The Jews in Central Europe (1881)
The logarithm of fitness as a function of the number of deleterious mutations. Synergistic epistasis is represented by the red line - each subsequent deleterious mutation has a larger proportionate effect on the organism's fitness. Antagonistic epistasis is in blue. The black line shows the non-epistatic case, where fitness is the product of the contributions from each of its loci.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at its greatest extent.
Jews from Worms (Germany) wearing the mandatory yellow badge.
The example of the chevra kadisha, the Jewish burial society, Prague, 1772

For populations of the Jewish diaspora, the genetic composition of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jewish populations show significant amounts of shared Middle Eastern ancestry.

- Genetic studies on Jews

Genetic studies on Ashkenazi Jews—researching both their paternal and maternal lineages as well as autosomal DNA—indicate that they are of mixed Levantine and European (mainly western European and southern European) ancestry.

- Ashkenazi Jews
The Jews in Central Europe (1881)

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Map of Canaan


Ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah.

Ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah.

Map of Canaan
Egyptian depiction of the visit of Western Asiatics in colorful garments, labeled as Aamu. The painting is from the tomb of a 12th dynasty official Khnumhotep II at Beni Hasan, and dated to c. 1900 BCE. Their nearest Biblical contemporaries were the earliest of Hebrews, such as Abraham and Joseph.
Depiction of King Jehu, tenth king of the northern Kingdom of Israel, on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, 841–840 BCE. This is "the only portrayal we have in ancient Near Eastern art of an Israelite or Judaean monarch".
Tombstone of the Maharal in the Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague. The tombstones are inscribed in Hebrew.
Bible manuscript in Hebrew, 14th century. Hebrew language and alphabet were the cornerstones of the Jewish national identity in antiquity.
Ashkenazi Jews of late-19th-century Eastern Europe portrayed in Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur (1878), by Maurycy Gottlieb
Sephardi Jewish couple from Sarajevo in traditional clothing. Photo taken in 1900.
Yemenite Jew blows shofar, 1947
New York City is home to 1.1 million Jews, making it the largest Jewish community outside of Israel.
Jewish people in Jerusalem, Israel
In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the early 1900s, Russian Jews, packs in hand, gaze at the American relatives beckoning them to the United States. Over two million Jews fled the pogroms of the Russian Empire to the safety of the U.S. between 1881 and 1924.
A menorah dominating the main square in Birobidzhan. An estimated 70,000 Jews live in Siberia.
The Jewish Zionist Youth Movement in Tallinn, Estonia on 1 September 1933.
The Roman Emperor Nero sends Vespasian with an army to destroy the Jews, 69 CE.
World War I poster showing a soldier cutting the bonds from a Jewish man, who says, "You have cut my bonds and set me free—now let me help you set others free!"
Jews in Minsk, 1941. Before World War II some 40 percent of the population was Jewish. By the time the Red Army retook the city on 3 July 1944, there were only a few Jewish survivors.
Expulsions of Jews in Europe from 1100 to 1600
Etching of the expulsion of the Jews from Frankfurt in 1614. The text says: "1380 persons old and young were counted at the exit of the gate".
Jews fleeing pogroms, 1882
Praying at the Western Wall

In the following millennia, Jewish diaspora communities coalesced into three major ethnic subdivisions according to where their ancestors settled: the Ashkenazim (Central and Eastern Europe), the Sephardim (initially in the Iberian Peninsula), and the Mizrahim (Middle East and North Africa).

Genetic studies on Jews show that most Jews worldwide bear a common genetic heritage which originates in the Middle East, and that they share certain genetic traits with other Gentile peoples of the Fertile Crescent.

The Merneptah Stele, widely believed to comprise the earliest known appearance of the name Israel


For the citizens of the modern State of Israel, see Israelis.

For the citizens of the modern State of Israel, see Israelis.

The Merneptah Stele, widely believed to comprise the earliest known appearance of the name Israel
Mid-20th century mosaic of the 12 Tribes of Israel, from the Etz Yosef synagogue wall in Givat Mordechai, 
Map of the Holy Land, Pietro Vesconte, 1321, showing the allotments of the tribes of Israel. Described by Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld as "the first non-Ptolemaic map of a definite country"
Map of the twelve tribes of Israel (before the move of Dan to the north), based on the Book of Joshua
Model of the Tabernacle constructed under the auspices of Moses, in Timna Park, Israel
The Mount Ebal structure, seen by many archeologists as an early Israelite cultic site
Series of depictions of the historical Israelites between the 13th and 7th century BCE
Part of the gift-bearing Israelite delegation of King Jehu, Black Obelisk, 841-840 BCE.
"To Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Judah" - royal seal found at the Ophel excavations in Jerusalem

In 2000, M. Hammer, et al. conducted a study on 1371 men and definitively established that part of the paternal gene pool of Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa and Middle East came from a common Middle East ancestral population.

A 2004 study (by Shen et al.) comparing Samaritans to several Jewish populations (including Ashkenazi Jews, Iraqi Jews, Libyan Jews, Moroccan Jews, and Yemenite Jews, as well as Israeli Druze and Palestinians) found that "the principal components analysis suggested a common ancestry of Samaritan and Jewish patrilineages. Most of the former may be traced back to a common ancestor in what is today identified as the paternally inherited Israelite high priesthood (Cohanim) with a common ancestor projected to the time of the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel."

