The history of the Jews can be traced way back 5,750 years ago and according to the Hebrew Bible, the Jews are people who settled in Canaan and have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their ancestors. They have considered Israel/Palestine to be their homeland as this was the land promised by God to Abraham. Since 1948, the Jews of Israel has been involved in a streak of major and minor armed conflicts. Israel is currently in conflict with the Palestine about the Israeli-occupied territories.
The highest population where Jews are located are in Israel with a population of 5,413,800 and next is in the USA with 5,275,000. Jewish communities are also found in most of Europe and some in middle East while Jewish communities are flourishing in Australia and Latin America’s big cities. Jewish communities are also advancing in Asia . In 2013, the Berman Jewish Databank has estimated the Jewish population worldwide at 13,854,000 .
As the Jews do not believe that “Jesus is the Lord”, they don’t use the term B.C. and A.D.as indicated in the Gregorian calendar. Instead, they use the C.E. (Common or Christian Era) and B.C.E. (Before the Christian Era).
Yom Kippur is the most important holiday for the Jews as it means “Day of Atonement”. It is a complete Sabbath where they are expected to repent for last year’s sins. They have to fast for 25 hours with no food and water. Yom Kippur is for making amends for one’s sins with G-d but not with fellow men. One has to appease with people he/she had done wrong before the Yom Kippur. Children below nine years, women in childbirth, people who are ill and those who have health threats are exempted from participating.
The observance of kosher has been stamped in the Jewish history and identity. In the Hebrew word, kosher means “fit”. Kosher laws determine the food that are fitting for the Jews.
Milk and meat are never mixed, however, an allowable time has to be observed before consuming the other; fruits, vegetables and grains must be free from insects. Animals that chew their cud and have split hooves are considered kosher while egg with blood spots are non-kosher . These are just examples on what are permissible and not in a kosher diet. To avoid ingestion of non-kosher food on processed food and eating establishment, a certification from a rabbi or kashrut supervision agency is required.
Julius Fromm, a Jew, invented the latex condom in 1916. Prior to his invention, condoms were made from animal intestines and rubber. Fromm’s latex condoms were much thinner and cheaper making it an instant hit in Europe. He also founded the condom vending machine in 1948.
On March 9, 1959 in New York, Ruth Mosko Handler made public the very first Barbie Doll. Handler conceived the idea of the doll for young girls to imagine themselves in adulthood and with the influence of her daughter’s preference for adult paper dolls. The doll has been heavily criticized by feminists for promoting unrealistic female body forms.The doll was named after Handler’s 15-year old daughter. After the big hit of the Barbie doll, a male doll named Ken was soon added. Other dolls that later followed were named after her grandchildren.
In 1967, The Los Angeles Times named Handler “Woman of the Year”; The United Jewish Appeal named her “Woman of Distinction” in 1967 and was inducted in the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 1985 .
In the 1930s, Jewish-Hungarian journalist Laszlo Biro invented the first ballpoint pen. He was thinking for a solution on how to deliver a quick-drying ink that does not need to flow like a fountain pen. Biro thought of closing the tip of the pen with a nib, leaving a small opening for a tiny metal ball that would roll against the ink while dispensing it onto the paper, thus, the ballpoint pen was invented. The ballpoint pen’s basic design is still being used today.
From 1933-1939 hundreds of Jews were smuggled out from Nazi Germany by Ernst Leitz II, head of the Leica Camera at that time. He was concerned for his Jewish employees’ safety when Hitler came into power in 1933. Along with his daughter Elsie Kuehn-Leitz, he helped transferred their Jewish workers along with their families to sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong and USA.
The camera company was prominent in Germany that time allowing Leitz to do his operation inconspicuous. In 1938, the “Leica Freedom Train” has been most active until September 1939 when the Germans closed its borders after the invasion of Poland.
Salamo Arouch was a Greek-born Jew who survived in the Auschwitz death camp in WWII by winning boxing matches against fellow prisoners as a form of entertainment for the Nazi guards. He had more than 200 fights where he all won except for two draws which freed him from slave labor and instead worked as a clerk. He survived the death camp and died at the age of 86 on April 26, 2009 .
Zyklon -B pellets (hydrocyanic acid) was intended as a disinfectant and insecticide but the Nazis discovered that it can be used to kill humans. Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust in Auschwitz and other death camps were killed through inhaling the vapors of the pellets dumped in the ceiling holes on chambers disguised as shower rooms.
Zyklon-B was renamed Cyanosil in 1974. Degesch, the producer of the chemical was sold to Detia-Freyberg GmbH in 1986 and is now called Detia-Degesch.