History of Judaism

The History of Judaism is the history of the Jewish people, their religion and culture, tracing back to the Biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of the 18th c. BCE. The earliest mention of Israel as a people was discovered in an inscription on the Merneptah Stele from the 1200s BCE.

3,758 Questions
History of Judaism

What is the Jewish name of God?

Yahway is God's correct Jewish name. God's Jewish name translated into English is Jehovah

History of Judaism

Why do Zionists hate Christians?


History of Judaism
Nazi Concentration Camps

How many Jews were killed in the Holocaust?

Since 1945-46, the most commonly quoted figure for the total number of Jews killed has been an estimate of approximately six million. This figure, first given at the Nuremberg Tribunal, has been broadly confirmed by later research.

The Holocaust commemoration center, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, comments:

There is no precise figure for the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. The figure commonly used is the six million established by the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1946 and repeated later by Adolf Eichmann, a senior SS official. Most research confirms that the number of victims was between five and six million. Early calculations range from 5.1 million (Professor Raul Hilberg) to 5.95 million (Jacob Leschinsky). More recent research, by Professor Yisrael Gutman and Dr. Robert Rozett in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, estimates the Jewish losses at 5.59-5.86 million, and a study headed by Dr. Wolfgang Benz presents a range from 5.29-6.2 million. The main sources for these statistics are comparisons of prewar censuses with postwar censuses and population estimates. Nazi documentation containing partial data on various deportations and murders is also used. We estimate that Yad Vashem currently has somewhat more than four million names of victims that are accessible.

Raul Hilberg, in the third edition of his ground-breaking three-volume work, The Destruction of the European Jews, estimates that 5.1 million Jews died during the Holocaust. This figure includes "over 800,000" who died from "Ghettoization and general privation"; 1,400,000 who were killed in "Open-air shootings"; and "up to 2,900,000" who perished in camps. Hilberg estimates the death toll in Poland at "up to 3,000,000". Hilberg's numbers are generally considered to be a conservative estimate, as they typically include only those deaths for which some records are available, avoiding statistical adjustment. British historian Martin Gilbert used a similar approach in his "Atlas of the Holocaust", but arrived at a number of 5.75 million Jewish victims, since he estimated higher numbers of Jews killed in Russia and other locations.

One of the most authoritative German scholars of the Holocaust, Wolfgang Benz of the Technical University of Berlin, cites between 5.3 and 6.2 million Jews killed in Dimension des Völkermords (1991), while Yisrael Gutman and Robert Rozett estimate between 5.59 and 5.86 million Jewish victims in the Encyclopaedia of the Holocaust (1990).

There were about 9.4 million Jews in the territories controlled directly or indirectly by the Nazis. (Some uncertainty arises from the lack of knowledge about how many Jews there were in the Soviet Union). The 6 million killed in the Holocaust thus represent about 64% of these Jews. Of Poland's 3.3 million Jews, over 90 percent were killed. The same proportion were killed in Latvia and Lithuania, but most of Estonia's Jews were evacuated in time. In Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands and Yugoslavia, over 70 percent were killed. More than 50 percent were killed in Belgium, Hungary and Romania. It is likely that a similar proportion were killed in Belarus and Ukraine, but these figures are less certain. Countries with notably lower proportions of deaths include Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Italy and Norway. Finally, of the 750,000 Jews in Germany and Austria in 1933, only about a quarter survived. Although many German Jews emigrated before 1939, the majority of these fled to Czechoslovakia, France or the Netherlands, from where they were later deported to their deaths.

The number of people killed at the major extermination camps is estimated as follows:

Auschwitz-Birkenau: 1.4 million; Belzec: 500,000; Chelmno: 152,000; Majdanek: 78,000; Maly Trostinets: 65,000; Sobibór: 250,000; and Treblinka: 870,000.

This gives a total of over 3.3 million; of these, 90% are estimated to have been Jews. These seven camps alone thus accounted for half the total number of Jews killed in the entire Nazi Holocaust. Virtually the entire Jewish population of Poland died in these camps.

In addition to those who died in the above extermination camps, at least half a million Jews died in other camps, including the major concentration camps in Germany. These were not extermination camps, but had large numbers of Jewish prisoners at various times, particularly in the last year of the war as the Nazis withdrew from Poland. About a million people died in these camps, and although the proportion of Jews is not known with certainty, it was estimated to be at least 50 percent. Another 800,000 to 1 million Jews were killed by the Einsatzgruppen in the occupied Soviet territories (an approximate figure, since the Einsatzgruppen killings were frequently undocumented). Many more died through execution or of disease and malnutrition in the ghettos of Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary before they could be deported.

History of Judaism
Historical Figures

What are some important Jewish historical names dates and events?

All of the dates and information provided below are based on the Jewish Torah, Talmud and oral tradition. Note that many hundreds of names and dates have been omitted for the sake of brevity. Early Era:

  • Terah, Abraham's father was born, 1882 BCE.
Era of the Patriarchs:
  • Avraham, founder of Jewish belief, born 1812 BCE (= "Before the Common Era"). Abraham founded the tradition of monotheism, which is the belief in One God.
  • Yitzchak (Isaac), second of the Avot (Patriarchs), born 1712 BCE.
  • Yaakov (Jacob), third of the three Patriarchs, born 1652 BCE.
Era of the sojourn in Egypt:
  • Yosef (Joseph), born 1563 BCE, became Viceroy of Egypt.
  • The sojourn in Egypt was 1522-1312 BCE. The enslavement in Egypt began in 1428 BCE.
Era of Moses and Joshua:
  • Moshe (Moses) was born in 1392 BCE. He played a key role in the Exodus, and brought down the Two Stone Tablets from God.
  • The forty years in the Wilderness were 1312-1272 BCE.
  • The Israelites crossed the Jordan into Canaan, 1272 BCE. Yehoshua (Joshua, died 1244 BCE), leader after Moses, led the conquest of Canaan. His period of leadership was 1272-1244 BCE.
Era of the Judges: The era of the Judges was 1244-879 BCE. Here are some of the prominent Judges:
  • Devorah became leader in 1107 BCE. She was a female Torah-sage and Judge who led a miraculous victory over a Canaanite king (Judges ch.4-5).
  • Gideon became Judge in 1067 BCE. He led a miraculous victory over the Midianites (Judges ch.6-8).
  • Yiphtach (Jephthah) became leader in 982 BCE. He led a miraculous victory over the Ammonites (Judges ch.11).
  • Shimshon (Samson) became leader in 951 BCE. This Judge had unequaled strength and subdued the Philistines for many years (Judges ch.13-15).
  • Shmuel (Samuel) became leader in 890 BCE. He marked the transition from Judges to Kings.
  • The Mishkan (Tabernacle) at Shiloh is overrun by the Philistines, 888 BCE.
Era of the Kings: The era of the Kings lasted until the destruction of the First Temple in 422 BCE.

Here are some of the prominent kings, prophets and events:

