Hashed Camp, as well as on the plane rides to Israel.[101] By September 1950, almost 50,000 Jews had been successfully airlifted to the newly formed state of Israel.[103]

A smaller, continuous migration was allowed to continue into 1962, when a civil war put an abrupt halt to any further Jewish exodus.

According to an official statement by Alaska Airlines:

Many Yemenite Jews became irreligious through the re-education programme of the Jewish Agency.[105][106]

There was a story that, between 1949 and 1951, up to 1,033 children of Yemenite immigrant families may have disappeared from the immigrant camps. It was said that the parents were told that their children were ill and required hospitalization. Upon later visiting the hospital, it is claimed that the parents were told that their children had died though no bodies were presented and graves which have later proven to be empty in many cases were shown to the parents. Those who believed the theory contended that the Israeli government as well as other organizations in Israel kidnapped the children and gave them for adoption to other, non-Yemenite, families.[107]

In 2001 a seven-year public inquiry commission concluded that the accusations that Yemenite children were kidnapped by the government are not true. The commission unequivocally rejected claims of a plot to take children away from Yemenite immigrants. The report determined that documentation exists for 972 of the 1,033 missing children. Five additional missing babies were found to be alive. The commission was unable to discover what happened in another 56 cases. With regard to these unresolved 56 cases, the commission deemed it “possible” that the children were handed over for adoption following decisions made by individual local social workers, but not as part of an official policy.[107]

Today the overwhelming majority of Yemenite Jews live in Israel.

Some Yemenite Jews stayed behind during Operation Magic Carpet and were left behind, many of them not wanting to leave sick or elderly relatives behind. Another wave of emigration took place in 1959, with some 3,000 Yemenite Jews moving to Israel and many others moving to the United States and United Kingdom. Those Jews that remained behind were forbidden from emigrating and were banned from contacting relatives abroad. They were isolated and scattered throughout the mountainous regions of northern Yemen, and suffered shortages of food, clothing, and medicine, and lacked religious articles. As a result, some converted to Islam. Their existence was unknown until 1976, when an American diplomat stumbled across a small Jewish community in a remote region of northern Yemen. For a short time afterward, Jewish organizations were allowed to travel openly in Yemen, distributing Hebrew books and materials.[108] In 1983 and 1984, 5,0006,000 additional Yemenite Jews immigrated to Israel, and a further 550600 left in 1993 and 1994.[109]

Currently, there exists a small Jewish community in the town of Bayt Harash (2km away from Raydah). They have a rabbi, a functioning synagogue and a mikveh. They also have a boys yeshiva and a girls seminary, funded by a Satmar affiliated Hasidic organization in Monsey, New York, USA.

A small Jewish enclave also exists in the town of Raydah, which lies 30 miles (49km) north of Sana’a. The town hosts a yeshiva, also funded by a Satmar affiliated organization.

Yemeni security forces have gone to great lengths to try to convince the Jews to stay in their towns. These attempts, however, failed and the authorities were forced to provide financial aid for the Jews so they would be able to rent accommodations in safer areas.[110]

Despite an official ban on emigration, many Yemenite Jews emigrated to Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom in the 2000s, fleeing antisemitic persecution and seeking better Jewish marriage prospects. Many of them had initially gone there to study, but had never returned.

In December 2008, Moshe Ya’ish al-Nahari, a 30-year-old Hebrew teacher and kosher butcher from Raydah, was shot and killed by Abed el-Aziz el-Abadi, a former MiG-29 pilot in the Yemeni Air Force. Abadi confronted Nahari in the Raydah market and shouted out “Jew, accept the message of Islam”, and opened fire with an AK-47. Nahari was shot five times, and died. During interrogation, Abadi proudly confessed his crime, and stated that “these Jews must convert to Islam”. Abadi had murdered his wife two years before, but had avoided prison by paying her family compensation.[111] The court found Abadi mentally unstable and ordered him to pay only a fine, but an appeals court sentenced him to death.[112] Following al-Nahari’s murder, the Jewish community expressed its feelings of insecurity, claiming to have received hate mail and threats by phone from extremists. Dozens of Jews reported receiving death threats and claimed that they had been subjected to violent harassment. Nahari’s killing and continual antisemitic harassment prompted approximately 20 other Jewish residents of Raydah to emigrate to Israel.[113] In 2009, five of Nahari’s children moved to Israel, and in 2012, his wife and four other children followed, having initially stayed in Yemen so she could serve as a witness in Abadi’s trial.[114]

In February 2009, 10 Yemeni Jews immigrated to Israel, and in July 2009, three families, or 16 people in total, followed suit.[115][116] On November 1, 2009 the Wall Street Journal[117] reported that in June 2009, an estimated 350 Jews were left in Yemen, and by October 2009, 60 had emigrated to the United States and 100 were considering following suit. The BBC estimated that the community numbered 370 and was dwindling.[118] In 2010, it was reported that 200 Yemeni Jews would be allowed to immigrate to the United Kingdom.[119]

In August 2012, Aharon Zindani, a Jewish community leader from Sana’a, was stabbed to death in a market in an antisemitic attack. Subsequently, his wife and five children emigrated to Israel, and took his body with them for burial in Israel, with assistance from the Jewish Agency and the Israeli Foreign Ministry.[120][121][122]

In January 2013, it was reported that a group of 60 Yemenite Jews had immigrated to Israel in a secret operation, arriving in Israel via a flight from Qatar. This was reported to be part of a larger operation which was being carried out in order to bring the approximately 400 Jews left in Yemen to Israel in the coming months.[123]

Avigdor Kahalani

Yemeni Jews predominate among Israeli performers of Oriental music.[124] At the Eurovision Song Contest, 1998, 1979 and 1978 winners Dana International, Gali Atari and Izhar Cohen, 1983 runner-up Ofra Haza, and 2008 top 10 finalist Boaz Mauda, are Yemenite Jews. Harel Skaat, who competed at Oslo in 2010, is the son of a Yemenite Jewish father. Other Yemenite Jewish figures include Zohar Argov, Daklon, Gali Atari, Inbar Bakal, Mosh Ben-Ari, Yosefa Dahari, Gila Gamliel, Becky Griffin, Meir Yitzhak Halevi (the Mayor of Eilat), Saadia Kobashi, Yishai Levi, Sara Levi-Tanai, Bo’az Ma’uda, Avihu Medina, Achinoam Nini, Avraham Taviv, Shimi Tavori, Margalit Tzan’ani, Tomer Yosef of Balkan Beat Box and Shahar Tzuberi.

“The story of the Jews, finding the words” by Simon Schama. part two, chapter 6 “Among the believers” page 233 “By the late fourth century CE, just as life for Jews in Christendom was beginning to turn starkly harsher, Judaism made its spectacular conquest in Arabia, when the kingdom of Himyar (corresponding, territorially, to present-day Yemen, and the dominant power on the Arabian peninsula for 250 years) converted to Judaism. For a long time, it was assumed that the Himyar conversion was confined to a small circle close to the king- Tiban As’ad Abu Karib, the last of the Tubban line, – and perhaps included the warrior aristocracy. There is still a lively debate regarding the extent of Himyar Judaism; but the evidence of both inscriptions and, more significantly, excavations at the mountain of the capital of Zafar, which have uncovered what seems likely to be an ancient mikveh, suggests to many recent scholars (though not all) that the dramatic conversion was more profound, widespread and enduring. It may have been that the Himyarites were devotees of the ‘sun and moon’ as well as practicing eighth day circumcision, but at the time the cult of the sun, as we have seen from synagogue mosaics of the period, was not controversial in Jewish practice.

Part 2, chapter 6 “Among the believers” page 234 “Recent studies of modern Yemeni Jews by the geneticist Batsheva Bonne-Tamir have confirmed their ancestral origin in southwestern Arabian and Bedouin conversions.”

Continued here:
Yemenite Jews – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Israel | Define Israel at

Contemporary Examples

And any Israeli who is committed to Palestinian statehood alongside Israel is also, therefore, a Palestinian nationalist.

The ICJ ruled in 2004 that the separation barrier between Israel and the occupied West Bank was illegal, but it is still standing.

The left, right, religious and secular all seem to agree on one thing: Israel is facing tough times.

His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer.

Iran is a dangerous country, but it is not an existential threat to either Israel or America.

Historical Examples

At this time they began to be called “The Children of Israel.”

Wife, wouldst thou have the Cohen curse thee in the face of all Israel?

And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.

Her first work was the translation of a book from the Hebrew, “Israel Defended.”

He tells me the man who saved Pendleton from arrest in the first place is Israel Stumpf.

British Dictionary definitions for Israel Expand

a republic in SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea: established in 1948, in the former British mandate of Palestine, as a primarily Jewish state; 8 disputes with Arab neighbours (who did not recognize the state of Israel), erupted into full-scale wars in 1948, 1956, 1967 (the Six Day War), and 1973 (the Yom Kippur War). In 1993 Israel agreed to grant autonomous status to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, according to the terms of a peace agreement with the PLO. Official languages: Hebrew and Arabic. Religion: Jewish majority, Muslim and Christian minorities. Currency: shekel. Capital: Jerusalem (international recognition withheld as East Jerusalem was annexed (1967) by Israel: UN recognized capital: Tel Aviv). Pop: 7 707 042 (2013 est). Area (including Golan Heights and East Jerusalem): 21 946 sq km (8473 sq miles)

(informal) the Jewish community throughout the world

Word Origin and History for Israel Expand

Old English, “the Jewish people,” from Latin Israel, from Greek, from Hebrew yisra’el “he that striveth with God” (Gen. xxxii.28), symbolic proper name conferred on Jacob and extended to his descendants, from sara “he fought, contended” + El “God.” As an independent Jewish state in the country formerly called Palestine, it is attested from 1948.

Israel in Culture Expand

The name given to Jacob after he wrestled with God. Israel is also the name of the northern kingdom of the Israelites, when their nation was split in two after the death of King Solomon. (See under World Geography.)

Republic in the Middle East, formerly part of Palestine. Israel is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria and Jordan to the east, the Gulf of Aqaba (an arm of the Red Sea) to the south, Egypt to the southwest, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Its capital and largest city is Jerusalem.

Israel in the Bible Expand

the name conferred on Jacob after the great prayer-struggle at Peniel (Gen. 32:28), because “as a prince he had power with God and prevailed.” (See JACOB.) This is the common name given to Jacob’s descendants. The whole people of the twelve tribes are called “Israelites,” the “children of Israel” (Josh. 3:17; 7:25; Judg. 8:27; Jer. 3:21), and the “house of Israel” (Ex. 16:31; 40:38). This name Israel is sometimes used emphatically for the true Israel (Ps. 73:1: Isa. 45:17; 49:3; John 1:47; Rom. 9:6; 11:26). After the death of Saul the ten tribes arrogated to themselves this name, as if they were the whole nation (2 Sam. 2:9, 10, 17, 28; 3:10, 17; 19:40-43), and the kings of the ten tribes were called “kings of Israel,” while the kings of the two tribes were called “kings of Judah.” After the Exile the name Israel was assumed as designating the entire nation.

More here:
Israel | Define Israel at

Israel – Wikipedia

Statul Israel (ebraic , Medinat Israel; arab , Dawlat Isr’l) este o republic parlamentar localizat n Orientul Mijlociu, de-a lungul malului de est al Mrii Mediterane. Se nvecineaz cu Libanul, n nord, Siria n nord-est, Iordania i Cisiordania, n est, Egipt i Fia Gaza, la sud-vest, i conine caracteristici din punct de vedere geografic diverse n suprafaa sa relativ mic. Are capitala n oraul Ierusalim [8][9] Israelul este definit n Declaraia de Independen i n legile lui de baz ca un stat evreiesc i democratic i este singurul stat din lume unde evreii sunt majoritari[10].

n urma adoptrii planului de mprire a Palestinei din 1947 al Organizaiei Naiunilor Unite, pe data de 14 mai 1948, odat cu expirarea Mandatului britanic pentru Palestina, David Ben-Gurion, preedintele Organizaiei Sioniste i al Ageniei Evreieti pentru Palestina, a proclamat independena Statului Israel n cadrul liniilor de mprire teritorial cuprinse n decizia ONU[11][12]. Liga Arab i organizaiile palestiniene au respins att decizia ONU de mprire, ct i proclamarea unilateral a independenei Israelului. ase state arabe, au declanat cu Rzboiul arabo-israelian din 1948 interminabilul Conflict arabo-israelian care avea ca scop distrugerea Israelului i aruncarea evreilor n mare[13]. Ca urmare a rezultatelor rzboiului arabo-israelian din 1948-1949 teritoriul care ar fi trebuit, dup hotrrea ONU (neacceptat de partea arab), s revin unui stat arab palestinian, a fost, n cele din urma mprit ntre Israel i dou state arabe beligerante, Transiordania i Egiptul. n urma acordurilor de armistiiu ncheiate in urma Rzboiului de ase Zile din iunie 1967, poriuni din teritoriile ocupate n acest conflict de ctre Israel – Ierusalimul de Est inclusiv Oraul vechi, Cisiordania, Peninsula Sinai, Fia Gaza i nlimile Golan, – au intrat in controlul Israelului. Peninsula Sinai a fost retrocedat Egiptului n urma unui tratat de pace, dar celelalte granie nc nu au fost definite. Multe state consider linia de ncetare a focului din 1949 (armistiiul din 1949), aa numita Linie verde, ca o grani temporar a Israelului, iar teritoriile ocupate de Israel n cursul rzboiului din iunie 1967, ca teritoriile ocupate[14][15][16][17][18]

Populaia din Israel – conform Biroului Central de Statistic israelian – care include toi cetenii sau resortisanii, dar nu muncitorii strini, n interiorul Israelului n sine i n aezrile israeliene din teritoriile ocupate, a fost estimat n iunie 2011 la 7.751.000 milioane de oameni,[19] dintre care 5.818.200 sunt evrei.[19][20][21] Cetenii arabi, al doilea grup etnic ca mrime, include att musulmani ct i cretini. Alte minoriti sunt druzi, cerchezi, samariteni i armeni. La sfritul anului 2005, 93% din populaia arab din Ierusalimul de Est au cptat statut de reziden permanent i 5% au avut cetenie israelian[22]. n nlimile Golan, druzii au dreptul s aleag ntre cetenia israelian i cea sirian[23].

Israelul este o ar dezvoltat i o democraie reprezentativ, cu un sistem parlamentar i vot universal[24][25]. Prim-ministrul Israelului servete ca ef al guvernului, iar Knessetul, cu cei 120 de membrii, servete ca organism legislativ unicameral.

Israelul are una dintre rile cu mare longevitate din lume[26].

Economia: dei lipsit, pn nu demult, de resurse naturale (n anii 2011-2012 s-au descoperit rezerve de gaze naturale n aria maritim mediteranean aparinnd Israelului) n 2010 produsul intern brut nominal (PIB) israelian s-a situat pe locul 42 din lume[27] i are un rating foarte mare n clasamentul Indicelui Dezvoltrii Umane.[7]. n 2010, Israelul a aderat la OCDE[28].

Ierusalimul este capitala rii, dei nu este recunoscut de toate statele ca atare, printre care i Romania:

La proclamarea independenei n 14 mai 1948, noul stat evreiesc a fost denumit oficial Medinat Israel, sau Statul Israel (dup ce alte nume sugerate, istorice i religioase, inclusiv Eretz Israel (ara Israel), Tzion Sion, i Yehuda (Iudeea), au fost examinate i respinse).[30] n primele sptmni de independen, guvernul a ales termenul de israelian, pentru a indica un cetean al Israelului, cu anunul oficial fcut de ctre ministrul Afacerilor Externe, Moshe Sharett.[31]

Numele Israel, a fost folosit n cursul istoriei, n utilizarea comun i religioas, pentru a face referire la Regatul Israel antic, la noiunea geografic a rii lui Israel sau la ntregul poporul evreu. n conformitate cu Biblia ebraic numele de Israel a fost dat de Patriarhul Iacov (StandardYisrael, Isrl; Septuaginta greac ; lupta cu Dumnezeu[32]) , dup ce s-a luptat cu succes cu un nger al lui Dumnezeu.[33] Cei doisprezece fii ai lui, Iacov, au devenit strmoii israeliilor, de asemenea, cunoscut sub numele de dousprezece seminii ale lui Israel, sau copii lui Israel. Iacov i fiii si au trit n Canaan, dar au fost forai de foamete s mearg n Egipt timp de patru generaii pn la Moise, un str-strnepot lui Iacov,[34] care a condus israeliii napoi n Canaan, n Exodul. Cel mai vechi artefact arheologic, care menioneaz cuvntul Israel” este Stela lui Merneptah din Egiptul antic (datat la sfritul secolului al 13-lea .en).[35]

Zona este, de asemenea, cunoscut sub numele de ara Sfnt, fiind sfnt pentru toate religiile avraamice, inclusiv cretinism, iudaism, islam i Credina Baha’i. nainte de Declaraia de Independen a Israelului din 1948, ntreaga regiune a fost cunoscut sub nume diferite, inclusiv: Siria de Sud, Siria Palestina, Regatul Ierusalimului, provincia Iudaea, Coele-Siria, Retjenu, Canaan i, n special, Palestina.

Noiunea de ara Israel, cunoscut n ebraic ca Eretz Yisrael (sau Eretz Yisroel), a fost important i sacr pentru poporul evreu din timpurile biblice. Potrivit Pentateuh, Dumnezeu a promis terenul la trei Patriarhi poporului evreu.[38][39] Pe baza scripturii, perioada celor trei Patriarhi a fost plasat undeva la nceputul celui de-al doilea mileniu .Hr.,[40] iar primul Regat Israel a fost stabilit n jurul secolului al 11-lea .Hr.. Ulterior el s-a divizat n regatul Israel i cel al Iudeei sau Iuda, care au dinuit n urmtorii 400 ani,fiind cunoscute din Biblie i din diverse surse extrabiblice.[41][42][43][44] Dup cderea Regatului de nord a Israelului n 722 .Hr. regatul Iudeei a persistat pn la cucerirea babiloneana n 586 .e.n. Pn la cuceririle musulmane din secolul al 7-lea EC (pe o perioad de peste 1500 de ani), regiunea a stat sub dominaie asirian, babilonian, persan, greac seleucid, a cunoscut din nou o perioad de independen vreme de dou secole sub regatul ebraic al Hasmoneilor i Antipatrizilor , apoi a fost sub dominaie roman, persan sasanid i bizantin.[45][46] Prezena evreiasc din regiune s-a diminuat considerabil dup eecul revoltei Bar Kochba mpotriva Imperiului Roman n 132 EC.[47] Cu toate acestea, a existat pemanent o mic colectivitate evreieasc, iar Galileea a devenit centrul su religios.[48][49]Mina i o parte din Talmud, texte centrale evreieti, au fost compuse in timpul secolelor 2 i 4 EC n Tiberias i Ierusalim.[50] n 635 EC, regiunea, inclusiv Ierusalimul, au fost cucerite de ctre arabi i au rmas sub control musulman arab sau turc, cu o parantez cretin cruciat, pentru urmtorii 1300 de ani.[51] Controlul regiunii a fost transferat n urmtorele ase secole[51] ntre Califatul Umayyad[51], cel Abbasid[51] i state ale cruciailor, nainte de a fi cucerit de sultani mameluci ncepnd cu 1260.[52] n 1516, regiunea a fost cucerit de Imperiul Otoman i a rmas sub dominaie turceasc pn la nceputul secolului al 20-lea.[52]

Rspndii n lume, evreii – n marea lor majoritate – au aspirat s se ntoarc la Sion i la ara Israel,[53] dei marile efortorturi care trebuiau depuse pentru un astfel de obiectiv au creat dispute[54][55] Speranele i dorinele evreilor care triau n exil au fost formulate n Biblia ebraic[56] ca o tem important a credinei evreieti[54]. Ca urmare a expulzrii evreilor din Spania n 1492, unele comuniti s-au refugiat in Palestina[57] unde, n decursul secolului al 16-lea, comunitile evreieti au prins rdcini n patru orae sfinte: Ierusalim, Tiberias, Hebron i Safed. Se noteaz c n 1697, rabinul Yehuda Hahasid s-a stabilit, cu un grup de 1 500 de evrei, la Ierusalim[58].

n a doua jumtate a secolului al 18-lea s-au stabilit n Palestina comuniti din Europa de Est, adversari (n idi Misnagdim, sau Pruim ai hasidismului[59][60][61].

Prima Aliyah, primul val de emigraie evreiasc modern spre Palestina stpnit de otomani, a nceput n 1882, cnd evrei din Romnia au navigat de la Galai i mpreun cu ali evrei care au fugit de pogromurile din Rusia au iniiat colonii agricole n ara Israel[62].

Dei micarea sionist exista deja n practic, jurnalistul austro-ungar Theodor Herzl este creditat ca fondator al sionismul politic[63], o micare care a urmrit s creze un stat evreu, n ara Israel, ridicnd problema evreiasc la nivel internaional[64] n 1896, Herzl a publicat n Der Judenstaat (Statul Evreilor) viziunea sa asupra unui viitor stat evreu laic i suveran. n anul urmtor el a fost ales s prezideze primul Congres Mondial Sionist[65].

A doua Aliyah (1904-1914), a nceput ca urmare a primului pogrom de la Chiinu, cam 40 000 de evrei s-au stabilit n Palestina (aproape jumtate dintre ei au plecat mai trziu[62]) Att primul ct i al doilea val de emigrani au fost, n marea lor majoritate, evrei religioi, evrei ortodoci, dei a doua Aliyah a inclus i grupuri socialiste care au nfiinat primele kibuuri[66]. n timpul Primului rzboi mondial, secretarul britanic de externe, Arthur Balfour a trimis o scrisoare care declara:[67]

Legiunea evreiasc, n primul rnd un grup de voluntari sioniti, a asistat la cucerirea britanic a Palestinei n 1917. Opoziia arabilor fa de conducerea britanic i a imigraiei evreieti a dus la revoltele din 1920 din Palestina i formarea unei miliii evreieti cunoscut sub numele de Haganah (nsemnnd “Aprare” n ebraic), din care a aprut mai trziu gruprile paramilitare Irgun i Lehi (Grupul Stern).[69] n 1922, Liga Naiunilor a acordat un mandat Marii Britanii asupra Palestinei n condiii similare cu Declaraia Balfour.[70] Populaia din zona aceasta n acest moment a fost predominant arab i musulman, evreii reprezentnd aproximativ 11% din populaie.[71]

A treiea (1919-1923) i A patra Aliyah (1924-1929) au adus nc 100 000 de evrei n Palestina[62].

Nazismul i persecutarea evreilor n Europa anilor ’30 a dus la A cincea Aliyah, cu un aflux de un sfert de milion de evrei. Aceasta a fost o cauz major a revoltei arabe din anii 1936-1939 i a dus la introducerea de ctre britanici a unor restricii privind imigrarea evreilor n Palestina, cu Cartea alb din 1939. Deoarece rile din ntreaga lume refuzau, n general, s dea azil refugiailor evrei, care fugeau de Holocaust, o micare clandestin cunoscut sub numele de Aliyah Bet a fost organizat pentru a aduce evrei n Palestina.[62] Pn la sfritul celui de-al doilea rzboi mondial, populaia evreiasc din Palestina a crescut la 33% din totalul populaiei.[72]

Dup al doilea rzboi mondial, Marea Britanie s-a aflat n conflict aprig cu comunitatea evreiasc din Palestina, Haganah alturndu-se Irgun i Lehi ntr-o rezisten armat mpotriva politicii represive a administraiei britanice.[73] n acelai timp, mii de evrei supravieuitori ai Holocaustului, refugiai din Europa i din nordul Africii, au cutat o via nou n Palestina, dar au fost ntori din drum sau adunai i nchii de ctre britanici n tabere de detenie. n 1947, guvernul britanic a anunat c va ncheia Mandatul pentru Palestina,nereuind s ajung la o soluie acceptabil pentru ambele populaii n conflict: arabi i evrei.[74] Organizaia Naiunilor Unite, recent creat, a aprobat, Planul de mprire a Palestinei (Rezoluia nr. 181 a Adunrii Generale a Organizaiei Naiunilor Unite 181) din 29 noiembrie 1947, care a aprobat divizarea rii n dou state: unul arab i cellalt evreiesc. Ierusalimul a fost desemnat s fie un Corpus separatum internaionalizat i administrat de ONU.[75]

Colectivitatea evreiasc local a acceptat acest plan,[76] dar Liga Arab i naltul Comitet Arab din Palestina l-au respins.[77] La 1 decembrie 1947, naltul Comitet Arab a proclamat o grev de trei zile, iar grupuri de arabi au nceput s atace obiective civile evreieti.[78] La izbucnirea rzboiului civil evreii s-au aflat mai mult n defensiv, dar treptat au trecut i ei la atac.[79] Economia arabilor palestinieni s-a prbuit i n cursul ostilitilor 250.000 de arabi palestinieni au fugit sau au fost expulzai.[80]

La 14 mai 1948, cu o zi nainte de expirarea mandatului britanic, Agenia Evreiasc a proclamat independena, numind noul stat Israel.[81] n ziua urmtoare, armatele a cinci state arabe: Egipt, Transiordania, Siria, Liban i Irak – au atacat Israelul, lansnd al doilea Rzboi arabo-israelian din 1948; Arabia Saudit a trimis un contingent militar sub comand egiptean; Yemenul cel ndeprtat a declarat i el rzboi dar nu a ntreprins aciuni militare.[82] Dup un an de lupte, un acord de ncetarea focului a fost semnat i s-au stabilit o linie de armistiiu, frontiere temporare, cunoscute sub numele de Linia verde.[83]Iordania a anexat ceea ce a devenit cunoscut sub numele de Cisiordania i Ierusalimul de Est, iar Egiptul a preluat controlul Fiei Gaza. Organizaia Naiunilor Unite estimeaz c mai mult de 700.000 de palestinieni au fost expulzai sau au fugit n timpul conflictului din teritoriile pe care s-a alctuit Statul Israel .[84]

Israel a fost acceptat ca membru al Organizaiei Naiunilor Unite, cu majoritate de voturi, la 11 mai1949.[85] n primii ani de existen a statului, micarea social-democrat condus de primul ministru David Ben-Gurion a dominat politica israelian.[86][87] Aceti ani au fost marcai de un aflux de supravieuitori ai Holocaustului, precum i de imigrani i refugiai evrei din rile arabe, dintre care muli s-au confruntat cu persecuii i spolieri n rile lor de origine.[88] n consecin, populaia Israelului a crescut ntre 1948 i 1958 de la 800.000 la doua milioane de locuitori.[89] ntre 1948-1970, aproximativ 1.151.029 refugiai evrei s-au mutat n Israel.[90] Unii au ajuns ca refugiai fr nici un fel de bunuri i au fost cazai n tabere temporare cunoscute sub numele de ma’abarot; pn n 1952, peste 200.000 de imigrani au trit n aceste aezri temporare de corturi i barci.[91] Necesitatea de a rezolva criza l-a determinat pe Ben-Gurion s semneze un acord de despgubiri cu Germania de Vest, care a declanat proteste de mas ale unei pri a populaiei evreieti, mai ales din tabra naionalist i conservatoare, consternat de ideea ca Statul evreiesc accept compensaii bneti pentru Holocaust.[92]

n anii 1950, aezri israeliene au fost adesea atacate de Fedaini palestinieni, mai ales, din Fia Gaza ocupat de Egipt, dar i din Cisiordania, devenit parte a Iordaniei.[93] n 1950 Egiptul a nchis Canalul Suez pentru transporturile israeliene a avut loc o escaladare a tensiunii de-a lungul granielor Israelului, nsoit de incidente militare. n 1956, Israelul s-a alturat unei aliane secrete cu Marea Britanie i Frana, care urmreau rectigarea controlului Canalului Suez, pe care egiptenii l-au naionalizat (vezi Criza Suezului). Israelul a invadat Peninsula Sinai, dar a fost silit (sub presiunile SUA i ale URSS), s se retrag. n schimb Organizaia Naiunilor Unite urma s dea garanii pentru drepturile Israelului la acces liber n Marea Roie i Canalul de Suez.[94][95]

La nceputul anilor 1960, Israelul l-a capturat pe criminalul de rzboi nazist Adolf Eichmann n Argentina si l-a adus n Israel pentru a-l judeca.[96] Procesul a avut un impact major asupra contientizrii publicului asupra Holocaustului.[97] Eichmann rmne singura persoan din lume, care a fost condamnat la execuie de ctre un tribunal israelian.[98]

Naionalitii arabi condui de preedintele egiptean Gamal Abdel Nasser au continuat s refuze s recunoasc Israelul i au solicitat distrugerea lui.[13][99] Pn n 1966, relaiile israeliano-arab s-au deteriorat, pn la punctul cnd au avut loc lupte reale care au loc ntre forele israeliene i arabe.[100] n 1967, Egipt, a expulzat trupele de meninere a pcii ale ONU, staionate n Peninsula Sinai din 1957 i a anunat o blocada parial a accesului Israelului la Marea Roie. n mai 1967 o serie de state arabe au nceput s i mobilizeze forele lor.[101] Israel a vzut aceste aciuni ca un casus belli. La 5 iunie 1967, Israelul a lansat un atac preventiv mpotriva: Egipt, Iordania, Siria i Irak. n cadrul unui Rzboi de ase Zile, superioritatea militar israelian a fost demonstrat n mod clar mpotriva dumanilor mai numeroi arabi. Israelul a reuit s captureze: Cisiordania, Fia Gaza, Peninsula Sinai i nlimile Golan.[102] Graniele Ierusalimului au fost extinse, ncorpornd Ierusalimul de Est, iar Linia verde din 1949 a devenit grania administrativ dintre Israel i teritoriile ocupate.

n Rzboiul de ase Zile din 1967, Israelul a nvins armatele combinate din Egipt, Iordania i Siria. Dup rzboi, Israelul s-a confruntat cu mult rezisten intern din partea palestinienilor arabi. Cea mai important ntre diferitele grupuri palestiniene i arabe a fost Organizaia pentru Eliberarea Palestinei (OEP), nfiinat n 1964, care iniial s-a angajat la lupta armat ca singura modalitate de a elibera patria.[103][104] La sfritul anilor 1960 i nceputul anilor 1970, gruprile palestiniene au lansat un val de atacuri[105][106] mpotriva Israelului i a intelor evreieti din ntreaga lume,[107] inclusiv un masacru al atleilor israelieni la Jocurile Olimpice de var din 1972 din Mnchen.

