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Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. ~ Exodus

Judaism (Hebrew: יַהֲדוּת), is the religion, philosophy and way of life of the Jewish people. A monotheistic religion originating in the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh) and explored in later texts such as the Talmud, Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God established with the Children of Israel. In modern times, liberal movements such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic. As an ethnoreligious group or nation, the Jewish people originate with the Israelites or Hebrews of the ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation. Converts to Judaism, whose status as Jews within the Jewish ethnos is equal to those born into it, have been absorbed into the Jewish people throughout millennia.

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And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; ~ Genesis
I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. ~ John Adams
Without the Jews, we would see the world through different eyes, hear with different ears, even feel with different feelings … we would think with a different mind, interpret all our experience differently, draw different conclusions from the things that befall us. ~ Thomas Cahill
Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. ~ Isaiah
Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's. ~ Deuteronomy
Our precarious situation forces us to stand together irrespective of our citizenship. Zionism gave the German Jews no great protection against annihilation. But it did give the survivors the inner strength to endure the debacle with dignity and without losing their healthy self respect. ~ Albert Einstein
Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.~ Leviticus
What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. ~ Moses
A people such as this can never disappear. The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity. ~ Leo Tolstoy
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality? ~ Mark Twain
The will to live is indestructible, particularly in the Jew; otherwise centuries of persecution and slaughter would long since have destroyed the race. ~ Emma Goldman
If thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. ~ Moses
May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. ~ George Washington
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.~ Genesis
Foreigners will build your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion.~ Isaiah
But you shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: you shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall you boast yourselves.~ Isaiah


  • The fundamental principle of the Hebraic commonwealth was that there are great moral laws not dependent on the will of monarch, oligarchy, aristocracy or public assembly.
    • Lyman Abbott, Life and Literature of Ancient Hebrews (1910)
  • I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe, or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.
    • John Adams, in a letter to F. A. Vanderkemp (16 February 1809), as quoted in The Roots of American Order (1974) by Russel Kirk.
    • Paraphrased variant: The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations.
  • Among Jews, there is an absence of drunkenness, always a fruitful source of domestic strife and misconduct.


  • The Jews have played an all-important role in history. They are pre-eminently an historical people and their destiny reflects the indestructibility of the divine decrees. Their destiny is too imbued with the "metaphysical" to be explained either in material or positive historical terms. I remember how the materialist interpretation of history, when I attempted in my youth to verify it by applying it to the destinies of peoples, broke down in the case of the Jew, where destiny seemed absolutely inexplicable from the materialistic standpoint. And, indeed, according to the materialistic and positivist criterion, this people ought long ago to have perished. Its survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by a special predetermination, transcending the processes of adaptation expounded by the materialistic interpretation of history. The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolutely peculiar conditions and the fateful role played by them in history; all these point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny... The historical not only represented man's external relations, but that it might also reveal the very noumenon and essence of his being. The peculiarity of Jewish destiny consists in its incommensurability with either the pre-Christian or the Christian era. Scientific criticism applied to traditional Biblical history can neither discredit the universal role played by the Jews nor offer a satisfactory explanation of their mysterious destiny. Nor does this criticism grapple with the absolutely peculiar tie existing between the Jews and the 'historical,' and their extraordinarily intense feeling for history.


  • The Jews started it all — and by "it" I mean so many of the things we care about, the underlying values that make all of us, Jew and Gentile, believer and atheist, tick. Without the Jews, we would see the world through different eyes, hear with different ears, even feel with different feelings … we would think with a different mind, interpret all our experience differently, draw different conclusions from the things that befall us. And we would set a different course for our lives.
    • Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews : How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels (1998)
  • Judaism recognized the home as being a co-partner with the synagogue in the nurturing of spirituality, and accorded the woman, as primary home-maker, the greatest consideration.
  • The effect of Judaism's vigorous promotion of monotheism, and the dignity that this doctrine conferred on all humankind, as created in God's image, coupled with the discipline, warnth and security offered by the Jewish way of life, cannot be overestimated as a powerful catalyst for the undermining and eventual destruction of Graeco-Roman paganism.
  • Jews abused and attacked on the streets... Mobs attacking synagogues... Nobody gives a damn about Jews and they never have, which is why the Holocaust was allowed to happen in the first place.