  • Shaul (Saul), died 876 BCE, was first of the Kings. 1 Samuel ch.8-31.
  • King David reigned 40 years, from 876 BCE.
  • The building of the First Temple commenced in 832 BCE, by King Solomon, who reigned 40 years. See 1 Kings ch.6-8. The First Temple stood for 410 years.
  • Yerav'am (Jeroboam) took power in 796 BCE. He split the Ten Tribes (the Northern Kingdom of Israel) away from the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings ch.12).
  • Eliyahu (Elijah), 8th century BCE, famous prophet. See 1 Kings ch.17 until 2 Kings ch.2.
  • Yeshayahu (Isaiah), best-known of the Prophets, began his prophecies in 619 BCE.
  • Exile of the Ten Tribes by the Assyrians to points presently unknown, in 555 BCE.
  • Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) began his prophecies in 463 BCE. Warned about the impending Destruction.
  • Yechezkel (Ezekiel) prophesied, 429 BCE.
Era of the Babylonian Exile (422-352 BCE):
  • Destruction of the First Temple, in 422 BCE.
  • Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream in 422 BCE.
  • Zerubavel led the Jewish return to Israel (Judea) in 371 BCE, after King Cyrus of Persia permitted it. 18 years later, another wave of Jews returned with Ezra, while Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls.
  • The events of Purim (Scroll of Esther) were in 355 BCE.
  • Mordecai institutes the annual Purim celebration, 354 BCE.
Second Temple Era (352 BCE-68 CE):
  • Building of the Second Temple, 352 BCE. The Second Temple stood for 420 years. Soon after its construction, prophecy ceased.
  • Anshei Knesset HaGedolah - The Men of the Great Assembly. This Sanhedrin (high court of sages) sealed the canon of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
  • Shimon HaTzadik died in 273 BCE. One of the early sages.
  • Writing of the Septuagint, in 246 BCE.
  • The revolt of Mattityahu the Chashmona'i (Hasmonean), against the Syrian-Greeks, in 168 BCE.
  • The miracle of Hanukkah, 165 BCE.
  • Sh'lomit (Queen Salome) ruled 73-64 BCE. A brief period of peace in the turbulent Second Temple era.
  • The Romans gained control of Judea in 61 BCE.
  • Hillel, died 8 BCE. A beloved sage, famous for his humility.
  • Agrippa I (grandson of Herod) ruled, 21 CE (= "Common Era"). A rare instance of a benign Roman ruler. Not to be confused with the wicked Agrippa II, who began ruling 35 years later.
  • Christianity started spreading around this time, but not among the Jews.
  • Destruction of the Second Temple, 68 CE.
  • Fall of Masada, 73 CE.
Era of the Mishna and Talmud-sages:
  • Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, died 74 CE, gained the favor of Vespasian and managed to rescue a number of leading Torah-sages and brought them to the yeshiva (Torah-academy) in Yavneh.
  • Betar fell, and Bar Kochba's revolt ended in tragedy, 133 CE.
  • Rabbi Akiva, died 134 CE, was a leading Torah-sage throughout the Roman upheavals.
  • Rabbi Judah Hanassi, died 188 CE, completed the collation of the Mishna (Oral Law), based on ancient tradition.
  • Rav (Rabbi Abba Aricha) left Israel and settled in Babylonia, from 219 CE. Founded the yeshiva (Torah academy) of Sura. Died 247 CE.
  • Rabbi Yochanan was the leading Talmudic authority, from 254 CE. Collated the Jerusalem Talmud.
  • Rabbi Yehudah was the leading Talmudic authority, from 298 CE. Disciple of Rav.
  • Abayei and Rava were the leading Talmudic authorities, from 325 CE. These two participated in the collation of the Babylonian Talmud.
  • Rav (Rabbi) Ashi was the leading Talmudic authority, from 392 CE.
  • End of the collation of the Talmud, 475 CE. It was put in writing 25 years later.
Era of the Geonim (Torah-leaders in Babylonia):
  • The yeshiva of Pumbeditha was reopened (after Persian persecutions), 589 CE. Era of the Geonim begins.
  • The yeshiva of Sura was reopened, 609 CE.
  • Rabbi Yitzchak was the last Gaon (sage) of Neharde'a (Firuz-Shabur). 636 CE.
  • Rabbi Achai Gaon left Bavel (Iraq) for Israel, 755 CE.
  • The Halakhot Gedolot, an early codex of halakha (Torah laws), was written at this time. 759 CE.
  • Rabbi Amram (who put the Siddur [prayerbook] in writing), became Gaon (Torah-leader) of Sura in 858 CE.
  • Rabbi Saadya (882-942) was appointed Gaon of Sura, from 928 CE. He led opposition against the breakaway Karaites.
  • Four sages were taken hostage and ransomed at around this time, 955 CE. This event contributed to the spread of Torah-learning to lands other than Babylonia.
  • Rabbi Sherira (906-1006) became Gaon of Pumbedita, from 968 CE.
  • Rabbi Hai Gaon (939-1038), last of the leading Babylonian Torah sages.
European Jewry:
  • Rabbi Gershom Me'or HaGolah (c.960-1040) was the sage who decreed against Jewish polygamy.
  • Rabbi Isaac Al-Fasi (1013-1103) was the author of a major compendium of Halakha.
  • Rashi (Rabbi Shelomo Yitzchaki, 1040-1105), author of the greatest of the Talmud commentaries.
  • First Crusade, 1096. First recorded blood libel, 1144.
  • Rabbenu Tam (Rabbi Yaakov Tam, 1100-1170), a leading Talmudist. He was a grandson of Rashi.
  • The Rambam (Maimonides), 1135-1204, author of several major works in halakha and Jewish thought.
  • A massive burning of the Talmud by anti-Semites took place in Paris, 1242.
  • The Inquisition began to use torture, 1252.
  • The Ramban (Nachmanides), 1194-1270, author of a leading commentary on the Torah.
  • All Jews were expelled from England, 1290.
  • The Maharam (Rabbi Meir) of Rothenburg (1215-1293), last of the Tosafists (early Talmud-commentators).
  • The Ralbag (Rabbi Levi ben Gershom), 1288-1344, author of a commentary on the Bible.
  • Rabbi Nissim (1320-1376), and other Torah-scholars in Spain, were imprisoned. 1367.
  • The expulsion of Jews from France, 1394.
  • Rabbi Yosef Albo (1380-1444) was in a forced debate with Christians, 1413.
  • The invention of printing, 1440s.
  • Rabbi Ovadya Bertinura (1445-1515), Rabbi in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) from 1488, author of the leading commentary on the Mishna.
  • Jews expelled from Spain and Sicily, 1492.
  • Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel (1437-1508), Rabbi in Naples from 1493. Author of a book on Jewish thought.
  • All Jews were expelled from Portugal, 1496.
  • The Turks (Ottoman Empire) conquered the land of Israel, 1516.
  • Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488-1575) published the Shulchan Arukh, a leading text of Jewish law, in 1566.
Later Rabbis and events:
  • Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572), was a leading kabbalist.
  • The Maharal (Rabbi Loewe), 1512-1609, Rabbi in Prague from 1573. Maker of the legendary Golem.
  • Rabbi Shmuel Eidels (1555-1631), Rabbi in Lublin from 1614, author of a leading Talmud commentary.
  • Rabbi Yoel Sirkes (1561-1640), author of a major commentary on the Shulchan Arukh.
  • Rabbi Shabsei Cohen (1621-1662) and Rabbi David Halevi (1586-1667) publish leading commentaries on the Shulchan Arukh in 1646.
  • Chmielnicki massacres, 1648-9.
  • Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707-1746), author of a famous text on piety.
  • Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov (1700-1760), founder of modern Hassidism.
  • The Pale of Jewish Settlement was established in Russia, 1791.
  • The Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, 1720-1797), famous Talmudist.
  • Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (1724-1806), sage and biliographer.
  • Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), charismatic pietist and Hassidic leader.
  • Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (1810-1883), founder of the modern Mussar movement.
  • Rabbi Meir Malbim (1809-1879), opponent of the secularists (Haskalah), authored a major commentary on the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
  • Rabbi Israel Meir Kohen (Chafetz Chaim), 1838-1933, beloved pietist and Talmudist.
  • Wave of Russian pogroms begins, 1881.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried (1804-1886), author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.
  • Rabbi Abraham Karelitz (Chazon Ish), 1878-1953, leading Torah sage in Israel from 1933.
  • Germany started World War II, and mass killing of 6 million Jews, 1939.
Prophet Muhammad
History of Judaism

How did Prophet Muhammad treat the Jews in Medina?

The following information are extracted from the link below:

Judaism was already well established in Medina two centuries before Muhammad's birth. Although influential, the Jews did not rule the oasis. Rather, they were clients of two large Arab tribes there, the Khazraj and the Aws Allah, who protected them in return for feudal loyalty. Medina's Jews were expert jewelers, and weapons and armor makers. There were many Jewish clans-some records indicate more than twenty, of which three were prominent-the Banu Nadir, the Banu Qaynuqa, and the Banu Qurayza.

Various traditions uphold different views, and it is unclear whether Medina's Jewish clans were Arabized Jews or Arabs who practiced Jewish monotheism. Certainly they were Arabic speakers with Arab names. They followed the fundamental precepts of the Torah, though scholars question their familiarity with the Talmud and Jewish scholarship, and there is a suggestion in the Qur'an that they may have embraced unorthodox beliefs, such as considering the Prophet Ezra the son of God.

There were rabbis among the Jews of Medina, who appear in Muslim sources soon after Muhammad proclaimed himself a prophet. At that time the quizzical Meccans, knowing little about monotheism, are said to have consulted the Medinan rabbis, in an attempt to put Muhammad to the test. The rabbis posed three theological questions for the Meccans to ask Muhammad, asserting that they would know, by his answers, whether or not he spoke the truth. According to later reports, Muhammad replied to the rabbis' satisfaction, but the Meccans remained unconvinced.

Muhammad arrived in Medina in 622 believing the Jewish tribes would welcome him. Contrary to expectation, his relations with several of the Jewish tribes in Medina were uneasy almost from the start. This was probably largely a matter of local politics. Medina was not so much a city as a fractious agricultural settlement dotted by fortresses and strongholds, and all relations in the oasis were uneasy. In fact, Muhammad had been invited there to arbitrate a bloody civil war between the Khazraj and the Aws Allah, in which the Jewish clans, being their clients, were embroiled.

At Muhammad's insistence, Medina's pagan, Muslim and Jewish clans signed a pact to protect each other, but achieving this new social order was difficult. Certain individual pagans and recent Medinan converts to Islam tried to thwart the new arrangement in various ways, and some of the Jewish clans were uneasy with the threatened demise of the old alliances. At least three times in five years, Jewish leaders, uncomfortable with the changing political situation in Medina, went against Muhammad, hoping to restore the tense, sometimes bloody-but predictable-balance of power among the tribes.

According to most sources, individuals from among these clans plotted to take his life at least twice, and once they came within a bite of poisoning him. Two of the tribes--the Banu Nadir and the Banu Qaynuqa--were eventually exiled for falling short on their agreed upon commitments and for the consequent danger they posed to the nascent Muslim community.

The danger was great. During this period, the Meccans were actively trying to dislodge Muhammad militarily, twice marching large armies to Medina. Muhammad was nearly killed in the first engagement, on the plains of Uhud just outside of Medina. In their second and final military push against Medina, now known as the Battle of the Trench, the Meccans recruited allies from northwestern Arabia to join the fight, including the assistance of the two exiled Jewish tribes. In addition, they sent envoys to the largest Jewish tribe still in Medina, the Banu Qurayza, hoping to win their support. The Banu Qurayza's crucial location on the south side of Medina would allow the Meccans to attack Muhammad from two sides.

The Banu Qurayza were hesitant to join the Meccan alliance, but when a substantial Meccan army arrived, they agreed.

As a siege began, the Banu Qurayza nervously awaited further developments. Learning of their intention to defect and realizing the grave danger this posed, Muhammad initiated diplomatic efforts to keep the Banu Qurayza on his side. Little progress was made. In the third week of the siege, the Banu Qurayza signaled their readiness to act against Muhammad, although they demanded that the Meccans provide them with hostages first, to ensure that they wouldn't be abandoned to face Muhammad alone. Yet that is exactly what happened. The Meccans, nearing exhaustion themselves, refused to give the Banu Qurayza any hostages. Not long after, cold, heavy rains set in, and the Meccans gave up the fight and marched home, to the horror and dismay of the Banu Qurayza.

The Muslims now commenced a 25-day siege against the Banu Qurazya's fortress. Finally, both sides agreed to arbitration. A former ally of the Banu Qurayza, an Arab chief named Sa'd ibn Muadh, now a Muslim, was chosen as judge. Sa'd, one of the few casualties of battle, would soon die of his wounds. If the earlier tribal relations had been in force, he would have certainly spared the Banu Qurayza. His fellow chiefs urged him to pardon these former allies, but he refused. In his view, the Banu Qurayza had attacked the new social order and failed to honor their agreement to protect the town. He ruled that all the men should be killed. Muhammad accepted his judgment, and the next day, according to Muslim sources, 700 men of the Banu Qurayza were executed. Although Sa'd judged according to his own views, his ruling coincides with Deuteronomy 20:12-14.

Most scholars of this episode agree that neither party acted outside the bounds of normal relations in 7th century Arabia. The new order brought by Muhammad was viewed by many as a threat to the age-old system of tribal alliances, as it certainly proved to be. For the Banu Qurayza, the end of this system seemed to bring with it many risks. At the same time, the Muslims faced the threat of total extermination, and needed to send a message to all those groups in Medina that might try to betray their society in the future. It is doubtful that either party could have behaved differently under the circumstances.

