Synagogue – Wikipedia

A synagogue, also spelled synagog (pronounced from Greek , synagog, “assembly”, Hebrew: Bet Kenesset, “house of assembly” or Bet Tefila, “house of prayer”, shul, esnoga or kahal), is a Jewish house of prayer.

Synagogues have a large hall for prayer (the main sanctuary), and may also have smaller rooms for study and sometimes a social hall and offices. Some have a separate room for Torah study, called the Beith Midrash (Sefaradi) “beis medrash (Ashkenazi) (“House of Study”).

Synagogues are consecrated spaces used for the purpose of prayer, Torah reading, study and assembly; however a synagogue is not necessary for worship. Halakha holds that communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever ten Jews (a minyan) assemble. Worship can also be carried out alone or with fewer than ten people assembled together. However, Halakha considers certain prayers as communal prayers and therefore they may be recited only by a minyan. The synagogue does not replace the long-since destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.

Israelis use the Hebrew term Beyt Knesset (house of assembly). Jews of Ashkenazi descent have traditionally used the Yiddish term shul (cognate with the German Schule, “school”) in everyday speech. Sephardi Jews and Romaniote Jews generally use the term kal (from the Hebrew ahal, meaning “community”). Spanish Jews call the synagogue a sinagoga and Portuguese Jews call it an esnoga. Persian Jews and some Karaite Jews also use the non-Hebrew term kenesa, which is derived from Aramaic, and some Arab Jews use kenis. Reform and some Conservative Jews use the word temple. The Greek word synagogue is used in English (and German and French), to cover the preceding possibilities.[1]

Although synagogues existed a long time before the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 CE, communal worship in the time while the Temple still stood centered around the korbanot (“sacrificial offerings”) brought by the kohanim (“priests”) in the Holy Temple. The all-day Yom Kippur service, in fact, was an event in which the congregation both observed the movements of the kohen gadol (“the high priest”) as he offered the day’s sacrifices and prayed for his success.

During the Babylonian captivity (586537BCE) the Men of the Great Assembly formalized and standardized the language of the Jewish prayers. Prior to that people prayed as they saw fit, with each individual praying in his or her own way, and there were no standard prayers that were recited. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, one of the leaders at the end of the Second Temple era, promulgated the idea of creating individual houses of worship in whatever locale Jews found themselves. This contributed to the continuity of the Jewish people by maintaining a unique identity and a portable way of worship despite the destruction of the Temple, according to many historians.

Synagogues in the sense of purpose-built spaces for worship, or rooms originally constructed for some other purpose but reserved for formal, communal prayer, however, existed long before the destruction of the Second Temple.[2] The earliest archaeological evidence for the existence of very early synagogues comes from Egypt, where stone synagogue dedication inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BCE prove that synagogues existed by that date.[3] A synagogue dating from between 75 and 50BCE has been uncovered at a Hasmonean-era winter palace near Jericho.[4][5] More than a dozen Second Temple era synagogues have been identified by archaeologists.[2]

Any Jew or group of Jews can build a synagogue. Synagogues have been constructed by ancient Jewish kings, by wealthy patrons, as part of a wide range of human institutions including secular educational institutions, governments, and hotels, by the entire community of Jews living in a particular place, or by sub-groups of Jews arrayed according to occupation, ethnicity (i.e. the Sephardic, Polish or Persian Jews of a town), style of religious observance (i.e., a Reform or an Orthodox synagogue), or by the followers of a particular rabbi.

There is no set blueprint for synagogues and the architectural shapes and interior designs of synagogues vary greatly. In fact, the influence from other local religious buildings can often be seen in synagogue arches, domes and towers.

Historically, synagogues were built in the prevailing architectural style of their time and place. Thus, the synagogue in Kaifeng, China looked very like Chinese temples of that region and era, with its outer wall and open garden in which several buildings were arranged. The styles of the earliest synagogues resembled the temples of other sects of the eastern Roman Empire. The surviving synagogues of medieval Spain are embellished with mudjar plasterwork. The surviving medieval synagogues in Budapest and Prague are typical Gothic structures.

The emancipation of Jews in European countries not only enabled Jews to enter fields of enterprise from which they were formerly barred, but gave them the right to build synagogues without needing special permissions, synagogue architecture blossomed. Large Jewish communities wished to show not only their wealth but also their newly acquired status as citizens by constructing magnificent synagogues. These were built across Europe and in the United States in all of the historicist or revival styles then in fashion. Thus there were Neoclassical, Neo-Byzantine, Romanesque Revival, Moorish Revival, Gothic Revival, and Greek Revival. There are Egyptian Revival synagogues and even one Mayan Revival synagogue. In the 19th century and early 20th century heyday of historicist architecture, however, most historicist synagogues, even the most magnificent ones, did not attempt a pure style, or even any particular style, and are best described as eclectic.

In the post-war era, synagogue architecture abandoned historicist styles for modernism.

All synagogues contain a bimah, a raised platform where the table of the rabbi is found.

The Torah Ark (Hebrew: Aron Kodesh ) (called the heikhal [temple] by Sephardim) is a cabinet in which the Torah scrolls are kept.

The ark in a synagogue is almost always positioned in such a way such that those who face it are facing towards Jerusalem. Thus, sanctuary seating plans in the Western world generally face east, while those east of Israel face west. Sanctuaries in Israel face towards Jerusalem. Occasionally synagogues face other directions for structural reasons; in such cases, some individuals might turn to face Jerusalem when standing for prayers, but the congregation as a whole does not.

The Ark is reminiscent of the Ark of the Covenant which held the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. This is the holiest spot in a synagogue, equivalent to the Holy of Holies. The Ark is often closed with an ornate curtain, the parochet , which hangs outside or inside the ark doors.

A large, raised, reader’s platform called the bimah () by Ashkenazim and tebah by Sephardim, where the Torah scroll is placed to be read is a feature of all synagogues. In Sephardi synagogues it is also used as the prayer leader’s reading desk.

Other traditional features include a continually lit lamp or lantern, usually electric in contemporary synagogues, called the ner tamid ( ), the “Eternal Light”, used as a reminder of the western lamp of the menorah of the Temple in Jerusalem, which remained miraculously lit perpetually. Many have an elaborate chair named for the prophet Elijah which is only sat upon during the ceremony of Brit milah. Many synagogues have a large seven-branched candelabrum commemorating the full Menorah. Most contemporary synagogues also feature a lectern for the rabbi.

A synagogue may be decorated with artwork, but in the Rabbinic and Orthodox tradition, three-dimensional sculptures and depictions of the human body are not allowed as these are considered akin to idolatry.

Until the 19th century, in an Ashkenazi synagogue, all seats most often faced the Torah Ark. In a Sephardi synagogue, seats were usually arranged around the perimeter of the sanctuary, but when the worshipers stood up to pray, everyone faced the Ark. In Ashkenazi synagogues, the Torah was read on a reader’s table located in the center of the room, while the leader of the prayer service, the hazzan, stood at his own lectern or table, facing the Ark. In Sephardic synagogues, the table for reading the Torah was commonly placed at the opposite side of the room from the Torah Ark, leaving the center of the floor empty for the use of a ceremonial procession carrying the Torah between the Ark and the reading table.

Orthodox synagogues feature a partition (mechitzah) dividing the men’s and women’s seating areas, or a separate women’s section located on a balcony.

The German Reform movement which arose in the early 19th century made many changes to the traditional look of the synagogue, keeping with its desire to simultaneously stay Jewish yet be accepted by the host culture.

The first Reform synagogue, which opened in Hamburg in 1811, introduced changes that made the synagogue look more like a church. These included: the installation of an organ to accompany the prayers (even on Shabbat, when musical instruments are proscribed by halakha), a choir to accompany the hazzan, and vestments for the synagogue rabbi to wear.[6]

In following decades, the central reader’s table, the Bimah, was moved to the front of the Reform sanctuarypreviously unheard-of[citation needed] in Orthodox synagogues. The rabbi now delivered his sermon from the front, much as the Christian ministers delivered their sermons in a church. The synagogue was renamed a “temple”, to emphasize that the movement no longer looked forward to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.[citation needed]

Synagogues often take on a broader role in modern Jewish communities and may include additional facilities such as a catering hall, kosher kitchen, religious school, library, day care center and a smaller chapel for daily services.

Since Orthodox Jews prefer to collect a minyan (a quorum of ten) rather than pray alone, they commonly assemble at pre-arranged times in offices, living rooms, or other spaces when these are more convenient than formal synagogue buildings. A room or building that is used this way can become a dedicated small synagogue or prayer room. Among Ashkenazi Jews they are traditionally called shtiebel (, pl. shtiebelekh or shtiebels, Yiddish for “little house”), and are found in Orthodox communities worldwide.

Another type of communal prayer group, favored by some contemporary Jews, is the Chavurah (, pl. chavurot, ), or prayer fellowship. These groups meet at a regular place and time, usually in a private home. In antiquity, the Pharisees lived near each other in chavurot and dined together to ensure that none of the food was unfit for consumption.[7]

During the 19th and early 20th century, it was fairly common for Jewish communities, particularly in Europe, to construct very large, showpiece synagogues. These edifices were intended not simply to accommodate worshipers, but to serve as emblems of Jewish participation in modern society. For this purpose, they were built to be not merely large, but architecturally impressive. Even small cities had elaborate synagogues of this type, albeit smaller than the synagogues of Vienna and New York. They are often designated as The Great Synagogue of…, or, in Russia, The Choral Synagogue. These notable synagogues include:

The dome of the Hurva Synagogue dominated the skyline of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem for more than 80 years, from 1864 when it was built until 1948 when it was bombed.

The remains of the Hurva Synagogue as they appeared from 1977 to 2003. The synagogue has recently been reconstructed.

The interior of a Karaite synagogue.

Szkesfehrvr synagogue, Hungary (c. 1930s) The synagogue no longer exists, however, the memorial plaques were moved to a building at the city’s Jewish cemetery.

The Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah, the National Synagogue, is a wondrous example of mid-century modern architecture employing expressionist overtones, located in Upper 16th Street, Washington, D.C.

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Synagogue – Wikipedia

Sephardi Jews – Wikipedia

Sephardi Jews (Yahadut Sfarad) Total population 2,200,000 up to 16% of world Jewish population Regions with significant populations Israel 1.4 million France 300,000400,000 United States 200,000300,000 Argentina 50,000 Spain 40,000 Canada 30,000 Turkey 26,000 Italy 24,930 Mexico 15,000 United Kingdom 8,000 Panama 8,000 Colombia 7,000 Morocco 6,000 Greece 6,000 Tunisia 2,000 Algeria 2,000 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2,000 Bulgaria 2,000 Cuba 1,500 Serbia 1,000 Netherlands 600 Languages Historical: Ladino, Arabic, Haketia, Judeo-Portuguese, Berber, Catalanic, Shuadit, local languages Modern: Local languages, primarily Hebrew, French, English, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Italian, Ladino, Arabic. Religion Judaism Related ethnic groups Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, other Jewish ethnic divisions, Samaritans, other Levantines, Assyrians, other Near Eastern Semitic people, Spaniards, Portuguese and Hispanics/Latinos

Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim (Hebrew: , Modern Hebrew: Sfaraddim, Tiberian: Spraddm; also Y’hudey Spharad, lit. “The Jews of Spain”), are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis and emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced in the Iberian Peninsula around the start of the 2nd millennium (i.e., about the year 1000). They established communities throughout Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity. Their millennial residence as an open and organised Jewish community in Iberia was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain’s Catholic Monarchs in the late 15th century, which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions.

Historically, the vernacular languages of Sephardim and their descendants have been:

More broadly, the term Sephardim has today also come to refer to traditionally Eastern Jewish communities of West Asia and beyond who, although not having genealogical roots in the Jewish communities of Iberia, have adopted a Sephardic style of liturgy and Sephardic law and customs imparted to them by the Iberian Jewish exiles over the course of the last few centuries. This article deals with Sephardim within the narrower ethnic definition.

The name Sephardi means “Spanish” or “Hispanic”, derived from Sepharad (Hebrew: , ModernSfard, TiberianSpr ), a Biblical location.[1] The location of the biblical Sepharad is disputed, but Sepharad was identified by later Jews as Hispania, that is, the Iberian Peninsula. Sepharad () still means “Spain” in modern Hebrew.

In other languages and scripts, “Sephardi” may be translated as plural Hebrew: , ModernSfaraddim, TiberianSpraddm; sefard or Spanish: Sefardes; Portuguese: Sefarditas; sefardita or Catalan: Sefardites; Aragonese: Safards; Basque: Sefardiak; French: Sfarades; Galician: Sefards; Italian: Sefarditi; Greek: Sephardites; Serbian: Sefardi; Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian: Sefardi; Bulgarian: Sefaradi; Turkish: Sefarad, Judaeo-Spanish: Sefaradies/Sefaradim; and Arabic: Safrdiyyn.

In the narrower ethnic definition, a Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century, immediately prior to the issuance of the Alhambra Decree of 1492 by order of the Catholic Monarchs in Spain, and the decree of 1496 in Portugal by order of King Manuel I.

In Hebrew, the term “Sephardim Tehorim” ( , literally “Pure Sephardim”) is used to distinguish Sephardim proper “who trace their lineage back to the Iberian/Spanish population” from Sephardim in the broader religious sense.[2] This distinction has also been made in reference to genetic findings in research on Sephardim proper in contrast to other communities of Jews today termed Sephardi more broadly[3]

The modern Israeli Hebrew definition of Sephardi is a much broader, religious based, definition that generally excludes ethnic considerations. In its most basic form, this broad religious definition of a Sephardi refers to any Jew, of any ethnic background, who follows the customs and traditions of Sepharad. For religious purposes, and in modern Israel, “Sephardim” is most often used in this wider sense which encompasses most non-Ashkenazi Jews who are not ethnically Sephardi, but are in most instances of West Asian origin, but who nonetheless commonly use a Sephardic style of liturgy.

The term Sephardi in the broad sense, thus describes the nusach (Hebrew language, “liturgical tradition”) used by Sephardi Jews in their Siddur (prayer book). A nusach is defined by a liturgical tradition’s choice of prayers, order of prayers, text of prayers and melodies used in the singing of prayers. Sephardim traditionally pray using Minhag Sefarad. The term Nusach Sefard or Nusach Sfarad does not refer to the liturgy generally recited by Sephardim proper or even Sephardi in a broader sense, but rather to an alternative Eastern European liturgy used by many Hasidim who are in fact Ashkenazi.

Additionally, Ethiopian Jews, whose branch of practiced Judaism is known as Haymanot, have recently come under the umbrella of Israel’s already broad Sephardic Chief Rabbinate.

The divisions among Sephardim and their descendants today is largely a result of the consequences of the royal edicts. Both the Spanish and Portuguese edicts ordered their respective Jewish populations to choose from one of three options:

In Spain, the Jews were only given four months from the time the decree was issued before the expiry of the set deadline. Under the edict, Jews were promised royal “protection and security” for the effective three-month window before the deadline. They were permitted to take their belongings with them except “gold or silver or minted money”. It has been argued by British scholar Henry Kamen, that “the real purpose of the 1492 edict likely was not expulsion, but compulsory conversion of all Spanish Jews. Yet in giving Jews a choice and three months to think about it, the plan backfired; many opted to leave the country rather than convert”,[4] which ultimately was to Spain’s detriment. Between a third to one half of Spain’s Jewish origin population opted for exile, many flooding into Portugal.

Foreseeing the economic aftermath of a similar Jewish flight from Portugal, King Manuel’s decree five years later was largely pro-forma to appease a precondition the Spanish monarchs had set for him if he wished to marry their daughter. While the stipulations were similar in the Portuguese decree, King Manuel then largely prevented Portugal’s Jews from leaving, by blocking Portugal’s ports of exit. This failure to leave Portugal was then reasoned by the king to signify a default acceptance of Catholicism by the Jews, and the king then proceeded to proclaim them New Christians. Actual physical forced conversions, however, were also experienced throughout Portugal.

Sephardi Jews, therefore, encompass Jews descended from those Jews who left the Iberian Peninsula as Jews by the expiration of the respective decreed deadlines. This group is further divided between those who fled south to North Africa, as opposed to those who fled eastwards to the Balkans, West Asia and beyond. Also included among Sephardi Jews are those who descend from “New Christian” conversos, but then returned to Judaism after leaving Iberia, largely after reaching Central and Northern Europe. From these regions, many would again migrate, this time to the non-Iberian territories of the Americas. Additional to all these Sephardic Jewish groups are the descendants of those New Christian conversos who either remained in Iberia, or moved from Iberia directly to the Iberian colonial possessions across what are today the various Latin American countries. The descendants of this group of conversos, for historical reasons and circumstances, were never able to formally return to the Jewish religion.

All these sub-groups are defined by a combination of geography, identity, religious evolution, language evolution, and the timeframe of their reversion (for those who had in the interim undergone a temporary nominal conversion to Catholicism) or non-reversion back to Judaism.

It should be noted that these Sephardic sub-groups are separate from any pre-existing local Jewish communities they encountered in their new areas of settlement. From the perspective of the present day, the first three sub-groups appeared to have developed as separate branches, each with its own traditions.