  • I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.
  • There has been no tragedy in modern times equal in its awful effects to the fight on the Jew in Germany. It is an attack on civilization, comparable only to such horrors as the Spanish Inquisition and the African slave trade. It has set civilization back a hundred years, and in particular has it made the settlement and understanding of race problems more difficult and more doubtful. It is widely believed by many that the Jewish problem in Germany was episodic, and is already passing. Visitor to the Olympic Games are apt to have gotten that impression. They saw no Jewish oppression. Just as Northern visitors to Mississippi see no Negro oppression.


  • I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.
    • Albert Einstein, in a letter to Alfred Kneser (7 June 1918); Doc. 560 in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein Vol. 8
  • By an application of the theory of relativity to the taste of readers, today in Germany I am called a German man of science, and in England I am represented as a Swiss Jew. If I come to be represented as a bête noire, the descriptions will be reversed, and I shall become a Swiss Jew for the Germans and a German man of science for the English!
  • I am neither a German citizen, nor do I believe in anything that can be described as a "Jewish faith." But I am a Jew and glad to belong to the Jewish people, though I do not regard it in any way as chosen.
    • Albert Einstein, in a letter to Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith, 3 April 1920, as quoted in Alice Calaprice, The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (2010), p. 195
  • In my opinion, condemning the Zionist movement as "nationalistic" is unjustified. Consider the path by which Herzl came to his mission. Initially he had been completely cosmopolitan. But during the Dreyfus trial in Paris he suddenly realized with great clarity how precarious was the situation of the Jews in the western world. And courageously he drew the conclusion that we are discriminated against or murdered not because we are Germans, Frenchmen, Americans, etc. of the "Jewish faith" but simply because we are Jews. Thus already our precarious situation forces us to stand together irrespective of our citizenship.
    Zionism gave the German Jews no great protection against annihilation. But it did give the survivors the inner strength to endure the debacle with dignity and without losing their healthy self respect. Keep in mind that perhaps a similar fate could be lying in wait for your children.
    • Albert Einstein, c. 1946, as quoted in Albert Einstein : The Human Side (1954), p. 63
  • The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them.
  • To this city the governor Firmillianus went, and took thither the whole assembly of those hundred confessors. And this was a great sight which well deserves to be recorded in writing. And the Jews were spectators of this marvellous contest, having surrounded the place of judgment on all sides; and as if it were for a rebuke to themselves, they looked on with their own eyes at what took place, while the whole company of the confessors, with much confidence and immense courage, made their confession of belief in God's Christ. And they being Jews, to whom the coming of that Christ had been foretold by their prophets, whose coming their fathers looked for, had not received him when he was come; but these Egyptians, who had been of old the enemies of God, confessed, even in the midst of persecutions, their faith in God, the Lord of all, and in the Manifestation from him. And these Egyptians, who had been taught by their fathers to worship idols only, were at that time, from the conviction of their reason, undergoing this conflict, in order that they might avoid the worship of idols; while those Jews, who had always been accused by their prophets on account of their worship of idols, were surrounding them, standing and looking on, and listening as the Egyptians repudiated the gods of their own fathers, and confessed their faith in the same God as they also did; and bare witness for Him whom they had many times denied.
  • And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar dtreasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.


  • After all, Jews invented psychiatry to help other Jews become Gentiles.
    • Morton Feldman, Give My Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman (2000)
  • Israel's great achievement, so apparent that mention of it is almost trite, was Monotheism. It was an achievement that transformed subsequent history....One may raise the question whether any other single contribution from whatever source since human culture emerged from the stone age has had the far reaching effect upon history that Israel in this regard has exerted both through the mediums of Christianity and Islam and directly through the world of Jewish thinkers themselves"
    • H. A. Frankfort, John A. Wilson, Thorkild Jacobsen, William A. Irwin, The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man (1946), p. 224
  • Most firmly hold and never doubt that not only pagans, but also all Jews, all heretics, and all schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.


