"When people around the world were worshiping thunder and wind, the Jews had but one word to say - God." Judaism is one of the three major religions in our society today along with Islam and Christianity. Judaism believes there is only one God who created and presides over the world. Their God is all powerful, all knowing and is in all places at all times. He is also compassionate and just.
The Jewish religion is passed on via the mother of a child. If the mother is Jewish, the child is 100% Jewish. According to Jewish law, one will remain a Jew even if they don't practice Judaism or they do not believe in God. The Israelites accepted the Ten Commandments from God at Mount Sinai therefore they devoted themselves to following a code of law which regulates both how they worship and how they should treat other people. The Ten Commandments were given to Abraham and they serve as a moral code not only for the Jews but for all of society. The Ten Commandments are as follows: 1.
I am the Lord your God 2. You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence 3. You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain 4. Remember the day of Shabbat to keep it holy 5.
Honor your father and your mother 6. You shall not murder 7. You shall not commit adultery 8. You shall not steal 9.
Do not give false testimony against your neighbor 10. You shall not covet your fellow's possessions (web) The Torah is the Jewish holy book. Jews believe that it is God's instructions to the Jews with guidelines on how they should act, think and even feel about life. It includes every aspect of life, from birth through death. The Torah contains 613 commandments, but the Ten Commandments are considered the most important commandments. There are two parts to the Torah; The written and the oral Torah.
The Written Torah contains: 1. Five Books of Moses 2. Prophets 3. Writings The Five Books of Moses were given to the Jews at Mount Sinai during their exodus from Egypt approximately 3500 years ago. The Five Books of Moses includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Prophets are the direct prophecies or records of what God said to the prophets.
Writings are books written by the prophets with God's guidance. The Oral Torah explains the Written Torah and was passed down verbally from generation to generation. Due to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, it was decided the Oral Torah should be written down so it would not be forgotten. Rabbi Yehuda Ha Nasi and a group of Sages compiled the Mishnah which is a written outline of the Oral Torah. Discussions, questions and decisions about the Mishnah are known as the Gemara. The Gemara is interpretations of the Mishnah.
The Talmud is the combination of the Mishnah and Gemara together. There a many different types of sects of Judaism. Some of the main sects are Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism and Orthodox Judaism. Reconstructionists believe that Judaism is always changing and evolving due to the changes in society. In one way it is more liberal than Reform Judaism - the movement does not believe in a personified deity that is active in history and does not believe that God chose the Jewish people.
Reconstructionists conform to the halakha h (Jewish Law) if they decide to, not because it is a required from God, but because it is a valuable cultural remainder. Reform Judaism believes that the sections of the Torah were written by different human beings, rather than by God, and was then they were later put together. Reform Judaism does not accept the required nature of halakha h, the sect does preserve the values and ethics of Judaism as well as some of the practices and culture. Conservative Judaism sustains the idea in the Torah came from God, but was interpreted by humans and contains a human element in it.
Conservative Judaism generally accepts the required nature of halakha h, but like Reconstructionist Judaism believes that the Law should adapt, taking into account the changes in society while also remaining true to Judaism's values. Orthodox Jews believe that God gave Moses the whole Torah, the written and oral at Mount Sinai. Modern Orthodox Jews follow halakha h very precisely, but still attempt to integrate into modern society. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, like C hasidic Jews, strictly observe Jewish laws and don't attempt to integrate into modern society by dressing traditionally and living separately. Judaism consists of many holidays where Jews celebrate their religious devotion. For example, Hanukkah the festival of lights.
Jews light Hanukkah candles to remember the miracle of the oil that burnt for eight days and the miracle of the Maccabees victory. Its said that after three years of fighting, the Maccabees succeeded to drive the Greco-Syrians out of Judea. The lights remind the Jews of the miracles and of the struggle for religious freedom. Also, Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) which is the holiest day of the Jewish year. Yom Kippur is the only fast day decreed in the Bible. The fast last for 25-hours starting before dawn on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after dusk on the day of Yom Kippur.
Jews refrain from eating and drinking anything on Yom Kippur. The Jews fast to atone for the sins they have committed through out the past year. Passover is the most widely observed Jewish holiday. On Passover, Jews all over the world conduct a Passover Seder. Seder means order or organization.
The Passover Seder is a celebratory meal that is performed in an organized way so that all the commandments of Pesach will be performed. The Torah commands Jews on Passover to tell the story of the Exodus and to eat matzoh. On Passover Jews must eat bitter herbs this is done to remind them of the Israelites's uff ering. They must also eat extra matzoh called to remind them of the sacrifice of Passover. They must recite Hallel psalms of praise, drink four cups of wine, and demonstrate acts of freedom such as sitting with a pillow. Believers of Judaism await the coming of the Messiah.
The importance placed on a future occurrence is one of the strongest factors that is responsible for the continuance of any religion. It supports the need to follow the customs, ethics, morals of the particular belief system.