In earlier centuries, and as late as the editing of the Jewish Encyclopedia at the beginning of the 20th century, they were usually regarded as together forming a continuum. The Jewish community of Livorno acted as the clearing-house of personnel and traditions among the first three sub-groups; it also developed as the chief publishing centre.[improper synthesis?].

The relationship between Sephardi-descended communities is illustrated in the following diagram:

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Sephardi Jews – Wikipedia

Jews – Wikipedia

This article is about the Jewish people. For their religion, see Judaism. Jews Hebrew: (Yehudim) Total population 14.717.3 million[1] Regions with significant populations Israel 6,481,182[2] United States 5,300,0006,800,000[3][4] France 467,500[3] Canada 386,000[3] United Kingdom 290,000[3] Russia 183,000[3] Argentina 181,000[3] Germany 117,500[3] Australia 112,800[3] Brazil 94,500[3] South Africa 69,800[3] Ukraine 60,000[3] Hungary 47,700[3] Mexico 40,000[3] Netherlands 29,900[3] Belgium 29,800[3] Italy 27,600[3] Switzerland 18,900[3] Chile 18,400[3] Rest of the world 218,100[3] Languages

The Jews (/duz/;[11]Hebrew: ISO 259-3 Yehudim, Israeli pronunciation [jehudim]), also known as the Jewish people, are an ethnoreligious group[12] originating from the Israelites, or Hebrews, of the Ancient Near East.[13][14] Jewish ethnicity, nationhood and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation,[15][16][17] while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Jews originated as a national and religious group in the Middle East during the second millennium BCE,[10] in the part of the Levant known as the Land of Israel.[18] The Merneptah Stele appears to confirm the existence of a people of Israel, associated with the god El,[19] somewhere in Canaan as far back as the 13th century BCE (Late Bronze Age).[20][21] The Israelites, as an outgrowth of the Canaanite population,[22] consolidated their hold with the emergence of the Kingdom of Israel, and the Kingdom of Judah. Some consider that these Canaanite sedentary Israelites melded with incoming nomadic groups known as ‘Hebrews’.[23] Though few sources in the Bible mention the exilic periods in detail,[24] the experience of diaspora life, from the Ancient Egyptian rule over the Levant, to Assyrian Captivity and Exile, to Babylonian Captivity and Exile, to Seleucid Imperial rule, to the Roman occupation, and the historical relations between Israelites and their homeland, became a major feature of Jewish history, identity and memory.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

The worldwide Jewish population reached a peak of 16.7million prior to World War II,[35] but approximately 6million Jews were systematically murdered[36][37] during the Holocaust. Since then the population has slowly risen again, and as of 2015[update] was estimated at 14.3million by the Berman Jewish DataBank,[3] or less than 0.2% of the total world population (roughly one in every 514 people).[38] According to the report, about 43% of all Jews reside in Israel (6.2million), and 40% in the United States (5.7million), with most of the remainder living in Europe (1.4million) and Canada (0.4million).[3] These numbers include all those who self-identified as Jews in a socio-demographic study or were identified as such by a respondent in the same household.[39] The exact world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. In addition to issues with census methodology, disputes among proponents of halakhic, secular, political, and ancestral identification factors regarding who is a Jew may affect the figure considerably depending on the source.[40] Israel is the only country where Jews form a majority of the population. The modern State of Israel was established as a Jewish state and defines itself as such in its Declaration of Independence and Basic Laws. Its Law of Return grants the right of citizenship to any Jew who requests it.[41]

Despite their small percentage of the world’s population, Jews have significantly influenced and contributed to human progress in many fields, including philosophy,[42]ethics,[43]literature, business, fine arts and architecture, religion, music, theatre[44] and cinema, medicine,[45][46] as well as science and technology, both historically and in modern times.

The English word Jew continues Middle English Gyw, Iewe. These terms derive from Old French giu, earlier juieu, which had elided (dropped) the letter “d” from the Medieval Latin Iudaeus, which, like the New Testament Greek term Ioudaios, meant both Jews and Judeans / “of Judea”.[47]

The Greek term was originally a loan from Aramaic Y’hdi, corresponding to Hebrew: , Yehudi (sg.); , Yehudim (pl.), in origin the term for a member of the tribe of Judah or the people of the kingdom of Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, the name of both the tribe and kingdom derive from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob.[48]

The Hebrew word for Jew, ISO 259-3 Yhudi, is pronounced [jehudi], with the stress on the final syllable, in Israeli Hebrew, in its basic form.[49] The Ladino name is , Djudio (sg.); , Djudios (pl.); Yiddish: Yid (sg.); , Yidn (pl.).

The etymological equivalent is in use in other languages, e.g., yahd (sg.), al-yahd (pl.), and ban isrl in Arabic, “Jude” in German, “judeu” in Portuguese, “juif” in French, “jde” in Danish and Norwegian, “judo” in Spanish, “jood” in Dutch, “yd” in Polish etc., but derivations of the word “Hebrew” are also in use to describe a Jew, e.g., in Italian (Ebreo), in Persian (“Ebri/Ebrani” (Persian: /)) and Russian (, Yevrey).[50] The German word “Jude” is pronounced [jud], the corresponding adjective “jdisch” [jyd] (Jewish) is the origin of the word “Yiddish”.[51] (See Jewish ethnonyms for a full overview.)

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2000):

It is widely recognized that the attributive use of the noun Jew, in phrases such as Jew lawyer or Jew ethics, is both vulgar and highly offensive. In such contexts Jewish is the only acceptable possibility. Some people, however, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of Jew as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own. In a sentence such as There are now several Jews on the council, which is unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like Jewish people or persons of Jewish background may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew has a negative connotation when used as a noun.[52]

According to the Hebrew Bible narrative, Jewish ancestry is traced back to the Biblical patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Biblical matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel, who lived in Canaan around the 18th century BCE. Jacob and his family migrated to Ancient Egypt after being invited to live with Jacob’s son Joseph by the Pharaoh himself. The patriarchs’ descendants were later enslaved until the Exodus led by Moses, traditionally dated to the 13th century BCE, after which the Israelites conquered Canaan.[citation needed]

Modern archaeology has largely discarded the historicity of the Patriarchs and of the Exodus story,[53] with it being reframed as constituting the Israelites’ inspiring national myth narrative. The Israelites and their culture, according to the modern archaeological account, did not overtake the region by force, but instead branched out of the Canaanite peoples and culture through the development of a distinct monolatristic and later monotheistic religion centered on Yahweh,[54][55][56] one of the Ancient Canaanite deities. The growth of Yahweh-centric belief, along with a number of cultic practices, gradually gave rise to a distinct Israelite ethnic group, setting them apart from other Canaanites. The Canaanites themselves are archeologically attested in the Middle Bronze Age,[57] while the Hebrew language is the last extant member of the Canaanite languages. In the Iron Age I period (12001000 BCE) Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature.[citation needed]

Although the Israelites were divided into Twelve Tribes, the Jews (being one offshoot of the Israelites, another being the Samaritans) are traditionally said to descend mostly from the Israelite tribes of Judah (from where the Jews derive their ethnonym) and Benjamin, and partially from the tribe of Levi, who had together formed the ancient Kingdom of Judah,[58] and the remnants of the northern Kingdom of Israel who migrated to the Kingdom of Judah and assimilated after the 720s BCE, when the Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire.[59]

Israelites enjoyed political independence twice in ancient history, first during the periods of the Biblical judges followed by the United Monarchy.[disputed discuss] After the fall of the United Monarchy the land was divided into Israel and Judah. The term Jew originated from the Roman “Judean” and denoted someone from the southern kingdom of Judah.[60] The shift of ethnonym from “Israelites” to “Jews” (inhabitant of Judah), although not contained in the Torah, is made explicit in the Book of Esther (4th century BCE),[61] a book in the Ketuvim, the third section of the Jewish Tanakh. In 587 BC Nebuchadnezzar II, King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, besieged Jerusalem, destroyed the First Temple, and deported the most prominent citizens of Judah.[62] In 586 BC, Judah itself ceased to be an independent kingdom, and its remaining Jews were left stateless. The Babylonian exile ended in 539 BCE when the Achaemenid Empire conquered Babylon and Cyrus the Great allowed the exiled Jews to return to Yehud and rebuild their Temple. The Second Temple was completed in 515 BCE. Yehud province was a peaceful part of the Achaemenid Empire until the fall of the Empire in c. 333 BCE to Alexander the Great. Jews were also politically independent during the Hasmonean dynasty spanning from 140 to 37 BCE and to some degree under the Herodian dynasty from 37 BCE to 6 CE. Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, most Jews have lived in diaspora.[63] As an ethnic minority in every country in which they live (except Israel), they have frequently experienced persecution throughout history, resulting in a population that has fluctuated both in numbers and distribution over the centuries.[citation needed]

Genetic studies on Jews show that most Jews worldwide bear a common genetic heritage which originates in the Middle East, and that they bear their strongest resemblance to the peoples of the Fertile Crescent.[64][65][66] The genetic composition of different Jewish groups shows that Jews share a common genetic pool dating back 4,000 years, as a marker of their common ancestral origin. Despite their long-term separation, Jewish communities maintained commonalities in culture, tradition, and language.[67]

The Jewish people and the religion of Judaism are strongly interrelated. Converts to Judaism typically have a status within the Jewish ethnos equal to those born into it.[68] However, several converts to Judaism, as well as ex-Jews, have claimed that converts are treated as second-class Jews by many of the born-Jews.[69] Conversion is not encouraged by mainstream Judaism, and is considered a difficult task. A significant portion of conversions are undertaken by children of mixed marriages, or by would-be or current spouses of Jews.[70]

The Hebrew Bible, a religious interpretation of the traditions and early national history of the Jews, established the first of the Abrahamic religions, which are now practiced by 54% of the world. Judaism guides its adherents in both practice and belief, and has been called not only a religion, but also a “way of life,”[71] which has made drawing a clear distinction between Judaism, Jewish culture, and Jewish identity rather difficult. Throughout history, in eras and places as diverse as the ancient Hellenic world,[72] in Europe before and after The Age of Enlightenment (see Haskalah),[73] in Islamic Spain and Portugal,[74] in North Africa and the Middle East,[74]India,[75]China,[76] or the contemporary United States[77] and Israel,[78] cultural phenomena have developed that are in some sense characteristically Jewish without being at all specifically religious. Some factors in this come from within Judaism, others from the interaction of Jews or specific communities of Jews with their surroundings, others from the inner social and cultural dynamics of the community, as opposed to from the religion itself. This phenomenon has led to considerably different Jewish cultures unique to their own communities.[79]

After the destruction of the Second Temple Judaism lost much of its sectarian nature. Nevertheless, a significant Hellenized Diaspora remained, centered in Alexandria, at the time the largest urban Jewish community in the world. Hellenism was a force not just in the Diaspora but also in the Land of Israel over a long period of time. Generally, scholars view Rabbinic Judaism as having been meaningfully influenced by Hellenism.[citation needed]

Without a Temple, Greek speaking Jews no longer looked to Jerusalem in the way they had before. Judaism separated into a linguistically Greek and a Hebrew / Aramaic sphere.[80]: 811 The theology and religious texts of each community were distinctively different.[80]: 1113 Hellenized Judaism never developed yeshivas to study the Oral Law. Rabbinic Judaism (centered in the Land of Israel and Babylon) almost entirely ignores the Hellenized Diaspora in its writings.[80]: 1314 Hellenized Judaism eventually disappeared as its practitioners assimilated into Greco-Roman culture, leaving a strong Rabbinic eastern Diaspora with large centers of learning in Babylon.[80]: 1416

By the first century, the Jewish community in Babylonia, to which Jews were exiled after the Babylonian conquest as well as after the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE, already held a speedily growing[81] population of an estimated one million Jews, which increased to an estimated two million[82] between the years 200 CE and 500 CE, both by natural growth and by immigration of more Jews from the Land of Israel, making up about one-sixth of the world Jewish population at that era.[82] The 13th-century author Bar Hebraeus gave a figure of 6,944,000 Jews in the Roman world Salo Wittmayer Baron considered the figure convincing.[83] The figure of seven million within and one million outside the Roman world in the mid-first century became widely accepted, including by Louis Feldman. However, contemporary scholars now accept that Bar Hebraeus based his figure on a census of total Roman citizens. The figure of 6,944,000 being recorded in Eusebius’ Chronicon.[84][85] Louis Feldman, previously an active supporter of the figure, now states that he and Baron were mistaken.[86]: 185 Feldman’s views on active Jewish missionizing have also changed. While viewing classical Judaism as being receptive to converts, especially from the second century BCE through the first century CE, he points to a lack of either missionizing tracts or records of the names of rabbis who sought converts, as evidence for the lack of active Jewish missionizing.[86]: 205206 Feldman maintains that conversion to Judaism was common and the Jewish population was large both within the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora.[86]: 183203, 206 Other historians believe that conversion during the Roman era was limited in number and did not account for much of the Jewish population growth, due to various factors such as the illegality of male conversion to Judaism in the Roman world from the mid-second century. Another factor that made conversion difficult in the Roman world was the halakhic requirement of circumcision, a requirement that proselytizing Christianity quickly dropped. The Fiscus Judaicus, a tax imposed on Jews in 70 CE and relaxed to exclude Christians in 96 CE, also limited Judaism’s appeal.[87]

Judaism shares some of the characteristics of a nation, an ethnicity,[12] a religion, and a culture, making the definition of who is a Jew vary slightly depending on whether a religious or national approach to identity is used.[88][89] Generally, in modern secular usage Jews include three groups: people who were born to a Jewish family regardless of whether or not they follow the religion, those who have some Jewish ancestral background or lineage (sometimes including those who do not have strictly matrilineal descent), and people without any Jewish ancestral background or lineage who have formally converted to Judaism and therefore are followers of the religion.[90]

Historical definitions of Jewish identity have traditionally been based on halakhic definitions of matrilineal descent, and halakhic conversions. Historical definitions of who is a Jew date back to the codification of the Oral Torah into the Babylonian Talmud, around 200 CE. Interpretations of sections of the Tanakh, such as Deuteronomy 7:15, by Jewish sages, are used as a warning against intermarriage between Jews and Canaanites because “[the non-Jewish husband] will cause your child to turn away from Me and they will worship the gods (i.e., idols) of others.” Leviticus 24:10 says that the son in a marriage between a Hebrew woman and an Egyptian man is “of the community of Israel.” This is complemented by Ezra 10:23, where Israelites returning from Babylon vow to put aside their gentile wives and their children.[91][92] Since the anti-religious Haskalah movement of the late 18th and 19th centuries, halakhic interpretations of Jewish identity have been challenged.[93]

According to historian Shaye J. D. Cohen, the status of the offspring of mixed marriages was determined patrilineally in the Bible. He brings two likely explanations for the change in Mishnaic times: first, the Mishnah may have been applying the same logic to mixed marriages as it had applied to other mixtures (Kil’ayim). Thus, a mixed marriage is forbidden as is the union of a horse and a donkey, and in both unions the offspring are judged matrilineally.[94] Second, the Tannaim may have been influenced by Roman law, which dictated that when a parent could not contract a legal marriage, offspring would follow the mother.[94]

Within the world’s Jewish population there are distinct ethnic divisions, most of which are primarily the result of geographic branching from an originating Israelite population, and subsequent independent evolutions. An array of Jewish communities was established by Jewish settlers in various places around the Old World, often at great distances from one another, resulting in effective and often long-term isolation. During the millennia of the Jewish diaspora the communities would develop under the influence of their local environments: political, cultural, natural, and populational. Today, manifestations of these differences among the Jews can be observed in Jewish cultural expressions of each community, including Jewish linguistic diversity, culinary preferences, liturgical practices, religious interpretations, as well as degrees and sources of genetic admixture.[95]

Jews are often identified as belonging to one of two major groups: the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim. Ashkenazim, or “Germanics” (Ashkenaz meaning “Germany” in Hebrew), are so named denoting their German Jewish cultural and geographical origins, while Sephardim, or “Hispanics” (Sefarad meaning “Spain/Hispania” or “Iberia” in Hebrew), are so named denoting their Spanish/Portuguese Jewish cultural and geographic origins. The more common term in Israel for many of those broadly called Sephardim, is Mizrahim (lit. “Easterners”, Mizrach being “East” in Hebrew), that is, in reference to the diverse collection of Middle Eastern and North African Jews who are often, as a group, referred to collectively as Sephardim (together with Sephardim proper) for liturgical reasons, although Mizrahi Jewish groups and Sephardi Jews proper are ethnically distinct.[96]

Smaller groups include, but are not restricted to, Indian Jews such as the Bene Israel, Bnei Menashe, Cochin Jews, and Bene Ephraim; the Romaniotes of Greece; the Italian Jews (“Italkim” or “Ben Roma”); the Teimanim from Yemen; various African Jews, including most numerously the Beta Israel of Ethiopia; and Chinese Jews, most notably the Kaifeng Jews, as well as various other distinct but now almost extinct communities.[97]