  • No ancient people have had a stranger history than the Jews. … [T]he history of no ancient people should be so valuable, if we could only recover it and understand it. … Stranger still, the ancient religion of the Jews survives, when all the religions of every ancient race of the pre-Christian world have disappeared. … Again it is strange that the living religions of the world all build on religious ideas derived from the Jews. … [T]he great matter is not “What happened?” but “Why did it happen?” Why does Judaism live?
    • T. R. Glover, The Ancient World: A Beginning (1935). Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1944, pp. 184-186
  • Mankind, East and West, Christian and Muslim, accepted the Jewish conviction that there is only One God. Today it is polytheism that is so difficult to understand, that is so unthinkable.
    • T. R. Glover, The Ancient World: A Beginning (1935). Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1944, p. 186
  • Oh, we Jews have a special kind of jokes. They consist in happy little anecdotes founded on absolute despair.


  • The question we must answer is whether it is possible to raise a generation on nothing but traumas that were caused by others, exclusively on a sense of perpetual destruction and deterministic hatred, or whether there are some other things about Judaism, not necessarily related to victimization, that define us both as a people and as individuals. Does being a Jew only mean being a victim, defined by the actions of others? Or does it also mean being a people that established an elaborate judicial system, created a language to be proud of, built a state and established a social order (not only fought for their existence!), and developed demands and expectations for perfecting the world and the individual, expressed in various phenomena throughout history, that no other people did? In other words, are we willing to accept Jean-Paul Sartre's definition of Judaism, "anti-semitism makes Jews" (that is, he even denies us the right of self-definition)? Or are there also things about us that have nothing whatsoever to do with the acts and attitudes of others?...The uniqueness of a Jew is not in his being a victim. It is in his being a Jew, a proud son of a people at least four thousand years old, who built a humane present and ask for an attainable future. Not a future of messianic proportions, but one of human dimensions.
    • Shulamith Hareven "Identity: Victim" in The Vocabulary of Peace: Life, Culture, and Politics in the Middle East (1995)
  • The fate of the Jewish people is the fate of Macbeth who stepped out of nature itself, clung to alien beings, and so in their service had to trample and slay everything holy in human nature.
  • The immemorial ingratitude of rulers and commonwealths is proverbial. Especially common is ingratitude to Israel — the People that has achieved so much of eternal worth, but has rarely succeeded in winning gratitude.
  • Judaism has some advantages over Christianity in that, for example, it does not proselytise—except among Jews—and it does not make the cretinous mistake of saying that the Messiah has already made his appearance. … However, along with Islam and Christianity, it does insist that some turgid and contradictory and sometimes evil and mad texts, obviously written by fairly unexceptional humans, are in fact the word of god. I think that the indispensable condition of any intellectual liberty is the realisation that there is no such thing.
  • The god of Moses would call for other tribes, including his favorite one, to suffer massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead.


  • The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people - the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe - was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the comity of nations. Survivors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Eretz-Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland.


  • Masonry is based on Judaism. Eliminate the teachings of Judaism from the Masonic ritual and what is left?
  • His [Jesus'] object was the reformation of some articles in the religion of the Jews, as taught by Moses. That sect had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.
    • Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Short, August 4, 1820, on his reason for compiling the Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit of the Doctrines of Jesus. Published in Thomas Jefferson: Writings, Merrill D. Peterson, ed., New York: Library of America, 1994, pp. 1435–1440.[2]
  • Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
  • Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
  • Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.


