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JUDAISM. Judaism. Worldwide: 14,551,000 Jews US: 5.6 million Asia: 4.5 million Europe: 2.4 million Many different groups/divisions of Judaism that exist Conflicting beliefs about observances, etc. Importance of History.

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  • Worldwide: 14,551,000 Jews
    • US: 5.6 million
    • Asia: 4.5 million
    • Europe: 2.4 million
  • Many different groups/divisions of Judaism that exist
    • Conflicting beliefs about observances, etc.
importance of history
Importance of History

*The basis of the Jewish religion is its history. It is the most important aspect.

    • demonstrated through the celebration of life cycle events in people’s lives
    • holiday celebrations commemorate historic events
  • The key event is the Exodus from Egypt (recorded Book of Exodus)
    • Many important aspects of observances are linked to this event
From the beginning, the Jewish people have interpreted acts of history as God acting on behalf of the Jewish people

Either to promote them or to punish them

History is seen as the story of God’s intervention in the lives of His “Chosen People”

six periods of jewish history
Six Periods of Jewish History
  • The Patriarchs: AbrahamMoses (19th - 13th cent. BCE)
  • Mosesthe Hebrew Monarchy (13th - 6th cent. BCE)
  • The Babylonian Exile and Post Exilic Judaism (6th cent BCE - 1st cent. CE) ("Second Temple" period)
  • Rabbinic period (1st - 7th cent CE)
  • Medieval Judaism (7th - 18th cent. CE)
  • Modern Judaism (18th cent. - current)
judaism as a race
Judaism as a Race
  • Judaism is an ethnic religion
  • Began as a religion of an extended family, a tribe of peoples known as the Hebrews
  • Jewish people today continue to think of themselves as a family, a nation of peoples, as well as a religion
  • God is understood by the Jews to intervene, to act, in and through history time and again, especially in the history of Israel (the people)
  • Jews look to God’s action in the world
sacred texts
Sacred Texts
  • The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh
    • Known by Christians as "Old Testament“
    • contains the same books as the Christian version but in a different order after the first five
  • Considered revealed and inspired by God
    • Interpretation of early history of the Hebrew people, establishment of a nation
    • Story of God’s interaction with His "Chosen People" (His-Story)
    • Foundation of Jewish life
  • Called the Bible
    • (Biblia) means "little books“
    • Actually a library of 39 independent books divided into 3 categories:
the 3 categories
The 3 Categories
  • Torah
    • Most important text
    • Divine instruction and guidance or "Written Law”
      • Books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
      • Covers history from creation through the Exodus and wandering in the desert
      • 613 commandments from God

2. Prophets: Words and revelations of the minor and major prophets

  • Ezekiel, Isaiah, Amos, Jonah, etc.

3. Writings: poetic and devotional material written and used during the same time as the Prophets, words and works of the sages

  • Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, etc.
The Talmud
    • Oral tradition passed to Moses and beyond
    • Finally written down in the 2nd century
    • Contains info on rituals, marriages, agricultural laws, festivals, etc.
the nature of god
The Nature of God
  • Covenants with good people
    • Responds to their needsdeliverance
  • Guides & directs His people
  • Compassionate
  • Controls with justice
  • Source of forgiving, redeeming love
  • Establishes peace on earth
the name of god
The “Name” of God
  • Written by Hebrew consonants YHVH
    • Means “I am”
  • Jews do not have a personal name for God
    • Christians and others have Anglicized it to Yahweh or Jehovah
    • Written by Orthodox Jews as G-d
  • God referred to as:
    • Adonai (The Lord)
    • Elohim, or HaShem (the Name) - the unpronounceable name of God
a few main beliefs
Jews do not believe in "original sin" (no need for a "savior" in the Christian sense)

The Ten Commandments

first 4 have to do with our relationship with God

Next 6 refer to our relationship with other people

A Few Main Beliefs
  • Importance of family
  • Story/experience of exile and exodus
    • "Let my people go."
    • Compassion and concern for freedom of all peoples
    • history of continual fight for freedom and continued survival
  • God’s highest creatures
    • Earth has been given to them for food & pleasure
    • They are the “caretakers”
  • Created in God’s image
    • Each is a soul and body united
    • Each should have a fellowship with God
  • Responsible
    • Answer to God for conduct
    • Humans have choices/can make decisionssuffer consequences
problem for humans
Rebellion against God and consequential expulsion

Adam and Eve

Who is the Messiah?

Has not arrived yet to usher in a new age

He is expected

Problem for Humans
life after death
Life after Death
  • Emphasis on good life on earth more than good afterlife
  • References in Psalms to heaven and hell
    • Influenced by Zoroastrians?
    • Lack specific descriptions of life beyond death
  • Jewish calendar based on lunar month
  • Sabbath/Shabbat
    • Observed each week
    • Sundown on Fridaysundown on Saturday
  • Rosh Hashanah
    • New year
    • Begins the Days of Awe
    • Concentrate on prayer, contemplation, self-searching
  • Yom Kippur
    • 10th day (of awe)
    • Holiest day observed
    • Repentance: 24 hours of atonement and fasting

Shabbat dinner

Sweets for a sweet new year


Celebrated rededication of Jerusalem temple in 164 BCE (after destruction by Greeks)

Sacred oil lasted 8 days for celebration

Minor festival

  • Most important holiday
  • Marks deliverance form slavery in Egypt under Moses’ leadership
  • Sacred meal: seder
    • Unleavened bread (matzah)
  • 613 mitzvot
  • 258 positive, 365 negative
  • Boys: 13+1 day, girls 12+1 day
    • Bar Mitzvah means “son of the commandment”
  • Commands from God
    • No immediate reward
    • Obedience rewards in afterlife