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
Ancient History
Name Origins
Names and Name Meanings
History of Judaism

What does Deborah mean?

The name Deborah means "honey bee". The origin is the Hebrew 'D'vorah'. Deborah was the name of a judge prominent in the Tanach (Jewish Bible) and, therefore, also in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible where her name is first mentioned in the book of Judges. She is the only person in Jewish history to be both a prophet and judge. In addition to being a judge and a prophetess, she was also a war hero in the war against Jabin, King of Canaan (Judges 4:4). She convinced Barak to lead the war to victory after which she wrote a song to honor him and the victory. That song is currently in the Bible in the book of Judges.

Another Deborah is also briefly mentioned in Genesis 35:8. She was the "nurse" of Rebekah.

Over the centuries, the name Deborah has been one of the more popular names for girls and has been appreciated for its association with the hard work, persistence, and importance to society for which bees are known.

Historically, D'vorah has been a popular name for Jewish girls because of the attributes of the biblical D'vorah. Over time, the name became Anglicized to the current form "Deborah" and became popular with other groups too.

History of Judaism

Whom do Jewish people worship?

Answer 1

One supreme, all encompassing, ethereal, all dimensional, God. No idol or image. Something so great that it has no need for shape or form, and perhaps shouldn't even have the term "being" applied...as that may reduce the idea and imply some type of form.

The concept of a face and shape and form for God is totally at odds with Judaism (and Islam). The idea of a trinity is also rejected by Judaism.

Answer 2

Dictionaries define "Judaism" as The monotheistic religion of the Jews, since the founding principle of Judaism was and is the belief in One God. This was the teaching which was spread by Abraham, and has continued since then. From Judaism, belief in One God has spread through the Western world.
In Judaism:

  • God is One. The concept of a dualism (as in Zoroastrianism), an independent Satan, multiple gods (polytheism; paganism) or a trinity of three in one, are all unimaginable in Judaism. Also, any belief that an intermediary between humanity and God should be used, whether as necessary or even optional, is considered heretical.
  • God is non-physical, indivisible and incomparable. Jewish tradition teaches that God is beyond human comprehension; and that it is only God's revealed deeds, as He interacts with mankind and the world, that we can begin to grasp. His names indicate His attributes and the ways in which He relates to us.
  • God is omniscient (He is aware of everything), and infinitely wise.
  • God created the universe and all existence, including time and space, in a deliberate, purposeful act of benevolent Creation.
  • God is the mover of everything. No molecule can move without the energy and direction with which God imbues it.
  • God is eternal; and His ways are also eternal. He is not capricious, forgetful or fickle.
  • God is just. He rewards good and punishes evil - whether in this world or in the afterlife.
  • God is ethical and moral; and He expects us to imitate His ways.
  • The God of Israel is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the guide of history, who delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.
  • God is the source of law, who gave the Torah to the Israelites at Mount Sinai.
  • God is immanent and personal, meaning that he relates to humanity and hears our prayers. This is the basis of the Psalms and our siddur (prayerbook).

Answer 3

Judaism is strictly monotheistic, meaning it has One God. Jews do not worship anything other than The Creator.

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.

In the Tanach (Jewish Bible), there are 72 different 'names' used for The Creator. However, these aren't actual names; 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.

History of Judaism

Why is zionism important?

it was sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine

History of Judaism

Why were Jews kicked out of 109 countries?

They were relegated to the profession of usury because they couldnt own land or take part in almost all professions so they had to be usurors. So very very often Jews would lend people money and when they couldnt pay it back in time, they killed the Jews that lent them the money. This was the cause of countless murders and pogroms. It also led them to be kicked out of France by Louis IX and SO thus the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews are greedy and they run finance which became popular in the middle ages and endures to this day. Also, many catholic countries expelled Jews such as Spain and Portugal, unless they would convert to Christianity. The conspiracy theory of blood libel was also enduring.

Religion & Spirituality
History of Judaism

What was the binding agreement between God and Abraham?

You will find this agreement (also called a covenant) principally at Genesis 22:15-18 (although there are several other references throughout Genesis about this pact between God and Abraham):

And Jehovah's angel proceeded to call to Abraham the second time out of the heavens 16 and to say: "'By myself I do swear,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'that by reason of the fact that you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your only one, 17 I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore; and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies. 18 And by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.'"