  • The dispersion of the Jews was both a boon and a bane; their nation was disjoined, but their culture was enormously enhanced. Whereas a unique omneitic outlook set the Jews apart from other peoples, a common language, literacy and learning bound the disparate Jewish communities together and provided a firm foundation for further creativity. The exercise of this multifaceted creative propensity rebounded to benefit not only the societies that harbored the Jews, but all humankind.
    • Samuel Karlinsky, in The Eight Day — The Hidden History of the Jewish Contribution to Civilization (1994)
  • the nature of the Jewish people on the face of this earth has been totally transformed in the past 45 years
    • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz "To Be a Radical Jew in the Late 20th Century" (1986) in The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology
  • gentiles persecuted the Jews for thousands of years before the Nazis got efficient at it
  • not only does Jewish oppression elude conventional categories, Jewish stereotypes prove that anti-Semitism does not exist. Jews are rich, powerful, privileged, control the media, the schools, the business world, international banking: the Zionist conspiracy rides again. How could such powerhouses ever be in trouble? These stereotypes, I've realized, prevent recognition of how we are threatened or demeaned as Jews.
    • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz To Be a Radical Jew in the Late 20th Century in The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology (1986)
  • Particularly for those of us who are not religiously observant, much confusion attends our grasping - through anti-Semitism and often prodded by anti-Semitism - for something beyond common danger. We need to figure out how to undo assimilation without being nostalgic or xenophobic: how to reach in and out at the same time.
    • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz To Be a Radical Jew in the Late 20th Century in The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology (1986)
  • Why have so many radicals been impermeable to a pro-Jewish analysis and activity? Why are we getting the message that many of our erstwhile political comrades and sisters-including Jews-think it contradictory to be a radical Jew?
    • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz To Be a Radical Jew in the Late 20th Century in The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology (1986)
  • They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat.
    • Of Jewish holidays. This aphorism (apparently an old joke) appears, e.g., in Alan King's Matzo Balls for Breakfast and Other Memories of Growing Up Jewish (2007), p. 112
  • We Jews are living in a strange historical period in which our sense of history is often quite warped. For many American Jews, the Holocaust and Israel have reduced Jewish history to the years 1939-1945, or 1948 to the present. This extremely limited view of Jewish history naturally narrows the concept of Jewish identity and that narrowness is one which we as progressives ought to be countering.
  • The word "secularism" is simply not part of this generation of Jewish students' vocabulary. With few exceptions, they define their Jewishness solely in relationship to Zionism (whose secular origins they don't even consider) and/or to the synagogue. Extremely conscious of the Holocaust, they commemorate Yom Hashoah, but are ignorant of Jewish European history before 1939. They've heard of Yiddish and know the word shtetl and are familiar with the names Sholem Aleykhem and I. B. Singer, but know nothing of the extensive cultural or political history associated with any of these. Born in the late 1960s and early 1970s, this next generation is, of course, the product of its upbringing, which almost never included Jewish secular culture and history. Raised in assimilated or semiobservant homes, educated till their bar or bat mitsve in Sunday Hebrew schools (which most of them disparage), contemporary Jewish college students are totally cut off from a Jewish heritage which was thriving just forty years ago.
    • Irena Klepfisz "Khaloymes/Dreams in Progress: Culture, Politics, and Jewish Identity" in Dreams of an Insomniac: Jewish Feminist Essays, Speeches and Diatribes (1990)
  • The evidence from anthropology concurs with history in refuting the popular belief in a Jewish race descended from the biblical tribe. From the anthropologist's point of view, two groups of facts militate against this belief: the wide diversity of Jews with regard to physical characteristics, and their similarity to the Gentile population amidst whom they live. Both are reflected in the statistics about bodily height, cranial index, blood-groups, hair and eye colour, etc. Whichever of these anthropological criteria is taken as an indicator, it shows a greater similarity between Jews and their Gentile host-nation than between Jews living in different countries. … The obvious biological explanation for both phenomena is miscegenation, which took different forms in different historical situations: intermarriage, large-scale proselytizing, rape as a constant (legalized or tolerated) accompaniment of war and pogrom
  • I do not for a moment hesitate to say it right here and in the face of the entire Jewish world that… circumcision is a barbarous cruelty which disfigures and disgraces our ancestral heirloom and our holy mission as priests among mankind. The rite is a national remnant of savage African life… Nor should children born of intermarriage be viewed any longer exclusively by the primitive national standard which determines the racial character of the child only by the blood of the mother… I can no longer accept the fanciful and twisted syllogisms of Talmudic law as binding for us… I think, if anywhere, here we ought to have the courage to emancipate ourselves from the thralldom of Rabbinical legality.
    • Kaufman Kohler as quoted in Walter Jacob, ed., The Pittsburgh Platform in Retrospect: The Changing World of Reform Judaism, (Pittsburgh: Rodef Shalom Congregation Press, 1985)
  • Far from having become 1900 years ago a stagnant or dried-up religion, as Christian theology declares, Judaism has ever remained "a river of God full of living waters," which, while running within the river-bed of a single nation, has continued to feed anew the great streams of human civilization.
  • Next to God's unity the most essential and characteristic doctrine of Judaism is that concerning God's relation to man. Heathenism degraded man by making him kneel before brutes and the works of his hand: Judaism declared man to be made in the image of God, the crown and culmination of God's creation, the appointed ruler of the earth, and vicegerent of God
  • The natural, romantic man, regardless of whether he liked or disliked the Jews, saw in them the representants of an interesting and ancient race, blood brothers of our Lord. Yet the true herdist resented the baptized or unbaptized sons of Abraham violently, and for the identitarian National Socialist, with his latent inferiority complex and his petit bourgeois lack of worldly experience, they were the worst offenders against the sacred law of uniformity.


