The Jewish Diaspora

The Jewish Diaspora

Connection to the land of Israel is woven into the fabric of Jewish life. It’s foundational to how the Jewish people express not only their devotion to God, but their very identity as a people. Even after the Romans destroyed the temple and expelled most of the Jews from ancient Israel in 70 AD, the Jewish connection to Israel was maintained and nurtured. Small communities of Jews remained in the land—but many others became part of the Jewish diaspora and scattered throughout the world.

“Diaspora” is most often used to describe the Jewish people in the wake of the Roman conquest of Israel. “Galut,” the Hebrew word that describes the Jewish diaspora, means “exile from the land.”

The Jews in the diaspora, while they did adopt some local customs, lived in their own communities, which enabled them to follow their religious traditions. More often than not, Jews had no choice but to live apart, due to the virulent antisemitism which characterized many, if not most, of the countries in which they lived.

Yet despite a 2,000-year exile from their homeland and a history marked by violent attacks against them, the Jewish people maintained their connection to Israel. A longing for Israel and hope for a return to the land eventually inspired one of the most miraculous events of recent history: the establishment of a modern Jewish state in the land of Israel.

Check out Lesson 4 of CUFI’s The Israel Course to learn more.