Hebrew: יְהוּדִים‬‎ (Yehudim)
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 063.jpg
According to Jewish tradition, Jacob was the father of the tribes of Israel.
Total population
14.4–17.5 million[1] (2016, est.)
Regions with significant populations
 United States5,700,000[1]
 United Kingdom290,000[1]
 South Africa69,500[1]
Rest of the world167,400[1]
Related ethnic groups

Jews (Hebrew: יְהוּדִיםISO 259-3 Yehudim, Israeli pronunciation [jehuˈdim]) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group[10] and a nation,[11][12][13] originating from the Israelites[14][15][16] and Hebrews[17][18] of the Ancient Near East. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated,[19] as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Jews originated as an ethnic and religious group in the Middle East during the second millennium BCE,[9] in the part of the Levant known as the Land of Israel.[20] The Merneptah Stele appears to confirm the existence of a people of Israel somewhere in Canaan as far back as the 13th century BCE (Late Bronze Age).[21][22] The Israelites, as an outgrowth of the Canaanite population,[23] consolidated their hold with the emergence of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Some consider that these Canaanite sedentary Israelites melded with incoming nomadic groups known as 'Hebrews'.[24] Though few sources mention the exilic periods in detail,[25] the experience of diaspora life, from the Ancient Egyptian rule over the Levant, to Assyrian captivity and exile, to Babylonian Captivity and Exile, to Seleucid Imperial rule, to the Roman occupation and exile, and the historical relations between Jews and their homeland thereafter, became a major feature of Jewish history, identity and memory.[26] Prior to World War II, the worldwide Jewish population reached a peak of 16.7 million,[27] representing around 0.7% of the world population at that time. Approximately 6 million Jews were systematically murdered[28][29] during the Holocaust. Since then the population has slowly risen again, and as of 2016 was estimated at 14.4 million by the Berman Jewish DataBank,[1] less than 0.2% of the total world population.[30][note 1]

The modern State of Israel is the only country where Jews form a majority of the population. It defines itself as a Jewish and democratic state in the Basic Laws, Human Dignity and Liberty in particular, which is based on the Declaration of Independence. Israel's Law of Return grants the right of citizenship to any Jew who requests it.[32]

Despite their small percentage of the world's population, Jews have significantly influenced and contributed to human progress in many fields, both historically and in modern times, including philosophy,[33] ethics,[34] literature,[35] politics,[35] business,[35] fine arts and architecture,[35] music, theatre[36] and cinema, medicine,[37][38] and science and technology,[35] as well as religion; Jews authored the Bible,[39][40] founded Early Christianity[41] and had a profound influence on Islam.[42] Jews have also played a significant role in the development of Western Civilization.[43][44]

Name and etymology

The English word "Jew" continues Middle English Gyw, Iewe. These terms derive from Old French giu, earlier juieu, which through elision had dropped the letter "d" from the Medieval Latin Iudaeus, which, like the New Testament Greek term Ioudaios, meant both "Jew" and "Judean" / "of Judea".[45] The Greek term was a loan from Aramaic Y'hūdāi, corresponding to Hebrew יְהוּדִי Yehudi, originally the term for a member of the tribe of Judah or the people of the kingdom of Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, the name of both the tribe and kingdom derive from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob.[46] Genesis 29:35 and 49:8 connect the name "Judah" with the verb yada, meaning "praise", but scholars generally agree that the name of both the patriarch and the kingdom instead have a geographic origin—possibly referring to the gorges and ravines of the region.[47]

The Hebrew word for "Jew" is יְהוּדִיYehudi, with the plural יְהוּדִיםYehudim.[48] Endonyms in other Jewish languages include the Ladino ג׳ודיוDjudio (plural ג׳ודיוס‎, Djudios) and the Yiddish ייִדYid (plural ייִדןYidn).