  • What is left to a Jew who refuses the religious community? Antisemitism and history.
    • Gerda Lerner "A Weave of Connections" in Why history matters (1997)
  • The history of the Jews is a history of one holocaust after another with short intervals of peaceful assimilation or acculturation. Most of us never study this long and bitter history and yet we live with it and it shapes our lives. We live from pogrom to pogrom, one of my friends recently said. What it means to be a Jew-having to look over your shoulder and have your bags packed.
    • Gerda Lerner "A Weave of Connections" in Why history matters (1997)


  • What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
  • And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.
  • And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath. Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice. Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you. Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you. I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:
Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you. ~ Moses
  • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language describes a Hebrew as a member of the Semitic people, a race descended from Abraham of the Old Testament which, ironically enough, also includes most Arabs. A Jew, on the other hand, is a adherent of Judaism, a religion handed down by the Israelites. A Zionist is a member of a political movement concerned with preserving and furthering the aims of the state of Israel. These constitute three separate issues: race, religion, and politics.


  • I am very troubled by this horrible issue of "who is a Jew?" I'm very simplistic about it. I ask, if Hitler were here, would he consider me a Jew? And of course he'd say yes, and that's the end of that. If we were all in line to go to Auschwitz, would the Orthodox pull us out of line and say, "You're not a Jew"?


  • I think many non-Jews don't realise the tremendous emotional heat that is involved here in the second half of the twentieth century. A heat that derives from the Holocaust. That is to say the destruction, the mass murder of the Jews in Eastern Europe where most of the Jews were. That both the Israelis and the Jews of the United States are the bereaved children of that population who were murdered. And the bond between the Jews of the United States and the people of Israel has the emotional intensity derived from that common bereavement. And that is what gives. I do understand that people resent the power of the pro-Israel lobby in this country [the US], but that power derives from that elemental basic bond of the common bereavement and the horror that is there in the background. Therefore, Jews in the United States do react strongly – and that's what makes this a very powerful lobby, and it is – they do react strongly to anything that seems to them to threaten the connection of the United States in Israel, which is Israel's lifeline. They see this as threatening. This may be an exaggerated fear, but always there is the shadow there of a possible new Holocaust. Israel overrun. The people of Israel massacred again.
  • We regard Judaism as a civilization, not just as a religion. I think there are many, many ways to be a Jew. And one of those ways to be a Jew is to be a nonreligious Jew. The heritage contains, first and foremost, books, texts, spiritual creativity. And religion is only one of the components of this magnificent heritage...For thousands of years, we Jews had nothing but books. We had no lands, we had no holy sites, we had no magnificent architecture, we had no heroes. We had books, we had texts, and those texts were always discussed around the family table. They became part of the family life, and they traveled from one generation to the next — not unchanged, not unchallenged, but reinterpreted in each generation and reread by each generation.


  • Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.
    Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
  • (What was your sense of what it meant to be Jewish when you were growing up?) Well, it meant to be a socialist. Well, not really. But it meant to have social consciousness. It also meant that we were related to those generations of the Jewish Bible. We had common history.
    • 1985 interview in Conversations with Grace Paley Edited by Gerhard Bach & Blaine Hall (2013)
  • What bothers me about say my own family or a lot of Jewish people I know who are really open-minded. People think that the persecution of Jewish people started with the Holocaust.
    • 1991 interview in Conversations with Grace Paley Edited by Gerhard Bach & Blaine Hall (2013)
And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age; in my race being much more a zealot of the ancestral traditions of my fathers. ~ Paul of Tarsus
  • Indeed I am a man, a Jew having been born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but having been brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, having been trained according to the exactness of the ancestral law, being a zealot of God, even as you all are today. I persecuted this Way as far as death, binding and giving over both men and women to prisons
  • And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age; in my race being much more a zealot of the ancestral traditions of my fathers.
  • This people are not eminent solely by their antiquity, but are also singular by their duration, which has always continued from their origin till now. For, whereas the nations of Greece and of Italy, of Lacedaemon, of Athens and of Rome, and others who came long after, have long since perished, these ever remain, and in spite of the endeavors of many powerful kings who have a hundred times tried to destroy them, as their historians testify, and as it is easy to conjecture from the natural order of things during so long a space of years, they have nevertheless been preserved (and this preservation has been foretold); and extending from the earliest times to the latest, their history comprehends in its duration all our histories (which it preceded by a long time).
    • Blaise Pascal, Pensees (c. 1662), paragraph 620; translation by W.F. Trotter (1910), p. 205
  • The Jews are those who profess the Law of Moses; have not received baptism; and do not believe in Jesus Christ.
    • Pius X, Catechism of St. Pius X, The Ninth Article of the Creed, The Communion of Saints, question 13
  • In all of nature, a male belongs to a female that he fancies and who fancies him. And so among the animals there are no idiots. But with us!... I'm a Jew, so I musn't love a Christian woman... He's a merchant, so he's got no right to a countess... And you who've got no money, you've no rights to any woman at all...
  • 80-85 percent of First Soviet Government was Jewish.


  • Thou wilt certainly find the most violent of people in enmity against the believers to be the Jews and the idolaters; and thou wilt find the nearest in friendship to the believers to be those who say, We are Christians. That is because there are priests and monks among them and because they are not proud.


  • It is against their own insoluble problem of being human that the dull and base in humanity are in revolt in anti-Semitism. Judaism, nevertheless, together with Hellenism and Christianity is an inalienable component of our Christian Western civilization, the eternal "call to Sinai" against which humanity again and again rebels.
  • The nature of the Jew is governed by the same laws as human nature in general…In England, France, Germany and in the rest of Europe (except Spain), in spite of the barbarous treatment and deadly persecution they suffered, they have lived and spread and outlived much of the poisonous rancor and prejudice against them, and Europe has been none the worse on their account. Of course, where they are still under the Christian lash, as in Rome, where for the glory of God, their children even are stolen from them, self-preservation forces them to be narrow and exclusive. In other countries more civilized and just, they are so too; they progress just as fast as the world they live in will permit them.
  • Throughout our history there have been weaker elements who have shirked the sacrifices which Judaism entailed. They have been swallowed, long since, in the great majority; only the more stalwart have carried on the traditions of their ancestors, and can now look back with pride upon their superb heritage. Are we to be numbered with the weak majority, or with the stalwart minority? It is for ourselves to decide.
  • The preservation of the Jew was certainly not casual. He has endured through the power of a certain ideal, based on the recognition of a Higher Power in human affairs. Time after time in his history, moreover, he has been saved from disaster in a manner, which cannot be described excepting as 'providential.' The author has deliberately attempted to write this book in a secular spirit; he does not think that his readers can fail to see in it, on every page, a higher immanence.


  • Knowing what we do of our past, no Jew can be an optimist.
  • It is not American Jews who have betrayed their Israeli cousins. It is the Netanyahu-led Israeli government that has betrayed Jews outside Israel, by aligning itself with nationalist parties in countries like Poland and Hungary, who are hostile to the ideals that make it possible for Jews in the diaspora to live free of persecution. (p 205 "The Jewish Divide")
  • American religious pluralism, however imperfectly practiced, is centuries older than the European commitment to purging anti-Semitism, which is younger than Israel itself. (p 222 "The Jewish Divide")
  • "To some extent, leaving the (Hasidic) community was even harder than transitioning. I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn't know anyone, couldn't speak the language, and didn't have an education. I didn't know how to dress. I didn't know how to talk. I remember the first time walking into a Starbucks, I was like, 'OK, what's happening here?' The culture shock is just in every level, every way. ... It's like being an immigrant in your own country."
  • Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
    (For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.)
    You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog.
  • There was once among men a shining light of the sun
    when the harmonious ray of the prophets was being spread abroad,
    a tongue dripping a beautiful drink for all mortals with honeyed sweetness;
    it made manifest, offered and effected gentle things for all.
    • Sibylline Oracles, 5:238-241, "Praise and exaltation of the Jews" in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth, p. 399
  • Capitalism was born from the money loan. Money lending contains the root idea of capitalism. Turn to the pages of the Talmud and you will find that the Jews made an art of lending money. They were taught early to look for their chief happiness in the possession of money. They fathomed all the secrets that lay hid in money. They became Lords of Money and Lords of the World.


