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Judaism and the Jews in New York - Term Paper Example

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Judaism and the Jews in New York Introduction The Jews have a history of more than 5700 years that traces back to the Biblical times. Despite the intense warfare and nomadic life style, the Jews developed their own religious, cultural identity, which turned to be the basis for all other Western Religions…
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Judaism and the Jews in New York
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Download file to see previous pages American Jews are American citizens having Jewish faith and Jewish ethnicity and whose origin also is from other countries. A wide range of Jewish cultural traditions and a full spectrum of Jewish religious observance are apparent in the Jewish community of America. The Jews of America live overwhelmingly in the suburbs of the largest American cities. The American Jews by every measure constitute to be one of the highest socio economic groups of the United states and they share almost all the characteristics of the upper middle class urban Americans. Depending on demographic studies and religious definitions, the United States is home to the world’s second largest Jewish community. This paper in particular intends to describe Jews in New York and their religion ‘Judaism’. Who is a Jew? The Jews represent a group of people having some unique characteristics rather than a distinct race or ethnic group. Although the Jews originally came from the Middle East, many a number of races and people have joined together in Jewish communities over the centuries, especially after Jews were forced out of Palestine in the second century A.D. In America, they engaged in marriages with Christians and formed a mixed community. It is evidently, a common Jewish heritage that passed down from generation to generation that binds the group together. And for the Jews in New York also, the binding element is their religion. Although most often, Judaism is used as a term referring to the Jewish religion, sometimes it is used to refer to all Jews. In other words, one does not have to be religious to be Jewish. In general, one is Jewish if one is born of a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism. Unlike Christians, they are still waiting for the arrival of a Savior who would integrate all the Jews who have been scattered and gone astray. Advent of Jews to America There is no unanimous opinion among the historians as to when the first Jews came to America. Although many believe that Jews reached America in the ancient period either when they were attacked by aliens or when they faced persecution from the Christians, no solid evidences are available to prove this argument. As Adler and Huhner point out, still it is believed that the first Jews came to North America in 1654 and settled in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam which was later renamed as New York. Most of those who came were refugees from Recife, a Dutch colony in Brazil. It was when the Portuguese attacked the colony the Jews left Recife and headed to Holland. But as they ran out of money they were forced to settle at the Dutch colony of North America (Adler and Huhner). The newly came people were granted permission to inhabit in the American soil and to practice their religion and customs and this marked the beginning of a new community and religion in the land of America. The migrant Jews assimilated into the culture of Native Americans in all aspects of life. In other words, they had to imbibe the basic characteristics of the American community as forming distinctiveness was not possible challenging the customs of the natives. All together, the modern Jewish culture in America embodies an international culture of secular communities of Jewish people and the indigenous practices of the natives. Jews continued migrating to America on realizing it was a secure place for them. During the middle decades of the 19th century, there were considerable ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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