The etymological equivalent is in use in other languages, e.g., يَهُودِيّ yahūdī (sg.), al-yahūd (pl.), in Arabic, "Jude" in German, "judeu" in Portuguese, "Juif" (m.)/"Juive" (f.) in French, "jøde" in Danish and Norwegian, "judío/a" in Spanish, "jood" in Dutch, "żyd" in Polish etc., but derivations of the word "Hebrew" are also in use to describe a Jew, e.g., in Italian (Ebreo), in Persian ("Ebri/Ebrani" (Persian: عبری/عبرانی‎)) and Russian (Еврей, Yevrey).[49] The German word "Jude" is pronounced [ˈjuːdə], the corresponding adjective "jüdisch" [ˈjyːdɪʃ] (Jewish) is the origin of the word "Yiddish".[50]

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition (2000),

It is widely recognized that the attributive use of the noun Jew, in phrases such as Jew lawyer or Jew ethics, is both vulgar and highly offensive. In such contexts Jewish is the only acceptable possibility. Some people, however, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of Jew as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own. In a sentence such as There are now several Jews on the council, which is unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like Jewish people or persons of Jewish background may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew has a negative connotation when used as a noun.[51]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Jode
العربية: يهود
aragonés: Chodigos
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܝܗܘܕܝܐ
asturianu: Pueblu xudíu
azərbaycanca: Yəhudilər
تۆرکجه: یهودیلر
বাংলা: ইহুদি
Bân-lâm-gú: Iû-thài-lâng
башҡортса: Йәһүдтәр
беларуская: Яўрэі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Габрэі
български: Евреи
Boarisch: Judn
bosanski: Jevreji
brezhoneg: Yuzevien
català: Jueus
Чӑвашла: Еврейсем
Cebuano: Hudiyo
čeština: Židé
chiShona: Rudzi rwaIsrael
Cymraeg: Iddewon
dansk: Jøder
Deutsch: Juden
eesti: Juudid
Ελληνικά: Εβραίοι
español: Pueblo judío
Esperanto: Judoj
euskara: Judu
فارسی: یهودی
føroyskt: Jødar
français: Juifs
Frysk: Joaden
Gaelg: Ewnyn
Gagauz: Çıfıtlar
galego: Pobo xudeu
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰𐌹𐌴𐌹𐍃
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yù-thai-ngìn
한국어: 유대인
հայերեն: Հրեաներ
हिन्दी: यहूदी
hrvatski: Židovi
Ido: Judo
Igbo: Jew
Bahasa Indonesia: Yahudi
interlingua: Judeo
íslenska: Gyðingar
italiano: Ebrei
עברית: יהודים
Basa Jawa: Yahudi
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಯೆಹೂದ್ಯ
къарачай-малкъар: Чууутлула
ქართული: ებრაელები
қазақша: Еврейлер
Kongo: Bayuda
лезги: Чувудар
لۊری شومالی: جید
Latina: Iudaei
latviešu: Ebreji
lietuvių: Žydai
magyar: Zsidók
македонски: Евреи
Malagasy: Jiosy
മലയാളം: ജൂതൻ
मराठी: ज्यू लोक
მარგალური: ურიეფი
مازِرونی: یهودی
Bahasa Melayu: Orang Yahudi
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Iù-tái-nè̤ng
монгол: Еврей
Nederlands: Joden
Nedersaksies: Jeuden
日本語: ユダヤ人
нохчийн: Жуьгтий
Norfuk / Pitkern: Jua
norsk: Jøder
norsk nynorsk: Jødar
Nouormand: Juis
occitan: Jusieus
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Yahudiylar
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਯਹੂਦੀ
پنجابی: یہودی
Plattdüütsch: Joden
polski: Żydzi
português: Judeus
română: Evrei
русский: Евреи
саха тыла: Дьэбириэйдэр
sardu: Ebreos
Scots: Jews
sicilianu: Ebbreu
සිංහල: යුදෙවුවෝ
Simple English: Jew
slovenčina: Židia
slovenščina: Judje
ślůnski: Żydy
کوردی: جوو
српски / srpski: Јевреји
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jevreji
Basa Sunda: Yahudi
svenska: Judar
Tagalog: Mga Hudyo
தமிழ்: யூதர்
татарча/tatarça: Яһүдләр
Türkçe: Yahudiler
українська: Євреї
اردو: یہود
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: يەھۇدىلار
Tiếng Việt: Người Do Thái
Winaray: Hudeyo
吴语: 犹太人
ייִדיש: ייד
粵語: 猶太人
Zazaki: Cıhudi
žemaitėška: Žīdā
中文: 犹太人