La 6 octombrie 1973, cnd evreii srbtoreau Iom Kipur, armatele egiptene si siriene au lansat un atac surpriz mpotriva Israelului. Rzboiul s-a ncheiat la 26 octombrie cu Israelul respingnd cu succes forele egiptene i siriene, dar a suferit pierderi semnificative.[108] O anchet intern a exonerat Guvernul de responsabilitatea pentru eecurile de dinainte i din timpul rzboiului, dar furia public l-a forat pe prim-ministrul Golda Meir s demisioneze.[109]

n iulie 1976, trupele de comando israeliene au efectuat o misiune ndraznea, care a reuit salvarea a 95 de ostatici, care erau deinui de ctre gherilele Organizaiei pentru Eliberarea Palestinei la Aeroportul Internaional Entebbe aproape de Kampala, Uganda.

Alegerile Knesset-ului din 1977 au marcat un punct de cotitur n istoria politic a Israelului cnd partidul Likud al lui Menachem Begin a preluat controlul de la Partidul Laburist.[110] Mai trziu n acelai an, preedintele egiptean Anwar El Sadat a fcut o cltorie n Israel i a vorbit n faa Knesset-ului n ceea ce a fost prima recunoatere a Israelului de ctre un ef de stat arab.[111] n cei doi ani care au urmat, Sadat i Menahem Begin au semnat Acordurile de la Camp David (1978) i Tratatul de Pace Israel-Egipt (1979).[112] Israelul s-a retras din Peninsula Sinai i au convenit s iniieze negocieri asupra unei autonomii pentru palestinienii din Cisiordania i Fia Gaza.[113]

La 11 martie 1978, un raid de gheril OEP din Liban a dus la masacrul de pe drumul costier, n care 35 de civili israelieni au fost ucii i 75 rnii. Israelul a rspuns prin invazia sudulului Libanului pentru a distruge bazele OEP de la sud de rul Litani. Cei mai muli lupttori OEP s-au retras, dar Israelul a reuit s obin sudul Libanului pn ce o for ONU i armata libanez au putut prelua. Cu toate acestea, OEP a reluat n curnd politica sa de rezisten la Israel. n urmtorii civa ani OEP s-a infiltrat napoi n sud i a bombardardat sporadic peste grani. Israel a efectuat numeroase atacuri represive de aer i sol.

ntre timp guvernul lui Begin a ncurajat n mod activ israelieni s se stabileasc n Cisiordania ocupat.[114]

Legea fundamental: Ierusalim, capitala Israelului, adoptat n 1980, a fost considerat de unii reafirmarea anexrii Ierusalimului de ctre Israel n 1967 prin decret guvernamental i a reaprins controversele internaionale asupra statutului oraului. Cu toate acestea, nu existat niciodat un act n care guvernul israelian s defineasc ceea ce se consider a fi extinderea teritoriului Israelului i nici un act care s includ n mod specific n acesta Ierusalimul de Est.[115] Poziia majoritii statelor membre ale ONU se reflect n numeroase rezoluii n care se declar c aciunile ntreprinse de ctre Israel s i stabileasc cetenii si, n Cisiordania, i a impune legi i administrare asupra Ierusalimului de Est sunt ilegale i nu au nici o valabilitate.[116]

La 7 iunie 1981, aviaia israelian a distrus singura central de energie nuclear din Irak, care a fost n construcie chiar n afara Bagdadului.

Dup o serie de atacuri OEP, in 1982, Israelul a invadat Libanul, nc o dat pentru a distruge bazele de la care Organizaia pentru Eliberarea Palestinei au lansat atacuri i rachete n nordul Israelului n Primul rzboi din Liban.[117] n primele ase zile de lupte, israelienii au distrus forele militare ale OEP din Liban i i-au nvins decisiv pe sirieni. O anchet a guvernului israelian – Comisia Kahan – i-a considerat mai trziu pe Begin, Sharon i pe generalii israelieni indirect responsabili pentru masacrele de la Sabra i Shatila. n 1985, Israelul a rspuns la un atac terorist al OEP n Cipru prin bombardarea sediul OEP din Tunis. Israelul s-a retras din cea mai mare parte a Libanului n 1986, dar a meninut o zon tampon de frontier n sudul Libanului pn n 2000. Prima Intifada, o revolt palestinian mpotriva dominaiei israeliene,[118] a izbucnit n 1987, cu valuri de demonstraii necoordonate i violene care au loc n Cisiordania i Gaza. Pe parcursul urmtorilor sase ani, Intifada a devenit mult mai organizat i a inclus msuri economice i culturale, care vizeaz perturbarea ocupaiei israeliane. Mai mult de o mie de oameni au fost ucii n violene, muli dintre ei tineri care aruncau cu pietre.[119] Rspunznd la raidurile de gheril continue ale OEP n nordul Israelului, Israelul a lansat un alt raid represiv n sudul Libanului n 1988. Pe fondul tensiunilor n cretere cu privire la criza din Kuweit, poliitii de frontier israelieni au tras ntr-o mulime palestinian revoltat lng moscheea Al-Aqsa din Ierusalim. 20 de persoane au fost ucise i aproximativ 150 rnite. n timpul rzboiului din Golf din 1991, OEP l-a susinut pe Saddam Hussein i atacurile cu rachete scud mpotriva Israelului. n ciuda indignrii publice, Israel a luat n seam solicitarea SUA de-a se abine de a rspunde la atacuri i nu a participat la acest rzboi.[120][121]

n 1992, Ihak Rabin a devenit prim-ministru n urma unor alegeri n care partidul su a solicitat compromisul cu vecinii Israelului.[122][123] n anul urmtor, Shimon Peres, n numele Israelului, i Mahmoud Abbas din partea OEP, au semnat Acordurile de la Oslo, care au dat Autoritii Naionale Palestiniene dreptul de a guverna pri din Cisiordania i Fia Gaza.[124] OEP a recunoscut, de asemenea, dreptul Israelului de a exista i a promis ncetarea terorismului.[125] n 1994, Tratatul de pace Israel-Iordania a fost semnat, ceea ce face Iordania a doua ar arab care a normalizat relaiile cu Israelul.[126] Sprijinul arab public pentru Acorduri a fost deteriorat de continuarea colonizrii israeliene[127] i de punctele de control, precum i de deteriorarea condiiilor economice.[128] Sprijinul israelian public pentru Acorduri s-a diminuat deoarece Israelul a fost lovit de atacuri sinucigae palestiniene.[129] n cele din urm, n timp ce pleca de la un un miting de pace n noiembrie 1995, Ihak Rabin a fost asasinat de ctre un evreu din aripa de extrem dreapta care s-a opus Acordurilor.[130]

La sfritul anilor 1990, Israel, sub conducerea lui Benjamin Netanyahu, s-a retras din Hebron, i a semnat Memorandumul Wye River, oferind un control mai mare la Autoritatea Naional Palestinian.[131]Ehud Barak, ales prim-ministru n 1999, a nceput noul mileniu prin retragerea forelor din sudul Libanului i a desfurarat negocieri cu preedintele Autoritii Palestiniene, Yasser Arafat i cu preedintele american Bill Clinton, la Summit-ul Camp David din 2000. n timpul reuniunii la nivel nalt, Barak a oferit un plan pentru nfiinarea unui stat palestinian, dar Yasser Arafat l-a respins.[132] Dup eecul negocierilor i o vizit controversat a liderului Likud, Ariel Sharon, la Muntele Templului, a nceput a doua Intifada. Sharon a devenit prim-ministru ntr-un scrutin special n 2001. n timpul mandatului su, Sharon a realizat planul su de a se retrage unilateral din Fia Gaza i, de asemenea, a iniiat construcia barierei israeliene de separare cu Cisiordania.[133]

n iulie 2006, un atac de artilerie al Hezbollah asupra comunitilor Israelului de la frontiera de nord i o rpire transfrontalier a doi soldai israelieni a declanat cel de-al doilea rzboi din Liban.[134][135] Doi ani mai trziu, n mai 2008, Israelul a confirmat c a fost discutat un tratat de pace cu Siria pentru un an, cu Turcia ca mediator.[136] Cu toate acestea, la sfritul anului, Israel a intrat ntr-un alt conflict, cnd ncetarea focului ntre Hamas i Israel a luat sfrit. Rzboiul din Gaza a durat trei sptmni i s-a ncheiat dup ce Israel, a anunat un armistiiu unilateral.[137][138] Hamas a anunat ncetarea focului separat, cu propriile sale condiii retragerea complet i deschiderea punctele de frontier. Dei nicio parte nu a ncetat complet focul, armistiiul a rmas stabil.

Israelul este situat la captul estic al Mrii Mediterane, delimitat de ctre Liban la nord, Siria la nord-est, Iordania la est, i Egipt, la sud-vest. Acesta se afl ntre latitudinile 29 i 34 N, i longitudinile 34 i 36 E.

Pe teritoriul suveran al Israelul, cu excepia tuturor teritoriilor capturate de Israel n timpul Rzboiului de ase Zile din 1967, suprafaa este de aproximativ 20.770km ptrai, dintre care doi la sut este ap.[139] Suprafaa total sub conducere israelian, cnd sunt incluse nlimile Golan i Ierusalimul de Est este de 22.072km ptrai,[140] iar suprafaa total sub control israelian, incluznd zona controlat militar i sub guvernare parial palestinian, Cisiordania, este 27.799km ptrai.[141] n ciuda dimensiunii sale mici, Israelul este cas, la o varietate de caracteristici geografice, de la deertul Negev, n sud, pn la zonele muntoase din Galileea, Carmel i spre nlimile Golan n partea de nord. Cmpia israelian de coast pe rmurile Mediteranei este casa, la aptezeci la sut din populaia naiunii. La est de zonele muntoase centrale se afl Valea Iordanului, care formeaz o mic parte din cei 6.500 de kilometri din Valea Rift.

Rul Iordan curge de-a lungul Vii Iordanului, de la Muntele Hermon, prin Valea Hulah i Marea Galileii la Marea Moart, cel mai de jos punct de pe suprafaa Pmntului.[142] Mai la sud este Arabah, care se ncheie cu Golful Eilat, o parte a Mrii Roii. Unice pentru Israel i Peninsula Sinai sunt makhteshim sau circurile de eroziune.[143] Cel mai mare makhtesh din lume este Craterul Ramon[144] n Negev, care msoar 40km cu 8km.[145] Un raport privind starea ecologic a bazinului Mrii Mediterane afirm c Israelul are cel mai mare numr de specii de plante pe metru ptrat din toate rile din bazin.[146]

Temperaturile n Israel variaz foarte mult, mai ales n timpul iernii. Regiunile mai mult muntoase pot fi vntoase, friguroase i uneori inzapezite; n Ierusalim ninge cel puin o dat n fiecare an.[147] ntre timp, oraele de coast, cum ar fi Tel Aviv i Haifa, au un climat tipic mediteranean, cu ierni reci, ploioase i veri lungi, calde. Zona Beer eva i Negevul de Nord au un climat semiarid, cu veri calde, ierni reci, dar cu zile mai puine ploioase dect la climatul mediteranean. Negevul de Sud i zonele Arava au clim deertic, cu veri foarte calde i uscate, i ierni blnde, cu cteva zile de ploaie. Cea mai mare temperatur din continentul Asia (53,7C/128.7F) a fost nregistrat n 1942, la Kibuul Tirat Zvi n valea nordului rului Iordanul.[148]

Din mai pn n septembrie, ploile n Israel sunt rare.[149][150] Cu resurse limitate de ap, Israelul a dezvoltat diferite tehnologii de economisire a apei, inclusiv irigare prin picurare.[151] Israelienii profit considerabil de asemenea de lumina soarelui disponibil pentru energie solar, ceea ce face Israelul naiunea lider n utilizarea energiei solare pe cap de locuitor (practic, la fiecare cas se folosesc panouri solare pentru ncalzirea apei).[152]

Patru regiuni diferite fitogeografice exist n Israel, din cauza localizrii rii ntre climat temperat i zonele tropicale, riverane la Marea Mediterana, la vest i n est deertul. Din acest motiv, flora si fauna din Israel este extrem de divers.

Exista 2.867 de specii cunoscute de plante gsite n Israel. Dintre acestea, cel puin 253 de specii sunt introduse i neindigene.[153] Din luna mai 2007, exist 190 de rezervaii naturale n Israel.[154]

Israel funcioneaz n cadrul unui sistem parlamentar ca o republic democratic cu sufragiu universal.[2] Un membru al parlamentului susinut de o majoritate parlamentar devine prim-ministru, de obicei, aceasta este preedintele celui mai mare partid. Prim-ministrul este eful guvernului i ef de cabinet.[155][156] Israelul este guvernat de un parlament de 120 de membri, cunoscut sub numele de Knesset. Statutul de membru al Knesset-ului se bazeaz pe reprezentarea proporional a partidelor politice,[157] cu un prag electoral de 2%, care, n practic, a dus la guvernele de coaliie.

Alegerile parlamentare sunt programate la fiecare patru ani, dar coaliiile instabile sau n urma unui vot de nencredere de ctre Knesset poate dizolva un guvern mai devreme. Legile de baz ale Israelului funcioneaz ca o constituie nescris. n 2003, Knesset-ul a nceput s elaboreze o constituie oficial pe baza acestor legi.[2][158]

Preedintele Israelului este eful statului, cu atribuii limitate i n mare parte ceremoniale.[155]

Israelul dispune de un sistem cu trei nivele juridice.

Sistemul juridic al Israelului combin trei tradiii juridice: drept comun englez, dreptul civil, dreptul evreiesc.[2] El se bazeaz pe principiul stare decisis (precedent) si este un sistem acuzator, unde prile n cauza aduc probe n faa instanei. Cazurile Curii sunt decise de judectori profesioniti, mai degrab dect de jurai.[159] Cstoria i divorul sunt sub jurisdicia instanelor religioase: evreieti, musulmane, druze i cretine. Un comitet format din membri ai Knesset-ului, judectorii Curii Supreme de Justiie, precum i membrii Israeli Bar realizeaz alegerea judectorilor.[162] Administraia instanelor Israelului (att instanele de judecat Generale ct i a instanelor Muncii), sunt efectuate de ctre administraia instanelor, situat n Ierusalim. Att instanele generale, ct i cele muncitoreti sunt instane fr suport pe hrtie: dosarele instanei precum i deciziile Curii sunt depozitate electronic.

Legea de baz Israelian: Demnitatea uman i Libertate ncearc s apere drepturile i libertile omului n Israel. Israel este singura ar din regiune clasat Liber de ctre Freedom House pe baza nivelului libertilor civile i a drepturilor politice; Teritoriile Ocupate Israeliene/Autoritatea Palestinien”, au fost clasate Nu sunt libere.[163][164] n 2010, Israelul propriu-zis fost clasat pe locul 86 n funcie de Indicele libertii presei realizat de Reporteri fr Frontiere, a doua cea mai bine clasat ar din regiune dup Liban, care se afl pe 78.[165]

Statul Israel este mprit n ase districte administrative principale, cunoscut sub numele de mehozot (; singular: mahoz) – Central, Haifa, Ierusalim, Nord, Sud, i districtele Tel Aviv. Districtele sunt n continuare mprite n cincisprezece subdistricte cunoscute sub numele de nafot (; singular: ANAF), care sunt ele nsele mprite n cincizeci de regiuni naturale.[166]

(350.000 coloniti evrei)[168]

n scopuri statistice, ara este mprit n trei zone metropolitane: Zona metropolitan Tel Aviv (populaie 3.206.400), Zona metropolitan Haifa (populaie 1.021.000), i Zona metropolitan Beer eva (populaie 559.700).[170] Cea mai mare municipalitate a Israelului, att n populaiei ct i n suprafa,[171] este Ierusalimul cu 773.800 de locuitori ntr-o zon de 126 de kilometri ptrai. Statisticile guvernului israelian asupra Ierusalimului includ populaia i suprafaa din Ierusalimul de Est, care este recunoscut pe scar larg ca parte a Teritoriilor palestiniene sub ocupaie israelian.[172]Tel Aviv, Haifa, i Rishon LeZion sunt urmtoarele orae ca populaie ale Israelului, cu o populaie de 393.900, 265.600 i respectiv 227.600.[171]

Statutul Ierusalimului de Est, n orice viitor acord de pace a fost uneori un obstacol dificil n cadrul negocierilor dintre Guvernul Israelian i reprezentani ai palestinienilor, Israel, considernd acest teritoriu ca fiind al su, precum i o parte din capitala sa. Cele mai multe negocieri cu privire la teritorii au fost pe baza Rezoluiei Consiliului de Securitate a ONU nr. 242, care subliniaz inadmisibilitatea dobndirii de teritorii prin rzboi i solicit Israelului s se retrag din teritoriile ocupate n schimbul normalizrii relaiilor cu statele arabe, un principiu cunoscut sub numele de Teren pentru pace.[178][179][180]

Israelul are o economie modern i diversificat, fiind unul dintre statele dezvoltate. Lipsit de resurse naturale Israelul ocup un loc de frunte – pe cap de locuitor – n dezvoltarea de tehnologii avansate i de patente[181].

Resursele naturale sunt foarte reduse, mai importante fiind rezervele de fosfai. n anii 2000 n spaiul maritim al Israelului n dreptul coastei mediteraniene s-au descoperit importante rezerve subacvatice de gaze naturale.

Industria tradiional (textil i alimentar) a fost completat de noi ramuri printre care prelucrarea petrolului, a cauciucului, construciile de maini. Recent, Israelul dezvolt i ramuri de vrf printre care industria aeronautic i electronic. O ramur industrial mai deosebit o reprezint prelucrarea diamantelor.

Dei dispune de terenuri agricole reduse, mai mult de jumtate din suprafaa rii fiind deertic, iar clima i lipsa de resurse suficiente de ap o defavorizeaz, doar 20% din terenuri fiind arabile n mod natural[182], agricultura israelian are un nalt randament datorit mecanizrii i irigaiilor. Ponderea ei in economia statului este in prezent de 1.7% (din PIB)(2011). Producia agricol anual nsumeaz 30 miliarde de shekeli noi israelieni (2013), sum din care circa 60% este reprezentat de culturile vegetale, iar 40% de creterea animalelor i produsele animale. [183] Produsele agricole principale sunt citricele, mslinele, via de vie i cerealele. Se cresc intensiv psri i bovine.

n vreme ce fora de munc n agricultur este de numai 3.7% din fora total de munc, Israelul i suplinete 95% din necesitile de alimente, inclusiv totalitatea necesitilor de legume, fructe, lapte, carne de pasre i ou. n schimb, Israelul necesit importuri de cereale, carne de vit, zahr, [183],semine oleaginoase. cafea, cacao etc. Israelul este un mare exportator de produse agricole proaspete i un stat avansat n invenia de tehnologii agricole. Agricultura furnizeaz 3.6% din exporturi.[184]

Turismul este centrat pe vizitarea monumentelor istorice, a teritoriilor biblice i ndeosebi a oraului sfnt Ierusalim.

n dezvoltarea economic a Israelului, un rol important l are sectorul financiar-bancar.

Evreii din Israel cuprind o majoritate de nativi nscui n ar, poreclii n limbajul curent sabra (n romnete sabri, n ebraic tzabarim), restul fiind imigrani nscui n strintate i stabilii, la diferite vrste, n Israel.

n luna august a anului 2005, Israelul, mpreun cu Ierusalimul de Est, avea o populaie de 6.912.700 de locuitori, structurat astfel: 76% evrei, 20% (mpreun cu Ierusalimul de Est) arabi i 4% alte minoriti (druzi aici considerai separat de populaia arab , cerchezi, armeni), precum i un numr remarcabil de evrei avnd doar tatl evreu; de asemenea, nepoi de evrei, parteneri de via ai unor evrei de origine rus, ucrainean, romn etc. i care nu sunt recunoscui ca evrei dup legea religioas, dar care, n marea lor majoritate, sunt laici i se identific cu evreii israelieni moderni.

Dup criterii religioase conform unor statistici[necesitcitare] evreii israelieni sunt n proporie de 12% foarte religioi (ultraortodoci), 10% religioi (ortodoci), 35% tradiionaliti ortodoci, iar restul de 43% sunt laici. n rndurile laicilor, majoritatea prefer, la nevoie, serviciile religioase ale ritului ortodox pe care l cunosc din familie, iar o mic minoritate apeleaz la serviciile spirituale ale riturilor iudaice mai noi, ca de exemplu iudaismul conservativ i reformat. De asemenea exista mii de karaii, evrei cretinai – majoritatea membri ai unor comuniti protestante, denumite evrei mesianici, i un numr foarte mic de evrei romano-catolici, cteva sute de samariteni.

Arabii sunt 91% musulmani sunii i 9% cretini de mai multe rituri. Druzii, care, n general, se consider arabi, au un cult provenit din islamul iit ale crui revelaii sunt mprtite doar de o elit de iniiai. Cerchezii sunt o mic minoritate musulman sunit i vorbesc o limb caucazian – limba adghee . Armenii, cretini, sunt aici, de asemenea, o minoritate foarte mic.

Statul israelian are aproximativ 7,406,900 de locuitori, dup ultimul recensmnt din 2008, n 2010 populaia Israelului a ajuns la aproximativ 7,5 milioane de locuitori. Israelul are dou limbi oficiale: ebraic i arab. Ebraica este limba principal a statului i este vorbit de majoritatea populaiei, iar limba arab – n varianta palestinean – este vorbit curent de minoritatea arab, precum i, n graiuri i dialecte din diverse ri arabe, ca limb secundar, de ctre imigrani evrei, mai ales vrstnici, originari din aceste ri. ncepnd cu 2008, cetenii israelieni arabi au ajuns s reprezinte 20% din populaie. Muli israelieni vorbesc destul de bine n limba englez, care a fost i limba oficial a rii n timpul regimului colonial al mandatului britanic n Palestina ntre anii 1918-1948. Engleza este nvat nc din clasele primare. Fiind o ar de imigrani, sunt nca mult uzitate limbile ultimelor mari valuri de imigraie din anii 1970-2000, ca rusa i amharica. Ataamantul de ar al populaiei Israelului din 1948 i pn astzi este relativ mare n comparaie cu alte ri populate de imigrri n mas. Emigraia din Israel spre alte ri, mai ales n Statele Unite i Canada este descris de demografi ca fiind modest, dar pentru ministerele guvernului israelian reprezint uneori un motiv de preocupare. n 2009, 300,000 de ceteni israelieni triau n aezri aflate n Cisiordania (sau Iudeea i Samaria, dup terminologia folosit adesea n Israel) cum sunt Ma’ale Adumim i Ariel; comuniti evreiesti care existaser n vremea mandatului britanic i nainte de nfiinarea statului Israel, au fost renfiinate dup rzboiul de 6 zile, de pild n perimetrul oraului Hebron i n zona Gush Etzion. 18,000 de mii de israelieni triesc n zona Platoului Golan. n 2006, 20,000 de evrei locuiau n cartiere din Ierusalimul de Est. Numrul total de coloniti israelieni este de 500,000 (6,5% din populaia total a Israelului). Aproximativ 7,800 de evrei israelieni locuiau i practicau ramuri agricole n aezrile din Fia Gaza pn cnd au fost evacuai de guvernul Ariel Sharon n anul 2005.

Israelul a fost stabilit ca un cmin naional pentru evrei i este cunoscut ca Statul evreiesc. n ar, o lege de rentoarcere d dreptul tuturor evreilor i urmailor de evrei pn la treia generaie s primeasc cetenia israelian odata cu aezarea n ar. Mai mult de trei sferturi sau 75,5% din populaia evreiasc provin dintr-o diversitate de culturi evreieti din lume. Aproximativ 68% din evrei sunt nscui n Israel, 22% sunt imigrani din Europa i America i 10% sunt imigrani din Asia i Africa ( incluznd Lumea Arab ). Evreii care au imigrat n Israel din lumea arab i urmaii lor constituie circa 40%-50% din evreii israelieni.

ntre 1990 i 1994, imigraia evreilor din fosta URSS i a familiilor lor a crescut populaia Israelului cu mai mult de 12%. Circa 300,000 de imigrani vorbitori sau cunosctori de limba rus n Israel, majoritatea laici, sunt considerai cretini de ctre rabinii ortodoci, pentru c, n interpretarea iudaic ortodox, doar copiii care au mame evreice sunt considerai evrei. La momentul respectiv Israelul a acceptat primirea unui numr mic de refugiai din sudul Vietnamului i din Bosnia. De asemenea s-au mai stabilit n ar mici noi comuniti cretine protestante i neo- protestante din Germania, Finlanda, etc precum i o comunitate mic a evreilor negri din Statele Unite. n ultimul deceniu, un mic numr de persoane din ri europene Romnia, Rusia, Ucraina etc., din Filipine, Thailanda, China, din Africa i America de Sud care au venit la lucru n Israel s-au stabilit aici, de obicei n urma unor legturi de cstorie.n primul deceniu al secolului al XXI-lea au intrat n Israel multe mii de refugiai legali i ilegali, mai ales din Sudan, Sudanul de Sud i Eritreea.

n Israel triesc circa 130.000 de evrei romni[185]. La acest numr se adug i urmaii familiilor originare din Romnia, care mai au cunotine de limba romn, astfel nct se poate vorbi de un numr de cca. 350.000 de oameni[185]. Majoritatea evreilor din Romnia, circa 350,000-400.000[186], care au rmas n via dup al Doilea Rzboi Mondial, au emigrat n mai multe valuri n Israel.

n Israel funcioneaz nou universiti i cteva zeci de institute i colegii recunoscute i aflate sun controlul academic al Comisiei israeliene de studii superioare, cu dreptul de a acorda diplome de studii superioare. Doctorate pot fi acordate exclusiv de Institutul Weizmann i de universiti – cu excepia Universitii Libere (prin coresponden).

Lista universitilor israeliene de mai jos (conform acronimelor n limba englez) cuprinde saiturile pe internet, data ctitoriei, numrul de studeni i clasificarea internaional dup WebOMetrics (top 3000), [2] Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU)] (top 500) i The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) (top 200):

Deoarece nu se acord Premiul Nobel pentru matematic, premiul corespondent este Medalia Fields:

ISBN 0-471-67952-6, ISBN 978-0-471-67952-3.

Coordonate: 31N 35E / 31N 35E / 31; 35

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Israel – Wikipedia

Jews of Yemen | Jewish Virtual Library

This increasingly perilous situation led to the emigration of virtually the entire Yemenite Jewish community – almost 50,000 – between June 1949 and September 1950 in Operation “Magic Carpet.” A smaller, continuous migration was allowed to continue into 1962, when a civil war put an abrupt halt to any further Jewish exodus.

