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47 votes
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What defined a Jew in the context of WW2?

The "classification" of Jews in Nazi Germany (and occupied territories) was governed by the Nuremberg laws and based on "heritage." Basically, someone with no Jewish grandparents was considered non-...
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36 votes
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How could Jews integrate into Western modern society back when Saturday was a normal working day?

You can find a very detailed description of how Jews integrated into English society here. The only bit directly about the Sabbath is this: Another feature of the Jewish religion which tended to ...
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24 votes

How did early Judaism and Zoroastrianism influence each other, if they were so far apart?

They weren't in fact far apart at all. Zoroastrianism was the state religion of the Achaemenid Empire, which encompassed Israel. Its actually even closer than this map implies though. In the period ...
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13 votes
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How was Hadrian's decree banning circumcision enforced? Were there mandatory body check or something similar?

There is quite a problem in concluding that that decree even existed in the first place, as it is now interpreted, whether it is really about circumcision or castration. If it existed, who decreed it,...
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13 votes

How could Jews integrate into Western modern society back when Saturday was a normal working day?

Reform Judaism does not view the Sabbath as irrevocable holy day and the movement which started mid 19th century grew considerable so that your remark "they were indistinguishable from non-jews ...
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13 votes

To what extent were practitioners of Judaism persecuted during the Soviet Union?

Depends on the era and circumstances USSR was officially atheist, and all religion institutions were tightly monitored and controlled. However, every religion was not in same position, and level of ...
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12 votes
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Were there any Jewish members of the Roman Senate?

I think, none except the king of Judea (Herod for instance) had a privilege to participate and vote in the senate's meetings, like a senator. So, while he was not a senator, he had similar rights (...
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11 votes
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What is the historical origin of the Jewish Sabbath?

I think we can have an answer based on the two comments by @MarkC.Wallace and @Spencer under the question, linking to The Mysterious Origins of the Sabbath on ReformJudaism.org, and Wikipedia ...
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10 votes

To what extent were practitioners of Judaism persecuted during the Soviet Union?

All religious institutions in the USSR were treated as honeypots, and that, of course, was true about Jewish institutions doubly both because of traditional antisemitism and the fact that Judaism ...
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9 votes
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Pre-Christian use of the Greek Septuagint

There is a problem with answering this question, and it lies in the fact that Jewish sources prior to Jesus but after the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek are fairly sparse. There are some ...
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9 votes

The begining of Judaism

No: he just had the same name. The "five books of Moses" are so called because they were believed to have been written by the Moses whose life is described within them. They are actually known in ...
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9 votes

Was any other religion as exact in terms of genealogy as Judaism?

The Sumerians did in fact have a very similar work, the King List. It predates the "begats" of Genesis by a considerable margin. Like about a millineum and a half. Most likely it was done ...
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8 votes

What defined a Jew in the context of WW2?

From what I heard (Russian with some family stories about WW2 from the Red POV), it was much simpler on the East Front from 1941 to 1943 at least. Once you are in custody of Nazis or local Nazi ...
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8 votes
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Was the Jewish population expelled from the Jerusalem after the siege of 70 AD or after the Bar Kokhba revolt?

The Jewish population was not expelled in 70. At least Josephus, our the main source on that war does not say this. Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Temple was robbed, burned and closed (closed few ...
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6 votes

Are there any secular accounts of the Sadduccees?

I'm not sure what you mean by "secular" - as opposed to the New Testament gospels? There is an abundance of material in the writings of Josephus: specifically in Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews,...
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5 votes

How was Hadrian's decree banning circumcision enforced? Were there mandatory body check or something similar?

I can't speak to that decree specifically, but Roman bureaucracy was, by modern standards, ludicrously small and ineffective. There's a very good chance that it was enforced (or not) according to the ...
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  • 5,438
5 votes

What was the image of Jhwh before it was almost erased from history?

There was not the image of YHWH. But there were several images, depictions, idols, some of them survive. This is him in happier times, still not divorced, with his lovely wife: Image on ...
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5 votes

What defined a Jew in the context of WW2?

There is no common accepted notion of what a Jew means. Some people think it is religion, other people think that this means descendence from people who were Jews. (I do not think anyone bases this ...
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  • 37.3k
5 votes

Was Jud Suss a veiled criticism of Hitler?

I think, no. I think this film's plot was not intended as criticism of Hitler. To understand it one should have idea about Nazi mentality. They did not consider themselves as some tyrants that ...
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5 votes

Is the Western Wall the only remaining portion of the Second Temple?

It's probably more correct to call it part of the Temple complex rather than of the Temple per se, but that's really a matter of definition. The Temple Mount, of which the Western Wall is one of the ...
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5 votes

Historical examples and numbers for the value of ‘Jizya’ levied by Muslim states

A quick search brings up the book The Mughal World: Life in India's Last Golden Age By Abraham Eraly, pg 284, which seems to have some figures for this particular time and reign: Another source, ...
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4 votes
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Did the Bar Kokhba revolt happen before or after Jerusalem's name was changed to Aelia?

One of the main sources, Cassius Dio, says that Hadrian renamed Jerusalem, and as a result of this the uprising started: This source is considered trustworthy in general.
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4 votes

What is the source for the Baal Shem Tov's signature?

The topic is naturally considered controversial. The signature, as @Boaz wrote in the comments, comes from an epistle purportedly written by the Baal Shem Tov, discovered in what is now known as the &...
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  • 522
4 votes

What is known about the people of Khazaria?

Khazaria was multi ethnic state whose focus to facilitate international commerce through transcaucasus and the Pontic steppe region. Its core was composed primarily of a Turkic, or Turco-Iranian, and ...
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4 votes
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To what extent were practitioners of Judaism persecuted during the Soviet Union?

It is a common misconception in the West to confuse Jews and Judaism, and as a consequence, antisemitism with attitude to Judaism. In Europe, especially in Eastern Europe, "Jew" does not mean ...
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3 votes

How flexible is kinship taxonomy in Jewish communities?

Converting from comment to answer: Genesis 11:29 Mainstream medieval French Jewish commentator, Rashi, holds that Sarah (Abraham's wife) is the same as his niece, Iscah. 19:2 Abraham tells Abimelech ...
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3 votes

What defined a Jew in the context of WW2?

A look at the minutes of the Wannseekonferenz ('Wannsee Conference') might be an instructive thing to consider for this question. It is fairly long in full but perhaps the part that talks about what ...
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3 votes
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Was Freud the first to say that Judaism borrowed from Atenism?

Q: Was Freud the first to make the connection between monotheism and Aten? There are a couple of uncertainties encapsulated in this question. If you want to know which Western researcher first ...
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3 votes

Was Freud the first to say that Judaism borrowed from Atenism?

He's probably not the very first, but no one would have predated him by more than about 40 years, and I'd be very surprised if anyone else did it quite like he did. As background, Atenism was a ...
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  • 109k
3 votes

How did early Judaism and Zoroastrianism influence each other, if they were so far apart?

Some people say that the Tetrateuch (the first four books of the Torah) were written in 8th-7th century Judah. Most people think it was composed entirely during the Babylonian Exile. The exile lasted ...
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