There are a series of divine covenants in the Bible, and this is a great one to study because it will end up affecting all humankind, "all the nations of the earth."

This Abrahamic Covenant is related to the covenant God made in Genesis 3:15 in the Garden of Eden, when He made an agreement to bring forth a Seed, or offspring, who would undo all the damage done by Satan the Devil, who is referred to as "the original serpent" in Revelation 12:9 (see also Romans 16:20 and 1 John 3:8). For Christians, the primary Seed is Jesus Christ, who came through the family line of Abraham. The blessings that result from the Abrahamic Covenant include the possibility of enjoying friendship with God as was the case with Abraham (James 2:23) and the restoration of Paradise (Psalm 37:29; Luke 23:43).

Religion & Spirituality
History of Judaism

Who had more rights in Israelite society men or women?

Contrary to popular belief the mosaic law took great care to look out for women. Men by number may have had more "rights" but thats aside the point women were well cared for for the most part, and in ordinary times always had everything they needed taken care of them. The israelite culture why by and large a familistic culture, as man near eastern cultures of its time were. Their laws namely reflected the values of the people, protecting and propagating house, hearth, and healthy offspring.

No one, not even the king, was above the law.

Jesus Christ
History of Judaism

Why were the Jews falsely accused of killing Jesus Christ?

A:The gospels depict Jesus as being sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, a Roman governor, at the insistence of the Jews. Since the Romans had the power of life and death over their subjects, it was important to the early Christians to emphasise the role of the Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus and to minimise the role of Pontius Pilate. Any tradition that cast doubt on the loyalty of Christians could have been fatal to the emerging religion.

Mark's Gospel, the first gospel to be written, shows Pilate offering to release Jesus for the Passover, but the Jews insist that Barabbas be released instead. Matthew makes it plain that Pilate attempted to prevail in saving Jesus and, when that failed, symbolically washed his hands. Luke's Gospel. written next, even has Pilate attempt to avoid trying Jesus by sending him to Herod Antipas for trial, then twice propose that he chastise Jesus and release him. In each of these accounts, the Roman magistrate is cleared of any wrong in the death of Jesus, causing the blame to fall on the Jews.

The early Christians can be shown to have believed the Jews to be forever criminally responsible for the death of Jesus, for example with their persecution by Emperor Constantine and the Christian emperors who followed.


The Romans (Gentiles) crucified Jesus Christ. The Jews crucified Jesus Christ. All of us crucified Jesus Christ for it was for our transgressions collectively, that He died to save sinners. In the redemptive plan of God, each one of us born of Adam's corrupt seed are responsible for sending Him to die. There is no "false accusation."

We are all guilty.

Alcoholic Beverages
Wine and Champagne
Medieval Religion
History of Judaism

What was wine called in medieval times?

It depends who is speaking. In Middle English, spoken by peasants, merchants, craftsmen and tradesmen, wine was called licour, raspice, win, roche, vernage, rinish, and various other names depending on the type of wine and where it came from. German and French wine was imported to England in large amounts.

A nobleman would call it algarde, antioche, blanc, charrie, chaudel, clary, especerie, flurir, gascoign, gilofre, ipocras, maddok, maumerie, malmsey, osey, piment, primice, romeny, tyr, vernage or simply vin, again depending on the specific type and place of origin of the wine. Especerie was spiced wine, primice was newly-made wine that had not matured.

History of Judaism

What were the Nazi ghettos?

In Poland, Lithuania and some other areas they Jews were put into ghettos while the Nazis decided what to do with them.

The ghettos were walled or fenced-in districts where Jews were forced to live under Nazi rule. The Jews in the ghettos were completely dependent on the Nazis for food, water and medication. The living conditions were appalling, and many died of starvation and disease. These communities were hopelessly overcrowded, as the Nazis kept on sending more and more Jews from surrounding areas into the ghettos. From early December 1941 on the Nazis sent Jews from the ghettos to extermination camps.

There were over 500 ghettos scattered across Eastern Europe.


Ghetto is a very old word, going back to about 1600, for neighborhoods which were reserved for Jews. Depending on the time and place, and your point of view, you could say a ghetto was a place Jews were allowed to live or were forced to live. (In some parts of Europe, Jews were required by law to reside in a ghetto until about 1800, but they were opened by Napoleon).