  • What is the Jew?...What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish. What is this Jew whom they have never succeeded in enticing with all the enticements in the world, whose oppressors and persecutors only suggested that he deny (and disown) his religion and cast aside the faithfulness of his ancestors?!
    "The Jew — is the symbol of eternity. … He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear. The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity.
    • Leo Tolstoy, as quoted in "The Final Resolution", in Jewish World Periodical (1908), p. 189
  • Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well.
  • If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?


  • Masonry is a Jewish institution whose history, degrees, charges, passwords and explanations are Jewish from the beginning to the end.


  • No Jew was ever fool enough to turn Christian unless he was a clever man.
  • Born during this era of Islamic rule, the famous Golden Age of Spanish Jewry (circa 900-1200) produced such luminaries as: statesman and diplomat Hasdai ibn Shaprut, vizier and army commander Shmuel ha-Nagid, poet-philosophers Solomon Ibn Gabriol and Judah Halevi,and at the apex of them all, Moses Ben Maimon, also known among the Spaniards as Maimonides.
    • Zion Zohar, Sephardic & Mizrahi Jewry, New York, 2005, pp. 8 – 9
  • Thus, when Muslims crossed the straits of Gibraltar from North Africa in 711 CE and invaded the Iberian Peninsula, Jews welcomed them as liberators from Christian Persecution.
    • Zion Zohar, Sephardic & Mizrahi Jewry, New York, 2005, pp. 8 – 9
  • Frederick the Great (1712-1786) once asked his personal physician, Dr. Zimmermann, "Can you name me a single proof of the existence of God?" Zimmermann replied, "Your Majesty, the Jews!" By that he meant that if one wanted to ask for a proof of God, for something visible and tangible, that no one could contest, which is unfolded before the eyes of all men, then we should have to turn to the Jews. Quite simply, there they are to the present day. Hundreds of little nations in the Near East... have dissolved and disappeared in the huge sea of nations; [only] this one tiny nation has maintained itself.... If the question of a proof of God is raised, one need merely point to this simple historical fact. For in the person of the Jew there stands before our eyes the witness of God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and in that way with us all. Even one who does not understand Holy Scripture can see this reminder.
    • Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann, quoted by Karl Barth in Dogmatics in Outline (1949) as translated by Tr. G. T. Thomson ISBN 006130056X

From "A Book of Jewish Thoughts" ed. J. H. Hertz (Oxford University Press, 1920)

  • Judaism is something more than a badge, something more than a birth-mark; it is a life.
    • Morris Joseph (1903), p. 21
  • Salvation is attained not by subscription to metaphysical dogmas, but solely by love of God that fulfils itself in action. This is a cardinal truth in Judaism.
    • Chasdai Crescas (1410), p. 25
  • When sometimes our own unchristian prejudices flame out against the Jewish people, let us remember that all that we have and all that we are we owe, under God, to what Judaism gave us.
  • Israel has given the world true humanitarianism, just as it has given the world the true God.
    • C. H. Cornill (1895), p. 131
  • None of the resplendent names in history - Egypt, Athens, Rome - can compare in eternal grandeur with Jerusalem. For Israel has given to mankind the category of holiness. Israel alone has known the thirst for social justice, and that inner saintliness which is the source of justice.
    • Charles Wagner (1918), p. 134

