A religion of the Levant, centered at Jerusalem. One of the oldest continually practiced religions in the world.
See Judaism for more information on Judaism *here*, mostly applicable to Ill Bethisad also.
The history of Judaism in Ill Bethisad diverges greatly from its history *here*:
- Judea, which was strong enough to launch multiple rebellions against foreign occupying powers, the Judean Talmud (here: "Jerusalem/Palestinian Talmud") never completely lost to its Babylonian counterpart its authority as a dominant force in Jewish law. Since the beginning, therefore, there has been a balance of power between communities following the Judean tradition and those following the Babylonian tradition.
- the COMMUNITIES. Judaism *there* displays a wider range of healthy ancestral traditions, partially due to the survival of the Judean legal schools and partially due to the Sefaradic exodus to North America. *Here*, the Sefaradim swamped the indigenous communities of the Mediterranean, Sefaradizing them and replacing their original traditions with Iberian ones.
- Judean-Tradition Communities: Judea, North Africa, Ashkenaz (Central and Eastern Europe), Aram Soba (Syria), Italy, Romaniote (Greece, the Balkans, Turkey), Atmaranos (Xliponia)
- Babylonian-Tradition Communities: Bavel (Mesopotamia), Teiman (Yemen), the Rest of the Middle East, Persia, India, Sefarad (Iberia; today Mueva Sefarad and Parts of Morocco)
- Independant Communities: Ethiopia
- PHILOSOPHY. Rationalist philosophy in the tradition of Sa‘adya Ga’on and Maimonides is much stronger *there*. Zohar-based Kabbala mysticism was mostly pushed off the general Jewish world stage when the Sefaradim moved to North America. However, Kabbala didn't completely take over Sefarad either - it exists in a balance with Maimonidean rationalism and Sufi-style mysticism. Due to the scarcity of Kabbala in the wider Jewish world, Hasidism never developed in Eastern Ashkenaz. A similar populist reform movement stressing emotional involvement with religion and challenging the social structure happened, but didn't include a belief in "tzaddikim"/rebbes as saint-like intermediaries.
- LAW. Due to the more diverse nature of Judaism, the writing of authoritative law codes never became as popular *there*. The most popular of those that do exist is Darkhey Moshe by Rabbi Moshe Isserliss, of Ashkenaz. In accordance with his wishes, though, it remains mostly a reference work for multiple opinions and not an authority in and of itself.
- NO HOLOCAUST. Lots more Jews in Europe today *there* than *here*. However, Antisemitism is also more accepted in public discourse, though discrimination against Jews is no worse in most areas than any other sort of ethnic or religious discrimination.
[PB, added to by SB & RK]
Judaism by country
In Central Asia, especially Turkestan, there are also people of ethnically Turkic or other Central Asian extraction whose ancestors adopted Judaism at some time in the past. Relations between these adopted Jews and the rest of the Jewish community are variable, as is the level of actual knowledge of and participation in the various aspects of Jewish ritual by these Central Asian Judaists.
In short, though most Jews consider them as proselytes and the descendents of proselytes, some regard them with mixed feelings. And similarly, while many of the Central Asian Judaists consider themselves full Jews, many do not, and see themselves as Turks practising the Judaistic faith.
As befits its wildly diverse culture, Crimea is home to four distinct Jewish groups: the Romaniote, Krymchak, Karaite, and Ashkenazi communities. The Romaniote, or Greek-speaking, community is the smallest despite having the longest history in the country. It has mainly survived around the south end of the country, the same areas where Greek culture is strongest. In other parts of Crimea, the Romaniote communities eventually merged with other groups - Khazar and Kipchak converts, Italian Jews arriving with the colonists, Sephardic exiles from Spain - to form a single Jewish community. They adopted a Turkic language related to that of the Tatars, but showing some influence from earlier Turkic occupiers in Crimea. Rabbi Moshe Ha-Golah created a single rite of worship for the Crimea in 1515; this further unified the community.
The Karaim follow a very different form of the Jewish religion. Rejecting all forms of the Talmud, they accept the Torah alone as the source of authority. Their origins in Crimea are obscure. They are popularly said to descend from the Khazars, a Central Asian empire that adopted Judaism in the 9th century; but this has never been conclusively proven. Finally, a significant number of Ashkenazim settled in Crimea under Russian rule. The then-province was seen as a refuge from the persecution that Jewish people faced elsewhere in the Russian Empire, though anti-Semitism and persecution remained real challenges.
There were Jewish immigrants arriving in Greece 6 hundred years before Christianity records have shown. Over time more Jews began settling in Greece, intermingling with the natives and even rubbing shoulders with the philosophical greats. However it wasn't until the Medeival Age that Judaism flourished. The Greek Jews called themselves "Romaniotes" and tended to be merchants and shopkeepers in Greece. During the Spanish Inquisition, Ashkenazim Jews were given refuge in Greece, and during the 1800s or so when antiSemitism rose in the rest of Europe, Jews were allowed safe passage as immigrants into Greece, as well as equal rights and freedom of religion. During the mid-late 1800ss the first and second generation Jews moved to Abyssinia into Greece's (failed?) colony there. Nowadays 65% of the great northern city of Thessaloniki is Greek, and Aegina, Constantinople, and Ioannina have a long history and large Jewish population.
With so many Jewish immigrants and no Holocaust, Yevanic is in no danger of being lost to time. Not only does Greece have schools which offer Yevanic as a second language as well Rabbinical Seminaries and Yeshivas/Yeshivot that primarily use Yevanic, but Greek diaspora areas in fact have Synagogues who conduct their liturgy in Yevanic as well as language schools on the tongue. Ethiopia, the NAL (Chicago and Mueva Sefarad especially), and South Africa are examples. Within Greece Proper, Ladino and Yiddish brought from fleeing expatriots from Iberia and E. Europe respectively are taught in some Jewish-sponsored schools, as well as some synagouges conducting their service in these languages.
One different thing about the Romaniotes is that they take their surname when of age from anything Jewish basically. They name themselves "John Synagogue" or "James Shabbat". One prime example is Iakovos Menorah, the writer of modern Greece's constitution.
Mueva Sefarad, founded by Sefaradic exiles, is the only province with a Jewish majority. Other Jewish people, mostly but not exclusively Ashkenazim, immigrated to many other North American cities, most noticeably New Amsterdam, the hometown of the NAL's first Jewish General Moderator Franklin Donald Rosenberg.