In World War II the Nazi restrictions on Jews were very severe. Jews were forced into ghettos and not allowed to leave, at all, for any purpose, except to be taken out and killed.

Life in the ghettos was dehumanizing, to say the least. The living restrictions were arduous, people lived in overcrowded conditions, residents were forced to do hard labor, and many people were subjected to beatings and other cruel attrocities. In order to survive residents frequently engaged in so-called illegal activities, such as smuggling food, medicine, weapons and information across the ghetto walls.

From November 1939 on the Nazis established ghettos, mainly in Eastern Europe - especially in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Nazi ghettos during the Holocaust were separated from surrounding areas by fences, walls and guards. Conditions within these ghettos were harsh from the outset and deteriorated further ...

Those who lived in these districts were forbidden to leave. The Jews in the Nazi ghettos were completely (or almost completely) dependent on the Germans for food, water, fuel and other essentials, and the amounts allowed in were grossly inadequate. In some ghettos, the inhabitants were able to establish small workshops. They had to smuggle in the raw materials and then smuggle out the finished products, which they bartered for food and further raw materials ...

Every ghetto had a Nazi-nominated 'Jewish Council' or Judenrat which had to police it and distribute food. The initial attraction of this arrangement to Jews was that it was better than having the SS police the ghettos. However, it usually turned the Jewish Council into unwilling collaborators. Ultimately, the SS ordered the Jewish Councils to name people for deportation to extermination camps.

Living conditions in the ghettos were atrocious. There was insufficient food and usually no medication. The ghettos were hopelessly overcrowded and fatal diseases were widespread. The dead were piled on the curbs and street corners to be buried in mass graves. Many went without proper clothing, food, or shelter. When the bodies were buried, the Nazis then dumped more Jews from other places in the ghettos.

These ghettos were another way for the Germans to control of Jews when they didn't have the space for them in camps or the means to transport them. The ghettos were basically 'holding areas' for the Jews. These ghettos were then 'liquidated', starting in late 1941: this meant that the remaining Jews were shipped off to camps for extermination.

In April 1943 some of the Jews still in the Warsaw Ghetto organized and armed themselves to fight the Germans and there was a uprising, which the Germans easily put down. There were also uprisings in the Vilnius and Bialystock ghettos.

Well known, major Nazi ghettos included those in:

  • Warsaw
  • Lodz
  • Bialystock
  • Krakow
  • Lemberg (Lvov, Lviv)
  • Vilnius

The ghetto in Sighet, Transylvania is well known because Elie Wiesel lived there.

English to Hebrew
History of Judaism

What is the Hebrew spiritual meaning of sunflower?

The Hebrew word for sunflower is khamanit (חמנית) but this word has no spiritual significance in Hebrew.

The sunflower itself may have a spiritual meaning in other faiths though.

Tanakh and Talmud
History of Judaism

What kind of education did the ancient Hebrews have?

They began learning Scripture, reading and writing, at 5. At 10 they were able to listen to oral interpretations of scripture. At 13 they were given the responsibility of fulfilling the commandments (Pirkei Avoth ch.4). Children would then begin to learn the family trade (Talmud, Kidushin 82a) while continuing their Torah studies. Male Jewish literacy was close to 100% in every generation. At age 15 the brightest would become a Talmid (disciple of a Rabbi) and devote their lives to the study of the Torah.
Their education involved a great deal of memorization and by the age of 13 most would have memorized the entire Tanakh. Their education was based on relationship. The intent was to shape the children's hearts as opposed to shaping only the children's minds. Good behavior, attitudes and self-control was taught together with the regular studies.

History of Judaism

How did pogroms affect life for Jews in Russia?

It made life dangerous and extremely difficult for them. Many emigrated to the US and Western Europe and further afield.

History of Judaism

What was Nebuchadnezzar role in Jewish history?

Nebuchadnezzer was a king who destroyed Jerusalem and sent the Israelites into exile.

Animal Life
Care of Birds
History of Judaism

Is the Ziz bird real?

The Ziz bird is listed in Wikipedia as "Jewish Mythology". You decide.

