Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim, are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. The name Ashkenazi derives from the bibilical figure of Ashkenaz, the first son of Gomer, and a Japhetic patriarch in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10). In the Rabbinic literature, Ashkenaz's kingdom was first associated with the Scythian region, then later on with the Slavic territories, and from the 11th century onwards with Northern Europe and Germany. The Jews living in the northern regions, associated with Ashkenaz's kingdom, thus came to call themselves the Ashkenazi Jews. Later, Jews from Western and Central Europe also came to be called "Ashkenazi" because the main centers of Jewish learning were located in Germany.
Contributions by Nectarflowed, Jayjg, and Jfdwolff.