Yet Muhammad did not confuse the contentiousness of clan relations in the oasis with the religious message of Judaism. Passages in the Qur'an that warn Muslims not to make pacts with the Jews of Arabia emerge from these specific wartime situations. A larger spirit of respect, acceptance, and comradeship prevailed, as recorded in a late chapter of the Qur'an:We sent down the Torah, in which there is guidance and light, by which the Prophets who surrendered to God's will provided judgments for the Jewish people. Also, the rabbis and doctors of the Law (did likewise), according to that portion of God's Book with which they were entrusted, and they became witnesses to it as well…. Whoever does not judge by what God has sent down (including the Torah), they are indeed unbelievers. (5:44) Some individual Medinan Jews, including at least one rabbi, became Muslims. But generally, the Jews of Medina remained true to their faith. Theologically, they could not accept Muhammad as a messenger of God, since, in keeping with Jewish belief, they were waiting for a prophet to emerge from among their own people.

The exiled Banu Nadir and the Banu Qaynuqa removed to the prosperous northern oasis of Khaybar, and later pledged political loyalty to Muhammad. Other Jewish clans honored the pact they had signed and continued to live in peace in Medina long after it became the Muslim capital of Arabia.

History of the Middle East
History of Judaism

Where did the Jewish people originate?

Scriptural Narrative

1. The explanation in the Bible is that it started with a man named Abraham who lived in Ur [Babylon]. God commanded him to move to Caanan, so he did, taking with him Abraham, his son, and Sarah, his wife. * Then there was Joseph [the one with the colourful coat]. After being sold into slavery in Egypt and rising to high position there, in a time of famine he moved his relatives, and thus, Judaism, to Egypt. * A few generations later Egyptians again ruled over them (many report that the slaves were Jews) but it was the Hebrews as slaves. The Jews are not mentioned till later. In John 8:33 The Jews said they were never in bondage to any man. God promised to Moses the freedom of the Hebrews, and not the Jews as many have reported. The ten plagues were visited upon Egypt, and Moses led the Hebrews back to Canaan.

2. The term "Jew" is first used in the Old Testament in the Book of Esther 2:5. * The term "Jews" is first used in the Book of 2 Kings 16:6. * The Hebrews are mentioned only (And Not the Jews) in the first 5 Books of Moses. * It refers to the people, primarily members of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, who were exiled from the Land of Israel when the Kingdom of Judah was defeated. * Background: After the time of King Solomon (David's son) the nation of Israel split into 2 kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. The Kingdom of Judah's capital was Jerusalem, on the border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and included those 2 tribes, and the tribe of Levi (who were very connected to the Temple in Jerusalem). The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were both defeated and forced into exile. The Kingdom of Judah, on the other hand, maintained many attributes of a nation, including a connection to a land and a set of beliefs (which of course includes many variations). Many of them returned to the Land of Israel after approximately 70 years in exile, and re-established their kingdom in Israel for roughly 400 years before being defeated by the Romans. * It is true that the Kingdom of Judah (and therefore the Jews) does includes only part of the original Nation of Israel, but 2 relevant points:
According to the censuses in the Bible, the Kingdom of Judah was similar in size to the Kingdom of Israel, and included more than just the tribe of Judah, so the claim that "Jews" refers to just 1/12 of the original Nation of Israel is inaccurate.
The Kingdom of Israel was dispersed, and maintained no connection to their original identity. Therefore the Jews constitute the only group that considers themselves to be part of the original convenant between God and the Nation of Israel, and bound by that covenant.

3. In Israel. Read the books of Genesis, Exodus, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel and 1st Kings to get a good idea of their early history. They wound up scattered all over Europe because the Romans destroyed their country and deported them in 72 A.D. Jewish tradition names Abraham as their first ancestor. He came from Ur, and was most likely a tribal leader who brought his people west towards Canaan, a land promised to his descendants by God. Contemporary writings attest to a group of tribes known as "Habiru", "Hapiru" or "Abiru" that came from the deserts and cities of Iran and Iraq. They seem to be separate from the nomads and bedouins we know of today, and held quite a lot of power, and posed a threat to the kingdoms already occupying the lands they passed through. The Bible shows Abraham in contact with several of these kingdoms, possibly as a mercenary, and he bought land in Hebron as a burial ground for his wife and himself. * The Jews were probably a loose confederation of different tribes, some of which went to Egypt during times of famine and gradually came to be slaves until the great Exodus. The Bible makes it clear that there were already kinsmen of theirs in Canaan, when they came back and gradually took over the land of the ancient Canaanites, as promised by God. * Like most other nations, they probably originated as groups of separate peoples, who came together during times of stress, unified by a common God and history.
4. Please see the link SimpleToRemember.
5. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their families lived in the Holy Land. Their earlier ancestors came from Mesopotamia.

What Scholars Propose
For the original population, as distinct from today's Jewish population (see above): Currently biblical scholars recognize three possible scenarios explaining Israel's rise to power in Canaan:

1. the Conquest theory: that Israelites came in from the outside and conquered the land;
2. the Peaceful Settlement theory: in which it is argued that Israelites entered gradually, settling in the sparsely populated areas of the central highlands; and
3. the Peasant Revolt or Social Revolution theory: that Canaanites rose up against their overlords. See link The Problem of Israel's Origin.

Another Answer

Our tradition (Jewish tradition) is that we are descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as described in the Biblical book of Genesis. Abraham was born in Ur; and his ancestors and relatives lived in the Fertile Crescent adjacent to the Euphrates river. This tradition has been substantiated by DNA analysis of Jewish communities all over the world, showing them to be inter-related and of Middle Eastern origin. We possess the names, dates, and (in some cases) the family trees of our ancestors and leaders in an unbroken chain for 3800 years.
Abraham, tenth generation descendant of Noah, of Hebrew lineage, was the son of Terah, uncle of Lot, father of Isaac, grandfather of Jacob, and ancestor of the Israelites. His story is in Genesis ch.11 (end), through ch.25. Jewish tradition states that he was the first to teach belief in One God; and it is in his merit that Jews continue to exist (Genesis 18:19, and ch.17).
Abraham (18th century BCE) came from ancestry that had been God-fearing a couple of centuries earlier but had afterwards slipped into idolatry (Joshua 24:2). Nimrod, the idolatrous tyrant, had brought Abraham's father (Terah) from the Semitic ancestral seat near the conjunction of the Balikh and the Euphrates, and instated him in a position of power in his army in the royal Babylonian city of Ur, where Abraham was born. Nimrod persecuted any who would question his idolatrous cult.
The Kuzari (Rabbi Judah HaLevi, 1075-1141) states that Abraham was gifted with high intelligence; and, as Maimonides (1135-1204) describes, Abraham didn't blindly accept the ubiquitous idolatry. The whole populace had been duped, but the young Abraham contemplated the matter relentlessly, finally arriving at the conclusion that there is One God and that this should be taught to others as well. This is what is meant by his "calling out in the name of the Lord" (Genesis ch.12). As a young man, he remonstrated with passersby in public, demonstrating to them the falsehood of their idols; and our tradition tells how he was threatened and endangered by Nimrod.
Subsequently, Terah relocated to Harran; and it is here that Abraham began to develop a circle of disciples (Rashi commentary, on Genesis 12:5).
Later, God told Abraham in prophecy to move to the Holy Land, which is where Abraham raised his family.
He continued his contemplations, eventually arriving at the attitudes and forms of behavior which God later incorporated into the Torah given to Moses. Abraham taught disciples (Talmud, Yoma 28b), gave tithes (Genesis ch.14), strove to raise a family (Genesis ch.15, 17, and 24) which would serve God (Genesis 18:19), made a covenant with God (Genesis ch.15 and 17), welcomed guests into his home (Genesis ch.18) unlike the inhospitable Sodomites (Genesis ch.19), prayed for people (Genesis ch.18), rebuked others when necessary (Genesis ch.20), eulogized and buried the deceased (Genesis ch.23), and fulfilled God's will unquestioningly (Genesis ch.22). He became renowned as a prince of God (Genesis 23:6).
All of these forms of behavior were based upon the ways of God, which Abraham comprehended through his contemplations. These, and similar personality traits, were the teachings of Abraham and his descendants.
It is therefore clear why God expresses His love for Abraham (Isaiah 41:8) and calls Himself the God of Abraham (Genesis 26:24), and says that Abraham obeyed Him fully (Genesis 26:5). And this is why, according to our tradition, Abraham is credited with having begun the religion which became known as Judaism. However, Abraham and his descendants observed their traditions voluntarily, until the Giving of the Torah to Moses 3325 years ago, when God made it obligatory.

An Historical View:
The people who became the Hebrews were part of the general Semitic people of the eastern Mediterranean. They were known to the Egyptians as Habiru - hill tribes of pastoralists and brigands in the highlands of what became Judah. These tribes became better organised and started to expand their territory. The stories of David and Solomon are much exaggerated - witness the archaeological absence of all the palaces etc claimed; they were most likely over-chief of a confederation of tribes.

However by the 8th Century BCE the tribes had a territorial area from Galilee to Jerusalem. The northern tribes were conquered by the Assyrians in the latter part of that century, and their aristocracy taken off to Assyria, replaced by a foreign one which would be unlikely to sympathise with fomenting rebellion against Assyrian rule (so no, the ten tribes were not deported and lost, the mass of people remained). Nearly a century and a half later, the same thing happened to the southern kingdom, at the hands of the Babylonians - the aristocracy deported, the people remaining behind.

Judaism was a missionary religion, converting people all around the Mediterranean and then further afield later on. The actual ethnicity of Jews expanded well beyond the Semitic people known as Hebrews. Just as Greeks transitioned to people who adopted Greek culture, and Slavs the people who adopted Slavic culture, Jews became people who adopted Jewish culture. Over the centuries, quite different ethnics have come under the umbrella of all those cultures, with wide varieties of skin colour, physical characteristics, language and religion.

History of Judaism

What is Zionism?


Zionism was (and is) the movement to establish and preserve a Jewish homeland.

It is the ideology that Jewish people should have their own state. The Land of Israel was promised to the Jewish people by God, according to the Bible. Jews lived in the Land of Israel from the time of Joshua until the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Almost all Jews were exiled to other countries, known to Jews as the Diaspora. For centuries, Jews prayed for a return to Zion. In the nineteenth century, the Zionist movement, led by Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann, encouraged Jews to turn the dream into reality, and lobbied the international community to understand that a "Jewish national home" was the only solution to anti-Semitism and the "Jewish problem."

In 1947, the dream was realized when the UN voted to partition Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs. The Arabs immediately attacked the Jews and in the middle of the war, on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel declared its independence. Today, about half of the world's Jewry lives in Israel. Most Jews living in and out of Israel are supporters of Israel and the Zionist ideology, although a small percent believe only divine intervention should bring about a Jewish state.