Until 1976, when an American diplomat came across a small Jewish community in a remote region of northern Yemen, it was believed the Yemenite Jewish community was extinct. As a result, the plight of Yemenite Jews went unrecognized by the outside world.

It turned out some people stayed behind during Operation “Magic Carpet” because family members did not want to leave sick or elderly relatives behind. These Jews were forbidden from emigrating and not allowed to contact relatives abroad. They were isolated and trapped, scattered throughout the mountainous regions in northern Yemen and lacking food, clothing, medical care and religious articles. As a result, some Yemenite Jews abandoned their faith and converted to Islam.

For a short time, Jewish organizations were allowed to travel openly within Yemen, distributing Hebrew books and materials to the Jewish community.3

Today, Jews are the only indigenous religious minority besides a small number of Christians, Hindus and Baha’is. The small community that remains in the northern area of Yemen is tolerated and allowed to practice Judaism. However, its members are still treated as second-class citizens and cannot serve in the army or be elected to political positions. Jews are traditionally restricted to living in one section of a city or village and are often confined to a limited choice of employment, usually farming or handicrafts. Jews may, and do, own property.4

The Jews are scattered and a communal structure no longer exists. Yemenite Jews have little social interaction with their Muslim neighbors and are largely prevented from communicating with world Jewry. It is believed that there are two synagogues still functioning in Saiqaya and in Amlah.

Religious life has not changed much in Jewish dietary laws, Jews are not allowed to eat meals with Muslims. Also, marriage is absolutely forbidden outside of the religion.

During the past few years, about 400 Jews have immigrated to Israel, despite the official ban on emigration.5

The State Department reported that in mid-2000 “the Government suspended its policy of allowing Yemeni-origin Israeli passport holders to travel to Yemen on laissez-passer documents. However, Yemeni, Israeli, and other Jews may travel freely to and within Yemen on non-Israeli passports.”6

In January 2001, the ruling “General People’s Party” placed a Yemeni Jewish citizen on the slate for parliamentary elections for the first time. The candidate, Ibrahim Ezer, was reportedly recommended by President Ali Abdallah Salah as a gesture to the incoming Bush administration in a bid to receive economic aid for Yemen. The General Election Committee, subsequently rejected Ezer’s application on grounds that a candidate must be the child of two Muslim parents. Political analysts speculated that the true reason was a desire not to establish a precedent of allowing a Jew to run for office.7

In 2008, in response to multiple violent attacks on Jewish citizens, including the murder of Rabbi Moshe Yaish Nahara’i by an Islamist radical, President Salah planned to relocate the Jewish community members from the Amran district and the city of Raidah to the capital, Sana. Once there, each Jewish family would receive a plot of land and join the community of around 50 Jews already transferred to the capital city in 2007. In Sana, the Jews faced less danger of attack from their Muslim neighbors as the government maintains law and order.8

In 2009, also in response to the heightened threat to the Jewish community from Islamist radicals, the United Jewish Communities, the US State Department, local federations, and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society began working together to implement the evacuation of close to half of the remaining Jewish population in Yemen. 110 Yemenite Jews were scheduled to be evacuated over the course of two weeks in March 2009. The expense of absorbing the immigrants would be $800,000 that would go towards resettlement costs including food, housing, and social-service programs.9

In 2009, Yemeni authorities moved 70 Jews from northern Yemen to a compound in Sanaa, openly admitting they could not protect them elsewhere; and the Yemeni Jews did not have the means to earn a living in their new homes. On May 22, 2012, Aaron Zindani, a Jewish Yemeni man, was stabbed to death in the capital city of Saana, and his friend believes Al-Qaeda may have been behind the attack.

Yemen’s Jews numbered fewer than 400 in 2009, but the numbers have seen a drop by 20 percent due to emigration, mostly to the United States.10

There are currently less than 200 Jews living in Yemen, with some estimates placing the community at less than 100 individuals. In October 2015 the Yemeni government handed down an ultimatum to the tiny Jewish community: convert to Islam, or leave. Yemen’s Jews sought out asylum in Israel and the United States due to the country’s ongoing war with Houthi rebel tribes. The government ultimatum stated that they would not be able to protect the Yemeni Jews if they remained in the country as Jews. 11 The U.S. and Britain, country’s that have historically helped Yemeni Jews and facilitated bringing groups of them to Israel, closed their embassies in Yemen in early November 2015. Yemeni Jews have suffered terribly during the country’s civil war, and are almost completely oppressed by the Houthi leadership.

Sources: 1. David Singer and Lawrence Grossman, Eds. American Jewish Year Book 2003. NY: American Jewish Committee, 2003. 2. Howard Sachar, A History of Israel, (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), pp. 397-98; Maurice Roumani, The Case of the Jews from Arab Countries: A Neglected Issue, (Tel Aviv: World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries, 1977), pp. 32-33; Norman Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times, (NY: Jewish Publication Society, 1991), p. 498. 3.Jerusalem Post, (February 15, 1992); Jewish Telegraphic Agency, (February 26, 1992). 4.Jewish Communities of the World; U.S. State Department Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997. 5.Jewish Communities of the World. 6. U.S. Department of State, 2001 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, Released by the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Washington, DC, (October 26, 2001). 7. Jerusalem Post, (January 30, 2001). 8. Haaretz. (December 18, 2008). 9Jerusalem Post, (March 18, 2009). 10 Gabe Kahn, “Yemeni Jew Murdered in Sanaa,” Israel National News, May 22, 2012.

Jews of Yemen | Jewish Virtual Library

Jews – The Racial Slur Database –

Slur Represents Reason & Origins 10% Off Jews Refers to circumcision and consumerism (never pay retail). The term is most widely used in the UK where circumcision among non-Jews or non-Muslims is more rare, but in the United States, where it is more common, it can be considered insulting to many non-Jewish males as well. 539 Jews Corresponds with the letters J-E-W on a telephone. AMF Jews Short for “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Brings Freedom) which was on the gates of the concentration camp Auswitz Bagel-Dog Jews From Kosher “bagel dogs” – a Kosher sausage inside of a bagel. Bar Code Jews Jewish prisoners were tattooed with a number on their arm while in concentration camps. While the bar code was not invented(or at least patended) until after the war, this is a slur in common, although incorrect, usage. Beanie Jews Referring to the yarmulke. Beastie Boy Jews Jews who act Black, like the Jewish rap group The Beastie Boys. Bible-Shortener Jews Seen on a Conan O’Brien sketch “Rednecks’ Favorite Euphemisms for Jews,” backwards refers to the difference between the Christian Bible and the Jewish one. The Christian Bible includes the “New Testament” whereas the Jewish Bible does not. Big Nose Jews Refers to how Jews are said to have large noses. Bones Jews Reference to the holocaust when Jews were often worked so hard, they were turned into a mere pile of bones. Brew Jews Short for “Hebrew”. Bronx Indian Jews Probably not derogatory, possibly self-referential. Most likely from sometime between the turn of the century and the early sixties. I have only found one reference to it, but I believe it is most likely from the fact that in the first half of the twentieth century, for a period almost fifty percent of the Bronx was Jewish, thus they were seemingly like the native population of the Bronx. Bun Jews As in “bun in the oven.” Burger Jews Many of their names end it “Burg” Campers Jews WWII reference and the propensity of Jewish parents to send their children to summer camps. Canadian Goose Jews Joe Kennedy used this term in public to refer to Jews without anyone knowing he was doing so. Refers to Jews being loud, pesty and foreign (as the geese are in Massachusetts), and having big noses Cashew Jews Catholic Jews. Mainly, the children of a Jew and a Catholic. Originated from a standup routine by Jack Carter in the 60s Christ Killer Jews See: Jesus Killer. Circle-K Jews Circle K appears on kosher food labels Cliptip Jews Circumcision reference. Crikey Jews A corrupted version of “Christ Killer” Dead Sea Pedestrian Jews See: Red Sea Pedestrian. Dial Jews During WWII, the Nazis would make soap out of the fat of the burned Jews (Dial is a brand of soap). This story is said to be true, and also said to be merely war propaganda. Dreidl Jews Jewish toy Easy-Bake Nigger Jews WWII reference. Falasha Jews Ethiopian Jews. A derogotory nickname. The proper name is Bet-Yisrael Firewood Jews WWII Holocaust reference. ‘Nazi Firewood’ to be more specific. Four By Two Jews Cockney rhyming slang “four by two” = Jew. Gargamel Jews Refers to greedy, money centered nature of Jews. Reference from Smurfs cartoon. Gatemaster Jews Some say they are destined for hell. German Candle Jews Nazi’s incinerated many Jews during WW2 German Oven Mitt Jews WWII. Gew Jews A German Jew. Pronounced like ‘goo’. Gingerbread Man Jews Reference to the practices of the former state of Germany. Goldberg Jews Common Jewish name. Also has slight money-related reference. Goldie Jews Jews had to wear gold stars of david during WW2 Half-Dick Jews Circumcision reference. Hanah Jews Popular Jewish name for girls, pronounced like the chanu in Chanukah Hebe/Heeb Jews Short for Hebrew. Hebro Jews Black Jews. Combination of “Hebrew” and “bro,” or “Hebrew” and “Negro.” Hickory-Smoked Jews WWII. Himey Jews Most noteworthy usage by Rev. Jesse Jackson calling New York “himey town.” Also: heime, heimey Hooknose Jews In recognition of a common Hebrew facial characteristic. Horvitz Jews Last name of famous Jewish con-artist/criminal. Refers to Jews who complain about low-paying jobs. Hot Pocket Jews “Quick easy thing to cook in an oven.” Hymie Jews Common name: Chaim, pronounced (roughly) hy-EEM. Jesse Jackson once referred to New York City as “Hymie-town.” Ikey-Mo Jews Abbreviation of “Isaac Moses”. Interesting Jews Used by some upper-class Whites, especially females, when discussing men. “He’s a nice guy. Is He…interesting?” Isaac Jews Used by Errol Flynn in a 1933 letter to German intelligence agent Hermann Erben. Assumes that “Isaac” and all of its other incarnations are common names among Jews. JAP Jews Stands for “Jewish-American Princess”. Related to the familiar ‘Yenta’. Origins in Philip Roth’s short story “Goodbye Columbus.” Jesus Killer Jews Christians in the times of WWII when the Jews were most hated used this slur as a reason to hate Jews. Jew Jews Short for Jewish. Not really a slur but could be if you say it the right way. Jew Jew Bee Jews Theres a type of candy called JuJu Jew Yorker Jews Due to high incidence of Jews in NY Jew-Bag Jews Reference to being cheap. Jewbacca Jews Hairy Jews. In reference to the hairy creature Chewbacca from the Star Wars movies. Jewbling Jews Small/young Jews. Jewbrew Jews Hebrew combined with Jew Jewbu Jews A former person of the Jewish faith who has switched to Buddhism(apparently there are many). Jewess Jews Mix of Jew and Princess, as the teenage girls are often treated like. Not any more a slur than Jew is. Jewgaboo Jews A Jewish person that acts or tries to act like a black person or is half black. Jewlet Jews Female Teenage Jews. Heard frequently in NY. Jewmaican Jews A Jewish person that acts Jamaican or Rastafarian or is half Jamaican. Jewpac Jews Twist on Tupac Shakur’s name. Jewpidity Jews Jewish + stupidity. JUBU Jews Jewish people attempting to act black. From the clothing marketed towards black people, FUBU. Kike Jews Originates from the word ‘keikl’, in Yiddish, which means ‘circle’, the reason being that the first Jewish immigrants in America, who were unable to sign their names, signed with a circle instead of a cross. Kosher Konsumer Jews They only eat kosher food Koshie Jews As in kosher Lamp Shade Jews The Nazis had lamp shades made from Jewish skin Matza-Gobbler Jews Matza is Jewish un-levened bread Matzah Jews Refers to the Jewish food matzah balls Mockey Jews Jews “mocked” Jesus at his death. Morta Cristo Jews Italian for ‘Christ-killer.’ Moses Jews Famous Jew who led his people out of Egypt. Mosquito Jews Jews tend have long noses, similar to a mosquito. Nickel Nose Jews Money and Facial characteristic. Oven Magnet Jews Attracted to the inside of ovens. Oven-Baked Jews World War II reference. Oven-Dweller Jews World War II reference. Palm Beacher Jews Elderly Jews in Palm Beach County Florida deadlocked the election for 2 months. Penny Chaser Jews The old “Jews are cheap” thing. Penny-Pincher Jews Cheapness Pinocchio Jews Pinocchio’s nose corrolates with that of a stereotypical Jew. Pizza Jews Both go in the oven. Popular Science Jews Experiments performed on the Jews during WW2 Porky Jews The Old Testament forbids them to eat pork Red Sea Pedestrian Jews Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea from Egypt. Heard in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.” Scooby Doo Jews Rhyming slang for ‘Jew’. Seinfeld Jews Probably one of the most famous Jews. Self-Chosen Jews In reference to their moniker ‘chosen people of God.’ Sheeny Jews From Yiddish “shaine” or German “schon” meaning “beautiful”. Sheister Jews Like a shyster lawyer. One who carries on any business, especially legal business, in a mean and dishonest way. Shnozzle Jews They have large noses, or “shnozzes.” Shonnicker Jews Early 20th century American Shylock Jews Comes from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.” Six Point(er) Jews Six points on the star of David Six-nose Jews Jews have hooked or “six shaped” nose Snipcock Jews Henry Ford used it, reference to circumcision Snow Bird Jews Refers to old Jewish retirees who transplant themselves to Florida. Although they move to the sunshine state, they stay indoors thus retaing their white color. Snowflake Jews When they would burn the Jews and the ashes would come out the smoke stacks. (See Schiendler’s List) Special Meal Jews When a Jewish person gets a meal on a plane, it’s from the kosher menu and a special meal not offered to regular passengers Stein Jews Common name Toucan Sam Jews Toucans have large, protruding beaks Wandering Jew Jews The jews wandered the desert for 40 years after crossing the red sea to get out of egypt, before reaching the holy-land. Wej Jews Jew spelled backwards. Yahoodi Jews The word ‘Jew’ in Arabic. Yenta Jews Know-it-all Jewish women. Not really a slur. Yid Jews The Yiddish connection Yid/Yid-Lid Jews Yid = Yiddish, lid = Yarmulke. Yiddiot Jews Yiddish and Idiot combined (stupid jew) Yitze Jews Name for Jews. Also Yitze Braun, Yitze Braud Yom Jews From the holiday Yom Kippur Zhid Jews Russian-language version of “Jew” or “yid”. Only considered a derogatory term close to “kike” in Orthodox Christian countries.. in others it simply means “Jew.” Zhidan Jews Romanian word for jew, dirty jew, or cheap jew Zionist Jews Jews are typically Zionist in political nature. The ultimate goal being to take over Palestine. Also: Zog Zog Jews Zionist Occupation Government – Written near the body of murdered radio talk show host Allen Burg in Denver, Co.

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Jews – The Racial Slur Database –

The Jews are not the Chosen People

Jews think they are something special …

For the record – I was raised Jewish – sort of. My parents are Jewish – sort of – in name only. Much like the followers of any other religion of people who identify with a religion because of ancestry rather than actually believing and practicing something. I remember back when I was 5 years old being forced to study the old testament and thinking – no way in hell does this make sense. Having said that – Judaism is perhaps one of the least stupid of the stupid religions in that they aren’t out beating on your door like the Christians do wanting to know if you know Moses. But come on! Judaism is based on ancient bullshit and it’s time to give it up and move on.

Judaism is a prime example of what happens when you fail to admit that you’re beliefs are just plain wrong. In it’s day, 5000 years ago, Judaism represented state of the art thinking. They had the most advanced Tree of Knowledge on the planet. It represented the best of human understanding at that time. The problem is – their ego got in the way. God had chosen them – the Bible was the holy word of God – who can never be wrong. Their knowledge tree became frozen and as time progressed – it’s real apparent that these beliefs are ridiculous in the context of current scientific thinking. But the Jews and their derivative religions stick with it because if they start changing things – then they have to admit that Jews are just people like everyone else and that there’s nothing special about being a Jew. But they are too arrogant to face reality – and they remain frozen in time.

Jews believe that world was created in 6 days – with God resting on the 7th day. This occurred about 7000 years ago. Well – wrong! We now know that the universe is about 15 billion years old. But the Jews still believe it anyhow. Now – many Jews will admit that this is probably wrong. In fact – probably most of them. So then – why the obsession with the Sabbath and all the stupid rituals associated with it. Isn’t it time to pull that one from the Ten Commandments? Well – can’t do that because God gave Moses those commandments …. except that never happened either. Noah and the Ark – never happened. Tower of Babel … never happened. It’s all just stories and none of it ever occurred. It just isn’t real.

The Jewish god is modeled after the early oppressive kings. In those times kings had absolute power and if they got in a bad mood – they might have thousands slaughtered. Since God is the supreme king – then he would be the ultimate oppressor. The God of the Bible fits this model. He’s a tyrant who loses his temper and slaughters a lot of people when he gets pissed off. And he gets pissed off because he’s not worshiped the right way. Think about it – God needs animal sacrifices? The being that created all the universe – all the galaxies – needs people to sacrifice animals to it? hmmmmm … do you buy that? The God of the Jews is nothing more than a petty tyrant modeled after their petty tyrant kings – and that’s according to THEIR beliefs!

So – if the Bible isn’t real – then God didn’t pick the Jews as the “Chosen People” and Jews are just ordinary people – just like all the rest of us. If you give up the Old Testament – then you have no basis for claiming that God gave you property in the Middle East. It takes away your justification for slaughtering Muslims because it puts you on the same level as they are. Jews of course believe that they are superior to Muslims and are therefore justified in taking their land.

Just as Muslims believe they are God’s chosen people and they are justified in slaughtering Jews and taking they land. But the reality is – Muslims and Jews are both pigs and maybe if they spend a few more hundred years slaughtering each other, they might learn that it makes more sense to get along and build on reality and work together to lift each other up. Or – at least there will be less of them to contaminate the knowledge pool of humanity.

The Jews in Israel are both the victims and perpetrators of terrorism. Both sides believe God is on their side in spite of the fact that God has failed to take a public stand on his preferences as to you gets the property. In fact – God doesn’t get involved in anything and if he (the god with a penis) exists, he doesn’t care enough to get involved. This lack of involvement is interpreted as meaning that God is somewhat impotent and needs us puny little earthlings to act in his behalf. How the hell did God ever get along without us?

You would think that after World War II and the mass slaughter of Jews by the Nazis that the Jews would finally get it – but whoosh – right over their heads! Let me spell it out – Hey Jews! It’s not OK to slaughter other people! If you think it’s wrong to be persecuted – then it’s it wrong to persecute others? Figure it out! You are not the chosen people – and it is not OK to commit terrorist acts against non-jews. You’re no better than the fucking Arabs! If Jews are so fucking smart – then why are you stuck in the past?

As far as Jerusalem goes – these nothing holy about any place on earth. In fact this whole planet is just a speck of dust in the universe and it is more likely than not that we don’t even rate as significant in the big picture. You want to do something holy? You want to do something to impress God – then learn how to live in peace with your neighbors! And the first step in doing that is to admit that you are NOT the chosen people!

I can understand where Jews are angry over terrorist acts committed against them. But I have looked at what is going on in the middle east and even though I am biased in favor of the Jews – it’s pretty clear to me that there is an attitude of systematic ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians and this is not only wrong – but it makes me ashamed to have ever identified myself as a Jew. The way I see it – if the Jews are the smarter party – and certainly the more powerful party – then they have the responsibility to take the initiative and forge a peace.

The knowledge tree of the Jews is frozen in time and is static. Judaism looks only backwards and there is no model for advancement of the Jewish knowledge tree – and because of that – Judaism is doomed to extinction. Judaism can be compared to a carefully preserved dead plant that slowly rots away over thousands of years. Jews like to consider themselves knowledgeable and wise and able to tackle deep philosophical questions. I therefore pose this question to all wise Jews everywhere. If you believe in something and it turns out that what you believe in is wrong – doesn’t it make sense to abandon what is wrong – admit your mistake – and move on to what is right? How wise is a man who clings to false knowledge? Who among the Jews will stand up and defy the death of the Jewish Tree of Knowledge and create a new model for the advancement of wisdom? How can you claim to be the chosen people when your Tree of Knowledge is dead and your vision of the future is looking into the past? Think about it next Sabbath when you honor a commandment that has no basis in reality whatsoever.

Partly because I pick on everyone. Partly because I’m somewhat ashamed of what Israel is doing and somehow I think that Jews should be above that. You see – the problem with being God’s chosen people is that ass holes like me pop up and hold you to a higher standard. If you’re God’s chosen people – then why can’t you make peace with your neighbors? Huh? You guys are making God look really bad here!

It would be more enlightened of me if I were more respectful of other religions and their beliefs. I should treat them with more honor and dignity and act in a more enlightened manner. After all, I am the founder of the Church of Reality – the religion that might eventually become the dominant religion on this planet. Shouldn’t I set a better example?

The short answer is – hell no. I am not an enlightened individual. I’m just a fucking ass hole. It’s a disability – and I live with it. It’s who I really am. I believe in evolution because I’m just the third generation in my family to walk upright. Sometimes I just want to go back to the trees! Being an ass hole keeps me humble and dispels any illusions others might have that I am something special. It also relieves me of the responsibilities of being held to a higher standard. I don’t have the burdens of being God’s chosen people. I’m just a genius with a bad attitude.

Besides – Why shouldn’t I look down my nose at all these other stupid religions? They all look down their noses at me! I want to indulge in a little self-righteousness too! A little moral masturbation never hurt anyone. What makes me SUPERIOR is that I’m more HUMBLE than they are – and proud of it!

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The Jews are not the Chosen People

jews – Fathers’ Manifesto

Are jews Intelligent?

Take five minutes to complete the Poll on Exiling Blacks

The most common misperception in the US today about jews is that they are “intelligent”, with IQs of 115, compared to Whites of 100 and blacks of 85. How did this happen, since it was US immigration policy which was based on IQs just 77 years ago that caused many jews to be refused admission to the US?:

Gould’s most inflammatory allegation is to blame IQ testers for increasing the toll of the Holocaust. His thesis is that early IQ testers claimed Jews as a group scored low on their tests. This finding was then allegedly used to support passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924, under which Jewish refugees were denied entry in the 1930s. Gould even claims that Henry H. Goddard in 1917 and Carl C. Brigham in 1923 labeled four-fifths of Jewish immigrants as “feeble-minded . . . morons.”

By what process did jews transform from “feeble minded … morons” to “intelligent” in only 77 years. How did this transformation benefit the US? Why are the SAT, NAEP, ACT, GRE, and other scores for jews not readily available, particularly when every other race is broken down by every demographic category you might be curious about? Why did jews complain at Harvard in 1922, when they were 21% of the freshman class that year, that they were being “discriminated against”? Why, with the support by so many jewish judges and lawyers and politicians for affirmative action, are jews now 50% of the students in the Harvard Law School at the same time that White men are vilified for “discriminating against” women and other races? What can be intelligent about this?

Why are almost none of the jew boys and jew girls in Miami-Dade County, Rochester, Jersey City, and Chicago (the intellectual ground zero of the nation) able to answer the SIMPLEST of math problems, many problems of which 90% or more of the children in Singapore, Japan, Korea, Naperville, and North Dakota were able to answer with ease? Why did Israel, which is almost exclusively jews now, score as low on PISA as they scored on TIMSS?


Consider what happened to this country immediately following the jews’ involvement in our “education” process:

“American blacks as well as whites, wherever they lived, reached their highest levels of educational achievement in the Thirties and early Forties during the Depression and the war years. In 1930, 80% of the blacks and 98% of the whites over 14 were literate. Nearly all black and white students in the 4th through the 12th grade could read at 4th through 12th grade levels. For teachers rarely promoted unprepared students. In contrast, scores on the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey tests show that only about 56% of the blacks and 83% of the whites over sixteen are literate. Scores on 1994 NAEP reading tests indicate that 42% of the 4th graders can’t read; 72% of the 8th graders can’t read 8th grade assignments; and 66% of the nation’s high school seniors can’t read 9th grade textbooks in any core subject.”

“To put it simply, schooling doesn’t start, even for potential geniuses, until students learn to read. And because American teachers switched in the 1930s from reading instruction that worked for everyone to reading instruction that neuroscientists now tell us does not work for anyone, schooling has never begun for over 43 million Americans with an average 12 years of school attendance. And every year the number of high school graduates who receive diplomas they cannot read grows. Few realize it has been growing for 45 years. In 1952, Army personnel officers started hiring psychologists to interview thousands of nonreading high school graduates they mistakenly thought were faking illiteracy to stay out of the Korean War. After the psychologists told the officers that the graduates weren’t faking, Defense Department administrators knew that something terrible had happened to grade school reading instruction. And they knew that it had started in the Thirties. Why they remained silent, no one knows. The switch back to reading instruction that worked for everyone should have been made then.”

“The numbers of illiterate American adults have jumped from 3 million with little or no schooling in the early Thirties to about 43 million with an average 12 years of school instruction in the early Nineties. The 96% literacy rate for 18 million military registrants tested during World War II dropped to nearly 80% for several million prospective recruits tested during the Korean War. This was an incredible 400% increase in illiteracy for young men in the 8 years between 1945 (the end of World War II) and 1953 (the end of the Korean War).”

What happened? Was this accidental? Why is the jewish controlled media so studiously ignoring this catastrophe? Why did jews go to the US Census Bureau in 1957 and insist that jews not be listed as a separate category in any of the racial and religious demographics, thus concealing their over-representation in the “education” of our Christian children and their under-representation in high test scores and academic achievement?


It was jewish control of US immigration policy which decimated our immigration standards and enabled “feeble minded … morons” to immigrate to this country by the millions.


The SAT Math score of the average college bound black in 1992 was 385, which was 198 points lower than the average of 583 for all students in Iowa, many of whom were denied admission to college that year because of affirmative action for blacks. Even the average SAT Math score for students in Washington, DC, the consistently lowest scoring area of the country, year in and year out, was 56 points higher, at 441. But college bound Whites, whose SAT score was 489, also had lower SAT Math scores than the average of all students in half the states in the country, with students in Iowa scoring 94 points higher. The average students in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, and Illinois scored more than 50 points higher than college bound Whites and higher even than college bound Asians. How is it possible for college bound students to score consistently lower than *average* high school graduates in half the states? Why do jews, who constitute 50% of the student body and 50% of the faculty of Harvard Law School, and thus are perhaps half of our lawyers and judges, support the admission of so many unqualified students to our once fine universities? How can the *average* scores of all students in Iowa be 94 points higher than the average score of college bound WHITES?

Based on the ethnic composition of students in Iowa (90.6% Whites, 3.4% blacks, 2.4% Hispanics, 1.6% Asians, .5% Indians, and 1.5% jews), and the known average SAT scores for each race, Iowa SHOULD have scored only 490, or 93 points lower than their actual score of 583. Similarly, Nebraska scored 57 points higher than expected, Minnesota scored 89 points higher, Utah scored 72 points higher, Wyoming scored 36 points higher, North Dakota scored 96 points higher. Even more significantly, all of these states spend considerably less for education per student than New Jersey or New York do. It’s impossible for the average Whites in those states to have such low average SAT scores if the average score for the entire state is so much higher. The only way this couldhave happened is if the Whites in those states actually have an average SAT Math score of 576, or 85 points higher than that reported by the ETS. It’s also possible, but highly unlikely, that:

There are two other reasons Whites in those states probably have such higher SAT scores than the average “Whites” in the rest of the country, which is that states like New Jersey and New York include 6% more Latinos and 30% more jews in their categories for “Whites”.

The best fit for these western states is an SAT Math score of 590 for Whites, but this causes New Jersey’s and New York’s calculated scores to be 66 and 56 points higher, respectively, than their actual scores of 478 and 473. 83% of the 5.5 million jews in the US are in the Northeast and 30% and 29% of the population of New Jersey and New York who are counted as “Whites” are actually jews. The ONLY thing that can account for New Jersey’s and New York’s dismal SAT Math scores is that jews have an average SAT Math score of 340. There is NO other known way, with New Jersey spending 3 times as much for education ($9,225 per student per year) as these Western states, for this to happen. It explains a lot about how the jews suddenly got so “intelligent” but still don’t want to brag about their test scores. And why they support the admission of blacks to universities who score hundreds of points lower than millions of more qualified Whites. And why the 1.9% of the population who are jews support affirmative action, even though they supposedly have 115 IQs.

