ROSH YESHIVA AT TALMUDIC UNIVERSITY of FLORIDA
I would like to call everyone's attention to one etymological piece of information, also courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary. The dictionary says that the origin of the word Semite, is based on the Biblical character who was a son of Noah.
This man Noah is famous for having survived a flood that covered the entire world on an ark that G-d instructed him to build. The Bible records that one of the three sons with whom Noah journeyed on the ark, was named Shem. The basis of the word Semite, is this son who was called Shem. So we now know that the word Semite derives from the Hebrew name Shem, who was a son of Noah.
I would now like to share with you some classic Biblical teachings and expositions in traditional Jewish Orthodox thinking. These pieces of information are based on the 5 Books of Moses, and have been in existence for over three millenniums.
Firstly, the man named Shem, this son of Noah, is the ancestor of all the Semitic nations. These include what today are the Jews, the Islamic people, and quite possibly large numbers of Christians as well. Certainly, the thinking of all these semitic peoples and their respective religions, share the powerful influence of the Abrahamic tradition, who was himself a descendant of Shem.
According to all classic Jewish literature, this man Shem, established the first known university. It was titled simply the Yeshiva of Shem. Or, the University of Shem. Further, it is recorded in ancient Jewish texts, that some of the students who studied in this University, included many peoples of the world, among them Abraham himself, and several of his descendants.