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Commendable documentary on the history of the Jewish People

Author: classicsoncall from Florida, New York
2 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Admittedly, a one hour documentary could hardly do justice to the history of an entire religion, but this PBS production does a commendable job within it's restricted time frame. As a general overview, the program reaches back forty centuries to describe the beginnings of the Jewish people and their progress through the ensuing centuries to keep their religion and beliefs alive. The effort stretches back to Biblical times with the recognition of the prophet Abraham having established a relationship to a single God. We learn that the term 'Israelite' was first used in Egyptian texts dating back to the year 1206, describing a tribe of people living in the Land of Canaan roughly approximating present day Israel. In the earliest centuries of Jewish history, they were subject to the rule of Babylonians, Persians, Romans and Muslims to varying degrees. The documentary makes mention of Rabbinic Judaism, the study of the Talmud and ancient Jewish texts that formed the basis of the Hebrew Bible still in use today. In their migration (diaspora) throughout various parts of Europe and Asia, Jews maintained their singular identity while bringing their business acumen to parts of the world that valued their expertise. The notion of anti-Semitism is discussed, arising from the false belief that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ. The documentary brings it's story to present day by noting that Hitler's extermination of six million Jews represented fully one third of the world's Jewish population at the time of World War II. In May 1948, the state of Israel was defined in political terms, finally establishing a homeland for a wandering population for the greater part of it's history. "The Jewish People: A Story of Survival" is a good starting point for those interested in the subject, and I dare say, even for modern day Jews who want to learn more about the history of their people.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This is very basic--like a film about Judaism and Jews for those unfamiliar with them.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
25 April 2012

My summary indicates that this film is like an accelerated overview of Jews and Judaism for those unfamiliar with this. However, who, exactly, is that unfamiliar with Jews and their history? In the US where I live, I really think most are very familiar with this--and this is probably true of most who would watch this film. As a result, you wonder just how much interest it would hold. Plus, those who don't know about Jews may either not particularly care or might be antagonistic towards these folks. So, once again, I wonder how much interest the film might create. Now none of this is to say "The Jewish People" is a bad film. For what it is, it's very good--though packing over 3000 years of Jewish history into less than one hour is a ridiculous task--one that could have taken many, many hours or more. My feeling is that this film is best used with students--such as in high schools or colleges to set the stage for more discussions on the subjects. Worth seeing and well made.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Commitment & Adaptation: Jewish People ****

Author: edwagreen from United States
4 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was an outstanding documentary tracing the history of the Jewish people beginning with the covenant with the Lord and Abraham and going through the holocaust.

There are basic common denominators here which show why the Jewish people have survived despite numerous attempts to annihilate them. A major factor is their cohesiveness and yet willing to adapt economically to the environment they have gone to-the diaspora.

Surprisingly, we see that the Persians did not persecute the Jews. They allowed them to practice their faith, apparently realizing that if allowed to do so, the Jews would pose no threat to their very existence.

Unfortunately, this was not the case with the Babylonians, Romans and others. The destruction of both Jerusalem temples was well discussed and to Jews, the anniversary of such destruction is still a day of mourning.

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