It is worth noting that many Anti-Semites claim that Zionism is a code word for some unclear international cabal of evil Jews trying to control the world. Such a cabal does not exist and insinuations without evidence or with evidence that has proven to be a hoax that it does exist are Anti-Semitic. Aside from this, since such a cabal would not be concerned with Jewish Nationalism, it, therefore, could not be Zionism.

Additional Definitions

These are several other people's different descriptions:

  • Zionism was the movement for (originally) the reestablishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.
  • The English word 'Zionism' has two distinct senses: 1: a policy for establishing and developing a national homeland for Jews in Palestine; 2: a movement of world Jewry that arose late in the 19th century with the aim of creating a Jewish state in Palestine
  • Zionism is the belief that the Jews should have political self-sovereignty and is the patriotic sentiment behind the Establishment of the State of Israel.
  • Jewish nationalist movement with the goal of creating a Jewish homeland.
  • "Jewish" national movement
  • Zionism = belief that Israel has the right to EXIST, which is no different to the belief that the 22 Muslim nations have a right to exist.
  • Zionism is basically the hope and wish of the Jews to return to their homeland - The land of Israel. This is called Zionism because the land of Israel is also called "Zion". (In the Tanakh or Jewish Bible, it is referred to as another name of Jerusalem and in later eras the meaning became more general, regarding the whole land of Israel.)
  • Zionism can be described as a yearning to make Israel a homeland for Jews
  • Zionism can be described as a peaceful nationalistic movement. It is the desire of Jews to peacefully live in their ancestral lands.
  • The term Zionism refers to a national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland.
History of Russia
History of Judaism

What is an example of a pogrom?

Mainly the Holocaust lead by Adolf Hitler, however these are some more

  • In the Americas, there was a pogrom in Argentina in 1919, during the tragic week
  • In 1919, pogroms were reported in several cities in Poland
  • In 1927, there were pogroms in Oradea Romania


Pogrom refers to mob violence against Jews of the kind that was common in Tsarist Russia. The Holocaust was very different and was not carried out by mobs. A well known example is that at Kishinev in 1905.

Bible Statistics and History
Bronze Age
History of Judaism

When did the name of Luz change to Bethel?

Strange things happened at Bethel. In Genesis 12:8, Abraham had pitched his tent to the east of Bethel and built an altar of stones. Later, in verse 13:3, he returned to Bethel and to the sacred stone altar. Here, the town is portrayed as already being called Bethel.

Yet in chapter 28, Abraham's grandson Jacob slept in a certain place and dreamed of a ladder going up to heaven then he named that place Bethel, but before then it had been called Luz. Here, the town is portrayed as being called Luz, until Jacob chose a new name, Bethel.

Jacob used a stone for a pillow and after waking put it on a pillar and poured oil on it. It has long been known that there was a West Semitic deity named Bethel, associated with the veneration of sacred stones*, thus this and previous passages point to the city being named after the god Bethel. When it first acquired this name will probably never be known.

Bethel can also mean 'House of God', but this derivation does not fit well with either the Abraham narrative, since in this story the town already existed and must have been named as such by its Canaanite inhabitants, nor the Jacob narrative, as there is nothing in the dream that leads to "House of God". Even this less probable alternative does not lead to the date of a change of name for the town.

*Footnote: The Jewish Encyclopedia tells us that the worship of sacred stones constituted one of the most general and ancient forms of religion; but among no other people was this worship so important as among the Semites. Sacred stones are mentioned with great frequency in the Old Testament, with at least ten of these references associated with Jacob.

Germany in WW2
Adolf Hitler
History of Judaism

Why did Adolf Hitler want to kill the Jews?

Scholars and psychologists have many theories about this. We do know from research that some commonly held beliefs turned out to be myths-- he wasn't part Jewish, he wasn't treated badly by a Jewish doctor, etc. Mainly, he seems to have been an evil, hateful person who wanted to take out his prejudice on a group who made up only about 3% of Germany's population. That said, here are some of the theories from our contributors:

Answer 1

From what I've read, he did not want to kill Jews only. He believed that the Aryan race is superior to other races, and wanted to "cleanse" his world for them by killing what he considered inferior, undesirable or dangerous people. During the Holocaust, He killed around 17 million people; 6 million of them were Jews. According to Wikipedia: his victims included Asians, Poles, Slavic people, Africans, gypsies, prisoners of war, Jews, homosexuals, mentally ill and disabled people. Only Jews were killed specifically for their religion (or what people thought back then was their race).

Answer 2

Murderous greed. Adolf Hitler resented the Jews. He studied them and thought he understood how they were so successful. It seemed to him that everything the Jews did, whether in music or medicine or law or science or business, flourished and prospered. You name it, they excelled in it. He did not consider that maybe they worked hard or studied hard. He just resented them.

Upon entering the concentration camps, an appointed Nazi officer would ask the newly arrived Jew what his/her skill/trade was. He would use their accounting skills to help run the camps. Use their medical skills to ensure the health of the camp's Nazis. If you knew banking, he would use your knowledge and gain instant access to money that would fund his movement. Once captured, the Nazis would seize Jewish homes, bank accounts cars, etc... He utilized every commercial recourse he could get his greedy hands on. When he Nazis had gotten everything they could from the Jews, including slave labor in the camps, they were sent to their deaths.

Answer 3

Nobody really knows. But it is said that he thought they were evil and beastly and best kept captivated, which of course is not true. He was sick in the head probably and he thought that non-Aryans/people who weren't tall and blond weren't as good. That is strange because Hitler himself was not tall and blond.

Answer 4

To understand this you have to understand Nazism as a political belief.

Nazism taught that the nation state was of paramount importance. The individual was less important than the living, nation state. Nazism was nationalism taken to extreme. The the constant talk of expansion, of living room, of superiority of races in the Nazi culture.

At the other end of this political spectrum was Communism, a word derived from 'commune', a term often associated with the hippie lifestyle. It doesn't care much for the individual either, but sees the world as a one government entity. The communist does not support the nation state idea. The one government concept means, to them, that all means of production, all farm land, all religion, is controlled by the state.

Hitler believed the Jews were dominant in the development and implementation of Communism (this is a myth, but he believed it). In fact, he often spoke of Bolshevik (communist) Jewry. He considered the words interchangeable. He used this as an excuse-- by killing Jews, he believed he was aiding in the destruction of communism.

Answer 5

Hitler and the Nazis encouraged the German population to believe that the Jews were the cause of all of Germany's problems. Hitler engrained a myriad of Anti-Semitic beliefs into German Society by making it part of the national curriculum and teaching it to millions of German children; he taught it to adults by use of the media, which was filled with anti-Jewish propaganda. Hitler and the Nazis proposed that the only way to improve Germany was to remove the Jews entirely. There were two options for such a removal: exile or genocide. Since no country was willing to take the Jewish population en masse (and this includes the United States and United Kingdom due to prevailing anti-Jewish prejudice), Hitler and the elite cadre of Nazis made the executive decision to commit genocide to "save Germany".

Additionally, killing Jews would allow Hitler and the Nazis to auction off their assets to other Germans, giving loyal citizens better homes or formerly Jewish-run businesses. This increased the citizens' loyalty, made it look like Hitler was making good on his campaign promises to improve the German economy (on a personal view), and increased "German living space" called lebensraum.

Answer 6

After World War I, Hitler was looking for a way to gather people together, as to rally them for dominating the world. The best way he saw that he could do this, is creating a common enemy that his people could learn to hate and attack. He decided the Jews made a good enemy; there were Jewish communities throughout Europe and he convinced people in Germany to fear the Jews and blame them for Germany's situation; he was able to get people to rally around that idea.

Answer 7

Hitler was an insecure and ill man, who chose to believe that one should live by his beastly nature and not resist it. Hitler believed that the Jews, being successful in many scientific and academic groups in Germany, were actually parasites trying to take over. With his warped perspective and paranoid nature, Hitler decided that no one should be as successful as the Aryan race, which was the dominant race in Germany.

Answer 8

One belief is that Hitler killed the Jewish people because he blamed them for Germany losing World War I. Another belief is that Hitler saw the Jewish people as a fault in the perfect race which was he was trying to create with the perfect empire. He saw them as subhuman and a threat to the ideal Aryan race.

Answer 9: Here are Hitler's Own Words (bear in mind that what he believes are not true statements about Jews or Economics, but they reflect the kinds of propaganda he fed to the German people):

"We were not foolish enough to try to make a currency coverage of gold of which we had none, but for every mark that was issued we required the equivalent of a mark's worth of work done or goods produced. . . .we laugh at the time our national financiers held the view that the value of a currency is regulated by the gold and securities lying in the vaults of a state bank." -Adolf Hitler, 1937 (CC Veith, Citadels of Chaos, Meador, 1949.) "And it proved sound. It worked. In less than ten years Germany became easily the most powerful state in Europe. It worked so magically and magnificently that it sounded the death knell of the entire (Zionist) Jewish money system. World Jewry knew that they had to destroy Hitler's system, by whatever means might prove necessary, or their own [system of usury] would necessarily die. And if it died, with it must die their dream and their hope of making themselves masters of the world. The primary issue over which World War II was fought was to determine which money system was to survive. At bottom it was not a war between Germany and the so-called allies. Primarily it was war to the death between Germany and the International Money Power." --William Gayley Simpson, 'Which Way Western Man' (p.642)

Answer 10

I believe there were deeper, more philosophical reasons for what Hitler claimed he had to do in order to "save" Germany. Hitler was involved in the Thule society, where he came to believe that the Aryan race was the chosen people. [Note from a historian: not everyone accepts this; there is NO credible evidence he was a member, nor that he ever attended their meetings.] But whether he was a member or not, he did share many of their beliefs, especially about the importance of Aryan purity, the belief in Aryan superiority, and the need to root out and destroy "inferior" cultures which has "cursed" the Aryans. In this view, Germany would never prosper until "Jewish magic" which had condemned Germany to misery, was finally destroyed, leaving a pure society.

Tanakh and Talmud
Bible Statistics and History
Society and Civilization
History of Judaism

What legacy did the ancient Hebrews leave to Western Civilization?

