The concept of peoplehood has a double meaning. The first is descriptive, as a concept factually describing the existence of the Jews as a people. The second is normative, as a value that describes the feeling of belonging and commitment to the Jewish people.
Some believe that the concept of Jewish peoplehood is a paradigm shift in Jewish life. Insisting that the mainstream of Jewish life is focused on Zionism, Jewish nationalism, they argue that Jewish life should instead focus on Jewish peoplehood.
Others maintain that the concept of peoplehood, or "Klal Yisrael" has permeated Jewish life for millennia, and to focus on it does not constitute a shift from the focus on Jewish nationhood. Jews have been extremely effective in sustaining a sense of joint responsibility towards their people and its members for over 2,000 years.
At the same time, the concepts of Jews as a nation and as a peoplehood are not necessarily at odds with one another. The very concept of defining Judaism as a people or a "civilization" suggests a wide variety of values within the context of Judaism.
The concept of a distinctive Jewish people has been part of Jewish culture since the development of the Hebrew Bible. Throughout the Torah, Prophets and Writings, Jews are variously referred to as a congregation, a nation, children of Israel or even a kingdom, (Eda, Uma, Am, Bnei Israel, Mamlakha respectively) all implying a connection among people.
Goy גוי, in Biblical Hebrew, literally means "nation", and historically Jews are most commonly described with variations of this concept. In Genesis 12:2, God promises Abraham that his descendants will form a goy gadol ("great nation"). In Exodus 19:6, the Jews are referred to as a goy kadosh (גוי קדוש), a "holy nation". One of the more poetic descriptions of the Jewish people in the Hebrew Bible, and popular among Jewish scholarship, is goy ehad b'aretz, or "a unique nation upon the earth!" (2 Samuel 7:23 and 1 Chronicles 17:21). The "nation" concept refers not just to a territorial or political entity, ie the Kingdom of Judah, but in the ancient sense meaning a group of people with a common history, a common destiny, and a sense of connection to one another, an ethnos. The nationhood concept adhered to the biblical and religious identification as a chosen people, a holy nation set apart from the other nations in obedience to the One God. This conception of Jewishness helped to preserve the Jewish people during the diaspora, when Jews were "scattered among the nations". It was similarly invoked by the Zionist movement, which sought to Negate the Diaspora (shlilat ha'galut) by Gathering the exiled of Israel (Kibbutz Galuyot) back to their homeland, where they would achieve national self-determination.
Some modern Jewish leaders in the diaspora, particularly American Jews, found the traditional conception of Jews as a "nation among the nations" problematic, posing a challenge to integration and inviting charges of dual loyalty. The first significant use of the "peoplehood" concept was by Mordecai Kaplan, co-founder of the Reconstructionist School of Judaism, who was searching for a term that would enable him to describe the complex nature of Jewish belonging. Once the State of Israel was founded, he rejected the concept of nationhood, as it had become too closely identified with statehood, and replaced it with the peoplehood concept. In his work Judaism as a Civilization, Kaplan sought to define the Jewish people and religion in socio-cultural terms as well as religious ones.
Kaplan’s definition of Judaism as "an evolving religious civilization" illumines his understanding of the centrality of Peoplehood in the Jewish religion. Describing Judaism as a religious civilization emphasizes the idea that Jewish people have sought "to make [their] collective experience yield meaning for the enrichment of the life of the individual Jew and for the spiritual greatness of the Jewish people." The definition as a civilization allows Judaism to accept the principles of unity in diversity and continuity in change. It is a reminder that Judaism consists of much that cannot be put into the category of religion in modern times, "paradoxical as it may sound, the spiritual regeneration of the Jewish people demands that religion cease to be its sole preoccupation." In the sense that existence precedes essence and life takes precedence over thought, Judaism exists for the sake of the Jewish people rather than the Jewish people existing for the sake of Judaism.
Since 2000, major Jewish organizations have embraced the peoplehood concept and intellectual interest in the topic has increased. Major organizations such as the Jewish Federations of North America, the JFNA New York Federation, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Israel Ministry for Education, the Diaspora Museum, the Avi Chai Foundation, the American Jewish Committee and many other smaller organizations are either introducing the peoplehood concept as an organizing principle in their organizations or initiating high-profile programming with an explicit focus on Jewish Peoplehood.
Natan Sharansky, the Jewish Agency’s chairman, declared that the agency’s traditional Zionist mission had outlived its usefulness. In his new capacity, he has made Israel education and promoting Jewish Peoplehood a priority, particularly among the young.
