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While there have been differences among these religions, there was a rich cultural interchange between Jews, Christians, and Muslims that took place in Islamic Spain and other places over centuries. Abraham is traditionally considered to be the first Jew and to have made a covenant with God.Judaism A brief history of Judaism Judaism is the oldest surviving monotheistic religion, arising in the eastern Mediterranean in the second millennium B. Because Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all recognize Abraham as their first prophet, they are also called the Abrahamic religions.They once spoke Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish.
Orthodox Jews believe that Jewish law is unchanging and mandatory.Until recently, Orthodox Judaism was the only form of the religion formally and legally recognized in Israel.Although less conservative branches of Judaism now have partial recognition, Orthodoxy remains dominant politically and legally.From the late 19th and through first half of the 20th century, many Ashkenazi Jews came to Palestine to escape the persecution and discrimination they faced because of their religion.Sephardic Jews trace their ancestry to the Iberian Peninsula (modern-day Spain and Portugal; "Sephardic" comes from the Hebrew word for Spain).Christianity in the Middle East Many early Christian saints lived in the Middle East.The tradition of asceticism (denial of physical pleasures in order to come closer to God) developed first in the Middle East, and the monastic tradition has its roots there.Jewish law covers matters such as prayer and ritual, diet, rules regulating personal status (marriage, divorce, birth, death, inheritance, etc.), and observance of holidays (like Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; and Passover, the feast celebrating the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt).Judaism's views of Christianity and Islam Jews do not believe in the prophets after the Jewish prophets, including Jesus and Muhammad.Yiddish, a fusion of German and Hebrew, was the spoken language of the Ashkenazi.In Europe, Jews had tended to be segregated -- voluntarily or not -- from the Christian population.