The long, rich history of Judaism gives the Western world much of its shape today. Many of the laws, traditions, culture and values are directly attributable to Judaism.Link: History of Judaism

  • The Jews' monotheistic religious tradition (Deuteronomy 6:4) shaped the Western beliefs about God.
Link: Monotheistic religious tradition
  • The 7-day week (Exodus ch.20), including a day of rest for everyone. This weekly rest was a concept unique to the Israelites.
  • The concept of morality (Leviticus ch.18-19) was also the work of the Hebrews, including the dignity (Genesis 5:1) and value of a person (unlike idolatry, which had no moral character whatsoever; with worship of the gods accompanied by practices such as human sacrifice, "sacred" prostitution, and animal worship).
Link: Morality
  • Women's rights were carefully maintained in Judaism. Israelite women could own property, could initiate court cases, could have their own servants, and could own fields and businesses; and the Torah specifies marital rights for women (Exodus 21:10).
  • Under Israelite law, everyone had recourse to the courts. A child, widow, wife, poor person, etc., could initiate legal action against any citizen to redress perpetrated harm. Compare this to those societies in which only mature, land-owning males had any legal status.
  • The Western diet reflects some of the Judaic dietary law. With the exception of the pig, Western society does not eat species not contained in kosher law (Deuteronomy ch.14). Owls, mice, insects, rats, snakes, cats and dogs are not eaten by most Westerners and it is a direct result of Jewish culture.
  • Parents are responsible for teaching children (Deuteronomy ch.11). Illiteracy among Israelites, in every generation, was rare. Universal education in the Western world is taken for granted today, yet this is a recent development. In Judaism, however, it goes back for more than 3300 years. Judaism has always maintained that education is the highest goal of man in his pursuit of godliness. This tradition has now been passed on to Western culture.
  • Infants are to be cherished, protected and cared for, whether or not they turned out to be the gender you were hoping for. Compare this to societies in which unhealthy babies, or females, were killed.
  • Cruelty to animals is not acceptable.
  • Government is accountable to a higher authority. In other ancient societies, the monarch was all-powerful. Among the Israelites, however, the king was under the constant scrutiny of the Divinely-informed prophets, who didn't hesitate to castigate him publicly for any misstep in the sight of God. And, other than for the crime of rebellion, the king couldn't punish any citizen by his own decision. He was obligated by the Torah-procedures like everyone else (Talmud, Sanhedrin 19a).
Link: Israelite prophets
  • A robber repays double to his victim (Exodus 22:3), or works it off. Cutting off the hands of a robber is a punishable crime. Debtors are not imprisoned or harmed. They are made to sell property and/or work to repay what they owe. Compare this to the Roman practice by which anyone could accuse a man of owing them money and the debtor could be killed (Roman "Twelve Tables of Law" code, 3:10).
  • Western jurisprudence in general is based in part upon Judaic Torah-observance. A quick look at the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the laws that follow (Exodus ch.21-23) gives a summary of most modern law.
  • It is the responsibility of the community to support the poor (Deuteronomy ch.15), the widow, the orphan, and the stranger passing through (Exodus 22:20-21).
  • It is important to note that all of the above were instituted among the Hebrews (a.k.a. the Israelites) thousands of years earlier than in other nations. Here's one example: Infanticide was practiced among classical European nations until it was stopped by the influence of Judaism and its daughter-religions. Professor and former President of the American Historical Association, William L. Langer (in The History of Childhood): "Children, being physically unable to resist aggression, were the victims of forces over which they had no control, and they were abused in almost unimaginable ways."
Link: Infanticide was practiced

Link: More about Judaism's impact

History of Judaism

Who is the God of Judaism?

Jews believe in one ethical God, who created the Universe. Modern Jews understand God in many different ways.

The name of God as written in the Torah is not pronounceable, partly due to to a religious prohibition, and partly due to the fact that the pronunciation of the vowels in the name is lost to history. The letters that make up God's name is called "The tetragrammaton"


The words Yahweh and Jehovah are of Christian in origin and are NOT used by Jews. There is neither a 'W' nor a 'J' in the Hebrew language.

Judaism has 73 "names" for God but each name is really a description of an aspect. There's one true name for God, spelled YHVH in English. The Hebrew letters are "yud, hei, vav, hei". These four letters are referred to as the Tetragrammaton and are a contraction of the Hebrew words for, "was, is, and will be". His true name was only said in the Temple and with the Temple's destruction we lost the correct pronunciation.

The main obstacle to determining the correct pronunciation is that the letter 'vav' can be a vowel or a consonant sound depending on the word. There is no indication as to what form it takes in the Tetragrammaton.


According to Jewish law and custom, the name of God is not pronounced, though many Christians do not have this prohibition, and do not even realize that the Jews still follow this prohibition.


The first and greatest "new idea" that Judaism introduced was the strange and revolutionary concept of One God. Now, after more than 4,000 years, that's one of the main ideas that still have a hard time being accepted by people in general: the idea that there is exactly one and only one entity worthy of worship, and that any other concept or entity that may attract the loyalty of individuals or groups ... whether it be money, golf, football, gods, cars,

computer games, running, sex, poker, business, sailing, etc. ... must be subject to the Creator.

God is the one that many of the world's other religions refer to as the "Father".

Jewish people worship the God whom they believe created heaven and earth, and who continues to will it into existence and control all events. In prayers and in scriptures the Jewish people have many titles for God, all showing the highest respect and regard for his being. These include:

  • Adonai
  • Elohim
  • El,
  • Shaday
  • King of Kings
  • El Shaddai (all sufficient)
  • LORD (in English)

It is also important to understand that Jewish tradition prohibits the four-letter name of God (letters: yud hey vav hey) to be spoken aloud except by the High Priest in the Temple, and because the temple in Jerusalem no longer exists, it is never said aloud. God is referred to as HaShem (meaning "The Name") in day-to-day speech, and Adonai is used in prayer services.


YHWH - the four letters of the name preserved in Hebrew texts. Since vowels were not included, the exact pronunciation has not been preserved. Some scholars believe that it is pronounced Yahweh; it is not often used. Jehovah is the most widely recognized English pronunciation used only by Christians.

The divine name is a verb, the causative form, the imperfect state, of the Hebrew verb ha•wah', "to become." Therefore, the divine name means "He Causes To Become."

Many translators, for varying reasons, have replaced the proper name with titles, such as Adonai (the Lord) or Elohim (the Supreme, or the true God). This has led to much confusion among Christianity as well as Islam as to what the name of God is; causing many to believe that these titles are actually proper names, despite the fact that in any other context of life - your boss at work and their name, a child's school teacher and their proper name, a cat and the name you gave it - people automatically recognize the difference between a name and a title. But on the topic of God (in these two very large religious spheres), the elementary difference between name and title is cast aside without question by many.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in the same God.

The Jews believe in one ethical God who created the universe (though how modern Jews understand God varies greatly).

According to Jewish law and custom, the name of God is not pronounced, though many Christians do not have this prohibition, and do not even realize that the Jews still follow this prohibition.

Most refer to the name as Yahweh or sometimes Jehovah or Jehova.

It comes from a four letter Hebrew word referred to as the Tetragrammaton [G -> tetra (four)+gramma (letters)], which was used in the ancient texts as the name of the God of Israel. The letters are usually translated as JHWH or YHWH (depending on the language), thus Jehovah or Yahweh. It is suggested that this is God's actual name, rather than a response to Moses' question, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" (Exodus 3:13, NIV).

According to www.wikipedia.com: During the Babylonian captivity, the Hebrew language spoken by the Jews was replaced by the Aramaic language of their Babylonian captors, which was closely related to Hebrew and, while sharing many vocabulary words in common, contained some words that sounded the same or similar but had other meanings. In Aramaic, the Hebrew word for "blaspheme" used in Leviticus 24:16, "Anyone who blasphemes the name of YHWH must be put to death" carried the meaning of "pronounce" rather than "blaspheme". When the Jews began speaking Aramaic, this verse was understood to mean, "Anyone who pronounces the name of YHWH must be put to death." Since then, observant Jews have maintained the custom of not pronouncing the name, but use Adonai ("my Lord [plural of majesty]") instead.

As a result of this decision, the original pronunciation of the word is somewhat lost. However, in the Jewish Bible, the name appears 6823 times according to the Jewish Encyclopedia.The word is usually replaced now with "LORD" in all capital letters.

Jewish AnswerThe Creator has one true name which is represented by the letters YHVH in English. The Hebrew letters are "yud, hei, vav, hei". These four letters are referred to as the tetragrammaton and are a contraction of the Hebrew words for, "was, is, and will be". His true name was only said in the Temple and with the Temple's destruction we lost the correct pronunciation.

In the Tanach (Jewish Bible), there are 72 different 'names' used for The Creator, these aren't actual names though, they're descriptions of Him that are contextual. In daily conversation, most Jews use the name 'HaShem' which literally translates to 'The Name' in reference to His true name.

The words Yahweh, Jehovah, and any variation are Christian in origin and have never been used by Jews. (There is no 'J' or 'W' in the Hebrew language.)


God's true name's pronunciation is unknown. Typically, however, "Hashem" is used, or Adonai if you're praying.


Judaism believes in the One God, creator of the world, who gave the Torah.


The God of Judaism is the same God worshiped in all God religions. He is the one and one God with no partner, no companion, no son, bo father, no associate, and no equivalence. The God whom Prophet Abraham and all God prophets believed in. Which would be the same God as Islam and Christianity.

Judaism is strictly monotheistic, meaning it has one G-d. The Creator has one true name which is represented by the letters YHVH in English. The Hebrew letters are "yud, hei, vav, hei". These four letters are referred to as the tetragrammaton and are a contraction of the Hebrew words for, "was, is, and will be". His true name was only said in the Temple and with the Temple's destruction we lost the correct pronunciation.

HaShem is not a person and has no form.

Jews worship the One God, creator of all things.

History of the Middle East
Arabic Language and Culture
History of Judaism

What are the causes of the Jewish-Arab Conflict?

There are a myriad of reasons underlying and undergirding the Jewish-Arab Conflict in recent times and it is important to evaluate all of these rationales. However, it is important to note that the actual military conflict is an international one with set international players. The spiritual conflict is much more pervasive. At the core for this difference is that Jews and Arabs see their communities as being brethren in the same way that all Americans see each other as brethren. There is a saying among Arabs that goes "If an Arab falls in the desert and nobody hears him, everybody still feels him."

NOTE: Jews are an ethno-religious group, while Arabs are merely an ethnic group with an incredible variety of religious difference (similar to the way that White connotes a race with an incredible variety of religious differences). These days, Jews do not typically target Moslems with faith-based issues (i.e. we abhor you because of the false prophecy of Mohammed) and Moslems similarly do not target Jews on faith-based issues (i.e. we abhor you because you say that Isaac was taken to Mt. Moriah instead of Ishmael being taken to Saudi Arabia).

Additional Information is available at the Related Links below.