Jesus Christ
Bar Mitzvah
History of Judaism

What would a Bar Mitzvah at the time of Jesus have been like?


The Bar Mitzvah as a celebration in the synagogue of a young Jew becoming a man was only developed as a practice in the late 12th and early 13th centuries in medieval Europe. Prior to that point the Rabbis had only defined the concept of a Jewish adult (against a Jewish child) in the 9th century, so even the concept of exact timing of Bar Mitzvah would have been non-existent. Finally, the Bar Mitzvah is an outgrowth of the synagogue-ization of Judaism, which required communities to develop around a synagogue as the source of Judaism in a given community. Jesus liked in the time of the Great Temple (בית המקדש) when local shrines in any given region were run by the Priests (כהנים) and not by the individuals of that community. Therefore, identifying yourself as a man capable of performing the duties requisite to help maintain the community would have been unnecessary.

Tanakh and Talmud
History of Judaism

How did the ancient Hebrews maintain their religion as they traveled from place to place?

1) Reading the Torah in the synagogue and studying it at other times.2) Keeping the laws and beliefs of the Torah. Those who didn't do this, such as the Hellenizers and Sadducees, went lost.

3) Maintaining vibrant Jewish communities, with communal prayer and study, mutual help, maintaining ties between the various communities, etc.

4) Remembering God's covenant and promise that the Jews and Judaism will never cease.

See also:

More about the diaspora

History of Judaism

Why is Moses an important figure in Jewish history?

A: Moses is an important figure in Jewish tradition because the Bible says that he led the Hebrew people out of captivity in Egypt and also received the Ten Commandments from God. Whether he was an important person in history depends on whether the Exodus from Egypt really happened, and the strong consensus of scholars is that there was no Exodus from Egypt as described in the Bible.
Keep in mind though, that Reform and Conservative Jews have a saying that "Just because it may not have happened, doesn't mean it's not true. It means, we can learn lessons of ethics, and traditions from our ancient scriptures regardless of historical facts.
Moses parted the Red Sea to free his people and brought them the Ten Commandments on stone tablets.
He brought the Israelites into the covenant with God (Exodus ch.19 and ch.24), and he oversaw the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus ch.35-40). He was the humblest of men and the greatest of prophets (Numbers ch.12).

Is the Hebrew Bible trustworthy?

"Although critics contended that the Hebrew Bible is unhistorical and untrustworthy, time and time again, the archaeological record supports places, times, and events mentioned in Scripture. We now have archaeological information about a number of patriarchal towns mention in Scripture, including Bethel, Shechem, Jerusalem, Mamre, Gerar, Beer-sheba, and Dothan" (Professor John Arthur Thompson, The Bible and Archaeology). The personal names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are names of the time and area mentioned in the Bible (ibid).
"One city after another, one civilization after another, one culture after another, whose memories were enshrined only in the Bible, have been restored to their proper places in ancient history by the studies of archaeologists" (Prof. Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction).

No parchment, scroll, or inscription has ever been found that would support the Bible-critics' JEPD (different sources) hypothesis, which remains a set of postulates. And those ancient writers who mention, describe, summarize or translate the Torah (Josephus, Samaritans, Targum, Septuagint etc.), describe it in its complete form.
Archaeological finds, such as the Ugarit documents and those of Nuzu, Mari, Susa, Ebla, and Tel el-Amarna, have repeatedly caused the critics to retract specific claims. The entire social milieu portrayed in the Torah, once criticized as anachronistic, has been shown to be historically accurate, including customs of marriage, adoption, contracts, inheritance, purchases, utensils, modes of travel, people's names and titles, etc. Professor Gleason Archer states: "In case after case where historical inaccuracy was alleged as proof of late and spurious authorship of the biblical documents, the Hebrew record has been vindicated by the results of excavations, and the condemnatory judgment of the Documentary theorists have been proved to be without foundation."

History of Judaism

Where do European Jews and Sephardic Jews originate from?


All Jews originally come from Judeah. read the Bible, particularly the books of Kings, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah to learn more about their ancient history. They were eventually conquered by the Romans. Late in the first century A.D. the Romans destroyed the Jewish Kingdom once and for all and deported most of its population, scattering them around the Empire. Somehow, the Jews managed to maintain a distinct ethnic identity and culture. But they were nevertheless, over the centuries, influenced by the surrounding culture. Sephardic Jews are descended from those Jews who, in the Middle Ages, lived in Spain and the West and were influenced by the Latin language and culture. the Azhkenazim, what you called European Jews, are descended from those Jews who lived in Germany and Eastern Europe and were influenced by the German language and culture.


