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While the Jewish religion is the fastest groping religion in America, undoubtedly the religion faces the most significant forms of prejudice because of the recent attacks on American soil that has been targeted at the Jews. This paper is going to look at the Jewish religion in terms of its economic, political, as well as social history.
Despite the verity, that there are no distinct and accurate studies that can indicate the actual growth of Jewish population in the United States, however, comparative figures indicate that Jewish is fast growing and acquiring most believers. The lack of distinct and accurate population measure comes from the actuality that America does not place emphasis on the religious affiliations of the people.
In addition, people attending Synagogues cannot be counted because they do not enroll in the membership list like the traditional practice of Christians. The evidence, of being the fastest growing religion in America, emanates from the United Nations demographic survey, which put Jewish religion as growing at an accelerated rate in the United States.
Considering the huge population in the western countries including America and Canada, it is safe to assume that the religion is fast growing in the area. The census count in the US does not include demographics on religious affiliations for fear of patronization.
There are several misconceptions about Jews in America, which places Jews at times at the heart of religious and economic prejudice. There is a stereotype in the United States that all the people that are Jewish are economically advantaged. However, this is just a misconception, further, it is also of the essence to understand that most people believe that Jews often keep to themselves (Edidin, 1947). In order to understand demographics on Jews in the United States, it is vital to appreciate simple facts about the Jewish population. According to the United Nations survey, most Jews in the United States constitute the middle and upper class of the society.
Factually, America belonged to the native communities, which implies that other communities migrated into western civilization in search of employment or white collar jobs. This is an indicator ion that American Jews live with the fear that patronization and religious discrimination is inevitable in the social arena.
Religiously, the fundamental teaching of the Jewish is that people ought to strive to ensure that they are kind to nature and generous to every person. This fundamental teaching upholds human life more than any other relevant creature in the universe. The Jewish religion also gives an aspect of the earlier prophets, and their teachings go back to the ancient times.
The first axiom of Jewish economic theory is that “Man is created in God’s Image”, and Judaism is often interpreted as meaning that God is the creator of the world, and the man was given the divine essence in order to be a partner with God in his creation (Edidin, 1947).
It is of the essence to understand that Jews often represent a group of people as compared to a distinct race or ethnicity. It is important to understand that although Jews originally came from the Middle East, many races and people have over the years have mixed together in Jewish communities over the centuries, and especially after the Jews were forced out of Palestine in the second century C.E (Wertheimer, 2007). What is important to understand about Jews is that there is a common Jewish Heritage that exists among them, and it is often passed down from generation to generation. In fact, for many Jews, the binding force is Judaism, which is a term that is usually referred to the Jewish religion and it sometimes that is used to refer to each and every Jew. It is important to understand that most Jews often consider the State of Israel as being their homeland. Israel is located in the Middle Easy with a land mass of around 7,992 square miles. The United States, in fact, has more Jews that Israel and there are times that people argue that it is indeed the De facto home of the Jews. Israel and the United States often represent the two major Jewish populations regions in the globe (Edidin, 1947).
It is of the essence to note that although the Jews comprise less than 3 percent of the American population, the Jews often have a disproportionately larger representation when it comes to the American government as compared to other persons. Some of the areas that they are disproportionately represented include the American government, academia, entertainment, and business. However, on a whole, Jews have often enjoyed a greater acceptance in the United States as compared to any other country and they have been able to figure prominently in American culture and politics (Wertheimer, 2007).
Few Jews came to the United States as being wealthy and prominent, however, at the end of the 19th century, several German families have been able to accumulate fortunes. At the time of arrivals, most Jews were forming and filling slums of East Coast cities, however, by the year 1920’s, Jews in America started gaining a lot of of economic success.
For this reason, in the Jewish economy in the United States, the 20th century is often regarded to as an upward social and economic mobility (Edidin, 1947). It is of the essence to note that during recent measures of income, the personal and family incomes of the Jews often appear to be slightly higher as compared to those of the controls. It is an obvious factor that education does affect earning power, and the controls are often defined in many cases as having college degrees. For this reason, if a comparison of the Jews with college degrees is made, it is seen that Jews often have higher education as compared to the controls. It is imperative to note that the children of Jewish Immigrant families can be said to have made exceptionally good use of free education that was offered by the American government through public schools as compared to any other immigrant group that existed at the time.
In terms of occupation, it is of the essence to understand that the intermediate link that exists between income and education is employment. It has been seen that indeed Jews often record higher numbers of fully employed persons as compared to the controls (Wertheimer, 2007). For this reason, American Jews can be said to be well schooled with two-thirds of them having college degrees and half of these people often earn and advancing the degree. It is also of the essence to critically note that the U.S population is barely as half as well as educated as compared to the Jews.