Causes for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

1) Hallowed Land: The Jews consider the Land of Israel (which is not necessarily all in the borders of the State of Israel) to be a holy piece of land in that God promised it to the Jewish people as an eternal inheritance. Thus, some Jews, especially Religious Zionists see resettlement of the Land of Israel by Jews to be part of God's plan and mandate and therefore do everything in their power to settle it. In addition, it contains specific religious and historical sites such as the Western Wall and the Old City of Jerusalem, the Cave of Machpelah, the Old City of Jaffa, and the Sanctuary of Shiloh among others. Moslems also consider Jerusalem holy because of Mohammed ascending to Heaven on the Buraq over Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Both cultures want to ensure maintenance and access to the sites which they feel have been limited by the other. (Jews claim that Jordanians used the Western Wall as a landfill and Arabs argue that Israelis arbitrarily close off access to Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

2) Zionism: A number of Jews in Europe began to feel that they were being permanently and deliberately excluded from parts of European society because of the prevalent racial and pseudo-scientific forms of Anti-Semitism. They believed that there was no possible equality between European nationals and their Jewish residents and were disinterested in the Andalucian Solution because they did not want to be second-class citizens. They believed that the Jewish people needed to form a political apparatus (an Independent State) to defend themselves and their civil rights. Zionism originally had purely secular connotations, but with the advent of Religious Zionism, the powerful secular cause of Zionism joined with the Hallowed Land idea to provoke conflict. Zionism is strongly opposed by many for many different reasons. See the link at the bottom of the page for Anti-Zionist arguments and rationales.

3) Halutzim & Jewish Land Acquisition: In the First Zionist Congress in 1897, the main resolution was to acquire, by any means, a piece of land to be made a country for the Jews. Early Zionists tried to figure out how to attract Jews to leave their country of origin and come to build this Jewish State. The general consensus always revolved around building a State in the Land of Israel/British Mandate of Palestine since that would make attraction easiest. (The idea of the Jews Returning to Israel had a very romantic notion to Jews at the time and still does today.) As a result, politically influential Jews began purchasing tracts of land from the Ottoman Pashas in control of the territory without indigenous consent and promptly began to develop it. The indigenous Palestinians took issue with the migrations of these Halutzim (Jewish Pioneers) but as the land was bought legitimately, they had little recourse but to allow them to arrive. This occupation and colonialism were certainly not greeted with friendly handshakes or pats on the back by the indigenous inhabitants who stood to lose everything.

4) Balfour Declaration, the Holocaust, and UN Resolution 181: The European Climate also supported the Zionist idea of forming a Jewish State in the Middle East as it would allow Jews to leave Europe and stop being a European problem. This prevented the Europeans from having to absorb the refugees themselves, rapidly increased the numbers of Jews in Israel. In addition, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration which declared Britain's intent to create a Jewish State in the Middle East. This, however, was not seriously considered until the Holocaust proved to Europeans (and Jews) that Europe was no longer safe for Judaism. UN Resolution 181 promoted a partitioning of the British Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State. While this resolution did pass (and is in fact legally binding) many Arabs find issue with its decision because there were not enough independent Arab States to vote it down.

5) Palestinian Exodus & UNRWA: This is probably the most thorny issue between Israel and Palestine. During the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-9 (in which Palestinian militias also participated), many Palestinians were forced out of their homes by Israeli soldiers due to brutal atrocities. In addition, many left because they feared similar outcomes. Also Arab leaders encouraged the exodus, because they believed that they could destroy Israel and safely return all of the Palestinians after the conflict. However, this did not happen and a large number of Palestinians (some estimate four million) are in UNRWA Refugee Camps and there is a large Palestinian Diaspora. They have not forgiven Israel for not allowing them to return after the War.

6) Occupation of the West Bank & Gaza: In 1967, Israel fought the Six-Day War against the Arab States and took over control of the West Bank and Gaza. These territories did not come under Israeli Civil Authority and have been instead militarily controlled. Palestinians who live in these territories have to contend with Israeli checkpoints, military provisions, and incoming settlers (from the Hallowed Land section). This occupation is perceived by Palestinians to be a repression of their Right to a State and their ability to lead normal productive lives. Settlers in the territories act in a very cavalier fashion (similar to cowboys in the Wild West) and steal property owned by Palestinian families for generations in the name of Religious Zionism. Zionist Squatters are a huge problem in cities like Hebron where these individuals have "liberated" over a quarter of the city from its Palestinian inhabitants and begun to drive a wedge into those communities.

7) Blockade of Gaza & Dependence of the West Bank:Due to the militancy of Hamas, Israel has found it necessary for defense to form a blockade around Gaza and to only allow certain materials into the territory. This has resulted in a Human Relief Crisis in the Gaza where the average caught in the struggle barely have enough food, heat, and light to adequately survive. On a different token, the West Bank (as controlled by the Palestine Authority) is a patchwork of separate unconnected jurisdictions. As a result, the West Bank leaders depend on Israel for defense coordination, tax collection, and assurances of safety from settlers. This creates a secondary occupation-dynamic where the Palestinian government is bound to the desires and wishes of the Israeli people in addition to its actual constituency.

8) Retaliation: This one is fairly simple. Each side honors its fallen by engaging in retaliatory killings and attacks. In addition, the retaliation is usually on a larger scale than the offense. (I.e. one death results in ten retaliatory deaths etc.)

Causes for the Arab-Israeli Conflict:

1) Restatement: Since the Arab-Israeli conflict sees a strong connection between Arabs in Palestine with Arabs outside of Palestine, the above eight causes are repeated in full here.

2) Andalucian Solution: Many Arabs capitalize on the situation in Andalucia as being the perfect solution to create Arab-Jewish harmony and are angered when Jews do not agree. In Andalucia (Islamic Spain of the 700s-1000s), Christians, Moslems, and Jews all had a flowering of their cultures and an interchange of ideas. It was one of the most progressive societies in the World for its time and certainly a much better time/place for Jews than many countries in the Modern Era. Jews get angered by the fact that Arabs do not note that Jews were second-class citizens in Andalucia who were granted the privilege of settling in Andalucia (a privilege which was revoked on several occasions). Jews want to be able to control their affairs and have civil rights, which Arabs seem not to understand when they advocate this model.

3) Pan-Arab Nationalism: Beginning in the 1950s and reaching its apex in the 1960s and 1970s, the wave of Pan-Arab Nationalism began to assert that all Arabs should live in one united country that would span from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean to Iraq on the Persian border and all lands in between. This view was based on the history of the Umayyad Caliphate in the year 700 C.E. which controlled all of that territory and formed the basis of the modern Arab Identity. It also harkens back to the Abbassid Caliphate of a couple hundred years later which was the pinnacle of Arab scientific accomplishment. The thought of Pan-Arabists was that a Pan-Arab State would bring about a second unity of the Arab peoples like the type seen in the Umayyad days and the cultural flowering seen in the Abbassid days. Israel was a logistical problem for that ideology in that it cleanly separated North Africa (Egypt specifically) from the Levant countries of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. More importantly, it represented a non-Arab country in the region that according to Pan-Arabism should be an Arab State.

4) Anti-Colonialism: Israel was seen by many in the Arab World as being a European colony in the Middle East because much of the state infrastructure was built by Europeans. This, of course, did not take into account the Mizrahi Exodus (see below) which makes Israel a much more mixed nation, but there are some elements of truth. Israel was conceived primarily by European Jews, funded with European and American money, and built in a Western Governmental style. The Arabs saw this as an attempt by Europeans to influence their affairs and control their futures without having to maintain their untenable pre-World War II empires. This belief was exemplified by the British, French, and Israeli responses to the Suez Crisis. Jews argue that Israel is not a colony because it is loyal only to its own needs; it just so happens that those needs align more often with modern, liberal states than those of its Arab neighbors.

5) Lack of Respect: Arabs feel maligned by the Great Powers in the World and see Israeli support by those same Great Powers as a way of denying them a seat at the Global Table. Arabs have a strong sense of cultural pride, believing themselves to be the heirs of the Abbassid cultural legacy of science, math, philosophy, and historiography. However, they are weakly involved in International Agencies, their countries rarely have pull over anything except oil prices, none of them are allowed nuclear weapons or any other sort of powerful weaponry, and their hopes and dreams are largely ignored. Unlike the Arabs, though, the Jews have managed to make Israel a cornerstone of American and British foreign policy and guarantee their international protection and seat at the Global Table. Therefore, the Arabs have a lot of negativity towards Israel for securing that spot.

6) Israeli Imperialism: There is a belief in the Arab World that it is Israel's intent to expand and colonize other Arab regions in the Levant. They point to Israel's occupation of the Sinai Peninsula from 1967-1982, the Israeli occupation of Lebanon south of the Litani River from 1982-2000, and the continued holding of the Syrian Golan Heights conquered in 1967 and annexed to Israel in 1981. Religious Zionists claim that Israel should spread from the Nile to the Euphrates which encompasses a territory occupied in full or in part by six different countries. Most Jews and Israelis say that Israel has enough trouble controlling what little territory it does have and that the idea of controlling more is absurd, but the past extraterritorial occupations leave a different taste for most Arabs.

7) The Mizrahi Exodus: Jews become irate over the fact that the Arab countries refuse to recognize the events that led up to the Jewish exodus from the Arab World. Jews from the Arab World or Mizrahi Jews, did not live in the Andalucian Solution as most Arabs uncritically believe, but lived in countries which limited their rights, organized pogroms (such as the Farhud in Baghdad), stole their property, and executed and disappeared family members. Between 1950 and 1952 over 500,000 Mizrahi Jews immigrated to Israel where they were forced to live in camps in the desert until proper shelters could be built for them. (The population before the immigration was around 600,000 which made this immigration almost impossible to accommodate.) Arabs often claim that the hostility towards the Mizrahim (if they admit that such things occurred) were just outbursts and that they do not treat minorities as badly anymore, but refuse to publicly atone for the treatment or be self-critical about this history.

8) Biblical Causes: Arabs and Jews consider themselves descended from Abraham's sons Ishmael and Isaac respectively. Abraham aggressively kicked his maidservant Hagar and her son Ishmael out of the house in order for his son Isaac (born of his wife Sarah) to have primary attention. Jews and Christians assert that Abraham had a more special relationship with Isaac, taking him up a mountain in an attempt to sacrifice him. Moslems allege the same story, but with Ishmael. So, many claim that Jews and Arabs have a sibling rivalry of sorts coming from this moment. However, both the Bible and Qur'an make it very clear that after the halted sacrifice, Ishmael and Isaac actually spent a good deal of time together and remained on good terms. In fact, Isaac's son Esau married one of Ishmael's daughters.

