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Judaism A Brief Introduction

Judaism A Brief Introduction

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Judaism A Brief Introduction

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  1. JudaismA Brief Introduction Seth Ward University of Wyoming

  2. Judaism is Believing, Behaving, Belonging (Neil Gillman, citing M. M. Kaplan) Ethos, Ethics, Ethnos (Jacob Neusner, citing Geertz) Shared History and Literature, Beliefs and Practices Creation Revelation Redemption

  3. ANCIENT TIMES Patriarchs (Abraham Isaac and Jacob) Exodus (Dated 1311 according to traditional Judaism)

  4. “United Monarchy”—Saul, David Solomon • King David often dated to 1010 BCE • Map from • Traditional depiction of Davidic “United Monarchy” under David and Solomon • The united monarchy is said to have united the tribes and preserved them from the Philistines, established Jerusalem as a new Capital City, and built the First Temple.

  5. Temple traditionally built by Solomon Often dated c. 960 BCE Divided monarchy from about 925-end of Northern Kingdom 721 BCE 1st Temple destroyed 586 BCE First Temple Times

  6. 2nd Temple Times • 2nd Temple Dedicated 516 BCE • Alexander’s Conquest 330s – Hellenistic Period • Maccabean Revolt 167 BCE –Hasmonean Dynasty (Hanukkah Story) • Herod, d. 4 BCE • 1st Jewish Revolt–Temple destroyed 70 CE During this period, post-Biblical Judaism emerged, with an identifiable collection of books (Torah and Prophets) and a broad commitment to the major practices described in these books, such as Sabbath, Festivals, circumcision, Torah study, and others. The Dead Sea Scrolls, Roman-period historians and others suggest a vibrant debate about belief and practice, role of the Temple, reading the Bible, and political, social and educational issues.

  7. Mishnah Talmud Midrash Late Antiquity 2nd Jewish revolt 130-135 Byzantine Domination of Land of Israel Islamic Conquest 630s-640s

  8. MEDIEVAL TIMES • Gaonic Period—Centered in Baby- lonia • Imposed Talmud, calendar, established teaching centers, created prayerbook. • Centers in Rhineland (“Ashkenaz”, North Africa, Egypt, Palestine, and Spain (“Sepharad”). • Moses Maimonides d. 1204 Born in Spain, left in Almohad repression, lived in Morocco, land of Israel and finally Egypt • Code of Jewish Law • Commentary on the Mishnah • Guide of the Perplexed

  9. Jewish communities in Ashkenaz (Germany, esp. Rhineland)—spread to Britain, France, Germany. Expelled from most of these places. Sefarad (Spain) lived under both Muslim and Christian societies. Expulsion from Spain 1492 “Different approaches:” Rationalism Halacha Kabbalah Medieval Times

  10. Early Modern Times • Growth of communities in the Ottoman Empire, esp. Jerusalem and Safed in the Land of Israel. (Ottoman conquest 1517). • Jews in New York 1654, London 1656. • Shabbetai Tzvi 1666

  11. Modern Times • Napoleon—Sanhedrin • Reform—Germany and US 1800s • Mass Migrations and demographic shifts 1880-1920 • Zionism • Socialism • Reform vs. Assimilation • Secular literature

  12. 20th Century • Holocaust 1933-1945 • State of Israel 1948 • 6 day war, Yom Kippur War 1967, 1973 • Women in Rabbinate 1970s • Fall of the Soviet Union 1989-1991

  13. Summary • Ancient: Patriarchs, Exodus, Judges, Davidic Kingdom, First Temple and Divided Monarchy, Second Temple, Rabbinic Period; Torah, Mishnah/Talmud, basic practices. • Medieval: Rise of centers in Babylonia (Geonim), Ashkenaz, Sefarad, and elsewhere; law codes, commentaries, works on belief, prayerbook, fully elaborated practice and belief. • Modern: Demographic change, emancipation, enlightenment, changes in patterns of practice • Contemporary: Antisemitism, Holocaust, State of Israel, new roles for Women, Orthodox/ Conservative/ Reform/ Secular, involvement with general society and modern intellectual/academic life.

