December 8, 2021

A Jew (in Hebrew: יְהוּדִי; Romanis.: Yehudi; singular; יְהוּדִים, Yehudim, plural; in Ladino: ג׳ודיו, Djudio, sing.; ג׳ודיוס, Djudios, pl.; in Yiddish: ייִד, Yid , sing.; ייִדן, Yidn, pl.) is a member of the ethnic and religious group originating in the Tribes of Israel or the Hebrews of the Ancient East. The ethnic group and the Jewish religion, the traditional faith of the Jewish nation, are strongly interrelated, with people converted to Judaism being included in this group, while Jews converted to other religions are excluded from this concept. Jews over the centuries have been the target of a long history of persecution in various lands, resulting in a population that has often had its demographic distribution altered over the centuries. Most authorities place the number of Jews between 12 and 14 million, representing 0.2% of the current estimated world population. According to the Jewish Agency for Israel, in the year 2007 there were 13.2 million Jews worldwide; 5.4 million (40.9%) in Israel, 5.3 million (40.2%) in the United States, and the rest distributed in communities of various sizes around the world. These numbers include all those who consider themselves Jews whether affiliated or not and, with the exception of the Jewish population of Israel, do not include those who do not consider themselves Jews or who are not Jews by halakha. The total world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. In addition to halahic considerations, there are secular, political, and ancestral identifications defining who is a Jew that add to the picture considerably. More precisely, according to the censuses published in the encyclopedias Britannica and Mirador (Barsa) (1957, 1960, 1967 editions), right after the Second World War, in its entirety, only 200 thousand individuals remained.


The word "Jew" was originally used to designate the children of Judah, son of Jacob, later it was designated to those born in Judea. After their release from Babylon's captivity, the Hebrews began to be called Jews. The English word "Jew" comes from the Latin Judaeus and the Greek Ioudaîos. Both words come from Aramaic, יהודי, pronounced "iahude". The first record of the word in Portuguese was in the year 1018. Etymologically similar words are used in other languages, such as Jew (English), Jude (German), jøde (Danish), يهودي or yahudi (Arabic). However, variations of the word "Hebrew" are also used to designate a Jew, as in Ebreo (Italian), еврей or yevrey (Russian), εβραίος or εvraios (modern Greek) and Evreu (Romanian). In Turkish the word used is musevi, derived from Moses.

Jews and Judaism

The origin of the Jews is traditionally dated to approximately 2000 BC in Mesopotamia, when the destruction of Ur and Chaldea forced the population to immigrate elsewhere. Abraham's family was among those who were immigrating to Assyria. Abraham is considered the founder of Judaism. The Stele of Merneptah, dated to 1200 BC, is one of the oldest archaeological records of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, where Judaism, the first monotheistic religion, developed. According to Bible accounts, Jews enjoyed periods of self-determination primarily under biblical judges from Othniel to Samson. Then, in approximately 1000 BC, King David established Jerusalem as the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, also known as the United Monarchy, and from there reigned the Twelve Tribes of Israel. In 970 BC, Solomon, the son of King David, became king of Israel. Within a decade, Solomon began building the Jerusalem Temple known as the First Temple. After Solomon's death (in 930 BC), the twelve tribes divided and the ten northern tribes created the Kingdom

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