Causes for Arab Anti-Semitism and Arab Anti-Zionism:

1) Restatement: Since Arab Anti-Semitism and Arab Anti-Zionism is strongly linked to Arab interests, all previous causes are repeated in full.

2) Arab Un-Integration in Europe: Arabs are finding it difficult to integrate into European society because of the European definition of what a European is. Typically those definitions involve an ethno-racial character (which Arabs cannot become) or a very strongly disdainful attitude towards religion (which Arabs are not interested in ascribing to). This has led to riots across Europe (especially in France) over French-born Arab rights as citizens. In response to the glass ceiling present in these countries, some Arabs have acted out. One of the clearest symbols of European governmental authority is its protection of Europe's remaining Jewish communities and endorsement of the State of Israel. Therefore these ideologies are attacked and institutions like synagogues are vandalized as a way of showing Arab frustration with European governmental authorities.

3) Financial Unbalance for Arabs: Arabs feel that Jews have much more financial pull than the Arabs do and this unbalance draws their ire because they believe that what the Jews have was partially stolen from them and their historical achievements. Jews counter by saying that there are quite a number of rich Arabs in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, but that these emirs choose to spend their money personally instead of professionally or philanthropically.

4) Jewish Failure to Reciprocate Past Treatment: Some also believe that when Islam was civilized and glorified centuries ago, the Jews were treated fairly and that their rights were respected and recognized. Muslims thought of them as their friends and let the Jews lived with them on the same land, using the same natural resources without any barrier. All were equal in the eyes of the Muslims. Only Jews who hate and wanted to destroy Islam were the ones who could not be tolerated by the Muslims. It is important to note that many Jews are particularly angry that Muslims fail to recognize that their treatment of Jews, while enlightened for the period, falls far short of the modern concept of "Equal Rights" and that the situation for the Jew under Islam was one of humiliation and vast inequality in both taxation, job openings, and general feeling of being second class.

Causes for Jewish Anti-Islamic Sentiment:

1) Restatement: Since Jews feel a strong kinship to Israel, all causes in the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli Conflict are repeated in full.

2) Islamic Un-Education & Un-Censorship: Jews are angry that in many mosques, messages of tolerance and acceptance of Jews are few and far between. The message spread is one of hatred and a desire to prevent reconciliation. This is much more common in conservative Arab countries than it is in Western nations where numerous liberal Islamic leaders (even those who are Anti-Zionist) vigorously oppose Anti-Semitism. In addition, television in Arab countries tends to be strongly biased against Jews and Israel, uniting the two in such shows as Farfur by Hamas. Finally, Arabs are strongly discouraged from reading and discovering other points of view in the world, preventing them from having an honest understanding of what Judaism stands for and believes.

3) Islamic Opposition to Free Speech & Use of Threats: Moslems have notoriously protested violently at cartoon portrayals of Mohammed, Qur'an burnings, and other forms of free speech or religious protest. Islamic leaders have also called for death threats to those who hold views counter to their own, the most famous of which being the Fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie. Most Jews see these reactions as barbaric, as do many Western Moslems who are ashamed of their more excitable brethren. This ultra-conservative and unwavering view makes many Jews fearful that there cannot be reconciliation with Arabs and Islam because they would be unwilling to accept an open dialogue.

4) Islamic Support for Terrorism: This is pretty straightforward. Jews are angry that Moslems all over the world contribute to organizations whose prime motive for existence is the slaughter of Israeli and Jewish civilians. Similarly Arabs are angered whenever Jews give contributions to Israel or to the IDF because they feel similarly that Jews are paying to kill Palestinian civilians.

5) Clean Up Your Own Backyard: Jews are bothered that many Arabs spend so much energy accusing Israel of Human Rights abuses and other infringements of international law, but do not turn the lens on themselves first. Jews believe that Arabs should be angry about the torture that openly goes on in Saudi Arabia and Syria, the genocides that occurred all over Iraq, the suppression of free will in Algeria by a military junta, and numerous beatings and stonings that go on in the Arab World. They argue that the Arabs should clean up their own backyard before they attempt to tell Israel how to behave.

6) Arab Messiah: Some believe that the Jews have been keeping a sense of hatred towards the Muslims when Mohammed was chosen as the official last Prophet for humankind till eternity. They believe this problem among the Jews and the Arabs did not happen before Islam came. Both tribes lived happily and respected each other before Muhammad announced his prophet-hood. As Mohammed came from the Arab lineage, this led to anger and frustration amongst the Jews as they were hoping that their promised Messiah would be among the Jews itself. They did not accept that their Messiah was not from their own kind. They believe the Jews kept hating Muslims and tried to destroy them. It is important to note that this belief is circulated far more often among Arabs as a way to detract from the above-mentioned reasons. Jews typically do not see Mohammed as a prophet in the lineage of prophets (the way that Moslems see him) and generally see him as a False Prophet or a Leader of the Goyim.

History of Judaism

What is a Shtibl?

A Shtibl is a small room used as a synagogue for hasidic Jews.

History of Judaism

Was the state of Israel settled by people fleeing the Zionist policies of Nazi Germany?

First of all, sweetheart, Nazi Germany never had Zionist policies.

There has been a continuous Jewish population in Israel for a little over 3,000 years

now, although there have been times when their numbers dropped very low.

The modern migration of Jews back to Israel began sometime late in the 19th Century

(that was the 18 hundreds). That was the time when the individual Jews and the small

communities of Jews, who always knew that they weren't actually welcome anywhere,

began to share that realization with each other. If there were any who hadn't actually

realized it yet, it was hard for them to miss the way that as soon as things began to go

bad for this country or that one or the other one, there were always loud voices high up

in that country who blamed all of the country's problems on the Jews who lived there.

So the idea began to take hold among the Jews that it might actually be possible to start

rebuilding Jewish culture and society in the place where they always belonged, in Israel.

As Czarist Russia was falling apart and things were going from bad to worse for

Russian Jews, many of those who were able to leave Russia did so. My grandparents

went to Argentina and to the US. Many other Russian Jews went to Israel. As Germany

was going downhill in the 1920s and 30s and blaming it on the Jews, great numbers of

Jews continued to ignore what was happening and believe that it would get better.

Great numbers of other Jews who were able to leave Germany did that, and migrated

to many other countries around the world, including Israel. By the time the Nazis had

solidified power and created their policies specifically aimed at Jews, in the late 1930s,

Jews were no longer allowed to come and go as they felt like it. "Zionist" policy is a

policy that says Jews should be able to establish a Jewish nation in Israel. That was

not the policy of Nazi Germany. The policy of Nazi Germany said that Jews are inferior

human beings, that it is Germany's job to clean them off of the Earth, and that special

railroad lines and death camps should be built to do the job. And that's exactly what

Germany did, from 1938 until 1945, capturing and killing millions of Jews (and others)

in Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, France, and Holland. After Germany lost the

Second World War in 1945, most of the Jews who were still alive in those countries

left, and went to other places. A lot of them went to Israel. Israel became a country

in 1948, and since that time, there have been migrations to Israel of Jews from many

countries, including large numbers from Russia, from Ethiopia, from Yemen, and from

the US and Canada.

In 1937, Ze'ev Jabotinsky proposed a mass exodus of Polish Jews to Mandatory

Palestine, but before he could pitch the idea to the Polish Jewish communities

(3.3 million people ... of whom 3 million would be mass-murdered), the British

opposed the entry of any Polish Jews into Mandatory Palestine fearing Arab

reprisals. If you wish to specifically discuss immigration to Mandatory Palestine

during the height of the Holocaust (1939-1945) you should note that the British

White Paper of 1939 further minimized the legal Jewish immigration to a trickle.

This widely prevented Jews from settling in Mandatory Palestine until after 1948

when the State of Israel was declared and opened its borders.

History of Judaism

Why is Deborah an important figure in Jewish history?

Devorah was one of the seven prophetesses (Talmud, Megillah 14a). She was a foremost Torah-authority in her time, and served as a judge. Moreover, she set in motion the victory over the Canaanite threat which occured in her time; and she authored the Biblical Song of Deborah. She lived around 3200 years ago. See Judges ch.4-5.

History of Judaism
Nazi Party

How did Jews in the 1930s regard the Nazi party?

The Jewish people in Europe at first didn't believe Hitler would take away their civil rights nor did they expect the "final solution". But from 1933 on, the situation became more and more dire for Jews in Germany. As word spread about what Hitler was doing, some American newspapers wrote about it-- but sadly, most did not. (There are several excellent books and articles about how the major newspapers like the NY Times totally downplayed or even ignored the murder of millions of Jews.) A few non-Jewish reporters, notably Dorothy Thompson and Edward R. Murrow, spoke out, but they were in the minority. America was still struggling with anti-Semitism in the 30s, so much of the coverage of the Nazi takeover was only read in the Jewish (ethnic) newspapers. Also, famous rabbis like Stephen S. Wise spoke out, as did entertainers like Eddie Cantor. Jews in general were horrified by what Hitler was doing and saddened that many in the US government did nothing to help till millions had died.

History of Judaism
Nazi Party

Why did the Nazis kill the Jews?

One answer:

Hitler displayed classic signs of prejudice. He decided that the Jews, who made up about 1% of Germany, were somehow to blame for Germany's loss of World War 1, and made them into a convenient scapegoat. He also held very stereotypic beliefs about the Jews, accusing them of being disloyal, untrustworthy, and not capable of being "true Germans." Although Jews had lived in Germany peacefully for a long time and had made positive contributions to the culture, suddenly, the rhetoric about them changed. Hitler began talking about the Jews as if they were a disease, something that needed to be wiped out. He repeatedly made statements that blamed the Jews for whatever problems Germany was having, and encouraged non-Jews to fear and distrust their Jewish colleagues and neighbors. This became official Nazi policy, resulting in Jews being segregated, forced to wear a yellow star, and ultimately sent off to concentration camps.

Hitler and the Nazis enforced a doctrine of "purity." They believed that only white people (preferably with Nordic features), were the ideal, and that these "Aryans" were the 'pure race' of Germans. Hitler lashed out at anyone who did not conform to this image and the Nazi policy was to eliminate the impure races (he created the myth that the Jews were a race, as well as a religion). Hitler also was the enemy of anyone who was not "perfect"-- in addition to killing more than 6 million Jews, he also ordered the deaths of people with mental retardation, dwarfism, etc. And while the Nazis saved their worst treatment for the Jews, they also persecuted many Christians who were believed to be enemies of the government, as well as Gypsies and other groups considered unfit for the new German empire. Hitler's policy was that all members of the groups he labeled as "undesirable" needed to be killed, in order to have a perfect country.