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 406.
  • The Jews are among the aristocracy of every land; if a literature is called rich in the possession of a few classic tragedies, what shall we say to a national tragedy lasting for fifteen hundred years, in which the poets and the actors were also the heroes.
  • A Hebrew knelt in the dying light,
    His eye was dim and cold;
    The hairs on his brow were silver white,
    And his blood was thin and old.
  • Who hateth me but for my happiness?
    Or who is honored now but for his wealth?
    Rather had I, a Jew, be hated thus,
    Than pitied in a Christian poverty.
  • To undo a Jew is charity, and not sin.
  • This is the Jew that Shakespeare drew.
    • Attributed to Alexander Pope when Macklin was performing Shylock. Feb. 14, 1741. See Biographia Dramatica, Volume I, Part II, p. 469


  • The day will come when all nations amidst which the Jews are dwelling will have to raise the question of their wholesale expulsion, a question which will be one of life or death, good health or chronic disease, peaceful existence or perpetual social fever.
    • Franz Liszt, as quoted in the second edition of The Gypsy in Music. Some dispute as to the authenticity of this quote exists, as this work was edited posthumously by his mistress and patron, Carolyn Sayn-Wittgenstein, whose anti-semitism was well-known. Liszt was known to have donated to Jewish charitable organisations in various countries and to support the works by such prominent Jewish artists as Giacomo Meyerbeer, Felix Mendelssohn, Heinrich Heine and Charles Alkan — often in the face of anti-semitic criticism. Regarding Liszt as an anti-semite has been a popular misbelief for a long time — probably springing from his association with well-known anti-semites such as Richard Wagner, Hans von Bülow and Carolyn Sayn-Wittgenstein. For further information read Liszt: v. 3. The final years, 1861-1886 (1996) by Alan Walker.


  • They (the Jews) work more effectively against us, than the enemy's armies. They are a hundred times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in... It is much to be lamented that each state, long ago, has not hunted them down as pest to society and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America.
    • Sometimes rendered : The Jews work more effectively against us than the enemy's armies. They are a hundred times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in... It is much to be lamented that each state, long ago, has not hunted them down as pest to society and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America.
    • Both of these are doctored statements that have been widely disseminated as genuine on many anti-semitic websites; They are distortions derived from a statement that may be authentic, and was attributed to George Washington in Maxims of George Washington (1894) about currency speculators during the Revolutionary war, not about Jews: "This tribe of black gentry work more effectually against us, than the enemy's arms. They are a hundred times more dangerous to our liberties, and the great cause we are engaged in. It is much to be lamented that each State, long ere this, has not hunted them down as pests to society, and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America." More information is available at Snopes.com: "To Bigotry, No Sanction"
  • I fully agree with General Washington, that we must protect this young nation from an insidious influence and impenetration. The menace, gentlemen, is the Jews.
    In whatever country Jews have settled in any great number, they have lowered its moral tone; depreciated its commercial integrity; have segregated themselves and have not been assimilated; have sneered at and tried to undermine the Christian religion upon which that nation is founded, by objecting to its restrictions; have built up a state within the state; and when opposed have tried to strangle that country to death financially, as in the case of Spain and Portugal.
    For over 1,700 years, the Jews have been bewailing their sad fate in that they have been exiled from their homeland, as they call Palestine. But gentlemen, did the world give it to them in fee simple, they would at once find some reason for not returning. Why? Because they are vampires, and vampires do not live on vampires. They cannot live only among themselves. They must subsist on Christians and other people not of their race.
    If you do not exclude them from these United States, in their Constitution, in less than 200 years they will have swarmed here in such great numbers that they will dominate and devour the land and change our form of government, for which we Americans have shed our blood, given our lives our substance and jeopardized our liberty.
    If you do not exclude them, in less than 200 years our descendants will be working in the fields to furnish them substance, while they will be in the counting houses rubbing their hands. I warn you, gentlemen, if you do not exclude Jews for all time, your children will curse you in your graves.
    Jews, gentlemen, are Asiatics, let them be born where they will nor how many generations they are away from Asia, they will never be otherwise. Their ideas do not conform to an American's, and will not even thou they live among us ten generations. A leopard cannot change its spots. Jews are Asiatics, are a menace to this country if permitted entrance, and should be excluded by this Constitutional Convention.

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