This is a much lower SAT Math score than average: 61 points lower than blacks, 121 points lower than the “average college bound White”, 210 points lower than Asians, and 206 points lower than Whites in Iowa.

The ACT Composite score has a similar problem, with the average scores of these Western states being proportionately higher than all “Whites” who participated in the ACT, and New Jersey and New York scoring proportionately lower than their composite average score predicts they should score. Once the ACT score for Whites is adjusted up, from 21.8 to 22.1, and that for jews is adjusted downward, from 21.8 to 20.7, all of these states score within 0.3 points of their anticipated composite average.

NAEP confirms this trend. New Jersey and New York are again the exceptions to the rule–until the score for jews is adjusted–downward–considerably. After the scores for Whites are increased from 270 to 281 to match the actual scores of the Western states, and when it’s presumed that the scores for jews are similar to that for Whites, New Jersey and New York score, respectively, 1 and 5 points lower than their predicted score. The only explanation for why states which spend so much for education score so low on all the standardized tests is the very low academic performance of jews. To normalize the scores for all these states requires the NAEP score for jews to be set at 265, which again is considerably lower than the average: 16 points lower than Whites, and 14 points lower than Asians.

Race by State







New Jersey







New York



































N. Dakota














Scores by State

SAT M original







SAT M adjusted




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jews – Fathers’ Manifesto

Jews – Encyclopedia of Ukraine

Jews (Ukrainian: , , ; zhydy, iudei, ievre). Jews first settled on Ukrainian territories in the 4th century BC in the Crimea and among the Greek colonies on the northeast coast of the Black Sea (see Ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast). From there they migrated to the valleys of the three major riversthe Volga River, Don River, and Dnieper Riverwhere they maintained active economic and diplomatic relations with Byzantium, Persia, and the Khazar kaganate. The latter empire consisted of Turkic tribes that converted to Judaism in about 740 AD. In the aftermath of Khazaria’s conquest in 964 by the Kyivan prince Sviatoslav I Ihorovych, Khazarian Jews settled in Kyiv, the Crimea (see Karaites), and Caucasia.

Throughout the 11th and 12th centuries Khazarian Jews steadily migrated northwards. In Kyivan Rus the Jewish population developed a distinct presence. In Kyiv they settled in their own district called Zhydove, the entrance to which was called the Zhydivski vorota (Jewish gate). Jews fleeing the Crusaders came to Ukraine as well, and the first western-European Jews began to arrive from Germany, probably in the 11th century.

The Kyivan princes Iziaslav Mstyslavych and Sviatopolk II Iziaslavych, Prince Danylo Romanovych of Galicia-Volhynia, and the Volhynian prince Volodymyr Vasylkovych were well disposed to their Jewish subjects and assisted their activities in trade and finance. Jews were also appointed to administrative and financial posts. However, as in other parts of Europe, this benevolent treatment was not consistent. During the Kyiv Uprising in 1113 the Zhydove district was ransacked, and during the rule of Volodymyr Monomakh Jews were expelled from Kyiv. The Mongol conquest of the Crimea and of Kyivan Rus strengthened commercial relations, and brought peace and prosperity to the Jewish community up to the time of the Tatar-Lithuanian War (139699).

The expulsion of the Jews from the states and cities of Western and Central Europe in the 13th15th centuries led Jews to flee eastward, to Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, Poland, and the Ottoman Empire. By 1500, Jews living in Ukrainian lands under Polish rule could be found in 23 towns and constituted one-third of all Jews in the Polish kingdom. The central European Jews (ashkenazim) spoke Yiddish (a German dialect), wore distinctive dress, and lived apart from the local population, either in separate districts or ghettos of cities, or in small, predominantly Jewish, settlements (shtetl). They were usually poorer than the earliest Jewish immigrants to Ukraine. Barred from owning land and from the professions, the majority of Jews were engaged in modest occupations, as artisans and in petty trade. Protected by the Polish monarchs against hostile nobles and urban dwellers, Jews were directly subordinate to the king, paying a separate tax for which they were collectively responsible. In return, royal decrees (dating back as early as 1264) allowed the Jews to govern themselves. In 1495 King Alexander Jagielloczyk established autonomous local governments (see Kahal), with jurisdiction over schools, welfare, the lower judiciary, and religious affairs. From the mid-16th century to 1763 the central institution of Jewish life in the Polish Kingdom was the Council of the Four Lands (Great Poland, Little Poland, Chervona Rus [Galicia], and Volhynia). The council met semiannually (later irregularly), with the site alternating between Jarosaw and Lublin, to apportion the responsibility for taxes and decide on matters of concern to the Jewish community.

In the late 15th century Jews from Poland and Germany began arriving in Ukrainian territories under Lithuanian rule (especially the Kyiv region and Podilia). Kyiv became a famous center of Jewish religious education. This period was also one of suffering for both the indigenous and the Jewish populations because of the Tatar raids. In 1482 many Jews were seized by the Tatars and sold into slavery in the Crimea.

The largest migration of Jews to Ukrainian territories took place in the last quarter of the 16th century. Some came from other parts of Poland and Lithuania to settle the newly opened areas; others from as far as Italy and Germany. In 1569, with the creation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (see Union of Lublin) and the transfer of Ukraine from Lithuanian to Polish administration, vast areas of Ukraine were opened to colonization and to commercial agricultural development for trade with Western Europe. Between 1569 and 1648 the number of Jews in Ukraine increased from about 4,000 to nearly 51,325, dispersed among 115 towns and settlements in the Kyiv voivodeship, Podilia voivodeship, Volhynia voivodeship, and Bratslav voivodeship. If the older Jewish community in the Rus voivodeship and Belz voivodeship is included, at the turn of the century there were 120,000 Jews in Ukrainian territories, out of an estimated total population of 2 to 5 million. This rapid increase was a result not only of migration but also of natural population growth.

Jews began taking advantage of the new professional and economic opportunities in the frontier territories of Ukraine. As Polish and Lithuanian nobles accumulated more land, Jews came to act as their middlemen, providing indispensable services to the absentee and local lords as leaseholders of large estates, tax collectors (see Tax farming), estate stewards (with the right to administer justice, including the death penalty), business agents, and operators and managers of inns, dairies, mills, lumber yards, and distilleries. In trade, they supplanted Armenians and competed with urban Ukrainians. Jews came to be perceived as the immediate overlords of the peasantry and the most important competitors to the urban Christian Orthodox population.

The situation of the Jewish population became increasingly vulnerable in the early 17th century. Dissatisfaction with the difficult conditions on the part of the enserfed peasantry, the Cossacks, and urban Orthodox Ukrainians led to the 1648 uprising under Bohdan Khmelnytsky (see Cossack-Polish War). Polish landowners, Catholics, and Jews were the main victims of the uprising. In many cities, particularly in the Podilia and Volhynia regions and Left-Bank Ukraine, the Jewish population was decimated. Jewish eyewitness chroniclers (eg, Nathan Hanover) estimate the figure of casualties between 100,000 and 120,000. In light of the size of the estimated Jewish population in Ukraine in 1648 (51,325) this figure reflects rather the trauma of the experience and not the actual numbers. Nonetheless Jews, perceived as representatives of the Polish landlords, suffered greatly during the uprising. To escape persecution, some Jews converted to Christianity.

The status of Jews was very different in the Russian-dominated Hetman state. The Russian government was opposed to Jewish immigration and, beginning with Peter I, forbade Jews from settling in Left-Bank Ukraine. Nevertheless, because the economic value of Jewish settlers was recognized by officials of the Hetmanate, the decrees issued by Saint Petersburg for the expulsion of Jews from Left-Bank Ukraine were not always enforced, and several petitions were addressed to Saint Petersburg requesting permission to allow Jews in. Most Jews, however, lived in Right-Bank Ukraine, which remained under Polish control until 1772.

The economic hardship of the peasantry and the intensified national and religious oppression by Poland in these areas caused popular unrest that came to be directed also against Jews. This unrest was manifested in the Haidamaka uprisings, and especially the Koliivshchyna rebellion of 1768, when 50,00060,000 Jews perished out of a total Jewish population of about 300,000 in Right-Bank Ukraine. Nevertheless, Jewish immigration to Ukraine continued throughout the 18th century, and while most Jews lived in poverty, some began to acquire great wealth.

After the partition of Poland in the late 18th century, the presence of 900,000 Jews on what was now Russian imperial territory forced the Russian government to abandon its previous policy of exclusion of Jews from Russia proper. In 1772 (and 1791, 1804, 1835) the government established a territorial region called the Pale of Settlement beyond which Jewish settlement was prohibited. In Ukraine this area included almost all the former Polish-controlled territories; the Left-Bank Chernihiv gubernia and Poltava gubernia, except for the crown hamlets; New Russia gubernia; Kyiv gubernia, but not the city of Kyiv; and Bessarabia (1812). The Pale existed, with some special criteria permitting individual Jews to live outside it, until 1915.

During the reign of Alexander I (180125) the position of Jews initially improved as restrictions on their movement and enrollment in schools were eased and official anti-Semitic propaganda abated. Economically, Jews prospered in Southern Ukraine, where they played a major role in the grain trade; they acquired an especially strong presence in such commercial centers as Odesa, Kremenchuk, and Berdychiv. In 1817 Jews owned 30 percent of the factories in Russian-ruled Ukraine. Towards the end of Alexander’s rule, however, state-sponsored conversion attempts and expulsions from certain areas were encouraged.

Under Nicholas I (182555) official persecution of the Jews increased dramatically. Of the 1,200 laws affecting Jews between 1649 and 1881, more than half were instituted during his reign. Among these provisions were compulsory military service for Jews (1827), including the conscription of children; expulsions from cities (Kyiv, Kherson, and Sevastopol); abolition of the kahal (1844); banning of the public use of Hebrew and Yiddish; aggressive conversion measures; and further travel and settlement restrictions (1835). In 1844 a decree was issued that created new Jewish schools similar to the parish and district schools and that aimed to assimilate the Jews.

Jews benefited from the brief period of liberalism that initially characterized the reign of Alexander II (185581). With the rise of the Jewish emancipation movement a few restrictions were loosened: some Jewsamong them merchants of the first guild (1859), university graduates (1861), and various categories of artisans and tradesmen (1865)were granted freedom of movement; and conscription of Jews into the army was placed on the same basis as for other subjects of the empire (1856), which included the abolition of the conscription of children. By 1872 Jews were actively engaged in the major industries in Ukraine: they comprised 90 percent of all those occupied in distilling and 32 percent in the sugar industry. But with the Odesa pogrom in 1871, the momentum for reform was quickly reversed, especially after the assassination of the tsar, and new laws restricting Jewish economic activity were introduced. In 1873, the rabbinical college in Zhytomyr was transformed by the authorities into a secular school.

The reign of the tsar’s successors, Alexander III (188196) and Nicholas II (18961917), ushered in an era of state-supported pogroms (18812, 1903, 1905), charges of ritual murder in the Beilis affair (1913), expulsions from Kyiv (1886) and Moscow (1891), and stricter segregation of the Jewish population with in the Pale of Settlement (1882). Wide-scale pogroms took place in October 1905, when in one month 690 pogroms were carried out in 28 gubernias (of which 329 pogroms were in Chernihiv gubernia alone). Many of these outbursts were encouraged by the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds movement.

The government limited educational opportunities in 1887 and again in 1907 by placing a quota on Jews to be admitted to secondary schools and universities: 10 percent within the Pale of Setllement, 3 percent in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and 5 percent in the rest of the empire. Jews could be admitted to the bar only with permission of the minister of justice (1887), and they could not vote in district zemstvo assembly elections (1890), even though they were obliged to pay zemstvo taxes. Economically, Jews were deprived of an important source of livelihood when the government forbade them to acquire property outside towns or large villages (1882), forcing them into the cities, and again (1894) when the state declared a monopoly on the sale of spirits, refusing Jews licences to sell spirits (see Propination). The desperate economic position of Jews in the Pale was reflected in the fact that 30 percent had to be supported by philanthropic relief. In essence, the Jews never achieved or were never granted emancipation under tsarist Russian rule.

The reaction to these repressive measures and activities was a dramatic increase in Jewish emigration to North America, increased support for the Zionist movement (the largest Jewish political movement by 1917), and active participation in all-Russian revolutionary or Jewish socialist political parties. Among the latter were the Bund and the smaller Jewish Socialist Labor party, Zionist Socialist Labor party, and Poale Zion.

During the First World War more than 500,000 Jews were deported from the military zones, and as the Russian army defeats increased, so the position of the Jews deteriorated. They were accused of being spies and traitors and of undermining the regime.

In Austria-Hungary, Jews did not receive rights equal to those of the general population until 1868. Until then, their rights were limited by the Josephine patents (see Joseph II), which sought to assimilate Jews and to involve them in agriculture. When Galicia (1772) and Bukovyna (1774) were incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, most Jews in Galicia were concentrated in the eastern part of this crown land. They made up about 11 percent of the population of Galicia both in 1869 (575,433) and in 1900 (811,183). Sixty percent of Jews were engaged in trade and commerce in an area where 75 percent of the population (and 94 percent of Ukrainians) earned its livelihood from agriculture and forestry. Jews formed an absolute majority in many important trading centers, such as Brody on the Russian border. Jews figured prominently as officials attached to the estates (stewards, overseers, labor recruiters); as storekeepers, leaseholders of Polish estates, and tavernkeepers; as officials in local government; and in the working class (as workers in the petroleum industry centered in the Drohobych- Boryslav Industrial Region).

Only about 60 percent of eastern Galicia’s Jews lived in cities and towns. Jews in rural areas represented a sizable portion of Galicia’s Jewish population, and they were an anomaly in comparison to Jewish demographic patterns elsewhere. Both in terms of their numbers and because of their precarious position as middlemen between lord and peasant, rural Jews were often the scapegoats for dissatisfaction and resentment. Many among the non-Jewish population shared a hostile view of Jews as exploiters and servants of the Polish nobility and landowners, even though the vast majority of Jews lived in poverty, like their Ukrainian neighbors. In contrast to conditions in the Russian Empire, however, there were no pogroms; rather, the social and economic character of this antagonism was expressed in political and economic competition. As a vulnerable minority, Jews in Galicia usually voted with the ruling Polish nation, and throughout the second half of the 19th century Poles and Jews worked closely during the elections to parliament. After universal male suffrage was proclaimed in 1907, some Jews (especially supporters of the Zionist movement) allied themselves with Ukrainian political parties.

The collapse of tsarism in March 1917 (see February Revolution of 1917) soon brought emancipation for the Jews in the Russian Empire. On 20 March the Provisional Government declared that Jews were now equal citizens; they were not, however, granted national minority status or autonomy.

In Ukraine, the Central Rada established in March 1917 decided in late July to invite the minority nationalities (Russians, Poles, and Jews) to join its ranks. As a result, 50 Jews, from all the major parties, joined the Central Rada and 5 joined the Little Rada. The Jewish parties were also represented in the General Secretariat of the Central Rada (later the Council of National Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic). Moisei Rafes, a Bundist, took on the post of general controller. Within the secretariat of nationalities, departments were set up for each minority and Moishe Zilberfarb, of the United Jewish Socialist Workers’ party, was appointed under secretary for Jewish affairs. He became general secretary for Jewish affairs, with ministerial ranking, on the formation of the Ukrainian National Republic (20 November 1917), and then minister for Jewish affairs when the proclamation of Ukrainian independence was issued (25 January 1918). Responsibility for Jewish affairs under the Central Rada thus passed from a department (undersecretariat) to a secretariat and then to a ministry. An advisory council representing the main Jewish parties was formed on 10 October 1917 and the Provisional National Council of the Jews of Ukraine convened in November 1918. Yiddish was one of the languages used by the Central Rada on its official currency and in proclamations, and the law on national-personal autonomy gave non-Ukrainian nationalities the right to manage their national life independently. However, during the regime of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky (see Hetman government), this law was rescinded (9 July 1918) and the Ministry of Jewish Affairs abolished.

Under the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic, the Ministry of Jewish Affairs (headed at first by Abraham Revusky) was re-established, and the law on national-personal autonomy was re-enacted. From April 1919, as the Directory was forced to move constantly westwards, the minister of Jewish affairs was Pinkhas Krasny. Other Jews who occupied prominent positions in the Central Rada or Directory governments were Solomon Goldelman, a deputy minister of trade and industry and of labor, and Arnold Margolin, a member of the Ukrainian Party of Socialists-Federalists who was deputy minister of foreign affairs and a diplomatic representative in London and at the Paris Peace Conference talks. Several prominent Zionists also supported Ukrainian autonomy, including Vladimir Zhabotinsky, D. Pasmanik, and Joseph Schechtman.

The Central Rada government was the first in history to grant Jews autonomy (see National minorities), and its relationship with Jewish political parties was generally amicable. All Jewish parties in the Central Rada voted for the creation of the Ukrainian National Republic and, because they were categorically opposed to the Bolsheviks, saw the Republic as the only remaining parliamentary democracy. The subsequent declaration of independence, however, was opposed by the Bund, and the other Jewish parties, including the Zionists, abstained from voting. In general, the mainstream Jewish public did not respond positively to the Central Rada and Jews preferred a united all-Russian government to better represent the interests of the Jewish minority. Neither was there full confidence in the Ukrainian government’s ability or willingness to halt the spread of pogroms in Ukraine and to organize a strong military presence.

The scale of the pogroms during the struggle for independence (191720) in Ukraine was devastating for the Jewish population. The Whites (see Anton Denikin), peasant bands, otamans, and some units of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic, having regarded Jews as pro-Bolshevik, all took part in these atrocities, as did the anarchists (see Nestor Makhno) and the Red Army. However, just before the formation of the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic, elections to the Jewish communal councils indicated that of the 270,497 votes cast, 66 percent were for non-socialist parties (Orthodox and Zionist), while 34 percent voted for socialist party representatives.

The government and high command of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic tried to combat the instigators of the pogroms. Orders were issued imposing courts-martial for pogromists and some executions were carried out. The government assisted pogrom survivors and co-operated with both the Jewish community and foreign representatives in investigations of the pogroms.

In Galicia, Jews were neutral in the Polish-Ukrainian conflict (see Ukrainian-Polish War in Galicia, 191819) but later supported the Western Ukrainian National Republic government. They were granted equality and national rights, including permission to create their own police units. Some Jews served in the ranks of the Ukrainian Galician Army (see Jewish Battalion of the Ukrainian Galician Army).

The consolidation of Bolshevik rule brought the Jewish community both hardships and opportunities. Under War Communism (191821), when free commerce was banned and private businesses nationalized, Jews suffered great economic setbacks. Moreover, the Bolsheviks seemed determined to destroy the last vestiges of organized Jewish life. In April 1919 they abolished most community organizations. As part of their general antireligious propaganda they also closed down many synagogues and outlawed religious and Hebrew education. In Ukraine the Bolsheviks pursued a vigorous anti-Yiddish policy aimed at assimilating Jews; eg, the number of Yiddish books published declined from 274 in 1919 to 40 in 1923.

At the same time, formal and informal restrictions against Jewish participation in government and administration were abolished, especially for those who chose the path of assimilation. Special Jewish sections (the so-called yevsektsii) were formed within the Communist Party to facilitate Jewish participation, and it was often these groups that most strongly attacked the Zionist and traditional Jewish parties. Individual Jews benefited from the pro-Russian and pro-urban orientation of the Party, and many became part of the system, especially in education, the economy, and the middle echelons of the Party administration and government. Although only one-half of 1 percent of the total Jewish population joined the Bolshevik party, they constituted a large percentage of all Bolsheviks in Ukraine, in 1922 approx 13.6 percent of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine (CP[B]U). Fully 15.5 percent of the delegates to the 5th and 7th All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets in 1921 and 1922 were of Jewish origin.

In an effort to consolidate the regime and broaden its support among the non-Russian nations, the Bolsheviks instituted a number of important changes in 1923. As a solution to the nationalities problem the policy of indigenization was adopted. This policy encouraged the use of national languages and the recruitment of non-Russians into the Party, education, and the government. It is difficult to judge what effect the Ukrainian version of indigenization, Ukrainization, had on Ukraine’s Jewish population. Since only 0.9 percent of all Ukrainian Jews (in 1926) declared their mother tongue to be Ukrainian, the introduction of Ukrainian as the official language certainly limited their opportunities in the Party, government, and scholarship. Moreover, the active recruitment of Ukrainians meant that the Jewish proportion would decline in these sectors. In 1923 Jews constituted 47.4 percent of students at higher educational institutions, but in 1929, only 23.3 percent, and their percentage in the CP(B)U fell from 13.6 in 1923 to 11.2 in 1926. Yet, in a speech to the 15th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) (CP[B]) in December 1927, Grigorii Ordzhonikidze, the head of the Central Control Commission of the Party, reported that Jews still constituted 22.6 percent of the governmental machinery in Ukraine and 30.3 percent in the city of Kyiv. The first secretary of the Central Committee of the CP(B)U from 1925 to 1926, Lazar Kaganovich, was of Jewish descent. In the end, Ukrainization was only a partial success, and it was finally abandoned in 1933 in favor of strict Russification.

Indigenization brought obvious benefits to the Jews as well. Jewish culture flourished in Ukraine, and several Yiddish theaters, institutes, periodical publications, and schools were established. Soviets in which the official language was Yiddish were established to administer the Jewish population: there were 117 such Soviets in 1926 and 156 by 1931. Moreover, Yiddish-language courts were set up, and the government offered a variety of services in Yiddish.

The New Economic Policy (NEP), which was introduced in 1921 to allow for some measure of private capitalist activity, was another significant development for the Jewish community. Many Jewish artisans re-established their private shops and at least 13 percent of all Ukrainian Jews became involved in commerce (1926). According to the census of 1926, fully 78.5 percent of all private factories in Ukraine under NEP were Jewish owned. This situation was short-lived. In the second half of the 1920s the Soviet authorities increasingly cut back on private capitalism, and NEP was for all practical purposes stopped by 1930.

In the 1920s the Soviet regime placed a major emphasis on changing the traditional social and economic structure of Jewish life, primarily by encouraging Jews to become engaged in agriculture. Jewish agricultural colonies had existed in Ukraine, especially Southern Ukraine, from the late 18th century. In 1924 the Soviet government setup two official bodies to promote Jewish rural settlement; they were assisted by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which provided funds and machinery. From 69,000 in 1926, the number of Jewish farmers in the Ukrainian SSR increased to 172,000 in 1931; of these, 37,000 lived on colonies established under Soviet rule. One of the goals of some Jewish community leaders was the establishment of a Jewish territorial unitan autonomous oblast or even Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republicon Ukrainian territory. As a first step, three Jewish raions were established: Kalinindorf (in Kherson okruha), founded in 1927; Novozlatopil (Zaporizhia okruha), in 1929; and Stalindorf (Kryvyi Rih okruha), in 1930. Eventually this plan was abandoned, at least partly because of the opposition of Ukrainian government leaders who feared the truncation of their republic; instead, in 1934 the Birobidzhan Jewish Autonomous oblast was established in the Far East. In the second half of the 1930s, most Jews left these agricultural colonies, either for Birobidzhan or for the cities.

The end of indigenization brought an end to the renaissance of organized Jewish life in the USSR. The Yiddish-language governmental institutions, the yevsektsii, the Yiddish writers’ organizations, and many major cultural and scholarly institutions (eg, the Institute of Jewish Culture of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kyiv) were closed down, and the formal support given by the regime to Jewish developments was replaced by a growing official anti-Semitism. Many Jewish activists fell victims to the Stalinist terror of the 1930s.

In Western Ukraine during the interwar period strong economic competition from Ukrainian co-operatives and from private commercial and industrial firms eroded the economic base of Jewish life in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. The Polish government, and such Polish anti-Semitic groups as Rozwj, initiated anti-Jewish measures and activities. Despite the perception of economic antagonism between Jews and Ukrainians, there was some political co-operation: eg, in the 1922 and 1928 elections to the Polish Sejm, when Ukrainian and Jewish parties joined the coalition Bloc of National Minorities, and in the elections to the Czechoslovak and Romanian parliaments. Repressive Polish measures against Ukrainians and the co-operation of some Jewish leaders with the Polish government led to resentment of the Jews.

The first Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine (193941) followed the pattern already established in the USSR. On the one hand, Jewish national and cultural rights were limited, traditional institutions were abolished, and the economy was restructured and nationalized, bringing great hardships to artisans and merchants. On the other, individual Jews were given better opportunities as the official quotas, limiting their access to education and the professions, were abolished. Overall, many Jews welcomed the Soviet occupation, as it brought an end to the official anti-Semitism of the Polish regime and staved off the threat of Nazi occupation.

The German occupation of Ukraine during the Second World Warand, indeed, the entire war periodwas a tragedy for Ukrainian Jews (see Holocaust). Within the enlarged 1941 boundaries of the Soviet Union, 2.5 of the 4.8 million Jews were killed. In Western Ukraine only 2 percent (17,000) of the entire Jewish population survived. The destruction of Jews began in fall 1941, initially in central Ukraine and then in Western Ukraine. In Kyiv alone, 35,00070,000 Jews were murdered at Babyn Yar. Mass murder of Jews was carried out throughout Ukraine in 19424. Apart from the involvement of individuals and some organized auxiliary units, the Ukrainian population did not take part in these genocidal actions. Despite the penalty of death for aiding Jews, a number of Ukrainians, among them Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, tried to save Jews.

The Jewish population suffered severe discrimination in the postwar years. The crackdown on Jewish community life intensified as the teaching of Hebrew was prohibited, the Yiddish theater was abolished, Yiddish publications were suspended, hundreds of Jewish leaders were arrested (1948), and Yiddish writers were imprisoned. Twenty-four of the more prominent leaders and writers in the USSR were executed after a secret trial in August 1952. In 1953 Joseph Stalin’s persecutions came to a head with the so-called doctors’ plot, in which nine doctors, six of them Jewish, were accused of conspiring with Western powers to poison Soviet leaders. Thousands of Jews were removed from official posts, particularly from the armed forces and security services, and their role in the Communist Party was reduced. In higher educational institutions quotas were imposed on the numbers of Jewish students admitted.

After Stalin’s death the situation for individual Jews improved somewhat, but the assimilatory campaign and repression of Jewish culture and religion continued. Anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism became part of Soviet internal and foreign policy. Soviet Ukrainian educational institutions were also used in this campaign; for example, the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR in 1963 published T. Kichko’s anti-Semitic pamphlet, Judaism without Embellishment. Only about 60 synagogues survived into the 1980s in the USSR, and, of these, more than half were in Georgia.

After the 1967 Six-Day War in the Middle East and the emergence of the dissident movement in the Soviet Union, a strong Jewish emigration movement arose. In the 1970s there was a massive emigration of Jews from Ukraine to the West, including Israel and North America. Between 1970 and 1980, 250,000 Soviet citizens emigrated on Israeli visas. By 1980 severe restrictions were placed on Jewish emigration; it is estimated that in 1981 alone, approx 40,000 were refused permission to emigrate.

Ukrainian dissidents, including Ivan Dziuba, Sviatoslav Karavansky, Yevhen Sverstiuk, Viacheslav Chornovil, Leonid Pliushch, and Petro Grigorenko (Hryhorenko), have worked with Jewish activists (eg. E. Kuznetsov, A. Shifrin, A. Radygin, and Yosyf Zisels) in advocating Jewish-Ukrainian co-operation. Ukranskyi visnyk, the Ukrainian samvydav journal, continuously reported on the persecution of Jewish activists.

In 1979 Ukrainian Jewish migrs in Israel formed the Public Committee for Jewish-Ukrainian Cooperation, which in 1981 became the Society of Jewish-Ukrainian Relations, headed by Ya. Suslensky. Even earlier, in the 1950s, a commission of Jewish-Ukrainian affairs was established at the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in New York, and in 1953 the Association to Perpetuate the Memory of Ukrainian Jews was formed in New York, headed by Mendl Osherowitch.

Demography. At the end of the 19th century there were approx 3 million Jews living in ethnographic Ukrainian territories (see Table 1). Ukraine at that time had the highest concentration of Jews in the world, with some 30 percent of the total world population of Jewry (1.3 million Jews lived in Poland and 1.2 million in Lithuania and Belarus). In the eight Ukrainian gubernias of Russian-ruled Ukraine in 1897, 43.3 percent of all Jews worked in commerce, 32.2 in crafts and industry, 7.3 in private services, 5.8 in public services (including the liberal professions), 3.7 in communication, 2.9 in agriculture, and 4.8 in no permanent occupation.