(Additional answer) There is evidence that the Ashkenazic Jews of Europe are descended from the Khazar tribe in Russia, which converted to Judaism.

Response to 2

Claiming that the Ashkenazic (Western) Jews are from the Khazars is a recently invented anti-Semitic canard. It has been conclusively disproved by DNA analyses. These studies showed that Ashkenazim, and other Jews from all over the Earth, are quite closely related to each other and all originated in the Middle East.

A 2013 study of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA found no significant evidence of Khazar contribution to the Ashkenazi Jewish DNA, as would be predicted by the Khazar hypothesis. Although there is no historical or DNA evidence to support the Khazar idea, it is still popular among anti-Semites.

In 2000, the analysis of a report by Nicholas Wade "provided genetic witness that Jewish communities have, to a remarkable extent, retained their biological identity separate from their host populations, showing relatively little intermarriage or conversion into Judaism over the centuries. The results accord with Jewish history and tradition and refute theories which would allege that Jewish communities consist mostly of converts."

We American and Russian Jews have the names and bloodlines of our families' Ashkenaz Jewish ancestors for over eleven centuries. The early Ashkenazi families were brought to the Frankish empire 1200 years ago by Charlemagne from Italy (Bari and Otrento); whereas the Khazars, only a few tens or hundreds of whom converted, were in the Crimea. Consider this also: converted groups do not contain any Kohens or Levites, whereas the Ashkenazim and Sephardim all have good percentages of them.

To address the original question, after much research it appears most likely that the Sephardim are descended from the Jewish communities of Babylonia (via Spain and the East), while the Ashkenazim hail from Judea, via Italy. All Jewish communities are inter-related and originally are from the Middle East, as has been shown by extensive genetic testing.


The Jewish religion originated in the Middle East. Their are Jews of many ethnic origins all over the world now. Genetically they are Hebraic or Middle Eastern.

Ancient History
History of Judaism

Why did the Jews and Greeks hate each other?

Answer 1

because the Greeks killed the Jews.

Answer 2

There was a massive cultural clash between the Jews and the Greeks which is discussed below. Additionally, Greeks defiled the Jewish Temple by placing idols there, selecting Jewish religious leaders and priests, and by bringing un-kosher animals (like pigs) in the Temple vicinity. Greeks also brought their own traditions, such as nude sports, homosexuality, epicureanism, and their own pantheon of gods. All of these things disturbed the Jewish population. Finally, religious Jews noted many other Jews beginning to take on these Greek traditions and feared that Jews would assimilate out of existence.

Cultural and Ideological Clash

Judaism is about how to apply Divine Revelation to the Real World. As a result things have inherent value, purpose, and meaning. The laws of nature and the natural activities of the body need to be directed to accord with these values, purposes, and meanings. Two examples of this worldview are that every human has value regardless of whether that human is disabled and that homosexuality cannot be acted upon since it is considered a violation of the proper nature of a human. Essence precedes existence.

Hellenism is about how to shape an understanding of the world that reflects human desire and perception. Meanings, values, and purposes are only valid so long as the accord with a current perception. The human is central and that which does not build him up, protect him, and defend him is useless. Two examples of this worldview are that humans are only as valuable as their possible contribution to society (Spartans would discard disabled children to be eaten by wolves), but homosexuality when motivated by desire or nature is completely permissible. Essence is fundamentally determined by existence.

It is worth noting that relations between the Jews and Greeks have been much better in recent history. Jews fought alongside Greeks in the Greek Independence and Macedonian Wars. Jews also fought in the Greek Armies when they defeated the Italians and even when the Nazi Germans successfully overran Greek defenses. Unfortunately, Greeks did not object, retaliate, or take covert action to protect Greek Jews who were carted away by the Nazis. Almost the entire Greek Jewish community was destroyed in the Death Camps. However, Greeks are honest and reticent about this appalling past and have attempted to make a genuine peace with the Jewish community.