However, the current literature that exists in terms of American Jews lacks measures of wealth as well as income, however, the data that is available shows the earnings of Jews and especially those who are college educated. Further, in an economic sense, it is important to also note that the modern day Jews are often educationally, economically and occupationally more successful as compared to most Americans because they were born into families that were privileged than most Americans. Further, Jews are often known to go for higher education as compared to any other group in the American population.
In the social sense, Jews are one of the American ethnic groups giving especially high value to family. It is of the essence to understand that immigrants that come to the United States that are Jews often come as being extended families. It will be foolhardy to discuss the social aspects of Jews without discussing one of the most prominent features that are the Holocaust. The word holocaust is derived from the Greek term holocaust, which refers to an animal sacrifice given to a god where the full animal is totally burnt. For very many years, the term holocaust was applied in English to mean great massacres (Wertheimer, 2007).
From the early 1960s, the word is in use by a number of scholars as well as well-known authors to denote the mass murder of the Jewish people. The biblical term Shoah that is also spelled as Shoah or Shoa mean calamity. This word turned out to be the standard Hebrew word for the Holocaust beginning from the early 1940s, particularly in the European continent and Israel. The Nazi supporters used a euphemistic term, the Final Solution to the Jewish inquiry, and that phrase Final Solution is extensively used to refer to the genocide of the Jewish people. The Nazi party used the term lebensunwertes Leben which means life unworthy of life; this is in line with their victims who are the Jews, in an effort to substantiate the killings.
The holocaust disaster all through the years 1933 to the year 1945 was a huge occurrence. It started in Germany and finally enclosed a region taking in a majority of the continent of Europe. This was as well an event that a number of executors, a large number of victims and a mass of witnesses went through. The three factions were different from each other, and they did not break up in their lifetime. Each of the groups witnessed the occurrence in its personal viewpoint and all harbored different set of feelings and responses. The main perpetrator was Adolf Hitler, who was known as the dictator. He was the senior architect of the act; if he were not there, it would not have happened.
The Nazi persecution of the Jewish people left millions of families from all over the European continent displaced. Through their huge concentration camp organization, accommodating more than one thousand campsites of a variety of sizes, all tailored to incarcerate innocent people, regarded as sub-Human in accordance with the Nazi standards. All the human rights were taken over by the Nazi laws, regulations, conditions and random choices (Wertheimer, 2007). Approximately all the main German cities had at least one slave manual labor camp close by. The prisoners in these labor camps were compelled in the ache of death to toil for the German war effort, without pay, insufficient food and other important necessities to live. Death camps, built for the single purpose of mass killings through poison gas, torture, illnesses, starvation and shootings were employed by the Nazi supporters to eliminate their fellow humans, children, men, infants as well as women by plan.
There are those people who say that the holocaust did not occur at all or probably a small number of people were killed, however not millions of people as said. Historical information proved over and over that the Nazi Germany arranged and executed their plan to get rid of the people they believed to be Sub-human on the European continent (Wertheimer, 2007). Precise numbers for truly how many people died due to the Nazi system are merely not accessible and by no means will be. Studies conducted by a number of the globe’s most competent historians put the figures of holocaust victims killed by government plan to be below twelve million and possibly more. The refusal that holocaust occurred is referred to as the holocaust denial.
By definition, it is the denial of the occurrence of the genocide of the Jewish people during the holocaust in the Second World War. The main claims of holocaust refutation are that the Nazi regime of Germany did not have any final solution plan or intention of eliminating Jewish people. In addition, there is rejection that the Nazi regime used elimination camps along with gas chambers to mass massacre Jewish people. The exact number of Jewish people killed was considerably less than the historically acknowledged number of five to six million. The people who deny the holocaust occurred prefer to call their work as past revisionism and refuse to be called as deniers. On the other hand, a number of scholars consider it to be misinformation because the methods of holocaust denial are different from those of legal, historical review (Fishman, 1995). On the contrary, the holocaust denial pressure group supports its approach in the predetermined context that the holocaust, as recognized by normal historiography, did not happen.
The Jewish contribution, when it comes to the American popular culture, can be described as being so vast, and the various references guide to this subject often faces what can describe a being as a daunting task. There has been a rich pantheon of actors, films, composers, and entertainers that have helped shape and the most enduring contribution of Jews to the modern contemporary American culture (Gruber, 2003). An interesting discovery about the Jewish popular culture can be said to be the role played by Jewish performers, songwriters and producers in the emergence of rap, rock ‘n’ roll, blues and almost all forms of popular music. There has been a decrease in anti-semitism in the United States especially after the world War II.