The divisions between all these groups are approximate and their boundaries are not always clear. The Mizrahim for example, are a heterogeneous collection of North African, Central Asian, Caucasian, and Middle Eastern Jewish communities that are no closer related to each other than they are to any of the earlier mentioned Jewish groups. In modern usage, however, the Mizrahim are sometimes termed Sephardi due to similar styles of liturgy, despite independent development from Sephardim proper. Thus, among Mizrahim there are Egyptian Jews, Iraqi Jews, Lebanese Jews, Kurdish Jews, Libyan Jews, Syrian Jews, Bukharian Jews, Mountain Jews, Georgian Jews, Iranian Jews and various others. The Teimanim from Yemen are sometimes included, although their style of liturgy is unique and they differ in respect to the admixture found among them to that found in Mizrahim. In addition, there is a differentiation made between Sephardi migrants who established themselves in the Middle East and North Africa after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal in the 1490s and the pre-existing Jewish communities in those regions.[97]

Ashkenazi Jews represent the bulk of modern Jewry, with at least 70% of Jews worldwide (and up to 90% prior to World War II and the Holocaust). As a result of their emigration from Europe, Ashkenazim also represent the overwhelming majority of Jews in the New World continents, in countries such as the United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. In France, the immigration of Jews from Algeria (Sephardim) has led them to outnumber the Ashkenazim.[98] Only in Israel is the Jewish population representative of all groups, a melting pot independent of each group’s proportion within the overall world Jewish population.[99]

Hebrew is the liturgical language of Judaism (termed lashon ha-kodesh, “the holy tongue”), the language in which most of the Hebrew scriptures (Tanakh) were composed, and the daily speech of the Jewish people for centuries. By the 5th century BCE, Aramaic, a closely related tongue, joined Hebrew as the spoken language in Judea.[100] By the 3rd century BCE, some Jews of the diaspora were speaking Greek.[101] Others, such as in the Jewish communities of Babylonia, were speaking Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages of the Babylonian Talmud. These languages were also used by the Jews of Israel at that time.[citation needed]

For centuries, Jews worldwide have spoken the local or dominant languages of the regions they migrated to, often developing distinctive dialectal forms or branches that became independent languages. Yiddish is the Judo-German language developed by Ashkenazi Jews who migrated to Central Europe. Ladino is the Judo-Spanish language developed by Sephardic Jews who migrated to the Iberian peninsula. Due to many factors, including the impact of the Holocaust on European Jewry, the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, and widespread emigration from other Jewish communities around the world, ancient and distinct Jewish languages of several communities, including Judo-Georgian, Judo-Arabic, Judo-Berber, Krymchak, Judo-Malayalam and many others, have largely fallen out of use.[5]

For over sixteen centuries Hebrew was used almost exclusively as a liturgical language, and as the language in which most books had been written on Judaism, with a few speaking only Hebrew on the Sabbath.[102] Hebrew was revived as a spoken language by Eliezer ben Yehuda, who arrived in Palestine in 1881. It had not been used as a mother tongue since Tannaic times.[100]Modern Hebrew is now one of the two official languages of the State of Israel along with Modern Standard Arabic.[103]

Despite efforts to revive Hebrew as the national language of the Jewish people, knowledge of the language is not commonly possessed by Jews worldwide and English has emerged as the lingua franca of the Jewish diaspora.[104][105][106][107][108] Although many Jews once had sufficient knowledge of Hebrew to study the classic literature, and Jewish languages like Yiddish and Ladino were commonly used as recently as the early 20th century, most Jews lack such knowledge today and English has by and large superseded most Jewish vernaculars. The three most commonly spoken languages among Jews today are Hebrew, English, and Russian. Some Romance languages, particularly French and Spanish, are also widely used.[5] Yiddish has been spoken by more Jews in history than any other language,[109] but it is far less used today following the Holocaust and the adoption of Modern Hebrew by the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. In some places, the mother language of the Jewish community differs from that of the general population or the dominant group. For example, in Quebec, the Ashkenazic majority has adopted English, while the Sephardic minority uses French as its primary language.[110][111][112][113] Similarly, South African Jews adopted English rather than Afrikaans.[114] Due to both Czarist and Soviet policies,[115][116] Russian has superseded Yiddish as the language of Russian Jews, but these policies have also affected neighboring communities.[117] Today, Russian is the first language for many Jewish communities in a number of Post-Soviet states, such as Ukraine[118][119][120][121] and Uzbekistan,[122] as well as for Ashkenazic Jews in Azerbaijan,[123] Georgia,[124] and Tajikistan.[125][126] Although communities in North Africa today are small and dwindling, Jews there had shifted from a multilingual group to a monolingual one (or nearly so), speaking French in Algeria,[127]Morocco,[123] and the city of Tunis,[128][129] while most North Africans continue to use Arabic as their mother tongue.[citation needed]

Y DNA studies tend to imply a small number of founders in an old population whose members parted and followed different migration paths.[130] In most Jewish populations, these male line ancestors appear to have been mainly Middle Eastern. For example, Ashkenazi Jews share more common paternal lineages with other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than with non-Jewish populations in areas where Jews lived in Eastern Europe, Germany and the French Rhine Valley. This is consistent with Jewish traditions in placing most Jewish paternal origins in the region of the Middle East.[131][132] Conversely, the maternal lineages of Jewish populations, studied by looking at mitochondrial DNA, are generally more heterogeneous.[133] Scholars such as Harry Ostrer and Raphael Falk believe this indicates that many Jewish males found new mates from European and other communities in the places where they migrated in the diaspora after fleeing ancient Israel.[134] In contrast, Behar has found evidence that about 40% of Ashkenazi Jews originate maternally from just four female founders, who were of Middle Eastern origin. The populations of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities “showed no evidence for a narrow founder effect.”[133] Subsequent studies carried out by Feder et al. confirmed the large portion of non-local maternal origin among Ashkenazi Jews. Reflecting on their findings related to the maternal origin of Ashkenazi Jews, the authors conclude “Clearly, the differences between Jews and non-Jews are far larger than those observed among the Jewish communities. Hence, differences between the Jewish communities can be overlooked when non-Jews are included in the comparisons.”[135][136][137]

Studies of autosomal DNA, which look at the entire DNA mixture, have become increasingly important as the technology develops. They show that Jewish populations have tended to form relatively closely related groups in independent communities, with most in a community sharing significant ancestry in common.[138] For Jewish populations of the diaspora, the genetic composition of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jewish populations show a predominant amount of shared Middle Eastern ancestry. According to Behar, the most parsimonious explanation for this shared Middle Eastern ancestry is that it is “consistent with the historical formulation of the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrew and Israelite residents of the Levant” and “the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the Old World”.[139]North African, Italian and others of Iberian origin show variable frequencies of admixture with non-Jewish historical host populations among the maternal lines. In the case of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews (in particular Moroccan Jews), who are closely related, the source of non-Jewish admixture is mainly southern European, while Mizrahi Jews show evidence of admixture with other Middle Eastern populations and Sub-Saharan Africans. Behar et al. have remarked on an especially close relationship of Ashkenazi Jews and modern Italians.[139][140][141] Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks, and Armenians) than to Arabs.[142]

The studies also show that the Sephardic Bnei Anusim (descendants of the “anusim” forced converts to Catholicism) of Iberia (estimated at about 19.8% of modern Iberia) and Ibero-America (estimated at least 10% of modern Ibero-America) have Sephardic Jewish origins within the last few centuries, while the Bene Israel and Cochin Jews of India, Beta Israel of Ethiopia, and a portion of the Lemba people of Southern Africa, despite more closely resembling the local populations of their native countries, also have some more remote ancient Jewish descent.[143][144][145][137]

According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics there were 13,421,000 Jews worldwide in 2009, roughly 0.19% of the world’s population at the time.[146]

According to the 2007 estimates of The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, the world’s Jewish population is 13.2million.[147]Adherents.com cites figures ranging from 12 to 18million.[148] These statistics incorporate both practicing Jews affiliated with synagogues and the Jewish community, and approximately 4.5million unaffiliated and secular Jews.[citation needed]

According to Sergio DellaPergola, a demographer of the Jewish population, in 2015 there were about 6.3 million Jews in Israel, 5.7 million in the United States, and 2.3 million in the rest of the world.[149]

Israel, the Jewish nation-state, is the only country in which Jews make up a majority of the citizens.[150] Israel was established as an independent democratic and Jewish state on 14 May 1948.[151] Of the 120 members in its parliament, the Knesset,[152] as of 2016, 14 members of the Knesset are Arab citizens of Israel (not including the Druze), most representing Arab political parties. One of Israel’s Supreme Court judges is also an Arab citizen of Israel.[153]

Between 1948 and 1958, the Jewish population rose from 800,000 to two million.[154] Currently, Jews account for 75.4% of the Israeli population, or 6million people.[155][156] The early years of the State of Israel were marked by the mass immigration of Holocaust survivors in the aftermath of the Holocaust and Jews fleeing Arab lands.[157] Israel also has a large population of Ethiopian Jews, many of whom were airlifted to Israel in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[158] Between 1974 and 1979 nearly 227,258 immigrants arrived in Israel, about half being from the Soviet Union.[159] This period also saw an increase in immigration to Israel from Western Europe, Latin America, and North America.[160]

A trickle of immigrants from other communities has also arrived, including Indian Jews and others, as well as some descendants of Ashkenazi Holocaust survivors who had settled in countries such as the United States, Argentina, Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Some Jews have emigrated from Israel elsewhere, because of economic problems or disillusionment with political conditions and the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict. Jewish Israeli emigrants are known as yordim.[161]

The waves of immigration to the United States and elsewhere at the turn of the 19th century, the founding of Zionism and later events, including pogroms in Russia, the massacre of European Jewry during the Holocaust, and the founding of the state of Israel, with the subsequent Jewish exodus from Arab lands, all resulted in substantial shifts in the population centers of world Jewry by the end of the 20th century.[162]

More than half of the Jews live in the Diaspora (see Population table). Currently, the largest Jewish community outside Israel, and either the largest or second-largest Jewish community in the world, is located in the United States, with 5.2million to 6.4million Jews by various estimates. Elsewhere in the Americas, there are also large Jewish populations in Canada (315,000), Argentina (180,000300,000), and Brazil (196,000600,000), and smaller populations in Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and several other countries (see History of the Jews in Latin America).[164] Demographers disagree on whether the United States has a larger Jewish population than Israel, with many maintaining that Israel surpassed the United States in Jewish population during the 2000s, while others maintain that the United States still has the largest Jewish population in the world. Currently, a major national Jewish population survey is planned to ascertain whether or not Israel has overtaken the United States in Jewish population.[165]

Western Europe’s largest Jewish community, and the third-largest Jewish community in the world, can be found in France, home to between 483,000 and 500,000 Jews, the majority of whom are immigrants or refugees from North African Arab countries such as Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia (or their descendants).[166] The United Kingdom has a Jewish community of 292,000. In Eastern Europe, there are anywhere from 350,000 to one million Jews living in the former Soviet Union, but exact figures are difficult to establish. In Germany, the 102,000 Jews registered with the Jewish community are a slowly declining population,[167] despite the immigration of tens of thousands of Jews from the former Soviet Union since the fall of the Berlin Wall.[168] Thousands of Israelis also live in Germany, either permanently or temporarily, for economic reasons.[169]

Prior to 1948, approximately 800,000 Jews were living in lands which now make up the Arab world (excluding Israel). Of these, just under two-thirds lived in the French-controlled Maghreb region, 1520% in the Kingdom of Iraq, approximately 10% in the Kingdom of Egypt and approximately 7% in the Kingdom of Yemen. A further 200,000 lived in Pahlavi Iran and the Republic of Turkey. Today, around 26,000 Jews live in Arab countries[170] and around 30,000 in Iran and Turkey. A small-scale exodus had begun in many countries in the early decades of the 20th century, although the only substantial aliyah came from Yemen and Syria.[171] The exodus from Arab and Muslim countries took place primarily from 1948. The first large-scale exoduses took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily in Iraq, Yemen and Libya, with up to 90% of these communities leaving within a few years. The peak of the exodus from Egypt occurred in 1956. The exodus in the Maghreb countries peaked in the 1960s. Lebanon was the only Arab country to see a temporary increase in its Jewish population during this period, due to an influx of refugees from other Arab countries, although by the mid-1970s the Jewish community of Lebanon had also dwindled. In the aftermath of the exodus wave from Arab states, an additional migration of Iranian Jews peaked in the 1980s when around 80% of Iranian Jews left the country.[citation needed]

Outside Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and the rest of Asia, there are significant Jewish populations in Australia (112,500) and South Africa (70,000).[35] There is also a 7,500-strong community in New Zealand.[citation needed]

Since at least the time of the Ancient Greeks, a proportion of Jews have assimilated into the wider non-Jewish society around them, by either choice or force, ceasing to practice Judaism and losing their Jewish identity.[172] Assimilation took place in all areas, and during all time periods,[172] with some Jewish communities, for example the Kaifeng Jews of China, disappearing entirely.[173] The advent of the Jewish Enlightenment of the 18th century (see Haskalah) and the subsequent emancipation of the Jewish populations of Europe and America in the 19th century, accelerated the situation, encouraging Jews to increasingly participate in, and become part of, secular society. The result has been a growing trend of assimilation, as Jews marry non-Jewish spouses and stop participating in the Jewish community.[174]

Rates of interreligious marriage vary widely: In the United States, it is just under 50%,[175] in the United Kingdom, around 53%; in France; around 30%,[176] and in Australia and Mexico, as low as 10%.[177][178] In the United States, only about a third of children from intermarriages affiliate with Jewish religious practice.[179] The result is that most countries in the Diaspora have steady or slightly declining religiously Jewish populations as Jews continue to assimilate into the countries in which they live.[citation needed]

The Jewish people and Judaism have experienced various persecutions throughout Jewish history. During Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages the Roman Empire (in its later phases known as the Byzantine Empire) repeatedly repressed the Jewish population, first by ejecting them from their homelands during the pagan Roman era and later by officially establishing them as second-class citizens during the Christian Roman era.[180][181]

According to James Carroll, “Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors had not intervened, there would be 200million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13million.”[182]

Later in medieval Western Europe, further persecutions of Jews by Christians occurred, notably during the Crusadeswhen Jews all over Germany were massacredand a series of expulsions from the Kingdom of England, Germany, France, and, in the largest expulsion of all, Spain and Portugal after the Reconquista (the Catholic Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula), where both unbaptized Sephardic Jews and the ruling Muslim Moors were expelled.[183][184]

In the Papal States, which existed until 1870, Jews were required to live only in specified neighborhoods called ghettos.[185]

Islam and Judaism have a complex relationship. Traditionally Jews and Christians living in Muslim lands, known as dhimmis, were allowed to practice their religions and administer their internal affairs, but they were subject to certain conditions.[186] They had to pay the jizya (a per capita tax imposed on free adult non-Muslim males) to the Islamic state.[186] Dhimmis had an inferior status under Islamic rule. They had several social and legal disabilities such as prohibitions against bearing arms or giving testimony in courts in cases involving Muslims.[187] Many of the disabilities were highly symbolic. The one described by Bernard Lewis as “most degrading”[188] was the requirement of distinctive clothing, not found in the Quran or hadith but invented in early medieval Baghdad; its enforcement was highly erratic.[188] On the other hand, Jews rarely faced martyrdom or exile, or forced compulsion to change their religion, and they were mostly free in their choice of residence and profession.[189]

Notable exceptions include the massacre of Jews and forcible conversion of some Jews by the rulers of the Almohad dynasty in Al-Andalus in the 12th century,[190] as well as in Islamic Persia,[191] and the forced confinement of Moroccan Jews to walled quarters known as mellahs beginning from the 15th century and especially in the early 19th century.[192] In modern times, it has become commonplace for standard antisemitic themes to be conflated with anti-Zionist publications and pronouncements of Islamic movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas, in the pronouncements of various agencies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and even in the newspapers and other publications of Turkish Refah Partisi.”[193]

Throughout history, many rulers, empires and nations have oppressed their Jewish populations or sought to eliminate them entirely. Methods employed ranged from expulsion to outright genocide; within nations, often the threat of these extreme methods was sufficient to silence dissent. The history of antisemitism includes the First Crusade which resulted in the massacre of Jews;[183] the Spanish Inquisition (led by Toms de Torquemada) and the Portuguese Inquisition, with their persecution and autos-da-f against the New Christians and Marrano Jews;[194] the Bohdan Chmielnicki Cossack massacres in Ukraine;[195] the Pogroms backed by the Russian Tsars;[196] as well as expulsions from Spain, Portugal, England, France, Germany, and other countries in which the Jews had settled.[184] According to a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, 19.8% of the modern Iberian population has Sephardic Jewish ancestry,[197] indicating that the number of conversos may have been much higher than originally thought.[198][199]

