Jewish Guide to History of the Jews
The Jewish Guide will help you understand the history of Judaism, the oldest monotheistic religion, with its past dating back to almost 4000 years ago. It was rooted in the ancient region of Canaan (which is now present-day Israel).
The first Jewish person is known to be Abraham. It is believed that he established a covenant (agreement) with G-d in which G-d promised Abraham that he would become the father of a great nation, known as the nation of the "Jews". Under this covenant, the Jews were sacred and given their own holy land called "Israel". As a result, the Jews were also known as "Israelites".
The primary figures of ancient Israelite culture were Abraham, his son, Isaac, his grandson, Jacob and the most famous prophet, Moses.
Moses guided the Jewish people out of slavery and led them to Mount Sinai and is believed that this is where he received the Torah from G-d. The Torah contains the laws of G-d. This event commemorated the holiday of Shavu'ot, see "Holidays" in the Jewish Guide.
Judaism is a tradition grounded in the religious, ethical and social laws as they are depicted in the Torah - the first five books of the Hebrew Bible and the holiest book of Judaism. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy make up the Torah. Other sacred texts include the Talmud and Tenach.
After Moses, the Jewish people had different leaders called judges, and then kings such as David and Solomon to guide them in the land called Israel. The Jewish people lived in the land of Israel until 586BCE when they were exiled by the Babylonians.
After many trials and tribulations that the Jews endured throughout its history, it wasn't until 1948, that Jewish people were able to return to the land of Israel. Today almost 6 million Jews call Israel home.