Judaism: Origins and Development

The Spread and Influence of Judaism

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The Spread and Influence of Judaism The troubles faced by the Jews as a result of the Diaspora threatened their survival as a people. Cut off from their roots in Israel, they had to find ways to maintain their traditions in foreign lands. For example, praying together in synagogues became a central feature of Judaism. At times, the Jews faced great persecution for their customs and beliefs.

Nevertheless, Jewish migration from Israel also helped spread the ideas of Judaism. Over the centuries, Jews settled in many parts of the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. They also made their way to Asia and, eventually, to the Americas. Although Judaism was not adopted widely among other cultures or peoples, Jews built strong communities around the world that helped preserve their culture and religion. They continued religious practices, such as studying the Torah and observing the Sabbath, that helped keep Judaism alive.

The teachings of Judaism have had a great impact on the world. The principle of monotheism influenced two other great religious traditions, Christianity and Islam. Judaism’s moral teachings and its idea of a weekly day of rest were also important influences. The emphasis on ethical conduct influenced the development of law in many lands. Jewish ideas of justice and equality also helped nurture the concept of democratic freedoms.

As a result of the Jewish Diaspora, many Jews settled in Eastern Europe. A prosperous Jewish community developed in the Czech city of Pilsner, where the Great Synagogue, shown here, was built in the 19th century.

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