The persecution reached a peak in Nazi Germany’s Final Solution, which led to the Holocaust and the slaughter of approximately 6million Jews.[200] Of the world’s 15million Jews in 1939, more than a third were killed in the Holocaust.[201][202] The Holocaustthe state-led systematic persecution and genocide of European Jews (and certain communities of North African Jews in European controlled North Africa) and other minority groups of Europe during World War II by Germany and its collaborators remains the most notable modern-day persecution of Jews.[203] The persecution and genocide were accomplished in stages. Legislation to remove the Jews from civil society was enacted years before the outbreak of World War II.[204]Concentration camps were established in which inmates were used as slave labour until they died of exhaustion or disease.[205] Where the Third Reich conquered new territory in Eastern Europe, specialized units called Einsatzgruppen murdered Jews and political opponents in mass shootings.[206] Jews and Roma were crammed into ghettos before being transported hundreds of miles by freight train to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, the majority of them were killed in gas chambers.[207] Virtually every arm of Germany’s bureaucracy was involved in the logistics of the mass murder, turning the country into what one Holocaust scholar has called “a genocidal nation.”[208]

Throughout Jewish history, Jews have repeatedly been directly or indirectly expelled from both their original homeland, the Land of Israel, and many of the areas in which they have settled. This experience as refugees has shaped Jewish identity and religious practice in many ways, and is thus a major element of Jewish history.[209] The incomplete list of major and other noteworthy migrations that follows includes numerous instances of expulsion or departure under duress:

Israel is the only country with a Jewish population that is consistently growing through natural population growth, although the Jewish populations of other countries, in Europe and North America, have recently increased through immigration. In the Diaspora, in almost every country the Jewish population in general is either declining or steady, but Orthodox and Haredi Jewish communities, whose members often shun birth control for religious reasons, have experienced rapid population growth.[232]

Orthodox and Conservative Judaism discourage proselytism to non-Jews, but many Jewish groups have tried to reach out to the assimilated Jewish communities of the Diaspora in order for them to reconnect to their Jewish roots. Additionally, while in principle Reform Judaism favors seeking new members for the faith, this position has not translated into active proselytism, instead taking the form of an effort to reach out to non-Jewish spouses of intermarried couples.[233]

There is also a trend of Orthodox movements pursuing secular Jews in order to give them a stronger Jewish identity so there is less chance of intermarriage. As a result of the efforts by these and other Jewish groups over the past 25 years, there has been a trend (known as the Baal Teshuva movement) for secular Jews to become more religiously observant, though the demographic implications of the trend are unknown.[234] Additionally, there is also a growing rate of conversion to Jews by Choice of gentiles who make the decision to head in the direction of becoming Jews.[235]

There is no single governing body for the Jewish community, nor a single authority with responsibility for religious doctrine.[236] Instead, a variety of secular and religious institutions at the local, national, and international levels lead various parts of the Jewish community on a variety of issues.[237]

Jews have made a myriad of contributions to humanity in a broad and diverse range of fields, including the sciences, arts, politics, and business.[238] Although Jews comprise only 0.2% of the world’s population, over 20%[239][240][241][242][243][244] of Nobel Prize laureates have been Jewish, with multiple winners in each category.

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Jews – Wikipedia

Anti-Semitism on U.S. College Campuses Skyrockets

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The Amcha Initiative, a nonpartisan anti-Semitism watchdog group, found that 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 schools during that time period, reflecting a 45% increase from the 198 incidents reported in the first six months of 2015.

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The alarming statistics make Jewish college students the largest group of university students coming under systematic attack, with an increasing number seeing their civil rights infringed upon, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Amcha director and co-founder, told theAlgemeiner on Tuesday.

The report said that the strategy and tactics employed by anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic groups are significantly more brazen today than in the past. It cited the egregious violation of basic civil rights, including suppressing Jewish students free speech, blocking their movements, or hindering their assembly, as occurring on12 different campuses.

Anti-Semitic activity was twice as likely to occur on campuses where BDS [the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign] was present, eight times more likely to occur on campuses with at least one active anti-Zionist student group such as SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine], and six times more likely to occur on campuses with one or more faculty boycotters, the report said.

Divestment resolutions and campaigns go hand-in-hand in creating a very hostile environment for Jewish students that manifests in many acts of anti-Semitism, Rossman-Benjamin said.

Anti-Semitism in the report was defined on the basis of the State Departments definitionas incidents involving conduct that targeted Jewish students for particular harm based on their Jewishness or perceived association with Israel up 64% from 2015.

Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students, Professor Leila Beckwith, AMCHA co-founder who led the study, said.

Sadly, all too often it is not debate but hate. The lines between political discussions on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students are being blurred. Anti-Zionists are attempting to harm, alienate, and ostracize Jewish students; it is Jewish students civil rights that are being trampled. To properly address this rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, universities must adopt a proper definition of contemporary anti-Semitism and use it to educate the campus community about the distinct line between criticism of Israeli policies and discrimination against Jewish people.

AMCHAs report also included recommendations for university officials to swiftly, forcefully and publicly acknowledge and condemn all acts of antisemitism.

Whats happening on college campuses today is not students just being students. The activities of these anti-Israel groups have serious repercussions and cannot be excused. Jewish students are being seriously threatened, their civil rights suppressed and routinely violated across the country, Rossman-Benjamin told theAlgemeiner.

University administrations cannot say there is no problem, she said. The problem is there. It is national and it cannot be ignored.

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Anti-Semitism on U.S. College Campuses Skyrockets

Torah – ReligionFacts

Although the word “Torah” is sometimes used to refer to the entire Tanakh or even the whole body of Jewish writings, it technically means the first five books of the Tanakh. These books are also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch. In English, the names for the books of the Torah are derived from Greek and describe the general topic of the book:

– Genesis – Exodus – Leviticus – Numbers – Deuteronomy (“Second Law”)

The Hebrew names of the books of the Torah reflect not the subject, but the first major word of each book:

– Bereisheet (“In the beginning”) – Sh’mot (“Names”) – Vayikra (“And he called”) – BaMidbar (“In the wilderness”) – D’varim (“Words”)

Among other things, the Torah contains important events in the history of Judaism, like the account of the creation of the world, God’s special call to Abraham, the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses, God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the wandering in the wilderness, and the conquering of Canaan, the Promised Land. The Torah is by far the most important part of the Tanakh because, in addition to including these important stories, it also details the commandments (mitzvot) God gave the Jewish people through Moses.

Accordingly, the Torah scroll (Sefer Torah) is the most important object in a synagogue. The text is carefully handwritten in Hebrew calligraphy on a parchment made of animal skins, and the scroll is kept in an ark (short for aron kodesh, “holy cabinet”). The Torah has been read publically since the time of Ezra (c. 450 BCE). Today, a portion of the Torah (parashiyot) is read in the synagogue on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and holidays. (See The Synagogue.)

Notes

– Essential Judiasm: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals by George Robinson (Pocket Books, 2000). – “Torah, Torah, Torah: The Unfolding of a Tradition.” Judaism for Dummies (Hungry Minds, 2001). – Tracey R. Rich, “Torah.” Judaism 101 (1995-99).

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Torah – ReligionFacts

Torah PORTIONS | This Week’s Portion

The Hebrew name of the fourth book of the Torah (also the name of the first reading) is Bamidbar (), which means In the wilderness. It comes from the first words of the first verse, which say, Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 1:1). The English title of the book is Numbers, which is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Torah. The book of Numbers tells the story of Israels trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, their failure at the edge of the land and the subsequent forty years of wandering. It concludes with the story of the second generations triumphs over the first Canaanite resistance. The book ends with the Israelites poised on the edge of Canaan, ready to take their inheritance. Woven in the midst of these narratives is a significant amount of legal material.

The first reading from Bamidbar and the thirty-fourth reading from the Torah begin with a census of the tribes of Israel and the Levitical families just prior to the departure from Sinai.

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Torah PORTIONS | This Week’s Portion

Torah | The amazing name Torah: meaning and etymology

What is Torah?

The word Torah is both a name and a general concept. Nowadays Torah is name of the first five Books of the Bible (a.k.a. the Books of Moses, or Pentateuch), and that tradition probably stems from the time just after the return from the Babylonian exile. The Torahic concept encompasses some stipulations that might be comparable to what we presently call law but that fraction is certainly not representative of the whole. In stead, the word Torah appears to reflect “the way things are” much rather than “the way things are supposed to be”.

The narrative stories of the Pentateuch, therefore, are not so much (legendary, folkloristic or even sentimental) histories but much rather archetypes of processes through which everything that evolves either will evolve or will be annihilated (read our article on Evolution and the Bible for more on this). Fulfilling the Torah is thus not so much a forced obedience to stipulations but rather a having developed into an entity that corresponds to the way the physical universe works; something that is stable in the physics sense of the word. Since that stability is a requisite for further growth, that stability must be reached before anything else can come about. In a passage that could easily spawn a few gigabytes worth of commentary, Paul teaches that love fulfills the Torah (Romans 13:8-10) but Jesus makes it clear that the entire law must be fulfilled before the state in which people can actually love their neighbor is achieved (Matthew 5:18). And that ties Torah firmly to Wisdom.

The creation account of Genesis 1 is not so much a primitive myth, but rather the most rudimentary blueprint of how evolution works (see for more details our Introduction to Scripture Theory or our article on Evolution and the Bible). The story of the Father and the Three Sons for instance (in which one son dies or diminishes and the lowly second son joins the glorified third) is told in its most basic form in the account of Adam and Cain, Abel and Seth, and is repeated in various nuances from Noah and Shem, Ham and Japheth all the way up to Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14), the image of Jesus on the cross with His one neighbor rejected and the other one joined with Him in Paradise (Luke 23:43), the breach between the lost northern kingdom of Israel and the saved southern Judah which contained the temple of YHWH, and might even establish the rough outline of the New Creation (in which satan is irrelevant and the nations of the earth attach themselves to the elect living in the New Jerusalem; Revelation 21:24).

All these narrative forms (also known as narrative cycles) are obvious continuations, or self-similar reproductions (geneticists would speak of homologous structures), of the second creation day, where one watery continuum is breached in two by a third (namely the heavenly firmament). The waters over the firmament are heard from no more, and the waters below the firmament produce dry land, vegetation and life; federated with and governed by lights placed in the dividing firmament (Genesis 1:1-19).

This image may even apply to the structure of a living cell, in which the cell-body body distinguished itself from the world at large, organized around a nucleus that contains the cell’s genetic code (see our article on the Household Set), and obviously also applies to the organization of Israel around the tabernacle, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two tablets with the Ten Commandments. This tabernacle, in turn, provided the blue print for the Temple and the Temple became the Body of Christ; all formed after fundamental patterns which were shown to Moses (Exodus 25:40, Hebrews 8:5). And that is why the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ follows the human reproductive cycle, and the standard model of elementary particles appears obviously embedded in the structure of the family of Abraham.

The name Torah and the general word torah are usually translated with either law or teaching, and that would work on the proviso that what is taught is actually true (i.e. a reflection or adaptation of “natural” law). And it should be noted that covenant precedes formal law (covenant: Genesis 6:18; deposition of formal law: Exodus 20, but note man’s natural knowledge of law: Genesis 26:5, Romans 2:15); meaning that the relationship of God and mankind is not brought about by wisdom (God is not “discovered” or found by looking for Him; Luke 17:20), but that wisdom is brought about by the relationship of God and mankind (God is found because He looked for us; 1 John 4:19).

Quite tellingly, the first time that the word (torah) is used is in the statement: “The same law applies to the native [Israelite] as to the foreigner who lives in Israel” (Exodus 12:49). The second time our word appears is in Exodus 24:12, where the Lord instructs Moses to approach Him on the mountain in order to receive the famous stone tables that He had prepared for him (Exodus 24:12).

Even though the existence of Torah also resulted in rules and regulations that people needed to learn by heart and carefully observe, Torah itself was regarded as something delectable (Psalm 19:10), desirable (Psalm 119:92) and loveable (Psalm 119:97).

The Hebrew word for Law (Torah) is a derivation of the verb (yara), meaning to throw, cast or shoot:

The letter in front of a root has somewhat the same function as an integral sign in front of an equation: it sums up the whole of different variations of the root. But when we do that with the root (yara) in order to create the word (Torah), something that seems like a regular female form of the word emerges:

To anyone who is not familiar with these things, seeing a dove descend on someone (Matthew 3:16) is cute at best. For someone who sees the linguistic connection between Law and dove, this is all quite a bit more profound.

Jesus summed up the Law by stating what the “larger and unified objective” of all God’s instructions are: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind & You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).

These words sum up the true purpose of man. If this purpose is obtained, sin is without effect and the Law is fulfilled. See for a more in depth study of law, sin and forgiveness our article The Skinny on Sin Romans 7

Also note that the first occurrence of the first letter of our word (torah) is the last letter of the first word of the Bible, namely (bersheet), meaning “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1). Fifty letters later (or forty-nine, depending how you count), we find the second letter of our word (torah), namely in the word (tehom), meaning “the deep” (Genesis 1:2). Another fifty letters down, there’s the in (w’yra’), meaning “and He saw” (Genesis 1:4). Fifty letters after that sits the in the word (‘elohim), meaning God.

Whoever placed this marvelous little gem in the text of the creation account seems to have figured that Torah = In The Beginning The Deep Saw God. Whether this delightful letter-trick was known to the sons of Korah isn’t clear, but read our article on Psalm 42:7 for something to ponder (and also see John 1:1-5 and Colossians 1:16).

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Torah | The amazing name Torah: meaning and etymology

Anti-Semitism – The New York Times

Latest Articles

The writer and historian grew up perhaps 100 yards from Adolf Hitler during the Nazi era, before escaping Germany.

By WILLIAM GRIMES

A new comedy about anti-Semitism questions what it means to be Jewish in France.

By PAMELA DRUCKERMAN

A stunned employee wonders how, or even whether, to respond after a superior makes an offensive and bigoted remark.

By ROB WALKER

How I became the target of a hate-filled campaign.

By JONATHAN WEISMAN

The group, heavily financed by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, issued its statement amid a torrent of Twitter posts and comments against Jewish journalists.

By MAGGIE HABERMAN

Some dialogue can be tantamount to saying that Israel does not have the right to exist despite history.

The village was once known as Castrillo Matajudos, or Little Hill Fort of Jew Killers. Its mayor believes that the vandals are members of extremist groups with no direct connection to the village.

By RAPHAEL MINDER

The Labour Party has been forced to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks, but the malaise goes deeper.

By KENAN MALIK

The suspension of Ken Livingstone came a day after Labours leader, Jeremy Corbyn, disciplined another party member over anti-Israel posts on social media.

By STEPHEN CASTLE

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, suspended Ms. Shah for endorsing anti-Israel posts on social media before she joined Parliament.

By STEVEN ERLANGER

As the country engages in fierce debates centered on national identity, it is also confronting challenges to traditional norms of political discourse.

By STEVEN ERLANGER and STEPHEN CASTLE

Institutions in Hamburg, Lneburg and Tbingen said that their networks may have been hacked, and that many of the leaflets were printed on the anniversary of Hitlers birth.

By ALISON SMALE

As France grapples with radical Islam and a rise in anti-Semitic acts, a growing number of Jews are choosing to settle in the British capital.

By KIMIKO DE FREYTAS-TAMURA

Princeton High School has contended with a flood of scrutiny since a blog post revealed that students had played a game called Jews vs. Nazis.

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

As a CUNY professor, I disagree with calls to boycott Israel, but those calls shouldnt be suppressed.

By ERIC ALTERMAN

A computer hacker who goes by the name of Weev said he sent the fliers last week to all publicly accessible printers in North America, but it is not clear whether he could face charges.

The measure was an attempt to combat hostility toward Jewish students amid growing opposition on campuses to Israeli policies.

By IAN LOVETT

Overheard at Oberlin: The Holocaust was mere “white on white crime.”

By ROGER COHEN

Leni Riefenstahls largely staged documentary about the 1934 Nazi Party Congress inspired American filmmakers to address its imagery.

By J. HOBERMAN

The writer and historian grew up perhaps 100 yards from Adolf Hitler during the Nazi era, before escaping Germany.

By WILLIAM GRIMES

A new comedy about anti-Semitism questions what it means to be Jewish in France.

By PAMELA DRUCKERMAN

A stunned employee wonders how, or even whether, to respond after a superior makes an offensive and bigoted remark.

By ROB WALKER

How I became the target of a hate-filled campaign.

By JONATHAN WEISMAN

The group, heavily financed by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, issued its statement amid a torrent of Twitter posts and comments against Jewish journalists.

By MAGGIE HABERMAN

Some dialogue can be tantamount to saying that Israel does not have the right to exist despite history.

The village was once known as Castrillo Matajudos, or Little Hill Fort of Jew Killers. Its mayor believes that the vandals are members of extremist groups with no direct connection to the village.

By RAPHAEL MINDER

The Labour Party has been forced to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks, but the malaise goes deeper.

By KENAN MALIK

The suspension of Ken Livingstone came a day after Labours leader, Jeremy Corbyn, disciplined another party member over anti-Israel posts on social media.

By STEPHEN CASTLE

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, suspended Ms. Shah for endorsing anti-Israel posts on social media before she joined Parliament.

By STEVEN ERLANGER

As the country engages in fierce debates centered on national identity, it is also confronting challenges to traditional norms of political discourse.

By STEVEN ERLANGER and STEPHEN CASTLE

Institutions in Hamburg, Lneburg and Tbingen said that their networks may have been hacked, and that many of the leaflets were printed on the anniversary of Hitlers birth.

