Jews Around the Globe
The Jewish Diaspora.
The story of the Jewish Diaspora begins in the year 587 B.C.E., when the kingdom of Judea was conquered by the Babylonians, who destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and exiled a large part of the Jewish population to Babylonia (now southern Iraq). Ever since, significant numbers of Jews have lived in the Diaspora, many expressing longing to return to the Land of Israel.
The history of Jewish dispersion has led to the outstanding diversity of the Jewish people, who have settled in countries as disparate as Morocco, Cuba, Mexico, and Australia. There are currently some 13.4 million Jews in the world: more 8 million in the Diaspora, with the remaining more than 5 million in Israel.
The total number of Jews in America was estimated at up to 6.4 million. In the Americas, there are also significant populations in Canada, Argentina, and Brazil.
The North American Jewish community faces demographic challenges from factors such as the aging of the Jewish population, increased rates of intermarriage, declining rates of conversion to Judaism, and a relatively low percentage of children of mixed marriages identifying themselves as Jewish.
Argentina and Brazil rank seventh and ninth, respectively, in the world-Jewry list. Argentina is home to some 200,000 Jews, mostly concentrated in Buenos Aires. The democratic regime now in place in Argentina is seen as a catalyst accelerating the rate of integration into the local culture and economy, enabling the Jewish community to overcome the devastating physical and emotional trauma of the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center.
The Jewish community of Brazil, currently numbering over 100,000, is largely undisturbed by the outbreaks of anti-Semitism that have been so destructive to their Argentinean neighbors.
More than 1.5 million Jews live in Europe--two-thirds in Western Europe and one third in Eastern Europe and the Balkan countries. The aging of the Jewish community--resulting in a greater number of deaths than births--together with intermarriage, constitute the main demographic factors challenging Western European Jewry. These factors are offset in part by immigration, mainly from the former Soviet Union. Numerous European Jewish communities also face growing anti-Semitism.
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