arose out of the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, which was itself driven by the values of the Enlightenment.In recent years, the academic field of study, has encompassed Jewish Studies, History, Literature, Sociology, and Linguistics.Historian David Biale has traced the roots of Jewish secularism back to the pre-modern era.
This phenomenon has led to considerably different Jewish cultures unique to their own communities.
There has not been a political unity of Jewish society since the united monarchy.
Since then Israelite populations were always geographically dispersed (see Jewish diaspora), so that by the 19th century the Ashkenazi Jews were mainly in Eastern and Central Europe; the Sephardi Jews were largely spread among various communities in the Mediterranean region; Mizrahi Jews were primarily spread throughout Western Asia; and other populations of Jews were in Central Asia, Ethiopia, the Caucasus, and India.
Jewish culture is the culture of the Jewish people from the formation of the Jewish nation in biblical times through life in the diaspora and the state of Israel.
Judaism guides its adherents in both practice and belief, so that it has been called not only a religion, but an orthopraxy.
Jewish culture in its etymological meaning retains the linkage to the land of origin, the people named for the Kingdom of Judah, study of Jewish texts, practice of community charity, and Jewish history.
The term "secular Jewish culture" therefore refers to many aspects, including: Religion and World View, Literature, Media, and Cinema, Art and Architecture, Cuisine and Traditional Dress, attitudes to Gender, Marriage, and Family, Social Customs and Lifestyles, Music and Dance.
Today, the subject of Jewish secularization is taught, and researched, at many North American and Israeli universities, including Harvard, Tel Aviv University, UCLA, Temple University and City University of New York which have significant Jewish alumni.
Additionally, many schools include the academic study of Judaism and Jewish culture in their curricula.
Throughout history, in eras and places as diverse as the ancient Hellenic world, in Europe before and after the Age of Enlightenment, in Al-Andalus, North Africa and the Middle East, in India and China, and in the contemporary United States and Israel, Jewish communities have seen the development of cultural phenomena that are characteristically Jewish without being at all specifically religious.
Some factors in this come from within Judaism, others from the interaction of Jews with host populations in the diasporas, and others from the inner social and cultural dynamics of the community, as opposed to religion itself.