Almost 60 percent of Ukrainian Jews lived in cities and constituted one-third of the urban population of the country. Because of their confinement to the Pale of Settlement, the Dnieper River served as a major demographic demarcation line. In Western Ukraine and Right-Bank Ukraine, Jews made up 1015 percent of the population, but in Left-Bank Ukraine, only 46 percent. In most cities of Western and Right-Bank Ukraine they constituted a relative majority (40 percent on average), while they formed an absolute majority in such cities as Berdychiv (78 percent), Uman (58 percent), and Bila Tserkva (53 percent).

The First World War and the subsequent upheavals of 191721 in the central and western lands led to a significant decrease in the Jewish population as a result of casualties and a sizable emigration. The abolition of the Pale of Settlement enabled Jews to move to other parts of the old Russian Empire as well as to eastern Ukraine and the Kuban region. As a result, the Jewish population in Ukrainian territories decreased from 8.3 percent of the total population in 1897 to 5.5 percent in 1926. (Jewish population distribution is given in Table 2.)

Overall, the greatest percentage decreases occurred in Right-Bank Ukraine, while the greatest increases occurred in Slobidska Ukraine (particularly in Kharkiv). The distribution of Jewish population by geographic region for 1897 and 1926 is given in Table 3.

Demographic data for the Ukrainian SSR in 1926 (see map: Jews in Ukraine in 192631) illustrate the high rates of Jewish urbanization: 26 percent of the total Jewish population lived in villages, 51.6 percent lived in cities of 100,000 or less, and 22.2 percent lived in cities with a population of more than 100,000. Moreover, the concentration of Jews in medium- and large-sized cities, a process that began in the 19th century, continued. Between 1897 and 1926, the number of Jews decreased by 33 percent in villages and by 22 percent in towns of less than 20,000; meanwhile, their number increased by 7 percent in cities of 20,000 to 100,000 and by 106 percent in cities of over 100,000. In 1897, 27.4 percent of Ukraine’s urban population was Jewish; in 1926, 22.8 percent.

The cities with the largest populations of Jews in 1926 (1897 figures in parentheses) were Odesa, 154,000 or 36.5 percent of the total population (140,000, 34.8 percent); Kyiv, 140,500 or 27.3 percent (31,800, 12.8); Kharkiv, 81,500 or 19.5 percent (11,000, 6.3); and Dnipropetrovske, 62,000 or 26.7 percent (40,000, 35.5). In 1931 Lviv’s Jewish population numbered 98,000 or 31.9 percent (in 1900 the respective figures were 44,300 and 26.5), and in Chernivtsi, 42,600 or 37.9 percent (21,600 or 32.8 percent). Before the First World War, Odesa had the third-largest Jewish population in the world after New York and Warsaw. According to the 1926 Soviet Ukrainian census, the distribution of the Jews by occupation was as follows: 20.6 percent in arts and crafts, 20.6 in public services (administrative work), 15.3 workers, 13.3 in commerce, 9.2 in agriculture, 1.6 in liberal professions, 8.9 unemployed, 7.3 of no profession; the rest were classified in a miscellaneous category. The proportion of Jews in economic administration was 40.6 percent, and in medical-sanitary administration, 31.9 percent.

The use, and even the knowledge, of Yiddish began to decline sharply in the 20th century, particularly in larger cities: in 1926 only 76 percent of Jews in the Ukrainian SSR claimed Yiddish as their mother tongue (70 percent of the urban and 95 percent of the rural population), while 23 percent listed Russian and barely 1 percent listed Ukrainian. The extent of Russification is evidenced by the fact that only 16 percent had no written knowledge of Russian and as many as 31 percent had no written knowledge of Yiddish (78 percent could not write in Ukrainian).

On the eve of the Second World War there were about 3 million Jews in Ukrainian lands; they constituted 20 percent of the total world Jewish population and 60 percent of the Jewish population of the USSR. During the war the Germans murdered most of the Jews in the territories they occupied. The only ones who survived were those who had been saved by Ukrainians at the risk of their own lives or were evacuated to the eastern reaches of the USSR before the German advance, and some in Transcarpathia, Bessarabia, and Bukovyna, where there was no direct German occupation, and where the deportation and extermination of the Jewish population was not as complete.

Since the Second World War the Jewish population in the Ukrainian SSR has declined steadily. In the 20 years from 1959 to 1979 it decreased by 24.5 percent, from 840,000 in 1959 to 777,000 in 1970 (which constituted 1.65 percent of the population of Ukraine, and 36.1 percent of the total Soviet Jewish population) and 634,000 in 1979. This decline has been caused by low birth rates, the rise in intermarriages, and, since 1971, mass emigration. Table 4 shows the 1959 and 1970 figures of the distribution of Jews in Kyiv and in oblasts in which they numbered more than 20,000. Jews now live almost exclusively in provincial centers and in larger cities. They are virtually absent in towns and villages.

Cultural life. From the very beginning of mass Jewish settlement in Ukraine, Jewish cultural and religious life was highly developed. The impressive stone synagogues throughout Ukraine serve as interesting historical monuments to Jewish material culture. The more notable ones, such as those in Volhynia (in Dubno, Lutsk, and Liuboml), date back to the 16th18th centuries. The Cossack uprisings of the 17th century, the destruction wrought by the Cossack-Polish War of 164857, and the general social and economic dislocations of the era initiated a period of great change for the Jewish population of Ukraine. Many Jewish scholars fled to the West, where they founded Talmudic centers in Holland, Germany, and Bohemia. Religious disillusionment spread and many Jews sought solace in a variety of ascetic or mystical movements. Hasidism, which was founded in Ukraine by Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, became the dominant religious trend in Western Ukraine. In the late 18th century the Haskalah or Enlightenment movement, inspired by Moses Mendelssohn, emerged. Adherents of this movement sought a synthesis of Jewish religious tradition with the demands of modern life. The Enlightenment movement later fostered the spread of Zionism, which had many adherents in Ukraine.

The rebirth of Hebrew and its application to modern life also originated with Jews from Ukraine. Ahad Ha-Am (18561927), who was born in the Kyiv region, is considered the founder of cultural or Spiritual Zionism. Also of Ukrainian origin are the famous Hebrew lyric poet Hayyim Nahman Bialik (18731934) and the poet Saul Tchernichowsky (18751943). The brilliant tradition of Yiddish culture in the 16th18th centuries was continued in Ukraine by Sholom Aleichem (Rabinovich, 18591916), who profoundly influenced an entire generation of Jewish writers. After 1920 Chernivtsi became an important center of Jewish culture.

The Jewish press developed rapidly from the mid-19th century. The first serials, published in Russian and Yiddish, appeared in Odesa; they included Rassvet (1860) and Zion (1861). In the early 20th century in Galicia, the Jewish daily Chwila and a number of other periodicals were established in Lviv.

In the Ukrainian SSR during the period 192334, Jews benefited from the granting of national rights and freedom for cultural development. Yiddish was recognized as an official language and used in administrative matters in Jewish soviets. Many Jewish periodicals were established; eg, Stern, the official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine and the All-Ukrainian Council of Trade Unions. All laws and government directives were also published in Yiddish. In the Ukrainian SSR in 1925 there were 393 trade and vocational schools in which the language of instruction was Yiddish, attended by 61,400 students or one-third of the total Jewish student population. There were four Jewish pedagogical institutes and separate departments in the Institute of People’s Education in Odesa. In 1928, 69,000 students attended 475 Jewish schools, and by 1931 there were 831 schools and 94,000 students. The closing of Jewish schools began in 19334, at the same time as the abolition of Ukrainization. By the start of the Second World War, the Jewish educational system had, for all practical purposes, been abolished.

The higher academic institutions devoted to the study of Jewish culture included the Hebraic Historical-Archeographic Commission and Chair of Jewish Culture of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, which became the Institute of Jewish Culture of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in 1929. The All-Ukrainian Mendele Mokher Seforim Museum of Jewish culture was established in Odesa, while the Central Jewish Library was located in Kyiv.

Jewish theaters, which had been prominent in the theatrical and artistic life of prerevolutionary Ukraine, continued to exist under Soviet rule. In 1922 permanent Jewish theaters were organized in Kyiv and Odesa, and a Jewish department of the Kyiv Institute of Theater Arts was established in 1934. Many Jewish poets and writers became active in the 1920s, publishing in Yiddish, including Leib Kvitko, I. Fefer, D. Feldman, Der Nister, Kh. Hildin, and A. Reizin. Their works were translated into Ukrainian by Pavlo Tychyna, Maksym Rylsky, and others. Jewish cultural activists were subjected to the same wave of repressions in the 1930s as were directed at Ukrainians and many Jewish institutions were closed by the authorities. After the Second World War all expressions of Jewish culture were stifled in Ukraine. From 1950 to 1952 a number of Jewish writers and cultural activists were murdered by the NKVD, among them D. Bergelson, D. Hofstein, Perets Markish, I. Fefer, L. Kvitko, P. Kaganovich (Der Nister), and A. Kushnirov.

Ukrainian themes are found in the works of Jewish writers active in Ukraine, such as M. Mokher Seforim (18361917), Sholom Aleichem, Sh. Frug, Sh. Asch, and B. Horowitz, and among those active in the diaspora, such as H.N. Bialik, Sh. Bikel, and R. Korn.

A number of Jewish writers became part of the general Ukrainian literary process: the poets Leonid Pervomaisky, Sava Holovanivsky, Ivan Kulyk, Abram Katsnelson; the prose writers Natan Rybak, Leonid Smiliansky; the dramatist L. Yukhvid; the literary historians and critics Yarema Aizenshtok, Aleksandr Leites, Samiilo Shchupak, Illia Stebun (Katsnelson), Oleksander Borshchahivsky, Yevhen Adelheim, and A. Hozenpud. Also active in Ukrainian circles were the historians Yosyf Hermaize and S. Borovoi and the linguist Olena Kurylo. Many of the above were repressed during the purges in the 1930s. In the 1970s and 1980s, the poets Leonid Kyselov (Kiselev) and Moisei Fishbein (the latter emigrated to the West in 1979) also wrote in Ukrainian.

Two of the more prominent translators of Ukrainian poetry were D. Hofstein, who published translations of Shevchenko’s poetry in 1937, and A. Klein, who published a collection of translations of Ukrainian folk works in Kolomyia, in 1936. An important role in the popularization of Ukrainian literature was played by Yakiv Orenshtain, the founder and owner of Ukrainska Nakladnia, a publishing house based in Kolomyia and Berlin. It was established in 1903 and in the next 30 years published hundreds of Ukrainian titles.

An interesting development was the attempt made by Jewish migrs to establish a Ukrainian theater in the United States. In Philadelphia, I. Ginzberg led a Jewish-Ukrainian acting company in 191012, I. Elgard (Izydor Elgardiv) led a touring theater group in 191617, and D. Medovy led his own Jewish-Ukrainian theatrical company in 191728. All of them staged Ukrainian plays and helped popularize them.

The unique nature of Jewish-Ukrainian relations is reflected in the Ukrainian oral tradition. The popular folk song of the traditional spring cycle de de Zelman hearkens back to the days when Jews held leases on Ukrainian churches. Motifs on Jewish privileges appeared frequently in the dumas. One of the so-called younger dumas is called Zhydivski utysky (Jewish Oppressions). In various vertep dramas and intermedes the sympathetic and comic figure of the Jew appears with the Zaporozhian cossack, the noble, and the Gypsy. Among the many Ukrainian authors who have portrayed Jews have been Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, Stepan Rudansky, Yakiv Shchoholiv, Tymotei Borduliak, Modest Levytsky, Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, Volodymyr Vynnychenko, Oleksander Oles, Arkadii Liubchenko, Leonid Pervomaisky, Mykola Khvylovy, Borys Antonenko-Davydovych, Yaroslav Hrymailo, and Yurii Smolych.

Today the role of Jews in Ukraine has significantly decreased, although they remain the second largest minority after the Russians. (See also Anti-Semitism.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dubnow, S. History of the Jews in Russia and Poland from the Earliest Times until the Present Day, 3 vols (Philadelphia 191620) Mytsiuk, O. Agraryzatsiia zhydivstva Ukrany na tli zahalno ekonomiky (Prague 1933) Levitats, I. The Jewish Community in Russia, 17721844 (New York 1943) Greenberg, L. The Jews in Russia: The Struggle for Emancipation, 2 vols (New Haven 1944, 1951) Baron, S. A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 2nd rev edn, 17 vols (New York 195278) The Russian Jew under Tsars and Soviets (New York 1964) Ukrainians and Jews: A Symposium (New York 1966) Goldelman, S. Jewish National Autonomy in Ukraine 19171920 (Chicago 1968) Kochan, L. (ed). The Jews in Soviet Russia since 1917 (New York 1970) Gitelman, Z. Jewish Nationality and Soviet Politics: The Jewish Section of the CPSU (Princeton 1972) Weinryb, B.D. The Hebrew Chronicles on Bohdan Khmelnytskyi and the Cossack-Polish War, HUS, 1, no. 2 (June 1977) Frankel, J. Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 18621917 (New York 1981) Levitats, I. The Jewish Community in Russia, 18441917 (Jerusalem 1981) Redlich, S. Jews, in Guide to the Study of the Soviet Nationalities: Non-Russian Peoples of the USSR, ed by S. Horak (Littleton, Colo 1982) Mendelsohn, E. The Jews of East Central Europe between the World Wars (Bloomington, Ind 1983) Pinkus. B. The Soviet Government and the Jews, 19181967: A Documented Study (Cambridge 1984) Goldberg, J. Jewish Privileges in the Polish Commonwealth (London 1985) Aster, H.; Potichnyj, P. (eds). Jewish-Ukrainian Relations in Historical Perspective (TorontoEdmonton 2010)

Volodymyr Kubijovy, Vasyl Markus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988). It will be updated.]

Original post:
Jews – Encyclopedia of Ukraine

Jews – Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Jews have always been a tiny minority of Arkansass population, yet their history in the state is long and deeply rooted. In the mid-nineteenth century, Jewish immigrants from Europe established communities and congregations throughout Arkansas. Despite their small numbers, Arkansas Jews have been committed to preserving their religious traditions even as they assimilated into the culture of their town and state. In the process, Jews became an active part of the states civic and economic life. As in many other Southern states and rural regions, the Jewish population has experienced significant decline over the past several decades, especially in small towns, though Jewish life and culture continues to flourish in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and the growing community of Bentonville (Benton County).

The first Jew to settle in Arkansas was Abraham Block, who opened a store in Washington (Hempstead County) by 1825, soon becoming one of the wealthiest men in the county. Block settled in Washington when Arkansas Territory had no Jewish congregations or institutions. He was a charter member of the regions first synagogue, Congregation Gates of Mercy in New Orleans, Louisiana, joining in 1828. Yet the lack of any organized Jewish life in Arkansas took a toll on his family, and few of his children remained in the faith. Blocks life in Arkansas highlights the challenges Jews have often faced in a state largely isolated from the centers of American Jewish life.

These difficulties eased a little as growing numbers of Jews from central Europe began to arrive in Arkansas before the Civil War. They were part of the German wave of Jewish immigration, settling primarily in the large cities of the Northeast and the Midwest. But a significant minority of Jews from Germany and from Alsace-Lorraine settled in the rural South, including Arkansas. At the time of the Civil War, they had established small but growing communities in Little Rock, Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), Van Buren (Crawford County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), and Batesville (Independence County). Despite their relatively short time in the state, Jews felt closely tied to their new home. Of the approximately 300 Jews in Arkansas at the time of the war, over seventy fought for the Confederacy.

After the war, as Arkansas became increasingly tied to national trading markets, Jewish peddlers and merchants were drawn to the state. With close economic connections to Jewish wholesalers in Memphis, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky, these merchants fanned out across Arkansas, helping to develop isolated parts of the state. Fourteen towns in Arkansas were founded by Jews or named after early Jewish residents, including Altheimer (Jefferson County), Berger (Pulaski County), Bertig (Greene County), Felsenthal (Union County), and Goldman (Jefferson County).

Arkansas Jews began to form religious institutions soon after they began arriving in significant numbers. In 1839, the small but growing number of Jews in Little Rock began to worship together. It was not until 1866 that the states first Jewish congregation, Bnai Israel in Little Rock, was chartered. Soon after, a spate of congregations was formed in the state, reflecting how widely Jews had settled in Arkansas. In 1867, Congregation Anshe Emeth of Pine Bluff and Temple Beth El of Helena (Phillips County) were founded. Congregations were also founded in Camden (Ouachita County) in 1869, Hot Springs (Garland County) in 1875, Texarkana (Miller County) in 1884, Jonesboro in 1896, Newport (Jackson County) in 1901, Dermott (Chicot County) in 1905, Eudora (Chicot County) in 1912, Osceola (Mississippi County) in 1913, Forrest City (St. Francis County) in 1914, Wynne (Cross County) in 1915, Marianna (Lee County) in 1920, Blytheville (Mississippi County) in 1923, El Dorado (Union County) in 1926, McGehee (Desha County) in 1947, Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1981, and Bentonville in 2004.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a new wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe began to arrive in the United States. Pushed to leave Europe by anti-Semitic violence and legal restrictions, the new arrivals crowded into the urban ghettos of the Northeast and the Midwest. A few came to the South, often drawn by family ties and economic opportunity. Arkansass Jewish population swelled from this influx of immigrants. In 1878, 1,466 Jews lived in Arkansas, most from Germany or Alsace. By 1927, just after national immigration restriction ended the Eastern European immigration wave, 8,850 Jews lived in Arkansas. These newcomers followed the path cut by earlier Jewish immigrants, beginning as roving peddlers and working their way up to retail store ownership. In many small towns, these Eastern European Jews fit into the congregations and societies that the German Jews had founded. Where their numbers were great enough, Eastern European Jews formed congregations that were more orthodox in practice. Most of the states early congregations had become Reform by the end of the nineteenth century, incorporating English prayers, mixed-gender seating, and other elements of Protestant Christian worship. Eastern European Jews founded their own separate Orthodox congregations in Little Rock, El Dorado, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, and Pine Bluff.

One of the most interesting, if short-lived, settlements was Am Olam, founded near Newport in 1883 as a Jewish agricultural colony. Jewish leaders in the United States and Europe had long feared that Jews were too concentrated in commercial trade and sought to encourage them to engage in manual labor and farming. The Am Olam movement, founded in Russia, was influenced by ideas of utopian socialism. In February 1883, 150 Jews from Russia arrived in Arkansas to form their commune. To support themselves, they decided to cut trees to provide staves to a lumber company. Heat, humidity, malaria, and yellow fever conspired to destroy the settlement as ninety percent of its residents became ill, and twenty died. After a miserable year, the remaining settlers decided to try their luck in other parts of the United States.

When the first rabbi settled in Arkansas in the 1870s, state law required that a minister be Christian to officiate at a wedding. After a lobbying effort by Arkansas Jews, the legislature amended the law to include rabbis. This established a tradition of welcoming Jews into the civic life of the state. While there were certainly examples of anti-Semitism in Arkansas, these were more the exception than the rule. The experience of Simon Bloom, who served as mayor of Pine Bluff reflects this. When he first ran for mayor in 1913, his opponent ran an anti-Semitic campaign, but Bloom was elected anyway. He served as mayor of Pine Bluff from 1913 to 1919.

Arkansas Jews have been very involved in civic affairs. They have served as mayors of Little Rock, Dumas (Desha County), Helena (Phillips County), El Dorado, Holly Grove (Monroe County), West Memphis (Crittenden County), and Pine Bluff. Jonas Levy was elected to the Little Rock City Council in 1857 and served as mayor throughout the Civil War. Several Jews were elected to local office and the legislature. Charles Jacobson, a close ally of populist governor and senator Jeff Davis, served two terms in the state Senate. Samuel Levine represented Pine Bluff in the state House and Senate for twenty years; he even ran for lieutenant governor. This high degree of political involvement was not unique to Arkansas, as Jews across the South won election to political office in areas where they were a tiny minority. Their prominent role in the Southern merchant class usually served as their entree into local politics.

Despite the fact that they were always less than half a percent of Arkansass population, Jews have played an important role in the states social and economic development. The Kempner, Blass, and Pfeifer families all owned leading department stores. Howard Eichenbaum was a celebrated architect who designed many significant buildings in Little Rock. Jacob Trieber of Helena was the first Jew in the United States appointed as a federal judge, serving the Eastern Arkansas district from 1900 to 1927. Julian Waterman was the first dean of the University of Arkansas Law School. Rabbi Ira Sanders, who served Little Rocks Congregation Bnai Israel from 1926 to 1963, became an outspoken supporter of racial equality during the civil rights era. Cyrus Adler, who was born in Van Buren, became one of the most prominent Jewish leaders in the country in the early twentieth century, serving as president of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Jewish Historical Society.

In 1937, the year of the most comprehensive study of the countrys Jewish population, 6,510 Jews lived in seventy-two Arkansas towns. Little Rock had the largest community, with 2,500 Jews, while thirty-seven towns had ten or fewer. In the second half of the twentieth century, the states Jewish population steadily decreased. By 2008, an estimated 1,725 Jews lived in the state. Congregations in Helena, Blytheville, and El Dorado had closed, while others struggled to survive. The Jewish population has become concentrated in a few communities such as Little Rock, Hot Springs, Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Bentonville. In 1937, thirteen cities in Arkansas had more than fifty Jews. In 2008, only ffive did. As of 2008, only congregations in Little Rock and Bentonville had full-time rabbis.

Bentonville has been an exception to the downward trend. In the twenty-first century, as Wal-Mart has encouraged major suppliers to open offices in its corporate hometown, Bentonville has seen its Jewish population skyrocket. In 2004, a dozen Jews founded Bentonvilles first Jewish congregation, Etz Chaim, which quickly became the states fastest-growing congregation, hiring its first full-time rabbi in 2006. Most of the founding members of Etz Chaim are not Arkansas natives. Unlike the peddlers and merchants who initially settled in Arkansas, these twenty-first-century migrants are executives at large corporations. They represent the generation of Jewish professionals who have largely replaced the Jewish merchant class in the Souths metropolitan areas.

With this tremendous growth in Bentonville, the states Jewish population likely will remain steady, though small Jewish congregations and communities will continue to decline. Many Jewish children raised in Arkansas do not return home after college; they seek greater economic opportunity elsewhere, the same impulse that brought Jews to Arkansas in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

For additional information:Arkansas Hadassah Collection. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Arsenault, Raymond. Charles Jacobson of Arkansas: A Jewish Politician in the Land of Razorbacks, 18911915. In Turn to the South: Essays on Southern Jewry, edited by Nathan Kaganoff and Melvin Urofsky. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1979.

Evans, Eli. The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.

Ferris, Marcie Cohen, and Mark Greenberg, eds. Jewish Roots in Southern Soil. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2006.

Goldring/Woldenburg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. July 22, 2014).

Hieke, Anton. Jewish Identity in the Reconstruction South: Ambivalence and Adaptation. New Perspectives on Jewish History No. 4. Boston: De Gruyter, 2013.

LeMaster, Carolyn Gray. A Corner of the Tapestry: A History of the Jewish Experience in Arkansas, 1820s1990s. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994.

Markus, David Micah. Of the House of Israel in America: The Archeology of Judaism, Slavery, and Assimilation on the Arkansas Frontier. MA thesis, University of Arkansas, 2011.

Records of Temple Beth El (Helena, Arkansas), undated, 18752006. American Jewish Historical Society. Center for Jewish History, New York, New York.

Weissbach, Lee Shai. Jewish Life in Small-Town America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

Zilbergeld, Nancy, and Nancy Britton. The Jewish Community in Batesville, Arkansas, 18531977. Independence County Chronicle 21 (April 1980).

Stuart Rockoff Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life

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Jews – Encyclopedia of Arkansas

World’s 50 most influential Jews – Jewish World –

The story is told, in several cultural variations, of a Jewish man spotting a friend reading an Arabic newspaper. Moshe, have you lost your mind? he says.

Well, I used to read the Jewish papers, but what did I find? Moshe replies. Jews being persecuted, Israel being attacked, Jews disappearing through assimilation, Jews living in poverty. So I switched to an Arab newspaper. Now what do I find? Jews own the banks, Jews control the media, Jews are all rich and powerful, Jews rule the world. The news is so much better!

In what is planned as an annual media event, The Jerusalem Post has chosen the worlds leading 50 Jewish movers and shakers based on a range of criteria, including personal access to power, ability to exert influence and individual talent.

The Posts list of the 50 most influential Jews in the world was not designed to feed the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews control the world. Nor should it be construed as a source of religious or national pride, because while those on the list all identify themselves as Jews, Judaism and Israel are not necessarily central to their careers.

The candidates were chosen from all walks of life for their ability to fashion the face of the future. Many hold positions of power or prestige, while others are prominent personalities who exert extraordinary influence in Israel, the Jewish world or on the wider world stage.

They include an impressive array of high-powered politicians and business executives, top bankers and hi-tech giants, revered rabbis and media moguls as well as thinkers, musicians, movie makers, artists, writers, trend-setters, sports people and comedians.

We sought a good mix of Israelis and non-Israelis, religious and secular, figures from across the political spectrum, men and women. We warmly congratulate those on the list, and thank those who responded to being chosen.

To those who were excluded, either deliberately or unwittingly, we apologize. We omitted New Zealands Prime Minister John Key, for example, because although his mother is Jewish, he identifies himself as agnostic and, with respect, how important is Wellington on the world map?

Our list is headed by Israels prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has become well known around the world for his political dexterity and eloquence in English. Heading a relatively stable coalition, his actions on the diplomatic track over the next year will inevitably have an enormous impact not only on the troubled Middle East but on the Jewish world at large.

In his response to being chosen by The Jerusalem Post and our Internet readership around the world on as the most influential Jew in the world, Netanyahu told our reporter, Herb Keinon: The fact that the Prime Minister of the State of Israel is viewed as being the worlds most influential Jew is a historic vindication of the miracle of Zionism.

It may be no historic accident that the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, Barack Obama, recently approved a second term for Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman, and chose Jews to be his closest advisers: Rahm Emanuel, the tough White House chief of staff, David Axelrod, his savvy political adviser and Dan Shapiro, the top Middle East expert on the National Security Council.

He also happens to be friendly with several Jewish leaders, including Alan Solow and Lee Rosenberg, who are both on our list.

Second on the list is Bernanke, the man who holds the purse strings of the richest nation on the planet and is credited with steering the US out of a severe financial crisis. He is followed by Emanuel, who arguably has the most influence on the American president and certainly has his ear whenever he needs it.

It is on Shavuot that we read the Book of Ruth, perhaps the most famous convert in the Bible. Ruths acceptance of Judaism is based on her acceptance of the Torah, and King David is believed to be her great-grandson. Jewish tradition has it that David, one of the greatest figures in the Bible, was born and died on Shavuot.

Coincidentally, two of our top 50 personalities are named Ruth Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, and Prof. Ruth Arnon, a renowned Israeli biochemist credited with developing a drug against multiple sclerosis.

Considering their small numbers, Jews have fared disproportionately well in lists of the worlds most powerful and richest people, as well as in Nobel Prizes.

The world Jewish population is estimated at being 02. percent of the total populace some 13.5 million, with just over 5.7 million in Israel, 5.6 million in the US, half a million in Russia and France, 280,000 in the UK and 200,000 in Germany.

Yet in Vanity Fairs latest list of the 100 most powerful people in the world, 51 are Jews. Ten of the 50 people on this years Forbes annual billionaires list are Jewish. Of the 802 Nobel prizes handed out to date, 162 have gone to Jews.

In Michael H. Harts book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, seven are Jews.

Jews have also featured prominently on Times annual list of the worlds 100 most influential people, and in 1999, the magazine named Albert Einstein person of the century.

IN A SHORT story by Philip Roth, a talent scout sends a letter to Einstein proposing that the renowned scientist host a weekly radio show to help reduce anti-Semitism.

I would like them to know that the genius of all time is a Jew, he writes. The world must know and soon… that when it comes to smart, we are the tops.

Four years ago, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt shook the Jewish world by writing a paper, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, on what they perceived as the exaggerated influence of the Jewish lobby.

After being named by the pair as a key member of the media wing of the Israel lobby, Mortimer Zuckerman a former head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations replied sardonically: I would just say this: The allegations of this disproportionate influence of the Jewish community remind me of the 92-year-old man sued in a paternity suit. He said he was so proud, he pleaded guilty.