Answer 3

The culture clash between Jews and Greeks. The Greeks had an advanced culture with greatly advanced literarture, sciences, arts, philosophy. The Jews were nomadic tribes who invented a god to make them 'chosen people', something that no nation had never done before, and no religion other than Abrahamic ones have done since.

Hellenic spirituality has a complete worldview where reason and not 'blind faith' and subservience play the main role. Hellenic mythology is what Hebrew mythology (Bible) is based on (Herakles-Sampson, Androkles and lion, Daniel and lion, Deukalion and flood, Noah and flood (complete with dove and olive branch) etc etc.

Hellenic spirituality includes all of creation and nature in which the divine resides, and not a polarity of "us and them" or and external creator God and his creation.

It also is equally divided into male and female principles, respecting both.

As for 'bringing homosexuality, the Old Testament is full of homosexuality (including Abraham with his son), incest, orgies and people humping each others wives. Epicurianism is based on Ethics, Reason and Joy. What can be better and more balanced than that?

Greeks and Jews have been living peacefully alonside for thousands of years.

When Jews were hounded out of Spain and Portugal they were welcomed in Thessaloniki. During the Nazi invasion many people risked and lost their lives hiding and harbouring Jews, and priests worked full time issuing 'Baptismal Certificates' to Jews, proving their Love for their fellow beings albeit of other faith greater than their religion. Would the Jews have done that?

[See comments on this answer in the Discussion Section.]

Tanakh and Talmud
Old Testament
History of Judaism

What gods did the Hebrews worship?

Jehovah [meaning "He causes to become"]. The personal name of God. Throughout the history of the Hebrews, they worshiped the One God, Jehovah. He was known as the True God, and the Hebrews worshiped Him all their lives. Although they had pitfalls, Jehovah remained to be the only true God they worshiped. Jehovah was the God that commanded Pharaoh to "Let his people go" (Exodus ch.5) and was also the one who led them to the promised land (Numbers 9:15-20). Also Jehovah was with the Israelites when they went to war and was the cause of winning the wars. Yes, the Israelites did get captured by the Babylonians and some may have worshiped their false gods, but true worship was restored when the Persian king Cyrus overthrew king Belshazzar some 2400 years ago. Jehovah was and is a very powerful, wise, merciful, and loving God always forgiving the Israelites when they repented for their errors. The name Jehovah is known in Hebrew as YHWH and is the correct name for God.

Answer 2

Dictionaries define "Judaism" as The monotheistic religion of the Jews, since the founding principle of Judaism was and is the belief in One God, creator of the universe. This was the teaching which was spread by Abraham, and has continued since then. From Judaism, belief in One God has spread through the Western world.

Jews have always worshiped the One God. Abraham worshiped "the Lord God of Heaven and Earth" (Genesis 14:22 and 24:3) and complained about the Philistines' lack of fear of God (Genesis 20:11).
Jacob confiscated the idolatrous images taken from Shechem (Genesis 35:2) and got rid of them (Genesis 35:4); and refrained from invoking the gods of Nahor (Genesis 31:53). Rachel pilfered Laban's statue-images (Genesis 31:19) in order to prevent him from idolatry (Rashi commentary, ibid.). Joseph placed his hope in the God of the Forefathers (Genesis 50:24).
At the time of the Exodus, God wrecked the Egyptian idols (Exodus 12:12) and warned against idolatry (Exodus 22:19). Later, Moses characterized the Golden Calf as "a great sin" (Exodus 32:21, 30) and punished the worshipers (Exodus ch.32). During the rest of his lifetime and that of Joshua (Judges 2:7), no incidents of Israelite idolatry were reported.

Shortly before he died, Moses warned the people that he suspected that they would eventually succumb to the lure of the idols (Deuteronomy 29:17). Joshua gave a similar warning (Joshua ch.24).
These warnings came true. Many of the Israelites went astray after the foreign gods (Judges 2:11). However, they never invented their own idol. It was always the baneful influence of other peoples. And there were times when the entire Israelite nation repented (Judges 2:1-4) and prayed to God (Judges 3:9, 3:15, 6:6, 10:10).
Those who did sin did not represent or influence normative Judaism, just as the later Sadducees and Essenes did not. They were deviating from the Torah's standard; they were publicly, repeatedly, and scathingly excoriated by the prophets, and they caused God's retribution to come upon the entire people (2 Kings ch.17).