By ALISON SMALE

As France grapples with radical Islam and a rise in anti-Semitic acts, a growing number of Jews are choosing to settle in the British capital.

By KIMIKO DE FREYTAS-TAMURA

Princeton High School has contended with a flood of scrutiny since a blog post revealed that students had played a game called Jews vs. Nazis.

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

As a CUNY professor, I disagree with calls to boycott Israel, but those calls shouldnt be suppressed.

By ERIC ALTERMAN

A computer hacker who goes by the name of Weev said he sent the fliers last week to all publicly accessible printers in North America, but it is not clear whether he could face charges.

The measure was an attempt to combat hostility toward Jewish students amid growing opposition on campuses to Israeli policies.

By IAN LOVETT

Overheard at Oberlin: The Holocaust was mere “white on white crime.”

By ROGER COHEN

Leni Riefenstahls largely staged documentary about the 1934 Nazi Party Congress inspired American filmmakers to address its imagery.

By J. HOBERMAN

The rest is here:
Anti-Semitism – The New York Times

Obama and ‘Jewish Heritage Month’ – Commentary Magazine

To be clear, there is nothing remotely anti-Semitic about the proclamation itself, and Im not accusing the president or his staff in any way of promoting anti-Semitism. But I do note that the proclamations discussion of Jews contributions to American society is consistent with a particular left-wing view of Jewswhich is that Jews have two predominant roles to play in the world, either as victims or as advocates for progressive causes.

Here are the first two paragraphs of the proclamation:

At Americas birth, our Founders fought off tyranny and declared a set of idealsincluding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happinessthat would forever guide our countrys course. For generations since, Jewish Americans, having shared in the struggle for freedom, have been instrumental in ensuring our Nation stays true to the principles enshrined in our founding documents. They have helped bring about enduring progress in every aspect of our society, shaping our countrys character and embodying the values we hold dear. This month, as we pay tribute to their indelible contributions, we recommit to ridding our world of bigotry and injustice and reflect on the extraordinary ways in which Jewish Americans have made our Union more perfect.

Many of the Jewish people who reached our Nations shores throughout our history did so fleeing the oppression they encountered in areas around the world. Driven by the possibility of charting a freer future, they endeavored, on their own and as a community, to make real the promise of American their individual lives and in the life of our country. Determined to confront the racism that kept this promise from being fully realized, many Jewish Americans found a cause in the Civil Rights Movement thatin its call for freedom and justiceechoed the timeless message of Exodus and the Jewish peoples journey through the ages. Reflecting on the march in Selma, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once noted, I felt my legs were praying. From the fight for womens rights to LGBT rights to workers rights, many in the Jewish American community, drawing on lessons from their own past, have trumpeted a clarion call for equality and justice.

Its no secret that many liberal American Jews emphasize the social justice part of their identity. But this doesnt preclude also recognizing, as part of Jewish Heritage Month, that Jews have contributed disproportionately to the arts, business, medicine, academia, science, and so forth. Nor does it preclude recognizing that American Jews have successfully created unique and innovative Jewish communal charities, educational institutions, and internal religious movements (such as Conservative Judaism). Nor does it preclude recognizing that American Jews have been at the forefront of helping to establish and defend Israel and in rescuing persecuted Jews from Ethiopia to the USSR.

Im sure if you asked whoever drafted the presidents proclamation about these other matters, he would say something along the lines of, yeah, that stuff is nice, too.

But for some progressives on the far left, including some progressives of Jewish descent, that other stuff isnt nice too. To them, Jews exist only for the role assigned to them by the progressive mythosto use their experience of oppression and their privilege to fight for the rights of others, and then to assimilate or disappear.

Ever since Karl Marx himself stated as much, there has been a significant strand of left-wing thought suggesting that Jews arent a legitimate ethnic group, but simply forlorn Asiatic/European nomads who came to exist as a group solely to serve the class interests first of feudal rulers and than of capitalists, possessing neither a legitimate religion (because no religion is legitimate) nor a legitimate culture (because Jews) nor any claim to self-determination.

Indeed, this is sometimes explained in a way that makes anti-Semitism understandable as a reaction to the fact that Gentile rulers use Jews to exploit their subjects. Consider the following recent open letter from a group of leftist Jewish Oberlin students:

We agree with the definition of anti-Semitism laid out by Aurora Levins Morales, a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist; she writes that anti-Semitism, writing about European Jewry under Christianity, functions by creating a vulnerable buffer group that can be bribed with some privileges into managing the exploitation of others, and then, when social pressure builds, be blamed and scapegoated, distracting those at the bottom from the crimes of those at the top.

Because Jews have no corporate legitimacy unless they are gathering to demand rights for others, it is deemed reactionary to suggest that Jews should have intragroup solidarity. Indeed it has long been a defining attribute of many Jews on the far left to go out of their way to express their disinterest in Jewish causes. Consider Rosa Luxemburgs classic statement: What do you want with these special Jewish pains? I feel as close to the wretched victims of the rubber plantations in Putamayo and the blacks of Africa with whose bodies the Europeans play ball I have no special corner in my heart for the [Jewish] ghetto: I am at home in the entire world, where there are clouds and birds and human tears.

Moreover, it would be reactionary to recognize disproportionate Jews contributions to various fields of endeavor. Good left-wingers, after all, believe that all groups would be exactly equal in every way but for societal oppression Indeed, given that relevant ethos, Jewish success suggests that Jews have somehow gamed the system at the expense of disadvantaged minorities, something that is rather overtly suggested every time a self-proclaimed spokesperson for a minority group suggests that his group must exhibit more solidarity like the Jews so they can be successful like the Jews. (Anyone who thinks that intragroup solidarity is a defining aspect of American Jewish culture doesnt know much about American Jewish culture).

So for some fraction of the far left, the Jewish contribution to various liberation movements is not simply the Jews most important contribution to the world, and is not simply the only one worth mentioning if you have limited space, as with President Obamas proclamation. It is, rather, the only legitimate praise one can give to the Jews.

Meanwhile, Jewish support for Israel, or sometimes even for fellow Jews suffering elsewhere, is nothing but reactionary nationalism based on at best foolish sentimentality and at worst racist notions of Jewish superiority. Exactly why Jewish solidarity is racist, but not solidarity among other groups, is never clearly explained, but it seems to have something to do with the fact that Jews arent a legitimate ethnic group to begin with.

Once we understand that there are those who believe that the existence of Jews as a recognizable entity, is only justified (and only temporarily) to the extent Jews rely on their residual memories of collective oppression to aid left-wing liberation movements, one can begin to understand the far lefts problem with the Jews. Their ideology leaves no room for anything but revulsion with Zionism, dismissal of claims of anti-Semitism (in ways they would never dismiss accusations of other forms of racism), nor for considering the Holocaust to have any more significance than as an unfortunate example of white on white crime.

In short, to many on the far left, the only good Jew is a secular left-wing internationalist political activist with no particular interest in the well-being of his fellow Jews. (Consider again the Oberlin students: We urge all Jewish students concerned about anti-Semitism to fight with equal passion for Palestinian liberation, Black liberation, and an end to all forms of oppression, on and off campus. Others, but not Jews, are permitted to be especially concerned with the fate of their own group.) Given that only a small fraction of Jews fit that model, anti-Semitism is therefore a natural consequence.

Jews have a specific heritage worth celebrating. It would have been proper if the White House had recognized it, no matter what the far Left thinks.

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Obama and ‘Jewish Heritage Month’ – Commentary Magazine

Anti-Defamation League – Metapedia

From Metapedia

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a powerful Jewish lobby organization primarily based in the United States but with offices in some other countries. It was founded in 1913 as a branch of B’nai B’rith. In 1930 they had only three fulltime employees. By 1938 the organization expanded to two-hundred and fifty workers.[1]

The organization describes itself as a civil rights organization that fights antisemitism and bigotry more generally.

Critics of Jewish influence and how it is used have often been highly critical of the ADL.

The ADL states that it was founded in 1913 in response to the perceived antisemitism against the Jew Leo Frank who was convicted of the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan that year. Controversy has continued regarding the case with continued attempts to turn Leo Frank into an innocent martyr.

In the 1950s the ADL campaigned to free the Jew Morton Sobell from charges of espionage. In 2008 Sobell admitted to spying for the Soviet Union.[2]

The ADL claims to be an international civil rights organization working for equal civil rights for all but the organization supports Israel and its often Jewish supremacist policies.

ADL undercover agents such as Abraham Feinberg have been stated to have been investigated by the FBI as agents of a foreign government and for stopping investigations regarding illegal arms-smuggling from the US to Israel. Feinberg became well known as financing Harry Truman and helping him to victory in the 1948 presidential elections. Truman recognized Israel minutes after the declaration of independence. Feinberg was also one of the financiers of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.[3][4]

One of the earliest activities was the establishment of what has been described as a private intelligence agency, and sending spies, infiltrators, disruptors, and agents provocateurs against perceived opponents (including other Jews). In the early 1940s they had over 50,000 files on American citizens and their political associations. Declassified FBI files state that in 1940, the ADL supplied contact information of nearly 1,600 ADL members to the FBI to serve as informants and undercover sources. A FBI letter advised that “the Anti-Defamation League does not wish it to become generally known that they do employ private investigators”. A 1947 Congressional hearing revealed that the ADL had begun providing information to the original House Committee on Un-American Activities.[2][3][5][6]

See also the article on the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.

“An ADL operative using illicit press credentials was arrested at a Madison Square Garden disrupting an anti-war rally in 1941. “The ADL had then brought ‘tremendous pressure to bear on Commissioner Seery and the Mayor’s Committee on Press Cards to drop the Forster incident the preceding night.” The effort to quash prosecution included offering payoffs and planting hostile news reports, according to the FBI report.”[2]

“In 1993, Roy Bullock, was exposed as an ADL agent. He was San Francisco art dealer who was fairly well-known in the homosexual community and whose specialty was the infiltration of patriotic, Arab-American, and other organizations on behalf of the League. Bullock was found to have in his possession illegally obtained and highly private and personal data on his targets data which could only have been obtained from police and other confidential government files. These data were also discovered in the files of the ADL itself when police raided ADL headquarters in San Francisco and Los Angeles as result of Bullocks exposure…seizing evidence of a nationwide intelligence network accused of keeping files on more than 950 political groups, newspapers, and labor unions and as many as 12,000 people…operatives of the Anti-Defamation League searched through trash and infiltrated organizations to gather intelligence an Arab-American, right-wing, and what they called pinko organizations…the organization maintains undercover operatives to gather political intelligence in at least seven cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco”. Jewish organizations that had taken positions critical of Israeli policies were included in the Pinko section. There were also files on members of Congress. The ADL or persons working for the ADL also tapped into phone systems, worked closely and likely often illegally with several police officers, and from police sources obtained privileged and personal information on thousands of people. 75% of the information was estimated to had been obtained illegally. It has been alleged that the DA in charge dropped the charges due to needing Jewish support in coming elections. Sensitive information is stated to have been shared with Israel.[3][6][7]

Organizations that the ADL kept files on in 1993 span the political spectrum and included Ku Klux Klan,the White Aryan Resistance, Greenpeace, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the United Farm Workers, the Jewish Defense League, the American Civil Liberties Union, Earth Island Institute, the United Auto Workers, Jews for Jesus, Mother Jones magazine, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Bo Gritz for President Committee, the Asian Law Caucus, the AIDS activist group ACT UP, Centro Legal de la Raza, Irish Northern Aid, National Indian Treaty Council, and Japanese-and American Citizens League.[3][6][7]

While the ADL has publicly focused on US “neo-Nazi” groups without any power, it has been argued that this has been mainly in order to scare rich Jewish fund-raisers, while many of the ADL’s more clandestine activities has also targeted perceived enemies of Israel such as Palestinians, their solidarity groups, Arab-Americans, Arab students, and Arab delegations to the United Nations.[3]

In 1951 the FBI judged material regarding the Arab League and activities of Egypt and Saudi Arabia that the ADL brought to the FBI “to be absolutely unreliable”.[2]

The National Director of the ADL in 1961 stated that “[T]he Anti-Defamation League for many years has maintained a very important, confidential investigative coverage of Arab activities and propaganda.Our information, in addition to being essential for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both the United States State Department and the Israeli government. All data have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to each that we were the source” and “we have maintained an information-gathering operation since 1948 relating to activities emanating from the Arab Consular Offices, Arab United Nations Delegations, Arab Information Center, Arab Refugee Office and the Organization of Arab Students”.[3]

In 1969 the FBI proposed investigating the ADL as an Israeli foreign agent after three ADL undercover operatives infiltrated and strategized the takeover of the Organization of Arab Students.[2]

In 1983 the ADL published a 49 page “confidential” booklet for use by Jewish students listing the names of individuals such as Arab-American professors and organizations classified as pro-Arab propagandists. After it became public the ADL stated that the booklet was an unfortunate incident.[3]

Jeffrey Blankfort has argued that the above mentioned Bullock “succeeded in not only becoming a member of the local chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee but, because of his size and weight, he would be in charge of security at all its events” and that “One of the targets Bullock befriended was Palestinian-American Alex Odeh, the head of the Orange County chapter of the ADC who would be killed by a terrorist bomb when he opened the door to his Santa Ana office on October 11, 1985. In Bullocks files, police found a key to Odehs office as well as the floor plan.” Bullock has not officially been linked with the unresolved murder.[3]

The ADL kept files on 48 anti-apartheid organizations, possibly due to fear that they would make comparisons between apartheid and Israeli policies. ADL agents were also paid by South Africa to supply information regarding anti-apartheid organizations in the USA.[3]

“One individual the South African agents were particularly interested in was Chris Hani, the man who was expected to succeed Nelson Mandela as the countrys president. Hani was assassinated in South Africa shortly after a speaking tour in California during which he was trailed by Bullock who prepared a lengthy report on it for the South African government, a copy of which was found in his files.”[3]

The NAACP was one of the organizations that the ADL kept files on 1993.[3]

Jews have been stated to be a major source of funding also in the post civil rights era which prevented the NAACP from taking political positions that would offend the Jewish establishment, such as expressing sympathy with the Palestinian cause or criticizing Israels arms sales to South Africa. “This was typified by the attitude of long-time NAACP Director Roy Wilkins, widely characterized as an Uncle Tom by black activists, who withdrew the NAACP from the National Black Political Convention in 1972, taking exception to a resolution that condemned Israel for “expansionist policies and forceful occupation of the sovereign territories of another state.”"[3]

In 1992 ADL issued a 50-page ADL Research Report” entitled The Anti-Semitism of Black Demagogues and Extremists. Heading the list were Min. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, Illinois Congressman Gus Savage, Rev. Al Sharpton, Kwame Ture (the former Stokely Carmichael), poet Amiri Baraka, and rappers Ice Cube and Professor Griff and Public Enemy. Certain black newspapers and radio stations were also criticized.[3]

When the NAACP installed Benjamin Chavis as new director and he reached out to Farrakhan, the ADL responded by causing the NAACPs major Jewish funders cut of funding until Chavis resigned.[3]

One debated passage in the Talmud states “A heathen who studies the Torah deserves death”. The Anti-Defamation League has criticized David Duke for allegedly using this quote out of context by omitting important surrounding parts. However, this has in turn been criticized with the full surrounding context stated to be supporting David Duke. The Anti-Defamation League has been criticized for using very selective citations and selectively omitting important parts in order to create a misleading impression.[8]

The ADL has attacked the Christian New Testament as responsible for persecutions of Jews and being historically false. The ADL were at the forefront of attacking the Mel Gibson film the Passion of the Christ.[9][10][11][12]

One example is in the small town of Oberammergau, Germany. Every ten years since 1635, the locals come together to put on a six-hour Passion Play about the final hours of Jesus Christ. They carry out the vow of their ancestors to produce the play, believing that he delivered them from the bubonic plague. The ADL have through a campaign of intimidated the locals into rewriting the play and have argued for more changes.[9]

The ADL also lobbies against Christianity being favored in public schools in the United States and against other forms of favoritism for Christianity by the state (but does not lobby against Judaism in Israel).

The ADL played an ongoing role in censoring books they disagreed with including the Shakespearian play the “Merchant of Venice”.[13]

The ADL for a long time opposed recognition of the Armenian Genocide that took place 1915-1917 since this could negatively affect the situation for Jews in Turkey and Israeli-Turkish relations. Turkey was one of Israel’s few regional allies. The ADL reversed their official position in 2007 after a public outcry but still refused to support a resolution in Congress formally acknowledging the Armenian genocide.[14]

Even some Jews have criticized the ADL for hypocrisy, for false charges of antisemitism for political purposes, and for attacking some Jews with not politically correct opinions. Even Jewish community leaders with dissenting views have been stated to fear speaking out lest the ADL accuse them of some crime against the Jewish people. The ADL has also been accused of trying to scare rich Jews with false threats (such as from American Christians) in order to receive large donations. The criticisms against Christians have been seen as instead being harmful to Jewish interests since Christian Zionists often support neoconservatism.[15][16]

In 2013, the ADL told YouTube (colloquially known as JewTube) to disable PressTV’s YouTube account which also occurred.[17]

In 2014, the ADL has been accused of contributing to false leaflets stating that Jews in the Ukraine must register with a non-existent government agency.[18][19]

In addition to earlier mentioned information sharing the ADL has ties with police across the country through its LEARN program (Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network) in which it trains police in dealing with extremist groups and hate crimes.[3]

Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion, 1956.

