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Ten tribes organized into the northern kingdom of Israel, while the other two tribes formed the southern kingdom of Judah.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.Abraham's monotheism not only marked the beginning of Judaism, but of Christianity and Islam as well.Following God's instructions, Abraham led his family out of Mesopotamia to Canaan, later renamed Palestine, then Israel. ("Hebrew" is derived from "Eber," which means "from the other side." This is a reference to the fact that Abraham came from the "other side" of the Euphrates River.) According to the Bible, God made a covenant with Abraham promising that if the Hebrews followed God's commandments, they would become a great nation in the land of Canaan.European Jews are divided mainly between the Jews of Spain and Portugal, the Sephardim, and the Jews from German-speaking countries in central and eastern Europe, the Ashkenazim.
In Poland, Jews were permitted to create a series of councils and courts that together represented a minority self-government within the country.
In individual Jewish communities, the kehillah was the governing structure comprised of elected leaders who oversaw volunteer organizations involved in all aspects of social and religious life in the community.
The disintegration of the Polish state in the eighteenth century, however, disrupted community life and caused many to emigrate.
On the whole, however, Jews have enjoyed greater acceptance in America than in any other country and have figured prominently in American culture and politics.
Jewish history dates back 4,000 years to the time of Abraham, the biblical figure credited for introducing the belief in a single God.