Christopher Browning and many other historians see the killing of Jews in the Holocaust as part of a wider campaign to rid the world of 'Jewish Bolshevism'.

The media and the schools accepted and promoted Hitler's rhetoric. The Nazi Party was masterful at spreading propaganda, so even though there was no evidence that the Jews had done anything bad, it did not take long before the average German was repeating what Hitler had been saying. And although all of the accusations against the Jews were false, having one group that could be used as a scapegoat was very effective. Hitler was successful in persuading the vast majority of Germans that all the problems in Germany were caused by the Jews. And once this was the common belief, the next step was finding the right solution -- which meant getting rid of the Jews.


It has to be understood that there is a difference between the use of the Jews as a scapegoat, or as a political tool to unify the country and actually killing them (as the question asks).

Many (in fact most) western countries were prejudiced against the Jews, but it was the Nazis who did the killing, the reasons for this transcend mere antisemitism.


Two other points that have been discussed in documentaries are:

1. His grandmother (father's mother) worked in a Jewish home when she was young. After she left the home she had a child out of wedlock (his father) and the assumption that the father was someone from that household was implied.

2. When Hitler was young he tried to make it as an artist but he had a tough time. Some of the establishments that he turned to for help (food, shelter, etc.) were run by Jewish families and he felt he was mistreated in those settings.


It is not at all clear why having a Jewish grandparent (if he did) would have made Hitler want to kill Jews. In any case, Ian Kershaw, in Vol. 1 (Hybris, Penguin Books, 1998, pp. 7-9) of his highly acclaimed two volume biography of Hitler says that there is no evidence that Hitler had a Jewish grandparent.

Kershaw also says elsewhere that the earliest solid evidence of Hitler's antisemitism dates from 1916.

Another Answer

This question implicitly has two parts. The first is a question as to the rationales that the Nazis believed in to justify Anti-Semitic beliefs and the second is a question as to why the Nazis felt the need to kill the Jews as a way to solve these Anti-Semitic concerns.

The Reasons for Anti-Semitism in Germany during that period are numerous, but some of the more important reasons were the following:

1) Decay of the German State: During the 1800s, Jews began to become more integrated in German National Life. They served in its government, its military divisions, and its industry. As was typical of Western Europe, the Jews had more of a hand in the higher echelons of government than their population percentage would account for. The Nazis saw this increasing Jewish percentage in the government as a slow takeover of German policy and a corruption of the German people. They contrasted the great victories under Bismarck with the depressing failure of World War I and noted how a much larger percentage of soldiers in the latter war were Jewish. There was also the sentiment than in the early 20th century, values were beginning to ebb (this is similar to current politics in the United States) and the Jewish integration in the German apparatus (becoming teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc.) was to blame for this recession of values as opposed to modernity as a process.

2) Nationalism: Germany was brought together under the Nationalist conception that all peoples with German culture, history, and language should be united regardless of which principality currently held control. The German self-conception also had an ethnic component, holding that the perfect German was blond and blue eyed. Regardless of the fact that the majority of Germans were dark haired, Jews stuck out like a sore thumb because they overwhelmingly had darker hair. In addition, the idea of a German Jew was still rather new and both Jews and non-Jews tended to see the Jews in Germany as being part of a vast Jewish network and that these Jews just happened to be in Germany. The Nazis capitalized on this cosmopolitan sensibility by claiming that Jews' allegiances were not to the German State, but to secret Jewish Councils organizing world events.

3) Economy: Whether it was true or not, there was perception among Germans and the Nazis in particular that Jews were wealthy individuals and had a higher per-capita income than the Germans. In many ways (because of the above two reasons) Germans felt that the Jews were "stealing" their money while they were poor and suffering.

4) Pseudo-Science: The late 19th and early 20th century was filled with radical new ideas concerning Social Darwinism. It was believed by the Pseudo-Scientific community (which was rather in vogue) that different groups of people or races exhibited different emotional traits that were linked to physical differences. This led to the belief that Jews were corrupt and thieving by their irreversible nature and that they could not be "cured" and brought up as proper Europeans. This formalized Racial Anti-Semitism in Germany and made the situation much more dire for German Jews.

5) Heresy: Although not as much an issue in World War II as it may have been 500 years prior, Jews were still considered the heretics who murdered the LORD and Savior. This helped to justify Anti-Semitism as the Jewish comeuppance for their accepting of the Christ Bloodguilt.

6) Hatred: (written by someone else) Because ppl hated them . . . . .not such a good reason, right? Its so sad . . . . . .

Why was killing the Jews necessary?

The answer to the second part, while cold, is brutally honest. The Nazis encouraged the German population to believe that this myriad of Anti-Semitic issues was ingrained in German Society by making it part of the national curriculum and teaching it to millions of German children. The Nazis proposed that the only way to improve Germany was to remove the Jews entirely. There were two options for such a removal: exile or genocide. Since no country was willing to take the Jewish population en masse (and this includes the United States and United Kingdom due to prevailing stereotypes there) the Nazis made the executive decision to commit genocide to "save Germany".


The Nazis blamed the Jews for every problem in the world and they accused the Jews of:

  1. Being Communists
  2. Causing World War 1
  3. Profiteering in World War 1
  4. Profiteering from the German Inflation
  5. Causing the Great Depression
  6. Causing Germany to lose World War 1 by fomenting unrest and revolution in Germany itself
  7. Undermining German morals by encouraging prostitution and homosexuality
  8. Ruining German art
  9. Trying to dominate the whole world
  10. From 1939 on Hitler accused the Jews of starting World War 2 (as part of a global conspiracy to destroy Germany and dominate the world).

They blamed them for all the hardship in Germany. At the time Jewish people where in positions of power and wealth. Hitler believed that people of Jewish faith where not looking out for Germany's wellbeing only their own self-interest. This is a flawed argument because many Jews had lived in Germany for hundreds of years and had served in the German army. The Nazi's had no problem confiscating the Jewish people's money and possessions and using them to enrich themselves. Hitler also believed that Jews everywhere where bad for society in this way and they should be removed. Originally the idea was to deport all Jews out of Germany, this became more and more impractible and so they came up with the plan to just kill instead of deport

Old Testament
History of Judaism

Did Cyrus enslave Jews?

A:No, very much the other way around. Cyrus the Great (c. 560-530 BCE) defeated the Babylonians in 539 BCE and ordered that the enslaved Jews be allowed to return to Judah if they wished to do so.
History of Judaism

What does boon times mean?

I believe this is a mix up of the phrase 'boom times' meaning a period of prosperity and the word 'boon' meaning a blessing or benefit.

Tanakh and Talmud
History of Judaism

When did ancient Hebrews live?

approximately 2000 BCE to the present. Present day Hebrew are called Jews.

History of Judaism

Where can i get a List of Jewish billionaires?

The following Sites contains Litsts of several thousands Prominent Jews classified by several hundred Categories as well an information about History of the Jews. http://jewprom.50webs.com/ www.jewishwealth.org

History of Judaism
Romani Language and Culture

During the Holocaust were the Jews and Gypsies treated humanely?

They weren't treated humanely, or even humanly; that is the whole point. According to Nazi ideas, Jews, Gypsies and various others were "untermenschen", that is sub-human. Thus, according to the Nazis, those people could be eliminated. Simply kill them all so that Germans can have their land. It was no different from the way you would kill rats in your attic. They were simply "in the way" and had no more right to live than any other vermin. During the Holocaust Jews and Gypsies were not treated humanely. They were used for cruel experiments and were the Nazis answer for having their own way. The Nazis to me are cruel and cold-hearted people who were so focused on expanding their own land, as well as more money, that they laboured the poor prisoners to death.

I have MET someone who lived through the Holocaust and survived to tell of his horrors. I have TALKED to him. Not only me, my whole yeargroup has. He comes every year to talk about his experience. Do you really think it's all fake? I have read and heard from the "Old and Bold" that the Germans were relatively good "hosts" as far as British and American POWs were concerned. I have only ever met one man who was captured by the Japanese and his stories were horrific. German treatment of Russian prisoners was a lot worse than that of other Allied soldiers by all accounts. Treatment of POWs should not however be confused with the camps that were set up to carry out the "Final Solution" or extermination of Jews and gypsies and others. As pleasant as it would be to pretend this did not take place, as many have and will continue to do, this is unfortunately not the case. There have been attempts to ascribe the millions of dead and disappeared to Allied war damage and Zionist conspiracies, which is probably why a question as naive as this can be actually be posed. The Nazis not only conducted horrible experiments on Jews and Gypsies, but also on twins, triplets, homosexuals, etc. No human being should be treated this way. Who knows what these people had to endure behind closed doors? I shudder to think about it. Those who were used for experiments were often kept alive to be used for further experiments. You've seen the photographs of huge mass graves, piles of skeletal bodies, the photos of families with Stars of David pinned to their shirts, being marched out of their homes at gunpoint, the photos of Nazi soldiers pointing their rifles at mere children as they cried and begged for their lives. Go speak with one of the few surviving members of say, the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne - some of the people who helped to liberate people that were at these death camps. Try to ask THEM if the Holocaust never happened. I used to live in Germany and was fortunate enough (for a life-lesson to me) to visit Dachau. There were no movie theatres or swimming pools. There were however, ovens. Big ovens that were used to burn the remains of the people murdered. There was still the stench of burnt flesh emanating from the walls. This was in the mid-80's, some 40+ years after this was "over." I'm sorry this is so graphic, but apparently some people are still trying to somehow make that experience into some dumbed-down version of what really went on there. The birds, to that day, still did not fly anywhere near the remains of the camp. You can't dignify this question with a response. My Grandfather, a member of the British army, was involved in the liberation of Jews from concentration camps. He was traumatised by the way in which Jews and Gypsies were 'processed' in a 'production line' like manner. First being stripped of their families, then of their possessions, their dignity, their health, and finally of their life. And that was if they were lucky! As many of the other writers have stated, numerous Jews and Gypsies faced a far more traumatic, macabre fate.

Germany in WW2
History of Judaism

What did Rudolf Hess do before the Holocaust?

deputy leader

History of Judaism

What years did Yitzhak Rabin live?

He lived from the first of march,1922 to the 4th of november, 1995, which is 73 years.


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