This might be blamed on the secularization of the American life as well as the decline of the religious observance among-st many Jews. Further, it is also of importance to understand that in the 21st century, there has been the intensification and assimilation of million of Jews into the American popular culture and this has contributed to the eradication of the boundaries which have separated Jews from the rest of American society. This has led to many Jews that exist in popular culture having little identification with their roots and being integrated into the mainstream American cultural lifestyle.
In regards to women, the role played by the Jewish women is not defined in an easy manner. The practices of the Old Testament and the Holy book seem to have recognition of the existing different roles that are supportive in a mutual way, as well as functions of women and men. The two encourage a balance family life and social life. There are many Americans who consider the Jewish religion to be one that oppresses women. On the other hand, Jewish women will make comments on the dignity and liberty they derive from the faith they follow that is Judaism. Many of these Jewish women see being a true Jew is something that is at mot times met with compromise by actions and practices that are oppressive in nature and that are rooted in the differences in culture. It can also be due to expediency politically.
Gruber, S. D., Rocheleau, P., & Tilden, S. J. (2003). American synagogues: A century of architecture and Jewish community. New York: Rizzoli.
Fishman, S. B. (1995). A breath of life: Feminism in the American Jewish community. Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press.
Wertheimer, J., & Jewish Theological Seminary of America. (2007). Imagining the American Jewish community. Waltham, Mass. [u.a.: University Press of New England [u.a..
Edidin, B. M. (1947). Jewish community life in America. New York: Hebrew Pub. Co.
In the Middle East, sects of the same religion are at loggerheads. The Shia and Sunni Muslims constantly clash over some elements of their beliefs. The protestant Christians and the Catholics also have their own fair share of disagreements that have turned out to be nasty in the past. In Egypt, the members of the Islamic faith torch the Coptic churches. Finally, in the academic fields people are querying the claim that all the three Islamic religions share any commonality at all. The academicians also seek to find a truce in the simmering hatred that the members of the Islamic faith possess. One of the approaches that most of the theologians propose of handling this debacle is finding trying to establish a relationship among the three religions with the goals of making them believe that there is a unity of purpose. This paper will look into various arguments presented over the existence of a common god for the three western monotheist religions (Sindima, 2009).
The similarity in the roots of the religions may lead to the creation of the stand that the three religions are for the worship of one god. All the western monotheist religions hold the point of view that they were a result of the selection of Abraham as their father. In fact, all of them believe that Abraham was the founder of faith in the religion. The calling of Abraham is similar in all the religions. According to the religions, a God out of the land where they practiced polytheism called Abraham (Sindima, 2009). In this land, there was a god for each element or aspect of the human life. There was a god of harvest, rain, drought and such elements. The different gods were specialized, and they worked alongside each other to fulfill the needs of the human beings.
After the encounter of Abraham with the true god, there was a paradigm shift. The new almighty god asked Abraham to move out of the land that he was given by the father to go to a wild place where he would make him the father of nations. Out of the faith that Abraham had in the almighty god, he agreed to leave the comfort zone to explore new areas as directed. He moved into the dessert where the lord made him experience success. He had many things except a son that would make him prominent among all the world nations as foretold. Out of impatience and withering faith, the wife of Abraham, Sarah, asked him to take Haggai, a slave, and have a baby with her. Abraham took the advice given by the wife and had a son with the slave. However, later in their life, Sarah got a son. The realization that Abraham no longer needed the son of the slave woman made him throw the female slave and her son out of to the dessert. Ishmael who was the slave woman's son is taunted to be the father of the Arabs who later converted to Islam. This is the source of all the contention that as far as the three religions is concerned (Iyigun, 2007).
In the event of one looking at Islam, there is a widespread feeling that the Judaists view them as the second choice when it comes to God. They have the belief that they were seen as expendables since they were expelled easily out of the family of Abraham. In the event that the turn of events was different, Abraham would have accorded them the same treatment as he did to Isaac. The lack of legitimacy makes them deem themselves, as outsiders as far as the religion is concerned. However, the question of whether they worship the same god with the Judaists and the Christians still linger on (Sindima, 2009).
The terming of religion as ‘Abrahamic' came into the limelight after the September 11 attack on the WTO and the Pentagon. The motivating factor behind the reference of the three religions according to their foundation was a result of the admirable efforts of the United States government of countering the hatred towards all the Muslims out of the belief that they were terrorists. This was strategic decisions made by the government to keep the tensions of the people emanating from the attack from spilling over into hatred of the American citizens towards each other. The government coined the phrase with little thought to the religious connotation that it brought out.
