Even in the face of Gentile hostility, Jews have engaged in a constant process of cultural interaction with the societies in which they live. They have drawn from and reshaped the habits and values of the surrounding world. And they have done so by balancing this engagement with preservation of the distinctive traditions of their group. The resulting large body of Jewish customs is known as minhagim. “Cultures” describes how Jewish culture, from its early monotheistic roots, has continually changed in response to shifting circumstances and locales. This accounts for the extraordinary range of Jewish religious and cultural practices found in communities from Asia to the Americas.