Alongside the use of the peoplehood concept by Jewish organizations, there is a parallel growth of intellectual interest in the topic since 2000. The intellectual discussion asks: What is "Jewish Peoplehood"? What are the key characteristics that distinguish Jewish Peoplehood from other concepts?
The areas of agreement among Jewish intellectuals writing about the concept of Jewish Peoplehood point to three principles:
The three unifying principles of the Jewish Peoplehood theory:
In combination, these three principles imbue the Peoplehood concept with coherence and offer an added value to organizations that wish to create programs “that build Jewish Peoplehood” in a sustainable and measurable way.
There are several variants of the communitarian position among intellectuals writing about Jewish Peoplehood. The common denominator is the desire to find common ground upon which connections between Jews are built.
The four distinct positions regarding Jewish Peoplehood:
For some critics, Jewish Peoplehood is still an amorphous and abstract concept that presents an optional ideological approach towards the Jewish collective. Others wonder if it is too weak a foundation on which to base Jewish collective identity, especially since the vision of Peoplehood is not predicated on having any kind of religious or spiritual identity.
Arba'ah Turim (Hebrew: אַרְבָּעָה טוּרִים), often called simply the Tur, is an important Halakhic code composed by Jacob ben Asher (Cologne, 1270 – Toledo, Spain c. 1340, also referred to as Ba'al Ha-Turim). The four-part structure of the Tur and its division into chapters (simanim) were adopted by the later code Shulchan Aruch. This was the first book to be printed in Southeast Europe and the Near East.Green Zionism
Green Zionism is a branch of Zionism that is primarily concerned with the environment of Israel. It mostly fuses Israeli-specific environmental concerns with support for the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. The term itself is a trademark of Aytzim, the first environmental organization to participate in the World Zionist Congress, the World Zionist Organization, and its constituent agencies.Haketia
Haketia (Hebrew: חַכִּיתִּיָה, Arabic: حاكيتيا, Spanish: Haquetía) (also written as Hakitia or Haquitía) is an endangered Jewish Romance language also known as Djudeo Spañol, Ladino Occidental, or Western Judaeo-Spanish. It was historically spoken by the North African Sephardim in the Moroccan cities of Tétouan, Tangier, Asilah, Larache and the Spanish towns of Ceuta and Melilla. Tetuani Ladino was also spoken in Oran, Algeria.Hiloni
Hiloni (Hebrew: חִלּוֹנִי), plural hilonim (Hebrew: חִלּוֹנִים), derived from the Hebrew word hulin, meaning "secular" or "mundane", is the term used in Israel for non-religious Jews, some of whom identify with Jewish secularism and secular Jewish culture.As citizens of Israel, hilonim generally speak Hebrew. As Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, many hilonim observe national holidays, such as Israel's Independence Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day.History of the Jews in Colombia
The History of the Jews in Colombia begins in the Spanish colonial period with the arrival of the first Jews during the Spanish colonization of the Americas.History of the Jews in Fiji
The history of the Jews in Fiji is intertwined with the settlement of the Fiji islands by European explorers and settlers. Most of these settlers arrive in Fiji via Australia and New Zealand.The population of Fiji is 905,949 (July 2006 estimate) with approximately 60 Jews. In addition, there are close to 300 people of Jewish descent living in the Fiji Islands, principally in the capital city of Suva. There are currently three cemeteries in Fiji, located in Momi (private cemetery), Ovalau Island (Levuka), and Suva (old cemetery) with Jewish inscriptions on the tombstones, dating back to the first Jewish settlers in the 19th century.History of the Jews in Oceania
The history of the Jews in Oceania starts with early explorers, sealers and whalers. Jewish and other settlers arrived in Oceania from the eighteenth century. They settled in Australia and New Zealand, and then on the smaller islands of Oceania.History of the Jews in Paraguay
The history of the Jews in Paraguay begins with the arrival of migration flows, mainly from Europe. The first waves of Jewish immigration to Paraguay began in 1904.Currently, Jewish-Paraguayan community is about 10,000 people, most of them located in the capital Asunción. The first Jews arrived in Paraguay at the end of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century the first community institutions were established in the city of Asunción. During the 1920s Jews from Poland and Ukraine arrived in Paraguay, and in the 1930s a wave of mass immigration of some 20,000 Jews from Germany arrived. After World War II, many Jews came to the country, as survivors, but over time many Jews left the residence in favour of neighbouring Argentina (home to the largest Jewish community in Latin America), and Brazil (second-largest), or made aliyah to Israel.History of the Jews in the United Kingdom
For the history of the Jews in the United Kingdom, including the time before the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, see:
History of the Jews in England
History of the Jews in Scotland
History of the Jews in Northern Ireland
History of the Jews in WalesJack Cohen (rabbi)
Jack Cohen (March 21, 1919, Brooklyn – April 16, 2012, Jerusalem) was an American Reconstructionist rabbi, educator, philosopher and author. Cohen held a PhD from Columbia University in the philosophy of education. In 1943 he was ordained as a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) and, soon after, started to teach courses there. Cohen was one of the distinguished students of Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, the founder of the Reconstructionist Movement, and was one of the founders of Kehillat Mevakshei Derech, a synagogue in Israel. Rabbi Dr. Jack Cohen was Honorary Chairman at Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood and director of the Hillel Foundation at the Hebrew University for 23 years.Jewish identity
Jewish identity is the objective or subjective state of perceiving oneself as a Jew and as relating to being Jewish. Under a broader definition, Jewish identity does not depend on whether a person is regarded as a Jew by others, or by an external set of religious, or legal, or sociological norms. Jewish identity does not need to imply religious orthodoxy. Accordingly, Jewish identity can be cultural in nature. Jewish identity can involve ties to the Jewish community. Orthodox Judaism bases Jewishness on matrilineal descent. According to Jewish law (halacha), all those born of a Jewish mother are considered Jewish, regardless of personal beliefs or level of observance of Jewish law.
Jews who are atheists may have a Jewish identity. While the absolute majority of people with this identity are of Jewish ethnicity, people of a mixed Jewish and non-Jewish background or gentiles of Jewish ancestry may still have a sense of Jewish self-identity.Jewish secularism
Jewish secularism comprises the non-religious ethnic Jewish people and the body of work produced by them. Among secular Jews, traditional Jewish holidays may be celebrated as historical and nature festivals, while life-cycle events, such as births, marriages, and deaths, may be marked in a secular manner.Judaism by country
This article deals with the practice of Judaism and the living arrangement of Jews in the listed countries.Leonid Nevzlin
Leonid Borisovich Nevzlin (Russian: Леони́д Бори́сович Не́взлин; Hebrew: לאוניד בוריסוביץ' נבזלין, born 21 September 1959) is a Russian-born Israeli businessman and philanthropist.
Nevzlin occupied various high-ranking positions at Group Menatep and its subsidiary, the Yukos Oil Company. In 2003, the Russia expropriated Yukos and began a campaign of persecution against its executives. In 2014, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of Nevzlin and other Yukos shareholders, calling the actions of the Russian state “a ruthless campaign to destroy Yukos” and expropriate its assets.Lists of Jews
This WP:list of lists may include both lists that distinguish between ethnic origin and religious practice, and lists that make no such distinction. Some of the constituent lists also may have experienced additions and/or deletions that reflect incompatible approaches in this regard.Prophets in Judaism
The 48 prophets and seven prophetesses of Judaism, according to Rashi. The last Jewish prophet is believed to have been Malachi. In Jewish tradition it is believed that the period of prophecy, called Nevuah, ended with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi at which time the "Holy Spirit departed from Israel".Sally Herbert Frankel
Sally Herbert Frankel (1903–1996) was Professor firstly of Colonial Economic Affairs, and later the Economics of Underdeveloped Countries at Oxford University in the period following the Second World War.Originally from South Africa, of German-Jewish descent, he moved to England shortly after the Second World War. He joined the Mont Pelerin Society in 1950. While not religiously observant, Frankel was committed to the principle of Jewish peoplehood and was a keen Zionist from the First World War onwards.Shalom Hartman Institute
Shalom Hartman Institute is a Jewish research and education institute based in Jerusalem, Israel, that offers pluralistic Jewish thought and education to scholars, rabbis, educators, and Jewish community leaders in Israel and North America. The Institute's goal is to is to strengthen Jewish peoplehood, identity and pluralism and ensure that Judaism is a compelling force for good in the 21st century.The Invention of the Jewish People
The Invention of the Jewish People (Hebrew: מתי ואיך הומצא העם היהודי?, translit. Matai ve’ech humtza ha’am hayehudi?, literally When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?) is a study of the historiography of the Jewish people by Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University. It has generated a heated controversy.
The book was in the best-seller list in Israel for nineteen weeks.An English translation of the book was published by Verso Books in October 2009. The book has also been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, French and Russian, and as of late 2009 further translations were underway. The Invention of the Jewish People has now been translated into more languages than any other Israeli history book.