Jack Tenney, U.S. Senator for California.

John Rarick , U.S. Congressman for Louisiana.

Originally posted here:
Anti-Defamation League – Metapedia

Kemp Mill Synagogue

Toddler Playground Dedication

Join us Sunday, May 29, at 11 a.m. for the dedication of our new Toddler Playground., which was built with support from the Ilan Rasooly, z”l, Playground Fund.

Sunday, June 5, is the 49th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. Celebrate this milestone at KMS. The program begins at with an Israeli breakfast (Shakshuka, Fatoush, Burekas, and more). Led by Rena and Chaim Fruchter, we will rejoice with songs and stories about Jerusalem. This program is recommended for ages 8 through adult. More details about the program can be found here. Reservations are required for breakfast and must be made by May 27. Space is limited so make your plans now.

The Cheryl Stern Community Kelim Mikvah is now officially open. There are still plenty of bricks on the path that may be dedicated. Please see the attached form or go to http://www.yise.org/brick to dedicate a brick.Single bricks cost $180. Double bricks cost $500. Payment may be made by check or credit card (see form for details) or online using PayPal.

Please click here for a copy of the 2016 KMS Gala Journal.

View the current issue of Kol Mevaser.

Click here to donate to the Keren Hasefer Fund to repair and upkeep KMS’ Sifrei Torah.

Many interesting new events are coming in the spring, along with our continuing menu of great weekly classes. Please click here for a complete schedule.

Kemp Mill Sababa

Sababa is the Hebrew slang word for cool and wonderful! We want everyone who visits Israel to be inspired, amazed, and to have FUN. Kemp Mill Sababa is a great way to refer your friends to your favorite unique and off the beaten path places in Israel. If you have visited Israel recently (in the past two years), we want you to list your favorite places and experiences that dont usually make it into the tour books. Click here to make a recommendation. (It will take you less than 5 minutes!)

Read more here:
Kemp Mill Synagogue

Israel: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News – Huffington Post

By James M. Dorsey (Lecture at MEI Conference: The Middle East Peace Process After the Arab Uprisings) When Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East edit…

James Dorsey

Senior fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

She, Samantha Montgomery, is a 39-year-old who works a 9-5 at a nursing home in a rough section of New Orleans. On her own time, she takes on the pers…

While the privileged gays in developed countries fight for surrogates and marriage, as a gay Palestinian living inside of Israel, we’re still fighting for the acknowledgement of our nationality, our sexuality and the legitimate right to be called Palestinians while still holding Israeli citizenship.

Khader Abu-Seif

is a writer from Jaffa, Israel and most recently was featured in the documentary Oriented about gay Palestinians living in Israel.

As we look at how to address the great challenges facing the Jewish people in America, it is clear that engaging Israeli-Americans and the next generation of Jewish-Americans in new ways must be part of the solution.

Adam Milstein

Active Philanthropist and National Chairman of the Israeli-American Council

By Mohammed Alhammami, Gaza project manager, We Are Not Numbers When I was a kid, my father used to tell me stories of past Jewish-Palestinian coexis…

The mainstream media and politicians have emphasized Iran’s hard power, military capacity and its army’s role in the Middle East, which is part of Teh…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been engaged in public negotiations designed to bring Isaac Herzog into his coalition government. And then, out of the blue, Netanyahu did a complete reversal, dropping Herzog and instead bringing the far right Avigdor Lieberman into his government.

James Zogby

President, Arab American Institute; author, ‘Arab Voices’

If you count yourself among the folks who might be willing occasionally to engage Congress to try to help protect Palestinian civilians living under Israeli military occupation if there were a plausible story that your action could have a positive impact, I have some good news.

As Palestinians commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Nakba — literally “catastrophe” in Arabic, when the indigenous people of Palestine were driven out of Palestine into exile — there is a new Nakba taking place: the political division between Hamas and Fatah.

Abdalhadi Alijla

Director of Institute for Middle East Studies, Canada; Consultant on Countering Extremism for Adyan Institute in Beirut

If foreign policy had a soundtrack, it would be the opposite of easy listening.

John Feffer

Director, Foreign Policy In Focus and Editor, LobeLog

Nearly 75 years ago, the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, a massive invasion of the Soviet Union, in which 4.5 million Axis soldiers surprised the Soviets with blitzkrieg attacks across the 2,900-kilometer border.

Despite concerns over political tensions, Israeli tourism remains steady – and I can see why. Once you arrive and sit yourself down at the beach for a beer, any anxiety you might bring with you will melt away. I feel safer walking the city streets in Tel Aviv than when I was living in New York City last summer.

Iranian leaders have breached both the resolutions and the nuclear agreement for the third time since the nuclear deal went into effect in January 2016. Iran has repeatedly test-fired, long-range ballistic missiles and laser-guided surface-to-surface missiles.

My junior colleague’s email, titled “time-sensitive” and sent from her gmail account, was oblique – something important, she intimated, and best not p…

Jennifer S. Hirsch

NYC-based Professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, Jewish activist and former OpEd Project Public Voices Fellow.

This IS propaganda campaign shows that any counterterrorism support for Egypt cannot be given in isolation from domestic affairs, local grievances, and continuous political issues–terror groups know very well how to play on these to attract recruits.

Nancy Okail

Dr. Okail is a scholar and democracy advocate. She is the Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. In 2013, she was sentenced to prison in absentia in the widely publicized case known as the #NGOtrial in Egypt.

Admittedly, it is unfair to lay at Mr. Rhodes’ doorstep all that Mr. Obama has wrought upon himself. The buck ultimately stops at the Oval Office.

Read more from the original source:
Israel: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News – Huffington Post

Sephardic Jewish Names and Genealogies, How to start

I would like to start by stating that I am not a professional genealogist. As I worked at developing the family tree on my Sephardic side I gradually discovered that there were fertile areas of research that were different from the sources I used for my Ashkenazi half. Furthermore, these sources were far less known than the sources for Ashkenazi genealogy. The purpose of this article is to help others also attempting to research their Sephardic ancestry and maybe reduce their frustration levels in discovering these sources. By no means is this an exhaustive list of sources. It is just a sampling to get you started and encourage others to share their knowledge as we all grow and learn together. For a much more complete treatment of Sephardic Genealogy, with country by country resources, see my book on the subject.

Differences in Sephardic and Ashkenazi genealogy

Areas of the world Among the most obvious differences in researching Sephardic and Ashkenazi ancestry is that they lived in different areas of the world. Ashkenazim lived primarily in Europe and eastern Europe whereas Sephardim lived in countries around the Mediterranean, the Ottoman empire, which welcomed them after their expulsion from Spain, and in the Americas particularly south America. A lot of Jewish genealogists have focussed on researching eastern European government records and US naturalization related records. Though sometimes helpful, these sources are of relatively less value to Sephardic researchers who would be more interested in early Iberian notarial records, Inquisition records in Spain, in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Old family names Whereas most Ashkenazi surnames are of relatively recent origin, many, though not all, Sephardic surnames go back many centuries and sometimes a millennium or more. Whereas it is dictum in Ashkenazi research that a family name is of less importance than the name of the ancestral shtetl, this is not true when dealing with Sephardic names. Sephardic family names do suggest kinship, though the common ancestral link may have lived 5 or 600 years earlier. As such, the implication is that as we go further back in the centuries it becomes more likely that the person found bearing that surname is a common though distant ancestor but this does not hold true for contemporaries or in the recent past. Although one needs to strictly follow the genealogist’s rule of going from known to unknown when building a personal family tree, there is some validity in researching an ancient Sephardic family name and this coupled to the fact that many Sephardim can list several generations in their family, sometimes back to 1492 the date of the expulsion from Spain, makes such research of added interest.

Researchers of Sephardic genealogy also need to be aware of the differences in child naming patterns among Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The most singular difference being the Sephardic tradition of naming children after their grandparents, especially if alive to honor the grandparent whereas Ashkenazim avoid naming children after living relatives. For more information on naming patterns go to my page on this topic.

SourcesTraditional Sources

So how does one go about researching Sephardic ancestry. Some of the traditional sources used by Ashkenazi genealogists still apply here. Among these are:

Interviewing the eldest members of your family is definitely where to start. Not only can names of previous and related generations be obtained in this manner but also information on countries they resided in and hints about other sources for documentation. As usual and especially here, one must be careful of family legends and try to document and verify the information received.

Marriage registers, cemetery records, old letters, diaries and photographs are other classic sources for Jewish genealogic information that are just as useful for Sephardic genealogists as they are for Ashkenazim. Since these are detailed in great depth elsewhere (such as on Jewishgen), I will not discuss them here.

US naturalization records, turn of the century passenger lists and similar are just as useful for Sephardim. During the large Jewish immigration to the U.S. from eastern Europe around the turn of the century, many Sephardim came to the US at that time and that is the period when such records are of the most value. Sephardim also came many centuries earlier or in the mid 20th century as part of the exodus from Arab countries resulting from the Arab Israeli wars.

Holocaust records such as the Arolsen records at the International Red Cross or Yad Vashem and the Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem can be useful for Sephardim too because a significant number of Sephardim from places like Salonika and elsewhere were also victims of the Nazis. The recent decision by Yad Vashem to finally create a listing of the names they have of Holocaust victims and making it available in an electronically accessible database possible is therefore excellent news to genealogists. It is a great shame that Arolsen records at the International Red Cross are not yet available to searching families unless these families can provide the exact first and last names (reminiscent of the recent Swiss banks stance to release records to relatives). Let’s hope this will change sometime soon. Again these sources are well discussed in forums such as Jewishgen and I will not get into it further here. However I would like to mention Serge Karlsfeld’s “Memorial de la Deportation des Juifs de France, 1942-1944″. Paris, 1978.

Sephardic Sources Sephardic researchers have many other sources to draw upon and I will discuss some of these in more detail here.

Notarial records in Spain These are extremely voluminous and useful. I have discussed them extensively in another section to which the reader is referred.

Inquisition Archives in Spain I have discussed in another section to which the reader is referred. Inquisition Archives in South America I have also described these elsewhere and would refer the interested reader there.

Ketubbot (Jewish marriage contracts) are obviously of great value in Jewish genealogy. Sephardic Ketubbot frequently, though not always, may document several generations on both sides. Such finds are obviously of wonderful value to the genealogist. An interesting example of the value of Sephardic ketubot can be found in my description of the Sephardic “Grana” community from Leghorn (Livorno) that settled in Tunis in the 16th century.

Alliance Israelite archives In the 19th and early 20th century the Alliance Israelite made a massive effort in setting up schools and aiding Jews in North Africa, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Palestine and wherever the need was noted. It’s archives in Paris (49 rue Labruyere, 75009 Paris) therefore hold tremendous and, until recently, relatively little tapped genealogic data and is a fertile field for researchers.

Synagogue records are obviously of great value to the genealogist. Those of Jews in Sephardic countries are no exception and in countries like Egypt can go back many centuries. Unfortunately access to these records is often hampered by political and other considerations.

Cemetery tombstones can also yield information of great value and a systematic listing of this information would be of great value. Such an effort is in process through Jewishgen and Sephardim who have access to cemeteries in Sephardic countries need to provide what information they can provide before time and politics ravages this source further.

Passengers to the Indies. The passenger lists of Spaniards who left for the Americas from 1500 to 1800 is preserved in an archive in Seville, the Archivo General de Indias. Besides listing all passengers who sailed in every ship to America up to 1800 but they provide such data as the passenger name and place of birth, name of parents and their brithplaces, the job and destination of the passenger after arrival in the Americas.

This information is electronically searchable databases which can be easily searched by the archivists. Requests for information should include the passenger name and the approximate date of the trip to America and should be addressed to: Archivo General de Indias, Avda. Constitucion s/n, SEVILLA – SPAIN Phone: +34-95-4500530. Fax: +34-95-4219485.

A partial List of passengers has been published in about 12 volumes, but not in searchable electronic format so far.

Books and Journals It is essential to know the history of the period one is researching. Not only does the knowledge of the history allow an understanding of the why of the events that occurred to the families researched but it also points one in directions one would not otherwise have considered. This is true both in Ashkenazi and Sephardic research. The difference is Sephardic history is often more ancient and thus less likely to be known without study.. The reader is therefore advised to acquire a good working history of the period and may wish to peruse the section on Sephardic books and my brief history of Sephardim before the expulsion.

Selections of Notarial records Although only a tiny portion of Notarial and Inquisition records can be accessed through books, there are some books that contain excerpts of these documents. I have listed some of them in my section on books. Among these that can be of considerable value to the armchair genealogist are books such as:

Assis: Jews in the Crown of Aragon (Part II 1328-1493); Regesta of the Cartas Reales in Archivo de la Corona de Aragon. Ginzei am olam:Central Arch Hist of Jewish People, Jerusalem

Beinart: Conversos on Trial. The Inquisition in Ciudad Real. Magnes Press, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1981

Raphael: Expulsion 1492 Chronicles. Carmi House Press

Tello: Judios de Toledo – 2 Vols. Instituto B Arias Montano. Consejo Sup de inverstigacions Cientificas.

The reader is encouraged to review my section on books.

Sephardic names studies I have already pointed out the value of researching ancient Sephardic family names. It is important to differentiate between contemporary or recent past individuals who share your researched ancient family name as compared to an individual who carried that same family name 700 years ago. Assuming we are dealing with an ancient Jewish name rather than an area name, the recent individuals are usually not related closely enough to matter, whereas the individual 1,000 years ago has a mathematically high chance of being a legitimate ancestor.

Some of the most useful books in Sephardic genealogy are some of the books on onomastics (the study of names). Prominent among these is Abraham Laredo’s book “Les Noms des Juifs du Maroc”. This terrific work lists names of Jews from Morocco with explanation of the origins and variants of the name and provides information extensive lists about rabbis, authors and other notables who had carried the name and complete source references.. Similar but less extensive are such books as Toledano’s “La Saga des Familles”, Moissis’s “Les noms des Juifs de Grece”, Abecassis’s “Genealogia hebraica: Portugal e Gibraltar, secs XVII a XX”,, Eisenbeth’s “Les Juifs de l’Afrique du nord”, etc. Extensive name lists giving sources can also be found in this website and on the internet.

ETSI Just like Avotaynu is the premier Jewish genealogy journal, ETSI is a new journal dedicated to Sephardic genealogy and history. Published in Paris by a group of Sephardic genealogists that include Abensur, past president of the French Jewish genealogy Society, and his wife Laurence Abensur-Hazan, organization chair of the 1997 Paris seminar on Jewish genealogy, and several others, it is the only journal dedicated specifically to Sephardic genealogy and a must for Sephardic genealogists and Jewish genealogy libraries.

Information about subscription can be obtained at the ETSI site.

Internet The internet is a great resource for information about Jewish and Sephardic genealogy but it is important to verify information obtained in this manner by checking out the sources of the information. That said, among these resources are:

Jewishgen at http://www.jewishgen.org is a tremendous resource for the Jewish genealogist and a great resource to learn proper techniques for genealogy.

Websites There was a time when it was difficult to find anything of use to a Sephardic researcher. This has fortunately changed and there are now numerous sites of interest to Sephardim if one knows where to look. I have made a listing of such sites on my Websites by Country pages (see index at bottom of this page).

Family Finder (JGFF) Jewishgen has an extremely useful database listing researchers and the families they are researching. Listing the family names and towns you are researching allows other genealogists researching these families to discover you and share resources. It is therefore highly recommended that you register there which can be done very easily at their site.

Namelists Namelists giving you sources where these family names are mentioned can also be very useful while remembering the importance to work methodically in developing your family tree. Such lists exist at:

Newslists Newslists are internet discussion groups where questions can be asked and answered in a spirit of helping each other. A list of Sephardic newslists can be found in my newslist page.

Name lookups. There are several sites on the internet (like http://www.google.com) that allow you to find peoples’ names and email or snail mail addresses. This is a good way to find the addresses and phone numbers of people having your family name. Usually these people are unrelated, but occasionally one can be lucky and discover an unknown distant cousin. I have not found it useful but some have.

Israel Sephardic Jews had lived in Palestine long before the European Zionist movement. They have therefore left traces of their lives in the cemeteries, chevrot kadisha (burial society) records, books written, etc and this too can be a fruitful source of research. For settlers in the more recent past Batya Untershatz is an invaluable resource. She can be reached at Batya Unterschatz, Director, Jewish Agency Bureau of Missing Relative, P.O.Box 92, Jerusalem 91000 and can be of tremendous help because she has access to the government immigration records back to the early 20th century. Resources in Israel can be found in my Israel page.

Specific country resources. Obviously it would be of great value to research the local resources of the countries where your ancestors had lived. I have discussed the resources in Spain, but there are resources in many other countries where Sephardim have lived such as countries in North Africa and the Ottoman empire. I discuss this information in my recent book on Sephardic Genealogy.

Shalom and good hunting.

