Religion Paper

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The religion that I chose to do my paper on was Judaism. Throughout every religion people are expected to follow various rituals and understand important symbols. In particular the beliefs of Judaism include highly respected days and symbols that most members value and that most members are expected to follow and understand. The history of the Jewish religion over time has created different ceremonies, holidays, and expectations to practice. Judaism began with the covenant God made with Abraham. He was told to bring forth a separate nation unto Yahweh. He was first in his line to worship God. Judaism is largely defined in the first five books of the Bible that are credited to Moses as having been written. Many days of observation help people to reflect their beliefs about Jewish practices. Rituals in any religion help followers to evaluate themselves and allow members to come to have a better connection with their beliefs. Judaism includes the rituals of the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Shvat, Purim, Passover, Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and more.

The Sabbath is considered to be one of the most important days of the Jewish calendar, calling it the climax of the Judaism ways. The Sabbath, which is celebrated at the high point of each week, is known to bring ritual into the Jewish home. The Sabbath lasts from sundown on Friday until nightfall on Saturday. The Sabbath does last for a full and complete twenty-four hours. It was once said by Ahan Ha Am a highly recognized scholar, “More than Israel has kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept Israel” (Ehrlich). The Sabbath involves the lighting of candles at both the beginning and end of the ritual in respect of marking the division between the workweek and the holy suspension of worldly time. According to the rules of the Sabbath, no one is expected to work, and members are told that it is a universal day of study (Ehrlich 80). The day is meant to be filled with prayer and rest on every seventh day. The Sabbath is about stopping work in order to shift attention to the higher aspects of moment including the worshiping of God, the enjoyment of God’s blessings, and the nourishment of the soul (Carmody 23). The Sabbath is remembered as a family celebration, which involves everyday routines, life crises, and rites of passages, all of which make up the importance of this ritual (Marcus 5). These ideas have served to bind the Jewish people since ancient times (Ehrlich 80). In past experiences the Sabbath is celebrated with a dinner along with the lighting of candles. During the lighting, prayers are said by the children that have been Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

The Jewish religion also brings about a new year through the holiday known as Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated during the seventh month of the Jewish year, which falls into either September or October. This holiday is important because it celebrates the annual renewal of God’s creative act at the moment that the agricultural cycle had come to a full circle (Ehrlich 81). Jewish Holidays often bring about observation that is based on the idea of the agricultural cycles in Israel. The observations foster an attachment to the ways of life that were known in the ancient homeland (Ehrlich 79). The New Year brings about a period of reflection lasting about ten days. The ideas of Rosh Hashanah bring about the opening period of the year. It is a time of “great solemnity”, sober judgment, and an awesome awareness of God’s power (Carmody 24). It is known as the “Days of Awe” also known as Yamim Noraim (Ehrlich 81). The day is considered a period of repentance, a return to God, and a time of renewal. The Jewish religion has the ritual of regulating time in a radically different way from most other systems of belief. The Jewish calendar is often considered to be unconventional because it is regulated under the lunar cycles of the moon (Robinson 77). During Rosh Hashanah all...
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