Asked by reporter Greer Fay Cashman for his response on being chosen for our list, President Shimon Peres said that he tells both religious and non-religious Jews that the best example to follow is that of the Rambam (Maimonides), who was great in his Jewishness and great in medicine without one contradicting the other.

How much influence do Jews wield in the world, and how influential are those on our list? We leave you to judge.

1. Binyamin Netanyahu Prime Minister of Israel Serving his second year in his second term, Netanyahu, 60, is the first premier to have been born after the states creation. Netanyahu has arguably gone further than any of his predecessors in easing the plight of Palestinians in the West Bank and freezing settlement construction. In his seminal Bar-Ilan University speech last year, the Likud leader accepted the idea of a Palestinian state for the first time, and is currently overseeing proximity talks with the Palestinians that he hopes to galvanize toward a final settlement to the Middle East conflict.

Netanyahus ratings soared this month as Israel was accepted to be a member of the OECD.

Netanyahu responds: The fact that the Prime Minister of the State of Israel is viewed today as being the worlds most influential Jew demonstrates the historic change that Zionism has brought about in the condition of the Jewish people.

A scattered, powerless people has been able to reassert its national life in its own sovereign state, in its ancestral homeland. From being mere spectators on the international stage, today the Jews control their own destiny and have returned as a people to the family of nations. Free, democratic and able to defend itself against threats and adversity, Israel doesnt just survive, it flourishes. Today, within the State of Israel, the creativity and genius of the Jewish people are bursting forth in every area: in science; in technology; in entrepreneurship; in medicine; in the arts.

When Israel was established in 1948, only some 5% of the worlds Jewish population lived in the new state. Today, Israel contains the largest Jewish community in the world.

This honor awarded to the Prime Minister of the Jewish State is a testament to the profound transformation that has occurred in the reality of life for the Jewish People over the last 62 years. 2. Ben Bernanke The chairman of the US Federal Reserve.

In announcing his second term until 2014, President Obama said Bernankes background, temperament, courage and creativity helped prevent another Great Depression. Time named him person of the year last year. Bernanke, 56, wrote his doctoral thesis at MIT in 1979 on Long-term commitments, dynamic optimization, and the business cycle and his thesis adviser was none other than Stanley Fischer, the current governor of the Bank of Israel.

3. Rahm Emanuel White House chief of staff.

Emanuel is believed by some critics to be a key player in Barack Obamas more critical stance on Israel an adviser with the expertise to strongly influence the president. He is believed by others to be a crucial bulwark, limiting Washington-Jerusalem frictions.

His father, an Israeli doctor, caused a stir by telling Maariv after his appointment by President Obama: Obviously, hell influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldnt he? What is he, an Arab? Known as a tough guy, Emanuel flew to Israel as a volunteer during the first Iraq war and is said to be the model for Josh Lyman on the popular TV series, The West Wing.

4. Sergey Brin Founder of Google

Together with Larry Page, whose maternal grandmother was Jewish, the Russian-born Brin founded Google, the worlds largest Internet company, and they are often referred to as the Google Guys. Brin, 36, and Page, 37, met at Stanford, where they suspended their doctoral studies to start up Google in a rented garage.

The Economist calls Brin an Enlightenment Man who believes that knowledge is always good, and certainly always better than ignorance and in the Google mantra, Dont be evil! (Board chairman Eric Schmidt famously quipped that Evil is whatever Sergey says is evil.) The duo have visited Israel several times, once for the 80th birthday of Shimon Peres.

5. Shai Agassi Founder of Better Place

Agassi, 42, has become a pioneer in alternative energy under the auspices of the company he founded in 2007.

After being endorsed by the Israeli government in 2008, Better Place has negotiated contracts on electric cars with more than two dozen countries. The Israeli entrepeneur was named by Time as the worlds most influential businessman in 2003 and one of its 100 most influential people last year.

6. Dominique Strauss-Kahn Head of the International Monetary Fund

Strauss-Kahn, 61, was professor of economics at the University of Paris, where he obtained his doctorate, and became a member of parliament for the Socialist Party in 1986. He was chosen as managing director of the International Monetary Fund in 2007 and is expected to run for president of France in 2012.

The IMF played a key role in the recent European decision to pass a trillion-dollar plan to aid Greece.

7. Shimon Peres President of Israel

Peres, who is 86, arguably wields more power and prestige than any of his predecessors. After a career marked by controversy and confrontation, in which he gained the reputation of being a serial loser, Peres has finally emerged as a consensus figure admired not only by the outside world but by the majority of Israelis too.

He maintains a more than correct relationship with the prime minister, who appreciates the international credibility and access offered by the Nobel peace laureate, even as he asserts a greater Palestinian willingness for compromise than Binyamin Netanyahu believes exists.

Peres responds: I would like to discover ways to enter the New Age while being Jewish and modern at the same time. Traveling is not such a big deal today, and I imagine that many of the Jewish people who do not live in Israel can develop a way of life which they can share in two places. I would like to see a Jewish lifestyle which on the one hand is as old as the Ten Commandments and on the other is as modern as nanotechnology.

8. David Axelrod Senior White House Adviser Barack Obamas top political adviser helps the president craft and communicate his policy, and calmed tempers during the latest spat between the US and Israel.

Before entering the White House, Axelrod, 55, was a political writer for the Chicago Tribune and founded AKP&D Message and Media. He managed Obamas presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008.

In an Israel Independence Day address in Washington this year, Axelrod said: Lets not confuse the occasional dispute over policy with the fundamental relationship that has guided our two nations for so long and will continue to guide our two nations.

Axelrod responds: My father was a Jewish immigrant who fled the pogroms and came to America in search of freedom and opportunity. I carry the memory of my family’s miraculous journey with me every day. 9. Alan Dershowitz Law professor, Israel advocate

Dershowitz, 71, is an internationally respected jurist who has served as an attorney in several high-profile cases, including that of OJ Simpson. At 28, he became the youngest law professor in Harvards history. Married to a psychologist from Israel, Dershowitz has become famous for his eloquent advocacy for Israel and commentary on the Middle East conflict.

Dershowitz responds: My career has generally been reactive to where I think the great crises of human rights are, and the unfair attacks. So in the 60s I was very active in the civil rights movement. I went down south. I spent my time defending lots of African Americans and other discriminated-against groups. Then in the late 60s and 70s I was very active in the anti-war, ant-Vietnam movement, defending lots of people who were prosecuted for their views on Vietnam the Pentagon Papers case, the Chicago Seven case, those cases. In the mid-70s, I turned my attention to Soviet dissidents and Soviet Jews, because they were the ones who were mostly in need. And then when the world started to really turn against Israel, and particularly when the hard left started to turn so heavily against Israel, it was perfectly consistent with my career and my commitment to human rights to turn to Israel. The case against Israel has increased both in the court of public opinion and real courts. So I suspect I will be spending more and more time in Israel.

10. Elena Kagan US Supreme Court nominee

Kagan, 50, is the first woman to be solicitor general of the US, and has just been named as Barack Obamas nominee to the Supreme Court, where she would become the third woman and third Jew to sit on the court. Kagan, a liberal Democrat, was formerly the dean of the prestigious Harvard Law School and a professor at the University of Chicago, as well as serving as associate White House counsel under Bill Clinton.

A Democrat and supporter of Obama, she is capable of swinging the court to the left, while making key judicial decisions on the freedom of religion and choice.

11. Alan Solow Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Solow, 55, is a charismatic Jewish leader, top Chicago lawyer and friend of President Barack Obama.

Tablet Magazine calls him the Go-Between the putative spokesman for American Jewry played a key role in resolving the recent crisis between the US and Israel.

Solow responds: This recognition by he Jerusalem Post in reality reflects the critical role played by the Conference, especially during a time period when we have seen transitions in the leadership of both the United States and Israel. Our goal as always, whether working publicly or in private (and we do both), is to promote the strongest possible relationship between two democratic allies. We have also been extremely active in raising public awareness and urging swift action to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability. To the extent that my work has made a contribution to these efforts, I am delighted. In my capacity as Conference Chair, I often interact with senior American and Israeli officials, and I have had the opportunity to meet with President Obama and advocate directly to him. I am pleased to report that our access to government officials in the United States and Israel is excellent.

It is certainly humbling to be included in such outstanding company. Moving forward, we will work relentlessly to make certain that a clear Jewish voice is heard where policy is made and implemented.

12. Ehud Barak Defense Minister

Barak, 68, in his second term, has proved to be an adept diplomat and master strategist. He is involved not only in safeguarding Israel from its enemies, including Iran, but in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians and Arab states as well. He is arguably the most senior Israeli minister with whom the Obama administration is most comfortable, being perceived as relatively dovish, capable, worldly and calm.

13. Irwin Cotler Canadian MP, human rights activist

Cotler, 70, is a member of the Canadian Parliament for the Liberal Party and a former justice minister and attorney general. He was previously a professor of law at McGill University and the director of its Human Rights Program, becoming an expert in international and human rights law.

A staunch defender of Israel from a human rights vantage point, and a very frequent visitor here, he is widely credited with having influenced Canadas current supportive stance on the Jewish state.

14. Michael Bloomberg Mayor of New York

Bloomberg, 68, founder of the Bloomberg media company, successfully campaigned to change the law and win a third term as mayor last year. As mayor, he is currently having to deal with an apparent renewal of terrorism in the city. Listed by Forbes as the eighth richest person in the US, Bloomberg declines to receive a city salary, accepting remuneration of $1 annually for his services.

15. Bernard Kouchner Foreign Minister, France

Although he is currently serving in a right-wing government, the French foreign minister was previously considered a center-left politician. Kouchner, 70, was a co-founder of Mdecins Sans Frontires (Doctors Without Borders).

At the forefront of the international struggle against Irans nuclear program, he once stated that while France was committed to a diplomatic resolution and that no military action was planned, an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose a real danger for the whole world.

16. Gabi Ashkenazi IDF Chief of General Staff

The 56-year-old IDF chief is credited with restoring pride in the military and has a good relationship with his US counterpart, Michael Mullen, who awarded him the prestigious Legion of Merit.

He emphasized a quiet back-to-basics approach in the IDF that saw it fight far more effectively in Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in 2008-9 than it had in the Second Lebanon War against Hizbullah in 2006.

17. Stanley Fischer Bank of Israel Governor

The 66-year-old Bank of Israel governor, who began a second five-year term this year, is credited with stabilizing Israels economy during the international financial crisis. He has also maintained a relationship with his former protg, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, that has helped enable Palestinian economic growth of some 10 percent in the West Bank over the past year.

18. Avigdor Lieberman Foreign Minister

The Soviet-born foreign minister, 51, is a key player in Middle East peace negotiations. As the founder and leader of the Israel Beiteinu Party, he believes that all Israeli citizens should have to sign a loyalty oath.

He is currently being investigated by police for alleged corruption, but has a huge political following, especially among FSU immigrants and on the Right.

19. Sheldon Adelson Entrepreneur and philanthropist

The wealthy American casino king, 76, is a big supporter of the Republican Party and Israel, and has been a key philanthropic funder behind Yad Vashem, Birthright and other causes. The owner of Israels biggest free daily, Yisrael Hayom, which, while derided by critics of the prime minister as a Bibiton a slavishly pro-Netanyahu publication has diversified and revolutionized the Hebrew tabloid market.

20. Dorit Beinisch Supreme Court President

Beinisch, 68, is the first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court. In her judicial rulings, Beinisch has focused on combating government corruption and ensuring that state institutions and security services follow the law. In a landmark ruling ten years ago, she said corporal punishment by parents is forbidden, because it infringes on the childs rights and harms his dignity as a human being.

21. Natan Sharansky Jewish Agency Chairman

As chairman of the Jewish Agency, the 62-year-old former prisoner of Zion now heads the largest Jewish NGO in the world. After trying his hand in politics, forming the Israel Baaliya political party and serving as a cabinet minister, Sharansky is currently spearheading a campaign to reform the Jewish Agency and focus on Jewish identity. He is also introducing a plan to hand out Jewish Nobel prizes.

22. Ruth Bader Ginsburg US Supreme Court Justice

Bader Ginsburg, 67, is the first Jewish woman to be a jusice of the US Supreme Court, and the second woman. An associate justice, she is considered part of the liberal wing of the court. In her previous career as a law professor, she became an outspoken advocate for womens rights. In a 2009 New York Times interview, in which she said regarding abortion that the basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman.

23. Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Founder

The 36-year-old American entrepreneur who five years ago co-founded the massively popular social networking site, Facebook with three other Harvard students, one of whom, Dustin Moskovitz was also Jewish. Three years ago, Microsoft (whose CEO, Steve Ballmer, is also Jewish) bought a 1.6% stake to Microsoft Corp. for $240 million. A film about Facebook is due to be released this year.

24. Moshe Kantor EJC President

The president of the European Jewish Congress, Kantor this month opened the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University. The center will study existing legislation on anti-Semitism in Europe and draft an ideal law for combating the growing phenomenon.

Kantor responds: I am honored to be in a position where I can advocate for European Jewish interests and the State of Israel amongst senior political, religious and influential figures in Europe and beyond. This is a testament to the re-ascendancy of European Jewry on the Diaspora world stage. It is my firm belief that the influence and significance of European Jewry will only continue to rise, as will its role of support for the state, people and government of Israel in a continent where understanding of the challenges that Israel faces is sometimes lacking. Also, because of our history, I am convinced that Jews need to play a more prominent role in achieving greater tolerance in Europe. As the President of the European Jewish Congress and Chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, an organization of elder European statesmen, I assist in preparing practical recommendations for governments and international organisations to improve interreligious and interethnic relations on the continent.

25. Michael Steinhardt Investor and philanthropist

The 59-year-old New York investor is a big political donor in the US, giving to both the Democrats and Republicans. Steinhardt, who owns a home in Jerusalem, is better known here for sponsoring the Birthright Israel program together with Charles Bronfman.

Steinhardt responds: I am honored, and I hope in the coming years I can merit this honor. I have devoted so much of my life, especially over the last 15 years, to the Jewish future and I think Im stuck with that preoccupation for the foreseeable future.

26. Mortimer Zuckerman Publisher

Zuckerman, 72, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is the owner of the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report and co-founder of Boston Properties. He is a strong supporter of Israel and Jewish causes.

27. Ronald Lauder WJC President

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World’s 50 most influential Jews – Jewish World –

Do Jews and Christians basically have the same religion …

The faith of most religious Jews is called Judaism. It is the oldest of the world’s three great monotheistic religions (that is, religions serving one God). Judaism is the parent of both Christianity and Islam. It proclaims that there is only one God, whose name is Yahweh, and He is the creator and ruler of the universe. He revealed His law, the Torah, to the Jewish people (who were known as Hebrews at that time) and He chose them to be a light for all humanity. The Torah contains some 613 commands which are summed up in the Ten Commandments.

A very important concept in Judaism is that of the Messiah. Originally the Jews believed that God would send a powerful messenger (the Messiah) who would deliver Israel from her oppressors and usher in a reign of peace and prosperity. Today many Jews no longer hold to a personal messiah, but hope for a messianic age of justice and truth. For the Jews the coming of the Messiah or the messianic age still lies in the future.

The sacred Scriptures of Judaism consist of three groups of documents: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (such as Psalms and Proverbs). These Scriptures also form the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Judaism does not accept the inspiration of the New Testament or its account of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.

There are many areas of agreement between the two faiths, for Christians also accept the Old Testament and all its teachings as inspired. Among the basic truths accepted by both faiths are the perfect creation of the world out of nothing by an infinite God, the entrance of sin into this world via the temptation of another transcendent being called Satan, the judgement of God on sin, and the necessity of atonement for sin. In Judaism this atonement is accomplished through sacrifices, prayer, righteous acts, and God’s mercy.

Judaism, however, does not accept the central Christian teaching that Jesus Christ is the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. This watershed point is made throughout the New Testament and forcefully stated in Galatians 3:13-14, “But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ Through the work of Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham”(New Living Translation).

All the differences in ceremonies, Kosher food, dress, festivals and worship are not as basic as the messianic expectation and its fulfillment in Christ. Christianity has received from Judaism its basic understanding of God, his covenant relationship with His people, and assembling together for worship. There is a divine plan for history and it is moving toward a wonderful goal when Yahweh will be the King not only of the Jews but of all the earth. Separation from the corrupting influences of the pagan world is important, but Judaism is not a religion that focuses on a spiritual world somewhere down the road. Its focus is on this present world, where life is meant to be rich and full.

Some Jews who have become Christians refer to themselves as “completed Jews.” In fact, the Old Testament is filled with hope, and the fulfillment of this hope is wonderfully described in the New Testament. Text after text relates how Jesus Christ fulfills all that the prophets foretold. In Him the great promises of the Old Testament become the inheritance of all who accept His salvation. The stream of God’s favor broadens now to embrace believers from every tribe and nation.

We all owe a tremendous debt to the Jews. We have inherited so much from them, and from them came God’s own Son, the Messiah. Faith in Him, that is, in His once-for-all death and resurrection is the key to peace of heart now and hope for the future. We can now not only look back on a marvelous history, but forward to the day when His kingdom enfolds people from every land. Is this Messiah also your very own Savior for time and eternity?

Published Thursday, December 26, 2013

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Do Jews and Christians basically have the same religion …

Torah Explorer

The latest issue of Dialogue Magazine contains an essay I submitted, entitled Poor Review. It is reproduced below.

Your life depends on the Krebs cycle.

Even if you havent heard of it, your body is powered by the string of chemical reactions named after a German Jewish scientist who was forced to flee his homeland in 1933. In 1953, Hans Krebs was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine/physiology for his seminal discovery of the eponymous cycle. But theres a twist to this happy story. In June 1937, when Krebs submitted his crucial paper to Nature, it was returned to him. The paper was eventually published in the obscure journal Enzymologia.

Copernicuss heliocentric cosmology, Galileos mechanics, Newtons gravity and equations of motion these ideas never appeared in journal articles. They appeared in books that were reviewed, if at all, by associates of the author. The peer-review process as we know it was instituted after the Second World War, largely due to the huge growth of the scientific enterprise and the enormous pressure on academics to publish ever more papers.

When it comes to peer review of scientific papers, the general public entertains unrealistic, highly-idealized visions of a process by which scientific research is assessed. In theory, peer review is supposed to act as a filter, weeding out the crackpots; in practice, it often turns out to be a way to enforce orthodoxy.

Since the 1950s, peer-review has worked as follows: a scientist wishing to publish a paper in a journal submits a copy of the paper to the editor of a journal. The editor forwards the paper to several academics whom he considers to be experts on the matter, asking whether the paper is worthy of publication. These experts who usually remain anonymous submit comments about the paper that constitute the peer review. The referees judge the content of the paper on criteria such as the validity of the claims made in the paper, the originality of the work, and whether the work, even if correct and original, is important enough to be worthy of publication. Often, the journal editor will require the author to amend his paper in accordance with the recommendations of the referees.

Prior to the War, university professors were mainly teachers, carrying a teaching load of five or six courses per semester (a typical course load nowadays is one or two courses). Professors with this onerous teaching burden were not expected to write papers. The famous philosopher of science, Sir Karl Popper, wrote in his autobiography that the dean of the New Zealand university where Popper taught during World War II said that he regarded Poppers production of articles and books a theft of time from the university.

But at some point, universities came to realize that their prestige and with it the grants they received from governments and corporations depended more so on the scholarly reputation of their professors than on their teaching skills. And this reputation could only be enhanced through publications. Teaching loads were reduced to allow professors more time for research and the production of papers; salaries began to depend on ones publication record. Before the War, salaries of professors of the same rank (associate professor, assistant professor, adjunct professor, full professor etc.) were the same (except for an age differential, which reflected experience). Nowadays, salaries of professors in the same department of the same age and rank can differ by more than a factor of two, based on their publication output.

One consequence of all this is that the production of papers has increased by a factor of more than one thousand over the past fifty years. The price that has been paid for this literary fecundity is a precipitous decline in quality. Before the War, when there was no financial incentive to publish papers, scientists wrote them as a labor of love. These days, papers are written mostly to further ones career. One thus finds that nowadays, most papers are never cited by anyone except their author(s).[1]

Philip Anderson, who won a Nobel Prize for physics, writes that:

in the early part of the postwar period [a scientists] career was science-driven, motivated mostly by absorption with the great enterprise of discovery, and by genuine curiosity as to how nature operates. By the last decade of the century far too many, especially of the young people, were seeing science as a competitive interpersonal game, in which the winner was not the one who was objectively right as [to] the nature of scientific reality, but the one who was successful at getting grants, publishing in Physical Review Letters, and being noticed in the news pages of Nature, Science, or Physics Today [A] general deterioration in quality, which came primarily from excessive specialization and careerist sociology, meant quite literally that more was worse.[2]

More is worse. As Nature puts it, With more than a million papers per year and rising, nobody has time to read every paper in any but the narrowest fields, so some selection is essential. Authors naturally want visibility for their own work, but time spent reading their papers will be time taken away from reading someone elses.[3] The number of physicists has increased by a factor of one thousand since the year 1900. Back then, ten percent of all physicists in the world had either won a Nobel Prize or had been nominated for it. Things are much the same in chemistry. The American Chemical Society made a list of the most significant advances in chemistry over the last 100 years. There has been no change in the rate at which breakthroughs in chemistry have been made in spite of the thousand-fold increase in the number of chemists. In the 1960s, United States citizens were awarded about 50000 patents in chemistry-related areas per year. By the 1980s, the number had dropped to 40000. But the number of papers has exploded. One result of this publish-or-perish mentality is that groundbreaking papers are often rejected because they are submitted to referees who are incapable or unwilling to recognise novel ideas. Consider these examples:

1. Rosalyn Yalow won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977. She describes how her Nobel-winning paper was received: In 1955 we submitted the paper to Science the paper was held there for eight months before it was reviewed. It was finally rejected. We submitted it to the Journal of Clinical Investigations, which also rejected it.[4]

In a paper playfully entitled Not in our Nature but nonetheless published in Nature, Juan Miguel Campanario gives many examples of papers, now considered classics, which were rejected by the worlds most prestigious science journal. Here are two examples:

In 2006, Nature published an essay by Charles G. Jennings, a former editor with the Nature journals and former executive director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. As an editor, Jennings was intimately familiar with the peer-review system, and knows full well how badly misunderstood this process is by the public. He writes:

Whether there is any such thing as a paper so bad that it cannot be published in any peer reviewed journal is debatable. Nevertheless, scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.

Jennings writes that many papers are never cited (and one suspects seldom read). These papers are written, to a large extent, because To succeed in science, one must climb this pyramid [of journals]: in academia at least, publication in the more prestigious journals is the key to professional advancement.[12] Advancement, in this context, is measured by career rewards such as recruitment and promotion, grant funding, invitations to speak at conferences, establishment of collaborations and media coverage.

In September 2001, Science reported on a conference on peer review. The article states that traditionally, peer review was considered the least bad way to weed out weak manuscripts or research proposals and improve promising ones. But

that common wisdom was questioned last weekend at a meeting attended by hundreds of editors of medical journals and academics. In a meta-analysis that surprised many and that some doubt -researchers found little evidence that peer review actually improves the quality of research papers.

The article continued

Mention peer review and almost every scientist will regale you with stories about referees submitting nasty comments, sitting on a manuscript forever, or rejecting a paper only to repeat the study and steal the glory.[13]

Sydney Brenner received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002, and is revered for his contributions to molecular biology. He was interviewed in February 2014, and the title of the interview is itself illuminating: How Academia and Publishing are Destroying Scientific Innovation.[14] Brenner is fiercely critical of peer review:

But I dont believe in peer review because I think its very distorted I think peer review is hindering science. In fact, I think it has become a completely corrupt system. Its corrupt in many ways, in that scientists and academics have handed over to the editors of these journals the ability to make judgment on science and scientists Now I mean, people are trying to do something, but I think its not publish or perish, its publish in the okay places [or perish]. And this has assembled a most ridiculous group of people I campaigned against this [culture] because I think it is not only bad, its corrupt. In other words it puts the judgment in the hands of people who really have no reason to exercise judgment at all. And thats all been done in the aid of commerce, because they are now giant organisations making money out of it.

The 2013 Nobel Prize-winning biologist Randy Schekman recently announced that he will no longer submit papers to luxury science journals because they corrupt the publication process. Writing in The Guardian, he titled his piece How Journals like Nature, Cell and Science are Damaging Science.[15]


The very existence of a blog called Retraction Watch is telling.[16] The site tracks retractions as a window into the scientific process. Typical entries, of which there are hundreds, read Another Nature stem cell paper is retracted[17] or University of Texas Southwestern cancer research group notches ninth retraction.[18] The blogs editor, medical doctor turned journalist Ivan Oransky, explains that A retraction means there is something deeply wrong with a given academic paper. About two thirds of the time, thats actually something thats considered misconduct the official federal definition of which is falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism.[19]

But Retraction Watchs latest scoop made the regular entries pale into insignificance. In July of this year it reported on the busting of a peer review and citation ring, causing SAGE Publishing, a major publisher of scientific journals, to retract sixty (!) papers from its Journal of Vibration and Control.[20] Among the scandals victims was Taiwans education minister, who resigned to uphold his own reputation and avoid unnecessary disturbance of the work of the education ministry, after the incident ignited a wave of public criticism.[21] This is what Slate wrote about the debacle:

It may not be entirely fair to liken a peer review and citation ring to the academic version of anextortion ring, but theres certainly fraud involved in both. Retraction Watch, a blog dedicated to chronicling which academic papers have been withdrawn, is reporting that SAGE Publishing, a group that puts out numerous peer-reviewed journals, is retracting 60 papers from itsJournal of Vibration and Controlafter an internal investigation uncovered extensive evidence of severe peer-review fraud.

Apparently researcher Peter Chen, formerly of National Pingtung University of Education in Taiwan, made multiple submission and reviewer accounts possibly along with other researchers at his institution or elsewhere so that he could influence the peer review system. When Chen or someone else from the ring submitted a paper, the group could manipulate who reviewed the research, and on at least one occasion Chen served as his own reviewer.[22]

The Washington Post [23] and The Guardian [24] carried similar stories.


Why does all of this matter?

First, the narrow point. In Big Science, certain topics like, say, the weaknesses of evolutionary biology, are well nigh verboten. I hope that by now, the following point is obvious: The claim that scientists critical of evolutionary biology who are not published in Nature, Science et al cannot be accomplished scientists (why, otherwise, havent they published there?) is hollow. These journals will not publish material which undermines the cherished paradigm. Contrary to popular misconceptions, Big Science is not open, objective, and tolerant. Even those scientists whose research is done within the paradigm including virtually all those named above often find the system to be rigid and even hostile towards those who are truly innovative.

But theres a broader point to be made as well. I have written and lectured on the interface of Judaism and science for many years. I mostly deal with issues of ultimate origins of the universe and humanity. These are controversial and fascinating issues, and should be explored dispassionately and in detail. Probably the biggest obstacle I face in trying to convey Judaisms views on these matters is the publics distorted view of what scientists are like and what scientific work consists of. Among the general public, there is a pervasive view of scientists as paragons of morality and objectivity. Its as if the mere fact that one has an aptitude for mathematics or wears a lab coat somehow bestows immunity from human vices.

In Genesis and Genes, I wrote:[25]

The physicist Sir John Polkinghorne is a prominent writer about the intersection of science and theology. In Science and Theology he coins a marvellous phrase:[26]

Scientists do not look at the world with a blank gaze; they view it from a chosen perspective and bring principles of interpretation and prior expectations to bear upon what they observe. Scientists wear (theoretical) spectacles behind the eyes.

Theoretical spectacles behind the eyes. Why does Polkinghorne need to tell his readers that scientists view the world not with a blank gaze, but from a chosen perspective and with prior expectations? Isnt that only human? The answer:[27]

Many people have in their minds a picture of how science proceeds which is altogether too simple. This misleading caricature portrays scientific discovery as resulting from the confrontation of clear and inescapable theoretical predictions by the results of unambiguous and decisive experiments In actual fact the reality is more complex and more interesting than that.