Read this article:
Sephardic Jewish Names and Genealogies, How to start

The Sephardic Studies Collection – content.lib.washington.edu

The Sephardic Studies Collection at the University of Washington is one of most expansive and fastest growing repositories of source materials pertaining to the Sephardic Jewish experience. The Collection showcases a wide array of published and unpublished materials, including novels, prayer books, bibles, manuscripts, and letters, as well as audio.

Documents produced by Sephardic Jews between the 17th and mid-20th centuries with a particular emphasis on the Ladino language (also known as Judezmo or Judeo-Spanish).

Over 140 recordings of Sephardic Jews who were born and raised in the former Ottoman Empire and who immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, collected by Professor Rina Benmayor beginning in 1972.

The Sephardic Studies Collection at the University of Washington is one of most expansive and fastest growing repositories of source materials pertaining to the Sephardic Jewish experience. The Collection showcases a wide array of published and unpublished materials, including novels, prayer books, bibles, manuscripts, letters, newspapers, magazines, songbooks, poetry, theater scripts, marriage contracts, photographs, postcards, and books on religion, history, grammar and more. These documents were produced by Sephardic Jews between the 17th and mid-20th centuries with a particular emphasis on the Ladino language (also known as Judezmo or Judeo-Spanish). The languages contained in these documents also include Hebrew, Aramaic, Turkish, Arabic, Yiddish, French, English, Greek and Italian. Most of the artifacts originated in the former Ottoman Empire, from Turkey and Greece as well as Israel and Egypt. Others were published in Vienna, Livorno, Seattle, New York, Baghdad and Amsterdam.

Until now, the written record of the experiences, anxieties and aspirations of Sephardic Jews remain dispersed and largely shrouded in mystery. Assembled from the bookshelves, closets and basements of residents and institutions in the greater Seattle region, and increasingly elsewhere in the country and abroad, this collection of books constitutes one of the largest Ladino libraries in the United States and the most extensive repository of digitized Ladino texts in the country with more than 500 original works written in Ladino. The collection sheds light on the lesser known history and culture of Sephardic Jews, and it has sparked a revival of interest among academics and community members alike. As the Collection continues to expand, new acquisitions are constantly made and new contributions are always welcomed.

The Sephardic Studies Collection also includes over 140 recordings of songs from the Benmayor Collection of Sephardic Ballads and other Lore. Professor Benmayor began recording these songs in 1972, for her PhD dissertation, and she published her findings in the book Romances Judeo-Espanoles de Orient [Judeo-Spanish Ballads from the Eastern Tradition]. These songs, known as romansas, were sung by Sephardic Jews who were born and raised in the former Ottoman Empire, mainly from Rhodes, Marmara and Tekirdag, all of whom immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.

Learn more about the Sephardic Studies Collection in this article about the project.

Dr. Devin E. Naar, The Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies and Chair of the Sephardic Studies Program, and Ty Alhadeff, the Sephardic Studies Research Coordinator, have prepared and continue to manage the Collection. The database will be updated periodically as new artifacts are added to the digital collection. In addition our staff will continue to update the information attached to each artifact as new research enhances the descriptive records.

Both Naar and Alhadeff, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, and other partners, both academic and lay, publish regular articles highlighting “treasures” from within the Sephardic Studies Collection. These articles both situate texts and artifacts within their historical context and often include excerpted translations from Ladino (and other languages) into English. These articles appear on the Sephardic Studies webpage of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies website.

Sephardic Studies Founders Circle members: The Isaac Alhadeff Foundation, Eli and Rebecca Almo, Joel and Maureen Benoliel, Richard and Barrie Galanti, Harley and Lela Franco, and Marty and Sharon Lott

The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies

The Digital Strategies Office of the University of Washington Libraries

The Washington State Jewish Historical Society

Numerous community partners and supporters

Continue reading here:
The Sephardic Studies Collection – content.lib.washington.edu

Israel Tours, Israel Tour, Israel Vacations, Israel Vacation …

These itineraries reveal many treasures and antiquities, such as the Tomb of King David, the room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion, the Old City of Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some vacations include a stop in Qumran, where the scrolls were discovered. Other highlights include the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Israel’s natural attractions have their own allure. Desert, mountains and the Dead Sea — which marks the world’s lowest point of elevation — are a few scenic highlights of these vacations.

The vacations below are divided into two groups. First, there is a list of trips that visit only Israel, followed by a list of multi-country itineraries that include Israel.

Trips are rated according to the quality of accommodations, the number of included amenities and activities, and the level of service delivered. The vacations below are categorized according to the industry rating scale (budget, first class and deluxe). Click any vacation name for the itinerary, dates and prices.

Visit link:
Israel Tours, Israel Tour, Israel Vacations, Israel Vacation …

Map of Israel, Israel Map – Maps of World – Israel

Description about Map :-On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was founded by the efforts of the World Zionist Organization. Since inception Israel has been in bitter conflict with the neighboring Arab nations. The Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have engaged in violent conflict for many decades now. Jerusalem, the capital city is itself not acknowledged to be part of Israel by many nations but is largely under Israeli occupation. The Western Wall, the Israel Museum, the Tower of David, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Temple Mount of Jerusalem are its greatest attractions. The Map of Israel also points out the Baha’i Gardens of Haifa, the Sea of Galilee, the Diamond Museum of Tel Aviv, Nazereth, the Asdod Sand Dune Park, the Dead Sea, Masada National Park, and the Shivta National Park.

In 586 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon conquered Israel, followed by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 583 BC, who conquered the Babylonian Kingdom, which included the region of Israel.

The Roman Empire arrived and invaded Israel in 63 BC, forcing the Jews to leave the region between 132 to 135 AD, when it was named as Palestine.

The Arabs came in 635 AD, conquering and ruling Israel for over a thousand years.

In 1516, the Ottoman Empire conquered the region and remained as rulers until the First World War, when the British took over. The 1900′s began the intense conflicts between the Arabs and the Jews, which led to the United Nations’ 1947division of the region into the Arab and the Jewish state.

On May 14, 1948, the “State of Israel” was founded. The next decades after Israel’s independence has been filled with conflict between them and Palestine, as well as their Arab neighbors. Conflict over ownership of the land considered holy by the Jews, Christians, and Muslims, have resulted to ongoing regional wars in the region.

The Israeli Coastal Plain, which is found on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, is home to 57% of the population. The entire region is characterized by a variety of geographical features. Fertile land is found in the Jezreel Valley, while mountain ranges are found in Galilee, and the south covered in desert, where the Negev desert is found.

Politics The State of Israel is a representative democratic country. It has a parliament system, with the Prime Minister as Head of Government and Head of Cabinet. A 120-member parliament called Knesset is the country’s legislative body.

The President of Israel acts as Head of State but duties are very limited and largely ceremonial.

Travel Tourism is 1 of Israel’s major sources of national income. Over 3.5 million people from all across the world visited Israel in 2013.

The country is popular for its historic and religious sites first and foremost, with beach resorts and archaeological sites coming in 2nd.

Among the most visited sites in Israel is Jerusalem’s Western Wall or Wailing Wall. Located in the Jerusalem Old City area, at the foot of the western part of the Temple Mount, the wall is a famous site of pilgrimage and prayer for the Jews. Considered sacred and holy, it is common practice for people to place prayer notes in between the cracks of the wall.

The Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the 2nd most visited site in Israel next to Jerusalem. It used to be a fortress and a palace, which was built by Herod the Great. Perched on top of an isolated rock plateau on the Judaean Desert, the ruins are a popular attraction for many foreign tourists.

Tel Aviv is the country’s 2nd largest city, with its collection of Bauhaus architecture protected by the UNESCO. It has a thriving nightlife scene, and is a cosmopolitan, cultural, and financial global city.

Israel’s State Education Law was established in 1953, establishing 5 types of schools: state religious, state secular, ultra orthodox, Arab schools, and communal settlement schools. The largest group is the state secular, attended by majority of Israel’s student population.

The top institutions in the country are Tel Aviv University &The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Trivia

Last Updated : Aug 02,2015

Excerpt from:
Map of Israel, Israel Map – Maps of World – Israel

What do Jews Believe? The 13 Principles of Jewish Faith

By Chaviva Gordon-Bennett

Updated February 05, 2016.

Written in the 12th century by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides or Rambam, the Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith (Shloshah Asar Ikkarim)are considered the “fundamental truths of our religion and its very foundations.”

The treatise is also known as the Thirteen Attributes of Faith or the Thirteen Creeds.

Written as part of his commentary on the Mishnah in Sanhedrin 10, these are the Thirteen Principles that are considered core to Judaism, specifically within the Orthodox community.

The Thirteen Principles conclude with the following:

“When all these foundations are perfectly understood and believed in by a person he enters the community of Israel and one is obligated to love and pity him But if a man doubts any of these foundations, he leaves the community [of Israel], denies the fundamentals, and is called a sectarian,apikores …One is required to hate him and destroy him.”

According to Maimonides, anyone who did not believe in these Thirteen Principles and live a life accordingly was to be declared a heretic and loses their portion in Olam ha’Ba (the World to Come).

Although Maimonides based these principles on Talmudic sources, they were considered controversial when first proposed. According to Menachem Kellner in “Dogma in Medieval Jewish Thought,” these principles were ignored for much of the medieval period thanks to criticism by Rabbi Hasdai Crescas and Rabbi Joseph Albo for minimizing the requirement for the acceptance of the whole of the Torah and its 613 commandments (mitzvot).

For example, Principle 5, the imperativeto worship God exclusively without intermediaries. However, many of the prayers of repentance recited on fast days and during the High Holidays, as well as a portion of Shalom Aleichem that is sung prior to the Sabbath evening meal, are directed at angels. Many rabbinic leaders have approved of petitioning angels to intercede on one’s behalf with God, with one leader of Babylonian Jewry (between 7th and 11th centuries) stating that an angel could even fulfill an individual’s prayer and petition without consulting God (Ozar ha’Geonim,Shabbat 4-6).

Furthermore, the principles regarding the Messiah and resurrection are not widely accepted by Conservative and Reform Judaism, and these tend to be two of the most difficult principles for many to grasp. By and large, outside of Orthodoxy, these principles are viewed as suggestions or options for leading a Jewish life.

Interestingly, the Mormon religion has a set of thirteen principlescomposed by John Smith and Wiccans also have a set of thirteen principles.

Aside from living a life according to these Thirteen Principles, many congregations will recite these in a poetic format, beginning with the words “I believe …” (Anima’amin) every day after the morning services in synagogue.

Also, the poeticYigdal,which is based on the Thirteen Principles, is sung on Friday nights after the conclusion of the Sabbath service. It was composed byDaniel ben Judah Dayyan and completed in 1404.

There is a story in the Talmud that is often told when someone is asked to summarize the essence of Judaism. During the 1st century B.C.E., the great sage Hillel was asked to sum up Judaism while standing on one foot. He replied:

“Certainly! What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the Torah. The rest is commentary, now go and study” (Talmud Shabbat 31a).

Hence, at its core Judaism is concerned with the well-being of humanity. The particulars of every Jew’s individual belief system is the commentary.

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What do Jews Believe? The 13 Principles of Jewish Faith

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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When Ashkenazi Jews Eat Kitniyot on Passover, Is It Cultural …

How do millions of Ashkenazi Jews react when, after hundreds of years, they finally get permission to eat kitniyot on Passover?

Were about to find out.

Last December, the Conservative movements Committee on Jewish Law and Standards approved a teshuvah , a Jewish legal ruling, permitting the consumption of kitniyot on Passover. Kitniyot foods like rice, corn, lentils and beans, which are not technically hametz have long been forbidden to Ashkenazi Jews, but theyre staples of the Sephardic Passover diet. This year marks the first time that many American Jews will learn to include these foods at their holiday table.

My Ashkenazi friends, I have tasted your Passover foods of bitterness. I know you have suffered many years enslaved to a diet of matzo brei with cinnamon and sugar. As a college student, I went back to school after the Seder with Tupperware containers filled with rice and beans so that I wouldnt starve in a pluralistic Hillel that catered to Ashkenazi customs and palates. I am happy that more American Jews will soon be enjoying kitniyot on Passover. For one thing, that makes it more likely that a wider variety of Passover products will be available for my family in my local grocery store.

But after reading the teshuvah , I also have some concerns. Part of my worry stems from the approach with which the Sephardic dietary laws are being adopted: a mix of cultural appropriation and noblesse oblige . Borrowing from the practices of your neighbors is natural; no religious tradition exists in a vacuum. But borrowing has ethical overtones, especially when youre not attuned to whos borrowing from whom and to the relationships of power between those groups. While the Conservative movement in Israel permits Ashkenazi Jews to eat kitniyot partly in order to facilitate positive relationships between Jews of different ethnic backgrounds, that line of argumentation is absent from the American teshuvah.

The heritage of Sephardic Jews does not exist just to make the Passover practices of our Ashkenazi neighbors less burdensome and expensive, and more delicious and nutritious. Kitniyot on Passover is not just food, its foodways . That is, the eating of kitniyot is one piece of a large and diverse culture, spanning centuries and continents, and embedded in history, memory, language, stories and other social practices.

Thats why I think the adoption of Sephardic traditions for Passover food should include some acknowledgement of actual Sephardic tradition. Perhaps any Ashkenazi Jew wishing to eat kitniyot on Passover should have to pass a basic Sephardic cultural literacy test? While Israeli Jews see the vitality of other ethnic Jewish communities every day, in the United States the experiences of Sephardic Jews are rarely taught or even acknowledged, and Jewish is almost always synonymous with Ashkenazi.

Obviously, an actual test would be impractical and silly. But I dont think its silly for Ashkenazi Jews to respectfully try to learn from living American Sephardic Jews how they determine the permissibility of kitniyot on Passover.

In tracing the permissibility of kitniyot , the authors of the CJLS ruling took into account both classical sources and the perspectives of contemporary Ashkenazi Jews who seek a joyful, affordable and kosher holiday. But as far as I can see, there is no account of the local practices of Sephardic American Jews and how they approach eating kitniyot . Its as though Sephardic experience, expertise and life ends in the 16th century with Joseph Caro and the codification of his major legal work, the Shulchan Aruch.

The CJLS released some basic guidelines in order to help members determine which foods are permitted. Of course, Sephardic Conservative Jews have been eating these foods for decades without any guidance from our rabbinate. Weve relied on lists published by Orthodox Sephardic organizations in order to have a kasher vsameach holiday, a kosher and happy Passover.

For now, lets put aside the question of why the Conservative movement in the United States never attended to the needs of Sephardic Conservative Jews and only became interested in the kashrut of kitniyot once it was permissible for Ashkenazim. Instead, let me give an example of the practical perspective I can offer as a result of having kept abreast of the guidelines of Orthodox Sephardic communities.

An important consideration involving the consumption of rice on Passover in the United States is that not all kinds of rice are kosher for all kinds of Sephardic Jews. (And by the way, some Sephardic Jews dont eat rice at all during the holiday.) In order to be considered kosher for Passover by most Sephardic Jews here, rice must not contain additives that may bear hametz. Brown rice is generally fine, but white rice is trickier as it is often enriched with additives, including wheat starch. The CJLS guidelines treat rice as though it is an unprocessed food, but for much of the rice on the shelves in American stores that is not true. To be kosher for Passover for many Sephardic Jews in this country, white rice without special Passover certification should be unprocessed and unenriched.

I am not a rabbi or kashrut scholar. But my point is that its valuable to learn about how Sephardic tradition continued to evolve and play out in the world inhabited by contemporary Sephardim. It seems that the authors of the CJLS guidelines, while purporting to follow the example set by Sephardic tradition, did not think to do that.

Finally, its worth mentioning that some Ashkenazi Jews might not want to eat kitniyot on Passover. They have their own rich cultural heritage, one that has been sustained for hundreds of years, and they may wish to continue the traditional practices of their ancestors. But if Ashkenazi Jews do wish to avail themselves of kitniyot , maybe they can seek to acknowledge the larger culture out of which these foodways emerged. Even better, they can appreciate the legal, artistic and philosophical not just culinary contributions of Sephardic Jewry to Jewish culture and to its ongoing vitality.

Otherwise, my Ashkenazi friends, the rice and lentils youre cooking smell a little like cultural appropriation.

Arielle Levites is a doctoral candidate in education and Jewish studies at New York University, and an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.

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When Ashkenazi Jews Eat Kitniyot on Passover, Is It Cultural …

The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany: The …

The Economic Boycott of 1933

Article from The Barnes Review, Jan./Feb. 2001, pp. 41-45. The Barnes Review, 645 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Suite 100, Washington D.C. 20003, USA. By M. Raphael Johnson, Ph.D., assistant editor of TBR; published here with kind permission from TBR. This digitized version 2002 by The Scriptorium.

The war by the international Jewish leadership on Germany not only sparked definite reprisals by the German government but also set the stage for a little-known economic and political alliance between the Hitler government and the leaders of the Zionist movement who hoped that the tension between the Germans and the Jews would lead to massive emigration to Palestine. In short, the result was a tactical alliance between the Nazis and the founders of the modern-day state of Israel – a fact that many today would prefer be forgotten.

