See Also:Jew

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Updated:Sunday 12th October 2014

Jewish ?

Jewish Definition

Of or pertaining to the Jewish religion; of Jewish descent; Yiddish (Informal) (Wikipedia) - Jews   (Redirected from Jewish) This article is about the Jewish people. For their religion, law and culture, see Judaism. "Jew" redirects here. For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). Jews Hebrew: יהודים‎ (Yehudim) Total population Regions with significant populations  Israel  United States  France  Canada  United Kingdom  Russia  Argentina  Germany  Australia  Hungary  Brazil  South Africa  Ukraine  Mexico  Belgium  Netherlands  Italy  Turkey  Chile  Iran All other countries Languages Religion Related ethnic groups
Maimonides Baruch Spinoza Sholem Aleichem
Emmy Noether George Gershwin Albert Einstein
David Ben-Gurion Marc Chagall Natalie Portman
5,425,000 (2011) – 6,800,000
194,000 – over 500,000
100,000 – 120,000
67,000- 200,000
Predominant spoken languages:
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  • Hebrew
  • Russian
  • the vernacular languages of other countries in the diaspora
Historical languages:
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  • Ladino
  • Judeo-Arabic
  • others
Sacred languages:
other Levantines, Samaritans, Arabs, Assyrians
Jews and Judaism
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The Jews (Hebrew: יְהוּדִים ISO 259-3 Yehudim, Israeli pronunciation ; בני ישראל, Standard: Bnai Yisraʾel; Tiberian: Bnai Yiśrāʾēl; ISO 259-3: Bnai Yiśraʾel, translated as: "Children of Israel" or "Sons of Israel"), also known as the Jewish people, are an ethnoreligious group originating from the Historical Israelites (Hebrews) of the Ancient Near East.

According to Jewish tradition, 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 Joseph (who rose to the rank of Pharaoh''s Vizier) in the Land of Goshen region by Pharaoh himself. The patriarchs'' descendants were later enslaved until the Exodus led by Moses, which is commonly dated to the 13th century BCE. Historically, Jews have descended mostly from the tribes of Judah and Simeon, and partially from the tribes of Benjamin and Levi, who had all together formed the ancient Kingdom of Judah (alongside the remnants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel who migrated to their Southern counterpart and assimilated there). A closely related group is the Samaritans, who claim descent from the Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, while according to the Bible their origin is in the people brought to Israel by the Neo-Assyrian Empire and some Cohanim (Jewish priests) who taught them how to worship the "native God".

The Jewish ethnicity, nationality and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation. Converts to Judaism typically have a status within the Jewish ethnos equal to those born into it. Conversion is not encouraged by mainstream Judaism, and is considered a tough task, mainly applicable for cases of mixed marriages.

The modern State of Israel was established as a Jewish nation-state and defines itself as such in its Basic Laws. Its Law of Return grants the right of citizenship to any Jew who requests it. Israel is the only country where Jews are a majority of the population. Jews had also enjoyed political independence twice before in ancient history. The first of these periods lasted from 1350 to 586 BCE, and encompassed the periods of the Judges, the United Monarchy, and the Divided Monarchy of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, ending with the destruction of the First Temple. The second was the period of the Hasmonean Kingdom spanning from 140 to 37 BCE and to some degree under Herodians from 37 BCE to 6 CE. Since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, most Jews have lived in diaspora. 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.

The world Jewish population reached a peak of 16.7 million prior to World War II, but 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Since then the population has risen again, and as of 2012 was estimated at 13.75 million by the North American Jewish Data Bank, or less than 0.2% of the total world population (roughly one in every 514 people). According to this report, about 43% of all Jews reside in Israel (6 million), and 39% in the United States (5.3–6.8 million), with most of the remainder living in Europe (1.5 million) and Canada (0.4 million). These numbers include all those who self-identified as Jews in a socio-demographic study or were identified as so by a respondent in the same household. The exact world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. In addition to issues with census methodology, there are halakhic disputes regarding who is a Jew and secular, political, and ancestral identification factors that may affect the figure considerably.

  • 1 Name and etymology
  • 2 Origins
  • 3 Judaism
  • 4 Who is a Jew?
  • 5 Ethnic divisions
  • 6 Languages
  • 7 Genetic studies
  • 8 Demographics
    • 8.1 Population centers
      • 8.1.1 Israel
      • 8.1.2 Diaspora (outside Israel)
    • 8.2 Demographic changes
      • 8.2.1 Assimilation
      • 8.2.2 War and persecution
      • 8.2.3 Migrations
      • 8.2.4 Growth
  • 9 Leadership
  • 10 Notable individuals
  • 11 References
  • 12 Further reading
  • 13 External links

Name and etymology Main articles: Jew (word) and Ioudaios

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".

The Greek term was originally a loan from Aramaic Y''hūdāi, corresponding to Hebrew: יְהוּדִי, Yehudi (sg.); יְהוּדִים, Yehudim (pl.), in origin the term for a member of the tribe of Judah or the people of the kingdom of Judah. The name of both the tribe and kingdom derive from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob.

The Hebrew word for Jew, יְהוּדִי ISO 259-3 Yhudi, is pronounced , with the stress on the final syllable, in Israeli Hebrew, in its basic form. The Ladino name is ג׳ודיו, Djudio (sg.); ג׳ודיוס, Djudios (pl.); Yiddish: ייִד Yid (sg.); ייִדן, Yidn (pl.).

The etymological equivalent is in use in other languages, e.g., يَهُودِيّ yahoudiy (sg.); al-yahoud (pl.), and بَنُو اِسرَائِيل banoo israa''eel in Arabic, "Jude" in German, "judeu" in Portuguese, "juif" in French, "jøde" in Danish and Norwegian, "judío" in Spanish, "jood" in Dutch, 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: عبری/عبرانی‎)) and Russian (Еврей, Yevrey). The German word "Jude" is pronounced , the corresponding adjective "jüdisch" (Jewish) is the origin of the word "Yiddish". (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.


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