The caricature of scientists as supermen is pervasive. The layman is so removed from the experience of actual research that he harbors an image of this profession that is massively distorted. We picture the scientist as popping into existence in the laboratory, like the Greek goddess Athena popping out of Zeus head, without any experiences, prejudices, views and background that could impinge on her interpretations and expectations. But scientists are human beings, subject to all the weaknesses, foibles and failings of other human beings.[28]

When I wrote these words in Genesis and Genes, I was focusing on the conditioning to which all scientists are subject and which deeply influences their research. This essay, with its exploration of the mechanics of a crucial component of the scientific edifice the institution of peer review is intended as a cautionary note to those who do not understand that scientists are indeed subject to all the weaknesses, foibles and failings of other human beings. They are subject to many forces which influence their research agendas, assumptions and conclusions.

The general public, blissfully shielded from the sludge-like reality of science publishing, takes peer-review to be flawless. Non-experts often mistakenly believe that individual scientists who serve as editors or referees on papers are always open-minded and completely objective in reviewing papers. Peer-review is seen as a gold-standard which guarantees the legitimacy of a paper. Indeed, this mirage is promoted by science propagandists like Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, who wrote in 2005 that The gold standard for modern scientific achievement is the publication of new results in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.[29] But the examples in this essay are more than sufficient to demonstrate that the peer-review system is deeply compromised. It is an efficient way of strangling new ideas, rather than a vehicle for promoting truly novel ideas. The peer-review system often stifles true innovation, allowing the reigning paradigm to squash all competition unfairly.

Stephen Jay Gould, one of the most prominent evolutionary biologists of the late 20th Century, sought to dispel the myths promoted by the likes of Coyne when he observed that [t]he stereotype of a fully rational and objective scientific method, with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology.[30] The mathematician John Lennox echoed these sentiments, writing that the Enlightenment ideal of the coolly rational scientific observer, completely independent, free of all preconceived theories, prior philosophical, ethical and religious commitments, doing investigations and coming to dispassionate, unbiased conclusions that constitute absolute truth, is nowadays regarded by serious philosophers of science (and, indeed, most scientists) as a simplistic myth.[31] Lawrence K. Altman made a similar point in an article in the New York Times:

Many nonscientists perceive reviewers to be impartial. But the reviewers, called independent experts, in fact are often competitors of the authors of the papers they scrutinize, raising potential conflicts of interest.[32]

Professional jealousy is not the only vice involved. Dr. Altman explains that good old-fashioned greed is also a factor. Journals have huge economic interests in preserving the current flawed system, and research scientists play along because peer-reviewed papers are necessary for them to maintain their positions:

The public and many scientists tend to overlook the journals economic benefits that stem from linking their embargo policies to peer review. Some journals are owned by private for-profit companies, while others are owned by professional societies that rely on income from the journals. The costs of running journals are low because authors and reviewers are generally not paid.

A few journals that not long ago measured profits in the tens of thousands of dollars a year now make millions, according to at least three editors who agreed to discuss finances only if granted anonymity, because they were not authorized to speak about finances.[33]


Whats the solution? Many scientists believe that the system is broken beyond repair. But others, who certainly recognise the ills that plague the peer-review process, believe its salvageable. Experiments are being conducted to improve or sidestep the current system. For example, some journals no longer grant referees the protection of anonymity. Instead, reviewers are identified and their critiques of papers are made available to the author of the paper being reviewed. The author is then able to defend his paper. This may ameliorate the problem of reviewers who hamper the publication of a paper for less than noble reasons (such as professional jealousy). Another possible solution, already being tried, is the creation of websites that will publish any research paper, whether it is deemed acceptable by the establishment or not, as long as it is submitted by credentialed scientists. But this debate, I think, misses the point.

The point is that scientists are human beings. They are fallible; they suffer from professional jealousy, prejudice, greed and every other human failing, to the precise extent that other human beings suffer from these moral maladies. There is nothing in the typical scientists training that makes him less vulnerable to subjectivity and prejudice than any other person.

Nothing fundamental is going to change until the science establishment realises that facility with partial differential equations or the ability to fiddle with the knobs and switches of an electron microscope are not guarantors of ratiocination. Character training is just as important. Until the self-serving mythology of a scientific method that is impervious to human frailty and is thus rational and objective is recognised as such by scientists and the wider public, and until such time as scientific training incorporates elements of self-analysis and character improvement, one can expect that peer-review, as well as all other elements of modern science, will fall far short of the ideal.


[1] See the essay by the physicist Frank J. Tipler entitled Refereed Journals: do they insure quality or enforce orthodoxy? The essay appeared in Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals who find Darwinism Unconvincing, William A. Dembski (editor), ISI Books, 2004. Several of the quotations in this article come from this essay.

[2] Philip Anderson, in Brown, Pais and Pippard, editors, Twentieth Century Physics, American Institute of Physics Press, 1995,page 2029.


Retrieved 1st June 2014.

[4] Walter Shropshire Jr., editor, The Joys of Research, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1981, page 109.

[5] New York Times, 12th October 1999, page A29.

[6] Mitchell J. Feigenbaum, in Brown, Pais and Pippard, editors, Twentieth Century Physics, American Institute of Physics Press, 1995, page 1850.

[7] Ibid. page 1426.

[8] Lillian Hoddeson, True Genius: The Life and Science of John Bardeen, Joseph Henry Press, 2002, page 300.

[9] Jane Hawking, Music to Move the Stars: A Life with Stephen Hawking, Trans-Atlantic Publications, 1999, page 239.

[10] Walter Shropshire Jr., editor, The Joys of Research, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1981, page 130.

[11] Campanario, J.M. 1993, Not in our Nature, Nature 361:488.


Retrieved 1st June 2014.

[13] Science21 September 2001:Vol.293no.5538pp.2187-2188:


Retrieved 27th May 2014.


Retrieved 27th May 2014.


Retrieved 31st July 2014.


Retrieved 4th August 2014.


Retrieved 4th August 2014.


Retrieved 6th August 2014.


Retrieved 4th August 2014.


Retrieved 4th August 2014.


Retrieved 30 July 2014.


Retrieved 30 July 2014.


Retrieved 30 July 2014.

[25] Yoram Bogacz, Genesis and Genes, Feldheim, 2013, pages 10-11.

[26] Science and Theology, John Polkinghorne, Fortress Press, 1998, page 10.

[27] Ibid. page 9.

[28] Dr. Niles Eldredge, a distinguished paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, put it this way, Many scientists really do seem to believe that they have a special access to the truth. They call press conferences to trumpet new discoveries and they expect to be believed by their peers, and especially by the public at large. Throwing down scientific thunderbolts from Olympian heights, scientists come across as authoritarian truth givers, whose word must be taken unquestioned. Speaking as a highly accomplished scientist himself, he unceremoniously shatters this misleading faade: That all the evidence shows the behavior of scientists to be no different from the ways in which other people behave is somehow overlooked in all this. See this article Retrieved 14th June 2011.


Retrieved 5th August 2014.

[30] See Stephen Jay Gould, In the Mind of the Beholder, Natural History, Vol. 103 (2):15 (1994). I came across this comment in the following article by Casey Luskin:

Retrieved 4th August 2014.

See also

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Torah Explorer

Judaism | Article about Judaism by The Free Dictionary

Judaism (joo`dz’m, joo`d), the religious beliefs and practices and the way of life of the JewsJews [from Judah], traditionally, descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, whose tribe, with that of his half-brother Benjamin, made up the kingdom of Judah; historically, members of the worldwide community of adherents to Judaism. ….. Click the link for more information. . The term itself was first used by Hellenized Jews to describe their religious practice, but it is of predominantly modern usage; it is not used in the Bible or in Rabbinic literature and only rarely in the literature of the medieval period. The word TorahTorah [Heb.,=teachings or learning], Hebrew name for the five books of Mosesthe Law of Moses or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. The Torah is believed by Orthodox Jews to have been handed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai and transmitted by him to the Jews. ….. Click the link for more information. is employed when referring to the divinely revealed teachings of Jewish law and belief. Judaism is used more broadly, including also the totality of human interpretation and practice. Thus, one may speak of “secular Judaism,” referring to an adherence to values expressed by Judaism but removed from any religious context. The most important holy days in Judaism are the weekly SabbathSabbath [Heb.,=repose], in Judaism, last day of the week (Saturday), observed as a rest day for the twenty-five hours commencing with sundown on Friday. In the biblical account of creation (Gen. 1) the seventh day is set as a Sabbath to mark God’s rest after his work. ….. Click the link for more information. , the major holidays of Rosh ha-ShanahRosh ha-Shanah [Heb.,=head of the year], the Jewish New Year, also known as the Feast of the Trumpets. It is observed on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri, occurring usually in September. ….. Click the link for more information. , Yom KippurYom Kippur [Heb.,=day of atonement], in Judaism, the most sacred holy day, falling on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishri (usually late September or early October). It is a day of fasting and prayer for forgiveness for sins committed during the year. ….. Click the link for more information. , Sukkoth (see Tabernacles, Feast ofTabernacles, Feast of, one of the oldest and most joyous of Jewish holidays, called in the Bible the Feast of Ingathering and today often called by its Hebrew name, Sukkoth [Heb.,=booth]. ….. Click the link for more information. ), Simhat Torah, PassoverPassover, in Judaism, one of the most important and elaborate of religious festivals. Its celebration begins on the evening of the 14th of Nisan (first month of the religious calendar, corresponding to MarchApril) and lasts seven days in Israel, eight days in the Diaspora ….. Click the link for more information. , and ShavuotShavuot [Heb.,=weeks], Jewish feast celebrated on the 6th of the month of Sivan (usually some time in May) in Israel and on the sixth and seventh days in the Diaspora. Originally an agricultural festival celebrating the end of the winter grain harvest (which began at Passover), ….. Click the link for more information. , and the minor holidays of HanukkahHanukkah , in Judaism, the Festival of Lights, the Feast of Consecration, or the Feast of the Maccabees; also transliterated Chanukah. According to tradition, it was instituted by Judas Maccabeus and his brothers in 165 B.C. ….. Click the link for more information. , PurimPurim [Heb.,=lots], Jewish festival celebrated on the 14th of Adar, the twelfth month in the Jewish calendar (Feb.March). During leap years it is celebrated in Adar II. According to the book of Esther (Esther 3.7; 9. ….. Click the link for more information. , and Tisha B’Av. The Early Period

The history of Judaism predates the period to which the term itself actually refers, in that Judaism formally applies to the post-Second Temple period, while its antecedents are to be found in the biblical “religion of Israel.” The Bible is no longer considered a homogeneous work; the many traditions represented in it demonstrate variance and growth. While the historicity of the patriarchs’ existence and of MosesMoses , Hebrew lawgiver, probably b. Egypt. The prototype of the prophets, he led his people in the 13th cent. B.C. out of bondage in Egypt to the edge of Canaan. The narrative in the Bible is the chief source of information on his life. ….. Click the link for more information. as the giver of all laws is under question, certain dominant themes can be seen developing in this early period that have importance for later Judaism.

Central to these themes is the notion of monotheism, which most scholars believe to have been the outgrowth of a process that began with polytheism, progressed to henotheism (the worship of one god without denying the existence of others), and ended in the belief in a single Lord of the universe, uniquely different from all His creatures. He is compassionate toward His creation, and in turn humans are to love and fear (i.e., stand in awe of) Him. Because God is holy, He demands that His people be holy, righteous, and just, a kingdom of priests to assist in the fulfillment of His designs for humankind and the world.

Israel’s chosenness consists of this special designation and the task that accompanies it. God promises the land of Canaan to Israel as their homeland, the place in which the Temple will be built and sacrificial worship of God carried out. The holy days were the Sabbath, Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkoth; and circumcision, dietary laws, and laws pertaining to dress, agriculture, and social justice characterized the structure of the biblical religion. Three types of leaders existed during this period: the priest (kohen), who officiated in the Temple and executed the laws; the prophet (navi), to whom was revealed God’s messages to His people; and the sage (hacham), who taught practical wisdom and proper behavior. There was developing already in this early period a belief in the ultimate coming of God’s kingdom on earth, a time of peace and justice. To this was added, after the destruction (586 B.C.) of the First Temple and the Babylonian captivity (which many saw as the consequence of idolatry and which may have been responsible for the final stage of the development from polytheism to monotheism), the expectation of national restoration under the leadership of a descendant of the Davidic house, the MessiahMessiah or Messias [Heb.,=anointed], in Judaism, a man who would be sent by God to restore Israel and reign righteously for all humanity. The idea developed among the Jews especially in their adversity, and such a conception is clearly indicated in Isaiah 9. ….. Click the link for more information. .

It was after the Babylonian captivity (not later than the 5th cent. B.C.) that a compilation of earlier texts and oral traditions was made, forming the canon of the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. Subsequently 34 other books were added to form the Hebrew Bible or Old TestamentOld Testament, Christian name for the Hebrew Bible, which serves as the first division of the Christian Bible (see New Testament). The designations “Old” and “New” seem to have been adopted after c.A.D. ….. Click the link for more information. , though the canon was not finalized until perhaps as late as the 2d cent. A.D. The Torah was traditionally attributed to Moses, and study of the Torah was accompanied by expositions and explanations in which the Oral Law, as distinct from the Written Law (the Torah text), is rooted. While it is widely held that the PhariseesPharisees , one of the two great Jewish religious and political parties of the second commonwealth. Their opponents were the Sadducees, and it appears that the Sadducees gave them their name, perushim, Hebrew for “separatists” or “deviants. ….. Click the link for more information. further developed the Oral Law, in opposition to the literalness of the SadduceesSadducees , sect of Jews formed around the time of the Hasmonean revolt (c.200 B.C.). Little is known concerning their beliefs, but according to Josephus Flavius, they upheld only the authority of the written law, and not the oral tradition held by the Pharisees. ….. Click the link for more information. , it is inconceivable that the latter group could have administered the biblical laws without reinterpreting them in accordance with a changing world, or in the face of a lack of specificity in the text.

The Babylonian exile had exposed the Israelites to new ideas, and it is to that period that the notions of identifiable angels (such as Michael and Raphael), of the personification of evil (Satan), and of the resurrection of the dead can probably be traced. The conquests of Alexander the Great once again brought the Jews into contact with new ideas, most significantly that of the immortality of the soul. Conflict arose within the community of Israel concerning the level of Hellenization acceptable, out of which came the revolt of the MaccabeesMaccabees or Machabees , Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon. ….. Click the link for more information. against the Seleucid rulers of Syria and their Judean sympathizers. The resulting martyrdom of many gave added impetus to the belief in collective resurrection of the dead and the immortality of the soul after the body’s death. These concepts were wed in such a way that while the body awaited its resurrection, the soul was seen as living on in another realm. This new development in no way supplanted the earlier notion of earthly reward; life on earth, however, was viewed by many as preparatory for the next.

As the conditions of life deteriorated, apocalyptic beliefs grewnational catastrophe and the messianic kingdom were seen as imminent events. Some groups (see EssenesEssenes , members of a small Jewish religious order, originating in the 2d cent. B.C. The chief sources of information about the Essenes are Pliny the Elder, Philo’s Quod omnius probus liber, Josephus’ Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews, ….. Click the link for more information. ; QumranQumran , ancient village on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, in what is now the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It is famous for its caves, in some of which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Archaeological work at Qumran has yielded a profile of its history. ….. Click the link for more information. ) fled into the desert to lead righteous lives in anticipation, while others followed claimants to the mantle of Messiah (most notably Jesus). Out of these numerous ingredients came both Christianity and classical, or rabbinic, Judaism.

Developing over a period of five centuries (until c.A.D. 500), rabbinic Judaism completed the process already underway, which saw the replacement of the Temple by the synagoguesynagogue [Gr.,=assembly], in Judaism, a place of assembly for worship, education, and communal affairs. The origins of the institution are unclear. One tradition dates it to the Babylonian exile of the 6th cent. B.C. ….. Click the link for more information. (the Second Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70), of the priest by the rabbirabbi [Heb.,=my master; my teacher], the title of a Jewish spiritual leader. The role of the rabbi has undergone a number of transformations. In the Talmudic period, rabbis were primarily teachers and interpreters of the Torah. ….. Click the link for more information. , and of the sacrificial ceremony by the prayer service and study. Basic to these changes was the redaction and codification of the Oral Law (see MishnaMishna , in Judaism, codified collection of Oral Lawlegal interpretations of portions of the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and other legal material. Together with the Gemara, or Amoraic commentary on the Mishna, it comprises the Talmud. ….. Click the link for more information. ; TalmudTalmud [Aramaic from Heb.,=learning], in Judaism, vast compilation of the Oral Law with rabbinical elucidations, elaborations, and commentaries, in contradistinction to the Scriptures or Written Laws. The Talmud is the accepted authority for Orthodox Jews everywhere. ….. Click the link for more information. ) and the MidrashMidrash [Heb.,=to examine, to investigate], verse by verse interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures, consisting of homily and exegesis, by Jewish teachers since about 400 B.C. ….. Click the link for more information. , which, as outgrowths of the biblical religion, centered on the relationships between God, His Torah, and His people, Israel. Emphasis was placed upon study of the Torah (in its broadest sense) as the most important religious act, leading to an understanding of the proper way of life; upon the growing need for national restoration in the face of continued Exile from the Promised Land; and upon the function of this world as preparatory for the World to Come (Olam ha-Bah), while not devaluing the importance of life in this world.

Daily life was sanctified by the emphasis in Jewish law (halakahhalakah or halacha [Heb.,=law], in Judaism, the body of law regulating all aspects of life, including religious ritual, familial and personal status, civil relations, criminal law, and relations with non-Jews. ….. Click the link for more information. ) on the ritual fitness of foods (kashrut), the recitation of blessings for a variety of mundane acts, and the daily, weekly, monthly and annual cycles of prayer. Rites for the personal life cycle came to include circumcision of male infants at the age of eight days, signifying their induction into the covenant between God and Israel; the recognition of thirteen years as the age of majority for religious responsibilities (see Bar MitzvahBar Mitzvah [Aramaic,=son of the Commandment], Jewish ceremony in which the young male is initiated into the religious community, according to tradition at the age of 13 years and a day. ….. Click the link for more information. ); marriage; and funeral rites. During the medieval period, these trends continued and were basic to the several important codifications of the legal material and to the many biblical and Talmudic commentaries that were composed at this time (most notably by RashiRashi , 10401105, Jewish exegete, grammarian, and legal authority, b. Troyes, France. The name he is known by is an acronym of Rabbi Solomon bar Isaac. He studied in Worms and Mainz, returning to Troyes c.1065. ….. Click the link for more information. and MaimonidesMaimonides or Moses ben Maimon , 11351204, Jewish scholar, physician, and philosopher, the most influential Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages, b. Crdoba, Spain, d. Cairo. ….. Click the link for more information. ).

The kabbalahkabbalah or cabala [Heb.,=reception], esoteric system of interpretation of the Scriptures based upon a tradition claimed to have been handed down orally from Abraham. ….. Click the link for more information. flowered during the Middle Ages, combining older trends in Jewish mysticism with Neoplatonism and other ideas. The kabbalists retained the idea that the totality of God’s nature is ultimately beyond human grasp (“Ein Sof” [Heb., literally,=without end] as the “Nothing”), yet, in keeping with tradition, held to a vision of a personal God who exists as the active, creative, and sustaining force within the cosmos (“Ein Sof” as the “Everything”). Spain was a major center of kabbalistic thought, which after the expulsions and forced conversion in 1492, spread and became more central to Jewish life in the Mediterranean world. Palestine then became the center of kabbalism, especially as it was developed by Isaac LuriaLuria or Loria, Isaac ben Solomon , 153472, Jewish kabbalist, surnamed Ashkenazi, called Ari [lion] by his followers, b. Jerusalem. In his 20s he spent seven years in seclusion, intensely studying the kabbalah. ….. Click the link for more information. and others.

A Jewish philosophy developed in answer to the questions raised by the exposure to Greek thought as distilled through the Islamic natural philosophy and metaphysics. Central to these issues was the conflict between reason and revelation: whether revelation was necessary if all could be ascertained through reason, or whether reason was imperfect and revelation was God’s assisting humans to know the truth. Maimonides argued that one can say nothing positive about the personal nature of God, which is beyond human comprehension; one can only indicate what He is not (thus, the statement that God is wise says only that God is not ignorant, not how wise He actually is).

While the Jewish Middle Ages is usually defined by scholars as extending at least into the 18th cent., there was a Jewish counterpart to the general European Renaissance of the 15th and 16th cent., and figures such as Judah AbravanelAbravanel or Abarbanel, Judah, c.1460c.1523, Jewish philosopher, physician, and poet, son of Isaac Abravanel, b. Lisbon; he is also known as Leone Ebreo. ….. Click the link for more information. were influenced by contemporary European philosophic currents. The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 led to the Jews of N Italy, S France, and the Levant coming under Sephardic influence (see SephardimSephardim , one of the two major geographic divisions of the Jewish people, consisting of those Jews whose forebears in the Middle Ages resided in the Iberian Peninsula, as distinguished from those who lived in Germanic lands, who came to be known as the Ashkenazim (see ….. Click the link for more information. ), and these events provoked much messianic and kabbalist speculation, culminating in the spectacular career of the self-proclaimed Messiah, Sabbatai ZeviSabbatai Zevi , 162676, Jewish mystic and pseudo-Messiah, founder of the Sabbatean sect, b. Smyrna. After a period of study of Lurianic kabbalah (see Luria, Isaac ben Solomon), he became deeply influenced by its ideas of imminent national redemption. ….. Click the link for more information. .

The Amsterdam community of Marranos (those Jews forced by the Inquisition to adopt Christianity, but who continued to practice Judaism in secret, and many of whom later emigrated and returned to the Jewish fold) often provided a liberalizing influence on Orthodox Judaism, most significantly in the person of Baruch SpinozaSpinoza, Baruch or Benedict , 163277, Dutch philosopher, b. Amsterdam. Spinoza’s Life

He belonged to the community of Jews from Spain and Portugal who had fled the Inquisition. ….. Click the link for more information. , a Jew excommunicated for his unsparing critique of Rabbinic Judaism. The reaction to Sabbatianism and philosophical liberalism caused a hardening of rabbinic orthodoxy, but the Jewish world of the 18th cent. remained turbulent. It produced both the great traditionalist rabbinic figure Elijah ben SolomonElijah ben Solomon, 172097, Jewish scholar, called the Gaon of Vilna, b. Lithuania. A leading Jewish scholar of his time, he opposed the spread of Hasidism in Lithuania and Poland because he feared that the creation of these new groups would weaken the Jewish community. ….. Click the link for more information. and the untraditional figures of Baal-Shem-TovBaal-Shem-Tov , c.16981760, Jewish founder of modern Hasidism, b. Ukraine. His life is the subject of many tales that circulated even before his death. Originally named Israel ben Eliezer, he is said to have been born of elderly, poor parents and to have been orphaned at ….. Click the link for more information. , the founder of HasidismHasidism or Chassidism [Heb.,=the pious], Jewish religious movement founded in Poland in the 18th cent. by Baal-Shem-Tov. Its name derives from Hasidim. Hasidism, which stressed the mercy of God and encouraged joyous religious expression through music and dance, spread ….. Click the link for more information. (which Elijah himself fought against), and Moses MendelssohnMendelssohn, Moses , 172986, German-Jewish philosopher; grandfather of Felix Mendelssohn. He was a leader in the movement for cultural assimilation. In 1743 he went to Berlin, where he studied and worked, becoming (1750) a partner in a silk merchant’s firm. ….. Click the link for more information. , the spiritual progenitor of later reformers whom Elijah’s spiritual descendants repeatedly condemned.

The emancipation of European Jews in the early decades of the 19th cent. brought with it the problem of maintaining claims of distinctiveness, of being “chosen,” and at the same time wishing to participate in the general society. First dealt with by the Reform leaders of Germany (most notably Abraham GeigerGeiger, Abraham , 181074, German rabbi, Semitic scholar and Orientalist, theologian, and foremost exponent of the Reform movement in Judaism. When he received his doctorate (1833) from the Univ. of Bonn, he was already a rabbi in Wiesbaden. ….. Click the link for more information. ), this problem was met directly in Eastern Europe, giving rise to the HaskalahHaskalah , [Heb.,=enlightenment] Jewish movement in Europe active from the 1770s to the 1880s. Beginning in Germany in the circle of the German Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn and spreading to Galicia and Russia, the Haskalah called for increased secularization of Jewish ….. Click the link for more information. movement, whose members (e.g., Nachman KrochmalKrochmal, Nachman , 17851840, Jewish secular historian and writer, b. Galicia. He was a leader in the movement of the Jewish enlightenment and a pioneer of modern Jewish scholarship. ….. Click the link for more information. ) sought to revitalize Jewish life by recreating it along the lines of the best in European culture.

In the late 19th cent., ZionismZionism, modern political movement for reconstituting a Jewish national state in Palestine. Early Years

The rise of the Zionist movement in the late 19th cent. ….. Click the link for more information. promised a return to the Holy Land. This again created problems for the traditionalists whose religious ideas were rooted in the Diaspora, and many of whom opposed any movement to build a secular Jewish state in the Holy Land. Eventually, an Orthodox wing of Zionism did emerge. For many Jews still unanswered is the question of whether a full Jewish life is possible in exile, or whether residing in Zion is essential. Theologically, Zionism posed the problem of whether Jews can work for the messianic return or whether this would be counter to another traditional belief that saw humanity awaiting the divine intervention.

Ultimately, it was the halakah (the law) that divided Judaism in the 19th cent. The Orthodox hold both the written law (Scriptures) and the oral laws (commentaries on the legal portions of the Scriptures) as authoritative, derived from God, while the Reform do not see them as authoritative in any absolute sense, but binding only in their ethical content. While Orthodox Jews maintain the traditional practices, Reform Jews perform only those rituals that they believe can promote and enhance a Jewish, God-oriented life. In 1999, however, leaders of American Reform Judaism reversed century-old teachings by encouraging but not enforcing the observance of many traditional rituals. The “historical school,” or Conservative movement, attempts to formulate a middle position between Orthodox and Reform, maintaining most of the traditional rituals but recognizing the need to make changes in accordance with overriding contemporary considerations. Conservative Jews believe that the history of Judaism proves their basic assumptions: that tradition and change have always gone hand in hand and that what is central to Judaism and has remained constant throughout the centuries is the people of Israel (and their needs), not the fundamentalism of Orthodoxy nor what they consider the abandonment of traditions by Reform. The related Reconstructionist movement of Mordechai M. KaplanKaplan, Mordecai Menahem , 18811983, American rabbi, educator, and philosopher, b. Lithuania, grad. College of the City of New York, 1900, M.A. Columbia Univ., 1902. He came to the United States when he was eight years old. ….. Click the link for more information. holds Judaism to be a human-centered rather than a God-centered religious civilization.

Also part of contemporary Judaism are the several Sephardic traditions maintained in Israel, France, Canada, and the United States by immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa and by European Sephardim in Europe and the Americas; the several Hasidic groups in Israel and the United States; the religious and secular Zionists in Israel and the Diaspora; the unorganized secular Jews, who maintain an atheist’s or agnostic’s adherence to Jewish values and culture; and those unorganized Jews who seek a religious life outside the synagogue. These many positions represent the most recent attempts at defining the “essence of Judaism,” a process that has been continuous throughout the ages, variously emphasizing one of the three major components of Judaism (God, Torah, Israel) over the remaining two.

See J. L. Blau, Modern Varieties of Judaism (1966); M. M. Kaplan, Judaism as a Civilization (2d ed. 1957, repr. 1967); J. Neusner, There We Sat Down (1972); R. Seltzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought (1980); A. Eisen, The Chosen People in America (1983); M. A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement (1988); G. Robinson, Essential Judaism (2000); J. R. Baskin and K. Seeskin, ed., The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture (2010); M. Brenner, A Short History of the Jews (tr. 2010).

1.the religion of the Jews, based on the Old Testament and the Talmud and having as its central point a belief in the one God as transcendent creator of all things and the source of all righteousness

2.the religious and cultural traditions, customs, attitudes, and way of life of the Jews

Both CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM, the two other main monotheistic world religions, were to some degree offshoots of Judaism. see also SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION.

Theodore Herzls imaginative description of the future Zionist settlement in Palestine. [Jewish Hist.: Colliers, XIX, 79]

chooses Judaism even when renunciation would save him from execution. [Ger. Lit.: Feuchtwanger Power; Magill I, 773]

a religion that arose in Palestine during the first millennium B.C.; it is practiced among Jews. (There are no reliable statistical data on the number of practicing Jews; the majority live in Israel and the USA.)