To this day, it is generally (although incorrectly) believed that when Adolf Hitler was appointed German chancellor in January of 1933, the German government began policies to suppress the Jews of Germany, including rounding up of Jews and putting them in concentration camps and launching campaigns of terror and violence against the domestic Jewish population.

While there were sporadic eruptions of violence against Jews in Germany after Hitler came to power, this was not officially sanctioned or encouraged. And the truth is that anti-Jewish sentiments in Germany (or elsewhere in Europe) were actually nothing new. As all Jewish historians attest with much fervor, anti-Semitic uprisings of various degrees had been ever-present in European history.

In any case, in early 1933, Hitler was not the undisputed leader of Germany, nor did he have full command of the armed forces. Hitler was a major figure in a coalition government, but he was far from being the government himself. That was the result of a process of consolidation which evolved later.

Even Germany’s Jewish Central Association, known as the Verein, contested the suggestion (made by some Jewish leaders outside Germany) that the new government was deliberately provoking anti-Jewish uprisings.

The Verein issued a statement that “the responsible government authorities [i.e. the Hitler regime] are unaware of the threatening situation,” saying, “we do not believe our German fellow citizens will let themselves be carried away into committing excesses against the Jews.”

Despite this, Jewish leaders in the United States and Britain determined on their own that it was necessary to launch a war against the Hitler government.

On March 12, 1933 the American Jewish Congress announced a massive protest at Madison Square Gardens for March 27. At that time the commander in chief of the Jewish War Veterans called for an American boycott of German goods. In the meantime, on March 23, 20,000 Jews protested at New York’s City Hall as rallies were staged outside the North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American shipping lines and boycotts were mounted against German goods throughout shops and businesses in New York City.

According to The Daily Express of London of March 24, 1933, the Jews had already launched their boycott against Germany and her elected government. The headline read “Judea Declares War on Germany – Jews of All the World Unite – Boycott of German Goods – Mass Demonstrations.” The article described a forthcoming “holy war” and went on to implore Jews everywhere to boycott German goods and engage in mass demonstrations against German economic interests. According to the Express:

The whole of Israel throughout the world is uniting to declare an economic and financial war on Germany. The appearance of the Swastika as the symbol of the new Germany has revived the old war symbol of Judas to new life. Fourteen million Jews scattered over the entire world are tight to each other as if one man, in order to declare war against the German persecutors of their fellow believers. The Jewish wholesaler will quit his house, the banker his stock exchange, the merchant his business, and the beggar his humble hut, in order to join the holy war against Hitler’s people.

The Express said that Germany was “now confronted with an international boycott of its trade, its finances, and its industry…. In London, New York, Paris and Warsaw, Jewish businessmen are united to go on an economic crusade.”

The article said “worldwide preparations are being made to organize protest demonstrations,” and reported that “the old and reunited nation of Israel gets in formation with new and modern weapons to fight out its age old battle against its persecutors.”

This truly could be described as “the first shot fired in the Second World War.”

In a similar vein, the Jewish newspaper Natscha Retsch wrote:

The war against Germany will be waged by all Jewish communities, conferences, congresses… by every individual Jew. Thereby the war against Germany will ideologically enliven and promote our interests, which require that Germany be wholly destroyed. The danger for us Jews lies in the whole German people, in Germany as a whole as well as individually. It must be rendered harmless for all time…. In this war we Jews have to participate, and this with all the strength and might we have at our disposal.

However, note well that the Zionist Association of Germany put out a telegram on the 26th of March rejecting many of the allegations made against the National Socialists as “propaganda,” “mendacious” and “sensational.”

In fact, the Zionist faction had every reason to ensure the permanence of National Socialist ideology in Germany. Klaus Polkehn, writing in the Journal of Palestine Studies (“The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany, 1933-1941″; JPS v. 3/4, spring/summer 1976), claims that the moderate attitude of the Zionists was due to their vested interest in seeing the financial victory of National Socialism to force immigration to Palestine. This little-known factor would ultimately come to play a pivotal part in the relationship between Nazi Germany and the Jews.

In the meantime, though, German Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath complained of the “vilification campaign” and said:

As concerns Jews, I can only say that their propagandists abroad are rendering their co-religionists in Germany no service by giving the German public, through their distorted and untruthful news about persecution and torture of Jews, the impression that they actually halt at nothing, not even at lies and calumny, to fight the present German government.

The fledgling Hitler government itself was clearly trying to contain the growing tension – both within Germany and without. In the United States, even U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull wired Rabbi Stephen Wise of the American Jewish Congress and urged caution:

Whereas there was for a short time considerable physical mistreatment of Jews, this phase may be considered virtually terminated…. A stabilization appears to have been reached in the field of personal mistreatment…. I feel hopeful that the situation which has caused such widespread concern throughout this country will soon revert to normal.

This New York Daily News front page headline hailed the massive anti-German protest rally held in Madison Square Garden on March 27, 1933. Despite efforts by the German government to alleviate tensions and prevent the escalation of name-calling and threats by the international Jewish leadership, the rally was held as scheduled. Similar rallies and protest marches were also being held in other cities during the same time frame. The intensity of the Jewish campaign against Germany was such that the Hitler government vowed that if the campaign did not stop, there would be a one-day boycott in Germany of Jewish-owned stores. Despite this, the hate campaign continued, forcing Germany to take defensive measures that created a situation wherein the Jews of Germany became increasingly marginalized. The truth about the Jewish war on Germany has been suppressed by most histories of the period.

It was in direct response to this that the German government announced a one-day boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany on April 1. German Propaganda Minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels announced that if, after the one-day boycott, there were no further attacks on Germany, the boycott would be stopped. Hitler himself responded to the Jewish boycott and the threats in a speech on March 28 – four days after the original Jewish declaration of war – saying:

Now that the domestic enemies of the nation have been eliminated by the Volk itself, what we have long been waiting for will not come to pass. The Communist and Marxist criminals and their Jewish-intellectual instigators, who, having made off with their capital stocks across the border in the nick of time, are now unfolding an unscrupulous, treasonous campaign of agitation against the German Volk as a whole from there…. Lies and slander of positively hair-raising perversity are being launched about Germany. Horror stories of dismembered Jewish corpses, gouged out eyes and hacked off hands are circulating for the purpose of defaming the German Volk in the world for the second time, just as they had succeeded in doing once before in 1914.

Thus, the fact – one conveniently left out of nearly all history on the subject – is that Hitler’s March 28, 1933 boycott order was in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership just four days earlier. Today, Hitler’s boycott order is described as a naked act of aggression, yet the full circumstances leading up to his order are seldom described in even the most ponderous and detailed histories of “the Holocaust”.

Not even Saul Friedlander in his otherwise comprehensive overview of German policy, Nazi Germany and the Jews, mentions the fact that the Jewish declaration of war and boycott preceded Hitler’s speech of March 28, 1933. Discerning readers would be wise to ask why Friedlander felt this item of history so irrelevant.

The simple fact is that it was organized Jewry as a political entity – and not even the German Jewish community per se – that actually initiated the first shot in the war with Germany.

Placard text: “Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t shop at Jewish stores!” Photo not part of original TBR article – added by The Scriptorium.

To understand Hitler’s reaction to the Jewish declaration of war, it is vital to understand the critical state of the German economy at the time. In 1933, the German economy was in a shambles. Some 3 million Germans were on public assistance with a total of 6 million unemployed. Hyper-inflation had destroyed the economic vitality of the German nation. Furthermore, the anti-German propaganda pouring out of the global press strengthened the resolve of Germany’s enemies, especially the Poles and their hawkish military high command.

The Jewish leaders were not bluffing. The boycott was an act of war not solely in metaphor: it was a means, well crafted, to destroy Germany as a political, social and economic entity. The long term purpose of the Jewish boycott against Germany was to bankrupt her with respect to the reparation payments imposed on Germany after World War I and to keep Germany demilitarized and vulnerable.

The boycott, in fact, was quite crippling to Germany. Jewish scholars such as Edwin Black have reported that, in response to the boycott, German exports were cut by 10 percent, and that many were demanding seizing German assets in foreign countries (Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement – The Untold Story of the Secret Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine, New York, 1984).

The attacks on Germany did not cease. The worldwide Jewish leadership became ever the more belligerent and worked itself into a frenzy. An International Jewish Boycott Conference was held in Amsterdam to coordinate the ongoing boycott campaign. It was held under the auspices of the self-styled World Jewish Economic Federation, of which famous New York City attorney and longtime political power broker, Samuel Untermyer, was elected president.

Upon returning to the United States in the wake of the conference, Untermyer delivered a speech over WABC Radio (New York), a transcript of which was printed in The New York Times on August 7, 1933.

Untermyer’s inflammatory oratory called for a “sacred war” against Germany, making the flat-out allegation that Germany was engaged in a plan to “exterminate the Jews.” He said (in part):

…Germany [has] been converted from a nation of culture into a veritable hell of cruel and savage beasts. We owe it not only to our persecuted brethren but to the entire world to now strike in self-defense a blow that will free humanity from a repetition of this incredible outrage…. Now or never must all the nations of the earth make common cause against the… slaughter, starvation and annihilation… fiendish torture, cruelty and persecution that are being inflicted day by day upon these men, women and children…. When the tale is told… the world will confront a picture so fearful in its barbarous cruelty that the hell of war and the alleged Belgian atrocities pale into insignificance as compared to this devilishly, deliberately, cold-bloodedly planned and already partially executed campaign for the extermination of a proud, gentle, loyal, law-abiding people… The Jews are the aristocrats of the world. From time immemorial they have been persecuted and have seen their persecutors come and go. They alone have survived. And so will history repeat itself, but that furnishes no reason why we should permit this reversion of a once great nation to the Dark Ages or fail to rescue these 600,000 human souls from the tortures of hell…. …What we are proposing and have already gone far toward doing, is to prosecute a purely defensive economic boycott that will undermine the Hitler regime and bring the German people to their senses by destroying their export trade on which their very existence depends. …We propose to and are organizing world opinion to express itself in the only way Germany can be made to understand….

Untermyer then proceeded to provide his listeners with a wholly fraudulent history of the circumstances of the German boycott and how it originated. He also proclaimed that the Germans were bent on a plan to “exterminate the Jews”:

The Hitler regime originated and are fiendishly prosecuting their boycott to exterminate the Jews by placarding Jewish shops, warning Germans against dealing with them, by imprisoning Jewish shopkeepers and parading them through the streets by the hundreds under guard of Nazi troops for the sole crime of being Jews, by ejecting them from the learned professions in which many of them had attained eminence, by excluding their children from the schools, their men from the labor unions, closing against them every avenue of livelihood, locking them in vile concentration camps and starving and torturing them without cause and resorting to every other conceivable form of torture, inhuman beyond conception, until suicide has become their only means of escape, and all solely because they are or their remote ancestors were Jews, and all with the avowed object of exterminating them.

Untermyer concluded his largely fantastic and hysterical address by declaring that with the support of “Christian friends… we will drive the last nail in the coffin of bigotry and fanaticism….”

The Biggest Secret of WWII? Why Germany Began Rounding Up Jews and Deporting Them to the East

However, during this same period there were some unusual developments at work: The spring of 1933 also witnessed the beginning of a period of private cooperation between the German government and the Zionist movement in Germany and Palestine (and actually worldwide) to increase the flow of German-Jewish immigrants and capital to Palestine.

The modern-day supporters of Zionist Israel and many historians have succeeded in keeping this Nazi-Zionist pact a secret to the general public for decades and while most Americans have no concept of the possibility that there could have been outright collaboration between the Nazi leadership and the founders of what became the state of Israel, the truth has begun to emerge.

Dissident Jewish writer Lenni Brennar’s Zionism In the Age of the Dictators, published by a small press and not given the publicity it deserves by the so-called “mainstream” media (which is otherwise obsessed with the Holocaust era), was perhaps the first major endeavor in this realm.

In response to Brennar and others, the Zionist reaction has usually consisted of declarations that their collaboration with Nazi Germany was undertaken solely to save the lives of Jews. But the collaboration was all the more remarkable because it took place at a time when many Jews and Jewish organizations demanded a boycott of Germany.

To the Zionist leaders, Hitler’s assumption of power held out the possibility of a flow of immigrants to Palestine. Previously, the majority of German Jews, who identified themselves as Germans, had little sympathy with the Zionist cause of promoting the ingathering of world Jewry to Palestine. But the Zionists saw that only the anti-Semitic Hitler was likely to push the anti-Zionist German Jews into the arms of Zionism.

For all the modern-day wailing by worldwide supporters of Israel (not to mention the Israelis themselves) about “the Holocaust”, they neglect to mention that making the situation in Germany as uncomfortable for the Jews as possible – in cooperation with German National Socialism – was part of the plan.

According to Jewish historian Walter Laqueur and many others, German Jews were far from convinced that immigration to Palestine was the answer. Furthermore, although the majority of German Jews refused to consider the Zionists as their political leaders, it is clear that Hitler protected and cooperated with the Zionists for the purposes of implementing the final solution: the mass transfer of Jews to the Middle East.

Edwin Black, in his massive tome The Transfer Agreement (Macmillan, 1984), stated that although most Jews did not want to flee to Palestine at all, due to the Zionist movement’s influence within Nazi Germany a Jew’s best chance of getting out of Germany was by emigrating to Palestine. In other words, the Transfer Agreement itself mandated that Jewish capital could only to go Palestine.

Thus, according to the Zionists, a Jew could leave Germany only if he went to the Levant.

The primary difficulty with the Transfer Agreement (or even the idea of such an agreement) was that the English [!!!; Scriptorium] were demanding, as a condition of immigration, that each immigrant pay 1,000 pounds sterling upon arrival in Haifa or elsewhere. The difficulty was that such hard currency was nearly impossible to come by in a cash-strapped and radically inflationary Germany. This was the main idea behind the final Transfer Agreement. Laqueur writes:

A large German bank would freeze funds paid in by immigrants in blocked accounts for German exporters, while a bank in Palestine would control the sale of German goods to Palestine, thereby providing the immigrants with the necessary foreign currency on the spot. Sam Cohen, co-owner of Hanoaiah Ltd. and initiator of the transfer endeavors, was however subjected to long-lasting objections from his own people and finally had to concede that such a transfer agreement could only be concluded on a much higher level with a bank of its own rather than that of a private company. The renowned Anglo-Palestine Bank in London would be included in this transfer deal and create a trust company for [this] purpose.

Of course, this is of major historical importance in dealing with the relationship between Zionism and National Socialism in Germany in the 1930s. The relationship was not one merely of mutual interest and political favoritism on the part of Hitler, but a close financial relationship with German banking families and financial institutions as well. Black writes:

It was one thing for the Zionists to subvert the anti-Nazi boycott. Zionism needed to transfer out the capital of German Jews, and merchandise was the only available medium. But soon Zionist leaders understood that the success of the future Jewish Palestinian economy would be inextricably bound up with the survival of the Nazi economy. So the Zionist leadership was compelled to go further. The German economy would have to be safeguarded, stabilized, and if necessary reinforced. Hence, the Nazi party and the Zionist organizers shared a common stake in the recovery of Germany.

Thus one sees a radical fissure in world Jewry around 1933 and beyond. There were, first, the non-Zionist Jews (specifically the World Jewish Congress founded in 1933), who, on the one hand, demanded the boycott and eventual destruction of Germany. Black notes that many of these people were not just in New York and Amsterdam, but a major source for this also came from Palestine proper.

On the other hand, one can see the judicious use of such feelings by the Zionists for the sake of eventual resettlement in Palestine. In other words, it can be said (and Black does hint at this) that Zionism believed that, since Jews would be moving to the Levant, capital flight would be necessary for any new economy to function.

The result was the understanding that Zionism would have to ally itself with National Socialism, so that the German government would not impede the flow of Jewish capital out of the country.

It served the Zionist interests at the time that Jews be loud in their denunciations of German practices against the Jews to scare them into the Levant, but, on the other hand, Laqueur states that “The Zionists became motivated not to jeopardize the German economy or currency.” In other words, the Zionist leadership of the Jewish Diaspora was one of subterfuge and underhandedness, with only the advent of German hostility towards Jewry convincing the world’s Jews that immigration was the only escape.

The fact is that the ultimate establishment of the state of Israel was based on fraud. The Zionists did not represent anything more than a small minority of German Jews in 1933.

On the one hand, the Zionist fathers of Israel wanted loud denunciations of Germany’s “cruelties” to the world’s Jews while at the same time demanding moderation so that the National Socialist government would remain stable, financially and politically. Thus Zionism boycotted the boycott.

For all intents and purposes, the National Socialist government was the best thing to happen to Zionism in its history, for it “proved” to many Jews that Europeans were irredeemably anti-Jewish and that Palestine was the only answer: Zionism came to represent the overwhelming majority of Jews solely by trickery and cooperation with Adolf Hitler.

For the Zionists, both the denunciations of German policies towards Jews (to keep Jews frightened), plus the reinvigoration of the German economy (for the sake of final resettlement) was imperative for the Zionist movement. Ironically, today the Zionist leaders of Israel complain bitterly about the horrific and inhuman regime of the National Socialists. So the fraud continues.

The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany The Economic Boycott of 1933

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The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany: The …