Because of the idol-worship that did happen, ancient images of idols have been found in Israel too. Images of God aren't found because it is forbidden to represent Him through imagery (Deuteronomy 4:15-16).
It should be noted that idolatry was never universal among the Israelites. The belief in One God was continued in every generation, whether by the few or the many; and it is those who handed down that tradition whose beliefs we Jews continue today. Deborah ascribed victory to God (Judges 4:14), Gideon tore down the idolatrous altar (Judges 6:25-27); Samson prayed to God (Judges 16:28), as did Hannah (1 Samuel 1:11) and Samuel (ibid. 12:18); Eli blessed in the name of God (1 Samuel 2:20), Saul built an altar to God (1 Samuel 14:35); Jonathan ascribed victory to God (1 Samuel 14:12), as did David (1 Samuel 17:46); and Solomon built the Temple for God (1 Kings 8:20). A number of the kings "did what was right in God's eyes": David (1 Kings 15:5), Solomon (see 1 Kings 3:3), Asa (1 Kings 15:11), Yehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:43), Yehu (2 Kings 10:30), Yehoash (2 Kings 12:3), Amatziah (2 Kings 14:3), Azariah (2 Kings 15:3), Yotam (2 Kings 15:34), Hizkiah (2 Kings 18:3), and Josiah (2 Kings 22:2). Part of this righteousness was their destroying whatever idolatrous incursions had occurred among the populace (1 Samuel 7:3-4, 2 Chronicles 15:8, 2 Chronicles 17:6, 2 Kings 18:4). Even at the height of the unfortunate spread of idolatry among the less-loyal Ten Tribes, there were thousands who remained loyal to God (1 Kings 19:18).
And, of course, the Prophets, who spoke in the name of God and warned against idolatry: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and so on.
The later sages of the Talmud, who ridiculed idolatry (Megillah 25b), were simply continuing in the tradition of the Prophets whose verses are quoted in that context (ibid.).

More information:
While no excuse should be made for those Israelites who strayed, the following may at least clarify the topic a little.
1) The ancients were tested by a powerful lure towards idolatry. We don't understand it because conditions have changed (Talmud, Yoma 69b).
2) Most Israelites (if not all) who committed idolatry didn't completely forget about their One God. They introduced idols into the picture.
3) It was thought that each nation has its own god. They thought that they needed to propitiate the gods of the nations around them so that those gods "wouldn't give military victory" to those nations over the land of Israel.
4) They figured that they would acknowledge other gods "just in case," and that it would be no worse than someone today who carries a "lucky" penny or rabbit's foot.
History of Judaism

Does Zionism represent all Jews?

One of the main problems in answering this is that there are several different definitions of Zionism that are used.

1) Believing that the Jews have the right to a State on the historic Land of Israel.

2) Believing in a Jewish-dominant State where Non-Jews are relegated to a second-Class status.

3) Being part of a world-controlling cabal.

The third, is, of course, simply another form of Anti-Semitism where the cabal is called "Zionists" instead of "Jews" since people immediately recognize the "Jewish cabal" claims to be Anti-Semitic and have a harder time recognizing the same thing with a different label.

The second is a view by those who accept Israel's existence, but want to create a line between Left-Wing Zionism and Right-Wing Zionism. The latter is more akin to the types of nationalism we see in Europe currently.

Even assuming that the first definition is used, not all Jews share the same understanding as to what Israel means. Many of them are Zionists, and live in Israel. Others are anti-Zionists (this group is primarily made of ultra-religious Jews who do not recognize a Jewish right to a State and very liberal secular Jews who see Israel's Jewish Nationalism to be inherently problematic). They are Jewish, and share the same believe as the Israelis, but they don't see the point in having a Jewish state. These Jews cherish their ancestry, but just practice Judaism in other countries. The majority of Jews are pro-Zionism, and a much smaller minority are against Zionism.

Social Sciences
History of Judaism

Why in history and maybe today has society hated Jews?

History of Judaism
Nazi Party

Why were jews persecuted during the holocaust?