Jewish ethnic divisions map

Jewish ethnic divisions

Jewish ethnic divisions refer to many distinctive communities within the world's ethnically Jewish population.

Jewish ethnic divisions refer to many distinctive communities within the world's ethnically Jewish population.

Jewish ethnic divisions map
Painting of a Jewish man from the Ottoman Empire, 1779
Jewish women in Algeria, 1851
The Suleiman ben Pinchas Cohen family of Yemen, circa 1944
Maltese Jews in Valletta, 19th century
Sephardi Jewish family descendants of Spanish expellees in Bosnia, 19th century
An Eastern Ashkenazic family living in the Shtetl of Romanivka, circa 1905
Yemenite Jews in Sa'dah, smoking Nargile.
Ethiopian Jewish women at Jerusalem's Western Wall, 2006
Bukharan Jewish teacher and students in Samarkand, modern-day Uzbekistan, circa 1910
Berber Jews from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, circa 1900
Chinese Jews from the city of Kaifeng, China, circa 1900
Kurdish Jews in Rawanduz, Iraqi Kurdistan, 1905
Juhur Imuni (Mountain Jews) girls of the Caucasus, 1913
Bnei Menashe Jews from Northern India, celebrating Purim, in Karmiel, Israel.
An Malabar Jewish family in Cochin, India, circa 1900
Chief Karaite rabbi, Moshe Fairouz (left) and vice chairman, Eli Eltahan. Jerusalem, Israel.

Today, the manifestation of these differences among the Jews can be observed in Jewish cultural expressions of each community, including Jewish linguistic diversity, culinary preferences, liturgical practices, religious interpretations, and degrees and sources of genetic admixture.

The 16th century saw many Ashkenazi Kabbalists drawn to the mystical aura and teachings of the Jewish holy city.

The opening page of the 1828 Yiddish-written Jewish Holiday of Purim play Esther, oder die belohnte Tugend from Fürth (by Nürnberg), Bavaria


The opening page of the 1828 Yiddish-written Jewish Holiday of Purim play Esther, oder die belohnte Tugend from Fürth (by Nürnberg), Bavaria
The calligraphic segment in the Worms Machzor. The Yiddish text is in red.
A page from the Shemot Devarim, a Yiddish–Hebrew–Latin–German dictionary and thesaurus, published by Elia Levita in 1542
American World War I-era poster in Yiddish. Translated caption: "Food will win the war – You came here seeking freedom, now you must help to preserve it – We must supply the Allies with wheat – Let nothing go to waste". Colour lithograph, 1917. Digitally restored.
1917. 100 karbovanets of the Ukrainian People's Republic. Revers. Three languages: Ukrainian, Polish and Yiddish.
Map of the Yiddish dialects between the 15th and the 19th centuries (Western dialects in orange / Eastern dialects in green)
An example of graffiti in Yiddish, Tel Aviv, Washington Avenue (און איר זאלט ליב האבן דעם פרעמדען, ווארום פרעמדע זייט איר געווען אין לאנד מצרים Un ir zolt lib hobn dem fremdn varum fremde seit ir geven in land mitsrayim). "You shall have love for the stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Deuteronomy 10:19)
NEP-era Soviet Yiddish poster "Come to us at the Kolkhoz!"
State emblem of the Byelorussian SSR with the motto Workers of the world, unite! in Yiddish (lower left part of the ribbon): ״פראָלעטאריער פון אלע לענדער, פאראייניקט זיך!״, Proletarier fun ale lender, fareynikt zikh! The same slogan is written in Belarusian, Russian and Polish.
The Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Russia
Banner from the first issue of the Yidishe Folksshtime ("Yiddish People's Voice"), published in Stockholm, January 12, 1917
1917 multilingual poster in Yiddish, English, Italian, Hungarian, Slovene, and Polish, advertising English classes for new immigrants in Cleveland
Women surrounded by posters in English and Yiddish supporting Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert H. Lehman, and the American Labor Party teach other women how to vote, 1936.
A typical poster-hung wall in Jewish Brooklyn, New York
A road sign in Yiddish (except for the word "sidewalk") at an official construction site in the Monsey hamlet, a community with thousands of Yiddish speakers, in Ramapo, New York.

Yiddish (ייִדיש, יידיש or אידיש, yidish or idish,, ; ייִדיש-טײַטש, Yidish-Taytsh, ) is a West Germanic language historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews.

Das et al. (2016, co-authored by Wexler) use human genetics in support of the hypothesis of "a Slavic origin with strong Iranian and weak Turkic substrata".

The Jews in Central Europe (1881)

Khazar hypothesis of Ashkenazi ancestry

Largely abandoned historical hypothesis.

Largely abandoned historical hypothesis.

The Jews in Central Europe (1881)

The hypothesis postulated that Ashkenazi Jews were primarily, or to a large extent, descended from Khazars, a multi-ethnic conglomerate of mostly Turkic peoples who formed a semi-nomadic khanate in and around the northern and central Caucasus and the Pontic–Caspian steppe.

Genetic studies on Jews have found no substantive evidence of a Khazar origin among Ashkenazi Jews.