According to biblical legend, certain Western Semitic (Hebrew) nomadic tribes fled from the Egyptian pharaoh into the desert in the 13th century B.C. At the time of their invasion of Palestine they were united by the common worship of Yahweh, a god of the tribal federation. The tribal federation, which took the name of Israel (god strives), took final shape by the 11th century B.C. The worship of Yahweh (the pronunciation of his name later became taboo and was replaced by the word Lord) did not exclude the worship of other deities, both of the Hebrews own tribes and of the local Canaanites. There were no images made of Yahweh and no temples built to him; a tabernacle, or tent, with a coffer, or ark, inside, devoted to Yahweh, was considered the earthly dwelling-place of the god, who was invisibly present throughout the world. The official rites were performed by a special tribal group, or caste, called Levites. After the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah in the late 11th century B.C., King Solomon (King Davids son) built a temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem. The worship of Yahweh thus became the basis of the official ideology of the state, which defended the interests of the slaveholders. When the kingdom was divided in the tenth century B.C. into the northern Kingdom of Israel proper and the southern Kingdom of Judah, centered on Jerusalem, the Temple retained its importance primarily for the southern kingdom; the northern kingdom had temples of its own. But even the southern kingdom officially retained other places of worship, both of Yahweh and of other gods.

The prophetic movement, which arose in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C., played the most important role in the gradual development of Judaism into a dogmatic religion. Sermons of the prophets were recorded beginning in the eighth century B.C. In the beginning the prophets did not insist on the universality of Yahweh but declared him a jealous god who did not permit his chosen people to worship other gods. There arose the concept of the covenant, or testament, between the tribes of Israel and Yahweh, according to which the former allegedly pledged not to worship other gods and to carry out Yahwehs wishes while Yahweh promised to give them authority over Palestine. Circumcision was declared the external sign of the covenant; actually circumcision was a rite practiced by many other peoples of the ancient East and a survival of the initiation rite that accepted a boy into the community of warriors. Some prophets protested against various manifestations of social injustice while continuing to defend the slaveholder ideology, which was universal at the time.

The destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. and the deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian siege in 700 B.C. were used by the prophets to spread their ideas among the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah.

The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, which were ascribed to Moses, who, according to legend, led the Israelites during their nomadic period, were essentially composed in the ninth, eighth, and seventh centuries B.C. These books expounded the mythical past of the Israelites, in addition to their legal and ethical norms, in the spirit of the concepts of the covenant and the jealous god; the rituals and many elements of the mythological world view were taken from earlier religious traditions. The books interpreting the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah from the point of view of the fulfillment or nonfulfillment of Yahwehs conditions by the kings and the population also date from the eigthth, seventh, and sixth centuries B.C. By the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. the prophets already began to deny the existence of other gods except Yahweh, but there is evidence that the population continued to worship other gods as late as the fifth century B.C. A manuscript of Deuteronomy, which sums up the teachings of the prophets, was discovered when King Josiah rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem in 622 B.C. In the early fourth century B.C., Deuteronomy, together with the other four books of Moses, became known as the Pentateuch, or Torah (Law), the part of the Holy Scripture, or Bible, most revered in Judaism. Subsequently all social ills that befell the ethnic groups practicing the Judaic religion were explained by deviations from the letter of the Torah. This made for the dogmatic character of Judaism and the great importance attached to the literally exact fulfillment of the rituals prescribed by the Torah.

In 587 B.C. the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II resettled a large part of the Judahites in Babylonia and the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed. Among the resettled Judahites the prophet Ezekiel preached the restoration of Israel, but this time as a theocratic state with a new Temple in Jerusalem as its center. The state was to be founded by a descendant of King David, or the Messiah. The Iranian religion influenced the development of Judaism during the period of Babylonian captivity.

Under the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids the Judahites were returned to Jerusalem, which had become a self-governing Temple city (sixth and fifth centuries B.C.), and a new Second Temple of Yahweh was built. But the leaders of the new religious community, Ezra and Nehemiah, did not accept into this community the Judahites who had not gone into captivity and the Israelites who had remained in Palestine, under the pretext that they had mixed with people who worshipped other gods. The rejected groups created a separate community, the Samaritans, who live in Palestine to this day. After Ezra, the isolation of the practicing Jewsunder the pretext that they are the chosen peoplebecame one of the most important dogmas of Judaism; later, however, circumcision and the fulfillment of the demands of the Torah were recognized as sufficient conditions for entering into the covenant with god, regardless of the converts origin.

In the third and second centuries B.C., a large number of Judahites were resettled by their Hellenic conquerors in Egypt, Syria, and Armenia. Judah itself, the site of a bitter class struggle, saw the rise of various currents within Judaismfor example, the Essenes, who condemned the official orientation of Judaism (the Pharisees) and preached asceticism and primitive social equality. Christianity too was originally a Judaic sect and only later became a separate religion, distinct from Judaism. However, the Christian Bible incorporated the Judaic holy books in their entirety (the Old Testament, or the ancient covenant, as distinct from the New Testament, or the Gospel).

The canon of the Holy Scriptures of Judaism was definitively established in about 100 B.C. The canon included the Torah, the Prophets (written records of religious and political speeches and historical books of a prophetic nature), and the Writings (books of a different nature recognized as conforming to the dogmas of Judaism, including the books of Ruth, Esther, and Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs). When the written canon was introduced, literacy became mandatory for all males of the Judaic religious community; this rule was retained throughout the Middle Ages.

After two uprisings against Roman rule (the Jewish War of A.D. 6673 and the Bar Kochba uprising of A.D. 132135), the Jews were banished from Jerusalem.

The most important ritual innovation of the Diaspora was the replacement of worship in the Temple, which, according to dogma, could be done only in Jerusalem, by prayer assemblies in synagogues under the leadership of rabbis, or teachers of the religious law, instead of priests; the rabbis also usually governed the civil and legal life of the members of the religious community. The religious teachings of Judaism were further elaborated by commentaries on the Bible (the Mishnah; completed by the third century A.D.) and the Gemara, a collection of legal (halakah) and folkloric (agadah) interpretations of biblical texts, often incredibly lapidary, nebulous in form, subjective, and contradictory; the Gemara and the Mishnah together form the Talmud (completed by the fifth century A.D.). The development of the religious and philosophical foundation of Judaism (especially monotheism) was influenced by Hellenistic idealist philosophy and early medieval (including Arabic) Neoplatonism and Aris-totelianism. In the 12th century Maimonides generalized the teachings of early medieval Judaism: the unity of an incorporeal and eternal god who is the creator of all things and who has revealed to man through Moses and the prophets the eternity of the Torah, the expectation of the Messiah, retribution after death for ones deeds, and resurrection of the dead.

Jews who lived in areas dominated by other dogmatic religions were subjected to legal restrictions and sometimes even to the cruelest persecution; this was true especially in the Christian countries, since Christianity blamed the Jewish religious community of the first century A.D. for the death of Jesus. At the same time the dogma of Judaism, which called for isolation of the Jews from those of other religions, made it easier for the authorities of the Christian states to create Jewish ghettos. Despite the artificial seclusion of adherents of Judaism, several medieval kingdoms, in an attempt to escape the political influence of the great Christian powers, adopted the religion (for example, the Khazar kingdom in the Volga region in the late eighth and early ninth centuries). The Karaite sect, which arose during the eighth century in Iraq, Syria, and Palestine, rejected the rabbinate and all rabbinical commentaries on the Bible. Mystical teachings spread among Jews, such as cabala, of which the most important work was the Zohar of Moses de Lon in the 13th century. The cabala also influenced later religious and philosophical Judaic literature, such as Joseph Caros Shulkhan Arukh in the 16th century, a code of ethics that regulated the life of believers down to the smallest detail.

In the 17th century a movement arose around the mystic and adventurer Sabbatai Zebi of Turkey, who had declared himself the Messiah; his movement found numerous followers among Jews of many countries, who mistakenly sought in Zebis teachings salvation from social oppression. The collapse of this movement and deterioration in the conditions of the Jews both in the ghettos of Europe and in Asia and Africa produced, on the one hand, still greater isolation from other peoples, and, on the other hand, Hasidism, a movement founded by the Baal Shem Tov in the middle of the 18th century that rejected the authority of the rabbis and preached the personal communion of the believer with god through the most pious, or zaddikim. Both movements contributed to the deprivation of civil rights of the Jews and their alienation from general democratic movements.

In the second half of the 19th century a movement for the reform of Judaism arose among Jews in Germany, the USA, and other countries. The reformers wanted to bring Judaism closer to Protestantism, in an attempt to adapt Judaism to the established bourgeois system and to place it in the service of capitalism. According to the reformers, messianism, the expectation of the restoration of the Temple, and the creation of a theocratic state in Jerusalem should be understood figuratively, as a future realization of the ethical ideals of mankind that are supposedly contained in Judaism. However, orthodox Judaism remained the dominant current among Jews, especially in the USA and in Eastern Europe.

Judaism does not recognize temples and has no ecclesiastical hierarchy; synagogues are maintained by contributions from believers (capitalists make large contributions to their maintenance). The Synagogue Council of America in the USA manages several educational institutions.

Judaism is the official religion of the state of Israel. The synagogues, like the organizations of other religions, are financed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs; the rabbinate has judicial functions in family matters, marriage, and other affairs concerning Jews.

The major holidays of Judaism are the Sabbath, when all work is prohibited, including the cooking of food and traveling; the tenth day after the lunar New Year (the day of purification, or Yom Kippur), a time of fasting and atonement; Pesach, or Passover, in the spring; Pentecost; the Festival of Booths in the fall, followed in seven or eight days by a holiday of rejoicing in the Torah. At the age of 13 a boy professing Judaism passes through the rite of bar mitzvah, which introduces him into the community of believers; at that time he must show his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and make an appropriate speech in Hebrew. The life of people practicing Judaism is burdened by a multiplicity of archaic restrictions, rituals, and dietary taboos.

Judaism, as a religion, as well as Talmudic ritualism, prevents the Jewish working masses from understanding the true causes of social oppression. Judaism, like other religions, has always been a tool in the hands of the ruling and exploiting classes for the spiritual oppression of the working masses. Judaism has been taken over by Zionism, which is at present the official ideology of the state of Israel. Attempting to win over the masses of working Jews and to divert them from the world revolutionary labor and national liberation movements as well as to justify Israels expansionist policies, Zionism began to use the tenets of Judaism for its political aims (for example, messianism, which proposes the creation of a new, ideal Israel, with Jerusalem as its center, that would include the whole of Palestine). Since the second quarter of the 20th century Zionism has found support among the most reactionary Jews, especially in the USA. In its chauvinist and annexationist policy Zionism makes use of the Judaic dogma that the Jews are gods chosen people and employs Judaism to substantiate the concept of a worldwide Jewish nation and other reactionary positions.

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Judaism | Article about Judaism by The Free Dictionary

Jewish Beliefs – ReligionFacts

Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Their sacred text, the Hebrew Bible, teaches several doctrines – such as those about God, the Messiah, human beings, and the universe – making beliefs very important to Jews. Judaism has no official creed, however.

Judaism shares some beliefs with other world religions, like monotheism with Christianity and Islam, but in other respects there are sharp differences between the faiths.

It is important to understand that the term “Jewish” can be used to describe a race and a culture, rather than a religion, so some who identify themselves as Jewish may have little interest in the beliefs of Judaism.

For more information on Jewish beliefs, follow a link below:

As noted above, Judaism has no creed and beliefs of individual Jews can vary widely. However, the great 12th-century rabbi Maimonides put together “13 Articles of Faith” that he believed every Jew ought to adhere to, and this is often used as a summary of core Jewish beliefs.

In Judaism, ultimate reality is a single, all-powerful God. It is this belief that made the Jews unique among other ancient Semitic peoples and that became the legacy Judaism has passed on to the entire Western world. God’s name in Hebrew is YHWH, which simply – but significantly – means “I am.”

Many of the world’s religions have hope in a future heroic figure who will rescue the righteous, judge the wicked, and restore peace to the world (Krishna in Hinduism, Maitreya in Buddhism and the Second Coming of Christ in Christianity). In Judaism, this figure is the Messiah.

When Genesis 2:7 says “God formed man,” it uses the Hebrew word vayyitzer (“formed”). The Talmud finds special meaning in the unique spelling of the word in this context, with two yods instead of one. The two yods, the rabbis explain, stand for the two impulses found in humans: the yetzer tov and the yetzer ra.

Jewish sacred texts and literature have little to say about what happens after death, which may seem surprising to non-Jews since the sacred texts of Christianity and Islam, both of which have their foundations in Judaism, elaborate rather fully about the afterlife.

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Jewish Beliefs – ReligionFacts

BBC – Schools – Religion – Judaism

Judaism has about 13 million followers throughout the world, mostly in USA and Israel. Aproximately 270,100 people in the UK said that their religious identity was Jewish (2011 census).

Judaism originated in the Middle East over 3500 years ago.

Moses was the main founder of Judaism, but Jews can trace their history back as far as Abraham.

6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in an attempt to wipe out Judaism.

Jews believe that there is only one God.

Jews believe they have a special agreement or covenant with God. In exchange for all the good that God has done for them, Jewish people keep God’s laws and try to bring holiness into every aspect of their lives.

Judaism is a faith of action and Jews believe people should be judged not so much on what they believe as on the way they live their faith – by how much they contribute to the overall holiness of the world.

The most holy Jewish book is the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) which was revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai over 3,000 years ago.

The Torah, together with the Talmud (commentary on the Torah), give the Jewish people rules for everyday life. Observing these rules is central to the Jewish religion.

Jews worship in Synagogues

A Jewish Religious leader is called a Rabbi (literally ‘teacher’)

The family and community are very important within Jewish life.

The most important day of the week is Shabbat (the Sabbath). It is the day on which Jews remember the seventh day of creation on which God rested. On Shabbat Jews stop working and make time for God and family life.

Shabbat starts on Friday evening and ends at sunset on Saturday.

Shabbat begins with the family sharing a meal.

During Shabbat, services are held at the synagogue, often led by a Rabbi.

The most important Jewish festivals are:

The emblem of the Jewish people is the Magen David (Shield of David), also known as the Star of David.

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BBC – Schools – Religion – Judaism

The Written Law – Torah | Jewish Virtual Library

The Torah, or Jewish Written Law, consists of the five books of the Hebrew Bible – known more commonly to non-Jews as the “Old Testament” – that were given by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai and include within them all of the biblical laws of Judaism. The Torah is also known as the Chumash, Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses.

The word “Torah” has multiple meanings including: A scroll made from kosher animal parchment, with the entire text of the Five Books of Moses written on it; the text of the Five Books of Moses, written in any format; and, the term “Torah” can mean the entire corpus of Jewish law. This includes the Written and the Oral Law.

In the Bible, the Torah is referred to both as the “Torah of the Lord” and as the “Torah of Moses,” and is said to be given as an inheritance to the congregation of Jacob- the Jewish people. Its purpose seems to be to make Israel “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

The Septuagint rendered the Hebrew torah by the Greek nomos (“law”), probably in the sense of a living network of traditions and customs of a people. The designation of the Torah by nomos, and by its Latin successor lex (whence, “the Law”), has historically given rise to the misunderstanding that Torah means legalism.

It was one of the very few real dogmas of rabbinic theology that the Torah is from heaven; i.e., the Torah in its entirety was revealed by God. According to biblical stories, Moses ascended into heaven to capture the Torah from the angels. In one of the oldest mishnaic statements it is taught that Torah is one of the three things by which the world is sustained. Eleazar ben Shammua said: “Were it not for the Torah, heaven and earth would not continue to exist”.

The Torah was often compared to fire, water, wine, oil, milk, honey, drugs, manna, the tree of life, and many other things; it was considered the source of freedom, goodness, and life; it was identified both with wisdom and with love. Hillel summarized the entire Torah in one sentence: “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow”. Akiva said: “The fundamental principle of the Torah is the commandment, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself ‘”.

The message of the Torah is for all mankind. Before giving the Torah to Israel, God offered it to the other nations, but they refused it; and when He did give the Torah to Israel, He revealed it in the extraterritorial desert and simultaneously in all the 70 languages, so that men of all nations would have a right to it. Alongside this universalism, the rabbis taught the inseparability of Israel and the Torah. One rabbi held that the concept of Israel existed in God’s mind even before He created the Torah. Yet, were it not for its accepting the Torah, Israel would not be “chosen,” nor would it be different from all the idolatrous nations.

Saadiah Gaon expounded a rationalist theory according to which the ethical and religious-intellectual beliefs imparted by the Torah are all attainable by human reason. He held that the Torah is divisible into two parts:

(1) commandments which, in addition to being revealed, are demanded by reason (e.g., prohibitions of murder, fornication, theft, lying); and

(2) commandments whose authority is revelation alone (e.g., Sabbath and dietary laws), but which generally are understandable in terms of some personal or social benefit attained by their performance.

In the period between Saadiah and Maimonides, most Jewish writers who speculated on the nature of the Torah continued in this rationalist tradition.

Judah Halevi, however, opposed the rationalist interpretation. He allowed that the Torah contains rational and political laws, but considered them preliminary to the specifically divine laws and teachings which cannot be comprehended by reason, e.g., the laws of the Sabbath which teach the omnipotence of God and the creation of the world. The Torah makes it possible to approach God by awe, love, and joy. It is the essence of wisdom, and the outcome of the will of God to reveal His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

While Judah Halevi held that Israel was created to fulfill the Torah, he wrote that there would be no Torah were there no Israel.

Maimonides emphasized that the Torah is the product of the unique prophecy of Moses. He maintained that the Torah has two purposes:

(1) The welfare of the body, which is a prerequisite of the ultimate purpose, is political, and “consists in the governance of the city and the well-being of the state of all its people according to their capacity.

(2) The welfare of the soul (intellect), which consists in the true perfection of man, his acquisition of immortality through intellection of the highest things.

Maimonides held that the Torah is similar to other laws in its concern with the welfare of the body; but its divine nature is reflected in its concern for the welfare of the soul. Maimonides saw the Torah as a rationalizing force, warring against superstition, imagination, appetite, and idolatry. He cited the rabbinic dictum, “Everyone who disbelieves in idolatry professes the Torah in its entirety”, and taught that the foundation of the Torah and the pivot around which it turns consists in the effacement of idolatry. He held that the Torah must be interpreted in the light of reason.

While Maimonides generally restricted analysis of the nature of the Torah to questions of its educational, moral, or political value, the Spanish kabbalists engaged in bold metaphysical speculation concerning its essence. The kabbalists taught that the Torah is a living organism. Some said the entire Torah consists of the names of God set in succession or interwoven into a fabric. Ultimately, it was said that the Torah is God. This identification of the Torah and God was understood to refer to the Torah in its true primordial essence, and not to its manifestation in the world of creation.

Influenced by Maimonides, Baruch Spinoza took the position that the Torah is an exclusively political law, however he broke radically with all rabbinic tradition by denying its divine nature, by making it an object of historical-critical investigation, and by maintaining that it was not written by Moses alone but by various authors living at different times. Moreover, he considered the Torah primitive, unscientific, and particularistic, and thus subversive to progress, reason, and universal morality. By portraying the Torah as a product of the Jewish people, he reversed the traditional opinion according to which the Jewish people are a product of the Torah.

Moses Mendelssohn considered the Torah a political law, but he affirmed its divine nature. He explained that the Torah does not intend to reveal new ideas about deism and morality, but rather, through its laws and institutions, to arouse men to be mindful of the true ideas attainable by all men through reason. By identifying the beliefs of the Torah with the truths of reason, Mendelssohn affirmed both its scientific respectability and its universalistic nature. By defining the Torah as a political law given to Israel by God, he preserved the traditional view that Israel is a product of the Torah, and not, as Spinoza claimed, vice versa.

With the rise of the science of Judaism (Wissenschaft des Judentums) in the 19th century, and the advance of the historical-critical approach to the Torah, many Jewish intellectuals, including ideologists of Reform like Abraham Geiger, followed Spinoza in seeing the Torah, at least in part, as a product of the primitive history of the Jewish nation.

The increasing intellectualization of the Torah was opposed by Samuel David Luzzatto. He contended that the belief that God revealed the Torah is the starting point of Judaism, and that this belief, with its momentous implications concerning the nature of God and His relation to man, cannot be attained by philosophy. Luzzatto held that the foundation of the whole Torah is compassion.

In their German translation of the Bible, Martin Buber translated torah as Weisung or Unterweisung (“Instruction”) and not as Gesetz (“Law”). In general, he agreed on the purpose of the Torah – to convert the universe and God from It to Thou – yet differed on several points concerning its nature. Buber saw the Torah as the past dialogue between Israel and God, and the present dialogue between the individual reader, the I, and God, the Thou. He concluded that while one must open himself to the entire teaching of the Torah, he need only accept a particular law of the Torah if he feels that it is being spoken now to him.

The secular Zionism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries gave religious thinkers new cause to define the relationship between the Torah and the Jewish nation. Some defined the Torah in terms of the nation. Thus, Mordecai Kaplan translated Ahad Ha-Am’s sociological theory of the evolution of Jewish civilization into a religious, though naturalistic, theory of the Torah as the “religious civilization of the Jews.”

Other thinkers defined the nation in terms of the Torah. Thus, Abraham Isaac Kook taught that the purpose of the Torah is to reveal the living light of the universe, the suprarational spiritual, to Israel and, through Israel, to all mankind. While the Written Torah, which reveals the light in the highest channel of our soul, is the product of God alone, the Oral Torah, which is inseparable from the Written Torah, and which reveals the light in a second channel of our soul, proximate to the life of deeds, derives its personality from the spirit of the nation. The Oral Torah can live in its fullness only when Israel lives in its fullness in peace and independence in the Land of Israel. Thus, according to Kook, modern Zionism, whatever the intent of its secular ideologists, has universal religious significance, for it is acting in service of the Torah.

In the State of Israel, most writers and educators have maintained the secularist position of the early Zionists, namely, that the Torah was not revealed by God, in the traditional sense, but is the product of the national life of ancient Israel. Those who have discussed the Torah and its relation to the state from a religious point of view have mostly followed Kook or Buber. However, a radically rationalist approach to the nature of the Torah has been taught by Yeshayahu Leibowitz who emphasizes that the Torah is a law for the worship of God and for the consequent obliteration of the worship of men and things; in this connection, he condemns the subordination of the Torah to nationalism or to religious sentimentalism or to any ideology or institution.

In the Bible there is no text unanimously understood to affirm explicitly the eternity or nonabrogability of the Torah; however, many laws of the Torah are accompanied by phrases such as, “an everlasting injunction through your generations.”

Whereas the rabbis understood the preexistence of the Torah in terms of its prerevelation existence in heaven, they understood the eternity or nonabrogability of the Torah in terms of its postrevelation existence, not in heaven; i.e., the whole Torah was given to Moses and no part of it remained in heaven. When Eliezer ben Hyrcanus and Joshua ben Hananiah were debating a point of Torah and a voice from heaven dramatically announced that Eliezer’s position was correct, Joshua refused to recognize its testimony, for the Torah “is not in heaven”, and must be interpreted by men, unaided by the supernatural. It was a principle that “a prophet is henceforth not permitted to innovate a thing.” The rabbis taught that the Torah would continue to exist in the world to come, although some of them were of the opinion that innovations would be made in the messianic era.

With the rise to political power of Christianity and Islam, two religions which sought to convert Jews and which argued that particular injunctions of the Torah had been abrogated, the question of the eternity or “nonabrogability” of the Torah became urgent.

Saadiah Gaon stated that the children of Israel have a clear tradition from the prophets that the laws of the Torah are not subject to abrogation. Presenting scriptural corroboration for this tradition, he appealed to phrases appended to certain commandments, e.g., “throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” According to one novel argument of his, the Jewish nation is a nation only by virtue of its laws, namely, the Torah; God has stated that the Jewish nation will endure as long as the heaven and earth; therefore, the Torah will last as long as heaven and earth. He interpreted the verses, “Remember ye the Torah of Moses Behold, I will send you Elijah” , as teaching that the Torah will hold valid until the prophet Elijah returns to herald the resurrection.

Maimonides listed the belief in the eternity of the Torah as the ninth of his 13 principles of Judaism, and connected it with the belief that no prophet will surpass Moses, the only man to give people laws through prophecy. He contended that the eternity of the Torah is stated clearly in the Bible, particularly in the passages “thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” and “the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this Torah”. He offered the following explanation of the Torah’s eternity, based on its perfection and on the theory of the mean: “The Torah of the Lord is perfect” (Ps. 19:8) in that its statutes are just, i.e., that they are equibalanced between the burdensome and the indulgent; and “when a thing is perfect as it is possible to be within its species, it is impossible that within that species there should be found another thing that does not fall short of the perfection either because of excess or deficiency.”

Joseph Albo criticized Maimonides for listing the belief in the eternity of the Torah as an independent fundamental belief of Judaism. In a long discussion he contended that nonabrogation is not a fundamental principle of the Torah, and that moreover, no text can be found in the Bible to establish it. Ironically, his ultimate position turned out to be closer to Maimonides’ for he concluded that the belief in the nonabrogation of the Torah is a branch of the doctrine that no prophet will surpass the excellence of Moses.

After Albo, the question of the eternity of the Torah became routine in Jewish philosophical literature. However, in the Kabbalah it was never routine. In the 13th-century Sefer ha-Temunah a doctrine of cosmic cycles (or shemittot; cf. Deut. 15) was expounded, according to which creation is renewed every 7,000 years, at which times the letters of the Torah reassemble, and the Torah enters the new cycle bearing different words and meanings. Thus, while eternal in its unrevealed state, the Torah, in its manifestation in creation, is destined to be abrogated. This doctrine became popular in later kabbalistic and asidic literature, and was exploited by the heretic Shabbetai evi and his followers, who claimed that a new cycle had begun, and in consequence he was able to teach that “the abrogation of the Torah is its fulfillment!”

Jewish philosophers of modern times have not concentrated on the question of the eternity or nonabrogability of the Torah. Nevertheless, it is not entirely untenable that the main distinction between Orthodox Judaism and non-Orthodox Judaism is that the latter rejects the literal interpretation of the ninth principle of Maimonides’ Creed that there will be no change in the Torah.

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The Written Law – Torah | Jewish Virtual Library

Judaism – World Religions for Kids – Google Sites


Judaism is around 3500 years old and is one of the oldest of the world’s monotheistic religionsreligions with only one god. It’s also the smallest, with only about 12 million followers around the world. In ancient times Jewish people were called Hebrews or Israelite. Abraham is believed to be the father of the Jewish people. The story of Abraham is told in the Torah or what Christians call the Old Testament. Jerusalem is their most holy city and the capital of Israelthe only nation where Jewish people are the majority of the population.

The most important person in Judaism is Moses. According to the Torah, Moses is the leader who freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt. However, there is no written evidence of this enslavement story in Egyptian writing. According to Jewish writing, when Moses and the Hebrews left Egypt they traveled through the Sinai Peninsula. One night he climbed Mount Sinai and it is believe that God gave him the 10 Commandments that eventually became part of the Old Testament. The 10 Commandments provided the Jewish people guidelines of how to live their lives. The most holy Jewish books are the Torah (Old Testament), which is part of the TeNaKh–an acronym for Torah (teachings), Nevi’im (prophets), and Ketuvim (writings). Another book called the Talmud provides instructions on how to follow Jewish teachings.

Part of Jewish life revolves around eating the correct food. Kosher foods are those that follow Jewish law. This means no mixing of dairy and meat, no pork or pork products and no shellfish. Jews can eat meat from any animal that chews its cud and has a split hoof such as cows, goats, and sheeprabbit, pig, horse, dog, and cat are not kosher. Jews may eat fish that have both fins and scales that are detachable from the skin.

Just like any religion, there are different levels and types of belief or different denominations such as Orthodox, Reform, and Liberal Jewish faiths. There are special ceremonies when Jewish boys (aged 13) and girls (aged 12) become adults. Bar mitzvah is for boys and Bat mitzvah is for girls. Traditionally, Jews say prayers three times daily, with a fourth prayer added on holidays. Yom Kippur is the most important Jewish holiday. Jews traditionally observe this holiday with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue.

The Old Testament says the “Messiah” will come to Earth and save the Jewish people. Jesus was born into the Jewish religion. There were certain things about Judaism that he thought were wrong, so he began preaching new ideas. He was thought of as a rebel preacher, however some people thought he was the Messiah. After Jesus was killed, his followers went on to start a new religion called Christianity. That is why Christianity and Judaism share religious writing, characters, and beliefs.

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Judaism – World Religions for Kids – Google Sites