  14. MAJOR LITERARY COMPONENTS • Bible: Torah, Neviim (Prophets), Ketuvim (writings) "The 24 Books" • Mishna and Talmud: six orders: Agriculture, Seasons, Women, Damages, Holiness, Purity.Gemara: Jerusalem (Palestinian) & Babylonian. Mishna and Gemara together: Talmud. • Midrash: Legal and Literary (Halacha and Aggadah). • Prayerbook: First written ”order of prayers”  Geonic times; continuously revised. • Commentary, Codes: Rashi (d. 1105), Maimonides (d. 1204), R. Joseph Karo’s Shulhan Arukh. • Piety, Mysticism, Kabbalah: Sefer Ha-Yetsira, Kuzari, Hovot Ha-levavot, Sefer Ha-Hasidim, Zohar.  

  15. BELIEF COMPONENTS • God, Torah, Israel.  • Beliefs about God. • Torah/Mitzvot "13 articles of Faith"; Israel: land, community, language, people.  • Sacred land, time, people. • Creation, Revelation, Redemption

  16. Ani Ma’amin poetic restatement of Maimonides’ 13 principles. So is “Yigdal” sung by young children: • . 1. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, is the Creator and Guide of everything that has been created; He alone has made, does make, and will make all things. • 2. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, is One, and that there is no unity in any manner like unto His, and that He alone is our God, who was, and is, and will be. • 3. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, is not a body, and that He is free from all the properties of matter, and that He has not any form whatever. • 4. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, is the first and the last. • 5. I believe with perfect faith that to the Creator, blessed be His Name, and to Him alone, it is right to pray, and that it is not right to pray to any being besides Him.

  17. Ani Ma’amin • 6. I believe with perfect faith that all the works of the prophets are true. • 7. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses, our teacher, peace be unto him, was true, and that he was the chief of the prophets, both of those who preceded and of those who followed him. • 8. I believe with perfect faith that the whole Torah, now in our possession, is the same that was given to Moses, our teacher, peace be unto him. • 9. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be any other Law from the Creator, blessed be His name.

  18. Ani Ma’amin • 10. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, knows very deed of the children of men, and all their thoughts, as it is said. It is He that fashioned the hearts of them all, that gives heed to all their works. • 11. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, rewards those that keep His commandments and punishes those that transgress them. • 12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and, though he tarry, I will wait daily for his coming. • 13. I believe with perfect faith that there will be a revival of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator, blessed be His name, and exalted be His Fame for ever and ever.

  19. PRACTICES • Shema: “Hear O Israel the Lord is Our God the Lord is One.” Deut 6: 4.  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5.  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7.  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

  20. PRACTICES • Study “In the study of Torah, the Sages see God” (Neusner).  • "613 Commandments" - negative and positive, community and individual, rational and traditional, between Man and Man, between Man and God.  • Ritual Milah, Hodesh, Veshabbat (“Circumcision, New Moon, Sabbath”).  "Judaism is not loyalty to geography, language, race or power, but Torah." "More than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.“ (Ahad Ha-Am) Prayer: Morning, afternoon and evening, formal prayer. Three main elements of prayer: • 1. Shema. • 2. “Tefila” – “May our lips replace the animal offerings” • 3. Torah Reading and Study. • Ethics: e.g. Lashon Ha-Ra ("The Evil Tongue"). Charity. • Tikkun Olam “Repairing the World.”

  21. FESTIVALS, JEWISH YEAR  Sabbath, “New Moon” (twelve or 13 lunar months) Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot  Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur Hanukkah, Purim Holocaust, Memorial Day, Israel Independence Day, Jerusalem Day.

  22. Summary God, Torah/Commandments, Israel "The world stands on three things: On Torah, on Worship and deeds of kindness." (Avot) Study, performance of commandments, and charitable acts in our world maintain and redeem the Jewish people and the world.