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The dispersion of Jews among the Gentiles after the Babylonian Exile (586 BC), or the aggregate of Jews outside Palestine or present-day Israel. The term also carries religious, philosophical, political, and eschatological connotations, inasmuch as the Jews perceive a special relationship between the land of Israel and themselves. Interpretations of this relationship range from the messianic hope of traditional Judaism for the eventual ingathering of the exiles to the view of Reform Judaism that the dispersal of the Jews was providentially arranged by God to foster monotheism throughout the world. Historically, Diaspora Jews outnumbered the Jews in Palestine even before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Thereafter, the chief centres of Judaism shifted from country to country (e.g., Babylonia, Persia, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, and the U.S.), and Jewish communities gradually adopted distinctive languages, rituals, and cultures, some submerging themselves in non-Jewish environments more completely than others. While some lived in peace, others became victims of violent anti-Semitism. While the vast majority of Orthodox Jews have supported Zionism, some Orthodox Jews go so far as to oppose the modern State of Israel on the grounds that it is a godless and secular state defying God's will to send his messiah at the time he has preordained.
Variants of DIASPORA
Diaspora Hebrew Galut (Exile)
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Diaspora, visit Britannica.com.
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