Jews

Introduction

Jews [from Judah], traditionally, descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, whose tribe, with that of his half-brother Benjamin, made up the kingdom of Judah; historically, members of the worldwide community of adherents to Judaism. The degree to which national and religious elements of Jewish culture interact has varied throughout history and has been a matter of considerable debate. There were approximately 17.8 million Jews in the world in 1990, with 8 million in the Americas (of which about 5.7 million were in the United States), 3.5 million in Israel, and 3.5 million in Europe.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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