The Secret Behind Jews’ Historical Tradition of Living as One Extended Family

Throughout history, Jewish families have often lived together as one extended family under a single roof. This tradition, which may seem unusual to some, has deep roots in Jewish culture and religion. It is a practice that has not only helped to strengthen family bonds but has also played a significant role in the survival and prosperity of Jewish communities in various parts of the world. This article will delve into the reasons behind this historical tradition and its significance in Jewish culture.

The Importance of Family in Jewish Culture

In Jewish culture, family is of paramount importance. The Torah, the central reference of Jewish religious law, places a strong emphasis on family life. It encourages the honoring of parents, the importance of marriage, and the raising of children in the Jewish faith. This focus on family has shaped Jewish traditions and practices, including the practice of living as one extended family.

The Role of Jewish Law

Jewish law, or Halakha, also plays a role in this tradition. It includes specific laws related to family life, such as the obligation to respect and care for parents and elders. This has often translated into multi-generational households where the younger generation takes care of the older one. Additionally, Jewish law encourages the practice of hospitality and the sharing of resources, which is more easily facilitated in a household with multiple family members.

Economic Factors

Economic factors have also contributed to the tradition of Jews living as one extended family. Throughout history, Jews have often faced economic hardships and discrimination, which made pooling resources and living together a practical solution. This tradition of communal living has helped Jewish families to survive and thrive even in challenging circumstances.

The Impact of Persecution and Migration

Persecution and forced migration have been unfortunate realities for Jewish communities throughout history. In such situations, living together as an extended family provided a sense of security and solidarity. It also ensured the preservation of Jewish traditions and values, as they could be passed down from generation to generation within the same household.


The tradition of Jews living as one extended family is deeply rooted in Jewish culture, law, and history. It is a practice that has helped to strengthen family bonds, preserve Jewish traditions, and provide economic and emotional support. While modern lifestyles and circumstances may have led to changes in living arrangements, the value placed on family in Jewish culture remains strong.