The government believed that the use of this phrase would eventually help dissolve the image that most of the American had formed of Islam as the evil religion. This phrase sought to dissolve the barriers that people were to form towards each other. This is similar to Judaea-Christian, which was made in the 1950s with the sole aim of countering the rampant anti-Semitism. The claim that the religions have the control on the issues of policy made by the American government was annoying to most of the people of American citizenry that do not belong to the three Abrahamic faiths (Sindima, 2009).
There are various points of departure when looking at the religions. Topping the most significant ideological aspects is the fact that Christianity believes in the existence of a triune god. This is not acceptable in the other religion. The Muslims have the belief that there is one god, and he does not have the other parts of him working towards the development of future of the world. In fact, Islam progresses to deny the existence of the trinity. They find fault in the Christian belief that Jesus Christ was a son of god. In the Islamic faith, Jesus is not god. In fact, Jesus is among the lesser prophets of the religion. He is not even comparable to Muhammad who is the main prophet of Allah (Iyigun, 2007).
Judaism also differs with Christianity. The Jews believe that there will be a second Jerusalem that will be built by god. They have the belief that there will be a messiah who would be the long awaited savior of the nation from the oppression of the world. However, their notion of the messiah is not share with the one held by the Christians. According to the Christianity, the first coming of the messiah has already taken place, and there will be a second coming of the messiah. Jesus Christ is the messiah. To the Jews he was a mere carpenter's son who aspired to gain the favour of the people to the extent of committing the blasphemy of calling himself a god.
The Judaists also do not believe in the existence of the trinity. They believe in Yahweh, and he is the only true god. The true nature of god is not possible. Yahweh is the only god and he has servants that work for him. Among the servants are prophets and angels. Therefore, there is no possibility of god existing in the form of a trinity. The Jews hold the belief that the messiah is an earthly leader that will come and establish the nation as the supreme power of the world (Iyigun, 2007). The reference of Jesus Christ as the messiah while he came from a poor background is just unrealistic to the Jews and it does not add up according to their expectations.
The similarities among the religions as far as the background goes are not significant to claim that the three religions work towards the exaltation and worship of a single god. There are some aspects of the worship of the Jews, Christians and Muslims that are fundamentally different. The issue of the religions being of the same nature is a fallacy in that the only similarity that can be pointed out with ease is the fact that they believe that they came from Abraham. However, they differ on various fundamental beliefs. The Christians worship a god that is unique from the gods worshiped by the remaining religions.
According to the Christians, god is different in that he is of a triune nature (Iyigun, 2007). Judaists and Muslims are quick to distance themselves from the belief in the trinity. The other fundamental difference is that Muslims and Judaist do not believe that Jesus was the messiah. In the most basic terms, the two religions view him as a hoax. The incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus simply did not happen as far as the Muslims and Judaists are concerned. The discussion makes it clear that the three western monotheist religions do not worship the same god despite the common foundation.
Iyigun, M. 2007. Monotheism (from a sociopolitical and economic perspective). Bonn, Germany: IZA.
Sindima, H. J. 2009. Introduction to religious studies. Lanham: University Press of America.
This article authored by Professor Harff marks a new age in issues relating to genocide and the consequent phenomena. This article brings together a sample of genocide related cases and analyses them quantitatively (Harff, 2003). The author considers several characteristics of states that predispose them to genocide and determines statistically the significance of the correlations to the actual genocide. The author then develops an analysis for the current states and a watch list that shows the relation between the conflicts and precursors to genocide.
The conclusive results of Harff are a list of seven factors. Among the seven factors identified in the article is a screening criterion and six other evaluative criteria. The article begins exploring the issue of genocide in global comparative studies. The conclusion relies on a model that forecasts the future episodic turnouts in 25 countries. Political mass murders and genocide are recurrent and; therefore, the author urges the current generation to learn from the past (Harff, 2003).
The article authored by Kellermann et al explains the risks associated with gun possession and it relationship in crime protection or acceleration (Kellermann et al, 1993). In this study, Kellermann identifies homicide that occurred in the three metropolitan counties. The author seeks to develop that relations between gun possession and the risk in homicide. Statistically, the author explains that guns in the neighbourhood augments other factors such as drug abuse and physical fights in increasing homicide against the family member and other acquaintances (Kellermann et al, 1993). The findings revealed in the study are shocking with the risk of getting killed being 2.7 times more than having no gun at all. Kellermann, furthermore, explains that there is no benefit of possessing a gun. This article is valid and well-designed in tackling the issue of gun possession and the relatedness to homicide cases (Kellermann et al, 1993).
Harff, B. (2003). No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust? Assessing Risks of Genocide and Political Mass Murder since 1955. American Political Science Review, 97(1), 57-73.
Kellermann et al., A. L. (1993). GUN OWNERSHIP AS A RISK FACTOR FOR HOMICIDE IN THE HOME. THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE,329(15), 1084-1091.
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