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American Jews have suffered their share of setbacks and have had to combat anti-Semitism during the early twentieth century.

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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.

For centuries Jewish culture thrived in Palestine until the Roman occupation beginning in 63 , when the Romans destroyed the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, Jews had begun migrating to the outer regions of the Roman Empire, including the Near East, North Africa, and southwestern, central, and eastern Europe.

In 135 the Romans officially banned Judaism, which marked the beginning of the diaspora, or the dispersal of Jews.

The people of Israel, however, lost much of their Hebrew identity after the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom in 721 , these Jews remained faithful to their traditions and to the Ten Commandments.

Fifty years later Jews returned to Palestine after the Persians defeated the Babylonians.

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.

Jacob, also known as "Israel" ("Champion of God"), was the father of 12 sons, who became leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel.

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