Because Adolf Hitler believed that Germans, being inherently superior human beings, were threatened to their very existence by the inherently inferior Jews. The threat to the Supermen from the Subhumans was so great that the only option was to exterminate them as though they were vermin.

Michael Montagne

History of Judaism

Who was the first Jew?

Tradition states that Abraham (18th century BCE) founded Judaism. Most Jews are today descended from his great-grandson Judah, who carried on Abraham's traditions.
Abraham (18th century BCE), tenth-generation descendant of Noah, of Hebrew lineage, was the son of Terah, uncle of Lot, father of Isaac, grandfather of Jacob, and forefather of the Israelites. His story is in Genesis ch.11 (end), through ch.25. Jewish tradition states that he was the first to actively spread belief in One God; and it is in his merit that Jews continue to exist (Genesis 18:19, and ch.17).

Abraham came from ancestry that had been aware of God a couple of centuries earlier but had afterwards slipped into idolatry (Joshua 24:2). By the time of Abraham, the area where he lived was full of pagan cults; they were polytheistic, worshiping multiple deities.
Abraham became the first to advance the idea of ethical monotheism: the worship of One God, and the appropriate ethical code of conduct.

Nimrod, the idolatrous tyrant, had brought Abraham's father (Terah) from the Semitic ancestral seat near the confluence 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 he 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 became the greatest thinker of all time. His originality, perseverance, strength of conviction, and influence, cannot be overestimated.
Abraham, with God's help, trounced the supremacy of the evil Nimrod.
He received God's promise of inheriting the Holy Land (Genesis ch.13).
He strove to raise a family (Genesis ch.15, 17, and 24) which would serve God (Genesis 18:19); and God eventually blessed his efforts, granting him numerous descendants (ibid., ch.16, 21 and 25), in keeping with His promise (Genesis ch.17).
Abraham founded the Jewish people and lived to see his work live on in the persons of Isaac and Jacob; and he taught many other disciples as well (Talmud, Yoma 28b).
He saved the population of the south of Canaan from invading foreign kings (Genesis 14); and he was feared by neighboring kings (ibid., ch.12 and 20).
Abraham gave tithes (Genesis ch.14), entered into 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).
The gravesite of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives (Genesis 49:29-32) is located in Hebron and has been known and attested to for many centuries.
All of the above practices of Abraham were based upon the ways of God, which Abraham understood through his contemplations. These, and similar personality traits, were the teachings of Abraham and his descendants (unlike idolatry, which had no moral character; with worship of the gods accompanied by things such as human sacrifice, "sacred" prostitution, and animal worship).
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 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.)
History of Judaism

Why have Jews been discriminated against?

There are an immense number of reasons, ranging from politics to economics to religious practices to social tendencies to confusion to imperial conquests to retribution (perceived or actual).

The Jews had many traits that made them easy targets for discrimination.

1. They were spread out or were nomads as a community always making them a minority.

2. Their religion is specific to their culture (despite being essentially the same as christianity) made them different.

3. They looked different with specific facial markers, skin colour and clothes which made them easy to spot.

4. The Jews were often successful in business which meant they were richer than most which made people jealous.


i think its because Hitler hated anyone different and the important thing to remember is that it wasn't only the Jews that were discriminated against, disabled (mentally and physically) people and many other religions were killed to If they did not agree with Hitler.


They are apparently responsible for Jesus' death, and their laws permitted them to charge interest on loans - which they did - while Christians could not. This engendered a lot of jealousy and hate for them in the general population. Their ways (such as not allowing people to 'become' Jews; this is part of Jewish custom that a Jew must have a Jewish mother) also created an atmosphere of mistrust. People wondered what they were doing and what they were planning. Paranoia, envy, hate and a fairly easy excuse, for the time anyway, combined to make the unfortunate Jews the target of many persecutions throughtout history; examples of such time are obviously the Holocaust and the period of the Black Death.


The previous answer contains multiple errors. According to the New Testament, the Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus, but many Christians perceived them as responsible. Also, anyone is allowed to become a Jew. Jews welcome converts, they just don't seek them out. Historically, it was the oppressors of the Jews who forbade conversion to Judaism. Also, Jews were moneylenders because this was one of the few occupations they were allowed to hold, and they did not charge exorbitant rates. They simply charged interest while the Christians were forbidden to charge interest. This created animosity.


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