Jews represent a group of people rather than a distinct race or ethnicity.
In general, one is Jewish if born of a Jewish mother or if he or she converts to Judaism.
Most Jews consider the State of Israel the Jewish homeland.
Located in the Middle East with a land mass of 7,992 square miles, Israel is only slighter larger than New Jersey.
It is bounded by Lebanon in the north, by Syria and Jordan in the east, by Egypt in the southwest, and by the Mediterranean Sea in the west.
With a population of approximately 4.2 million Jews, Israel is home to about one-third of the world Jewry, estimated at 12.9 million at the end of 1992. Some feel the United States, with 5.8 million Jews, is the de facto home of Jews, evidenced in part by the fact that Israel is sometimes called "Little America" because of its similarities to the United States.
Accounting for more than three-fourths of the world Jewry, Israel and the United States represent the two major Jewish population regions.
Although Jews comprise less than three percent of the American population, Jews have generally had a disproportionately larger representation in American government, business, academia, and entertainment.
American Jews have suffered their share of setbacks and have had to combat anti-Semitism during the early twentieth century.
On the whole, however, Jews have enjoyed greater acceptance in America than in any other country and have figured prominently in American culture and politics.
Jewish history dates back 4,000 years to the time of Abraham, the biblical figure credited for introducing the belief in a single God.
Abraham's monotheism not only marked the beginning of Judaism, but of Christianity and Islam as well.