World Religions Report
Samantha R Wright
June 20, 2010
World Religions Report 2
World Religions Report
Judaism is the religion that is practiced by the Jewish people and it is one of the oldest religions in the world. Judaism was founded around 1300 BC in Mesopotamia by Abraham and is still followed today by 14 million people and nearly 3.5 billion others follow belief systems directly influenced by Judaism including Christianity, Islam and the Bah’ai Faith (religionfacts.com). Judaism is a monotheistic religion meaning that the central religious belief is that there is only one God. Monotheism was not a common belief during the time that Judaism was founded, but according to Jewish tradition God revealed that there should only be one superior being that is worship and that he is the one to Abraham, an ancestor of the Jewish people. After rescuing the Hebrews, who later become known as Jews from slavery in Egypt God revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses on top of Mount Sinai around 2000 BC. The Ten Commandments are considered the most important commandments of the Torah, which is Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, but is often referred to as the Jewish Bible (jewfaq.com). Jewish people believe that living a good and obedient life will be rewarded after death by God and that those who sin will be punished. Jewish people do not believe that the Messiah has come yet, but that God will send him at the end of time to deliver the Jews to the Promised Land. Jews unlike Christians do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, but that he was just another prophet sent to spread the word of God. Judaism has a few beliefs that are an important part of the religion. Being Jewish is based primarily on following the traditions of Judaism, but Jewish belief vary widely on World Religions Report 3
theological matters such as human nature and the afterlife (religionfacts.com). Judaism is divided into three different sects Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative. Orthodox Jews believe that God gave Moses the entire Torah at Mount Sinai and strictly observe Jewish laws and follow nearly all practices and traditions. Reform Jews believe that the Torah was written by humans and take a more liberal approach to the practices and traditions of Judaism. Conservative Jews believe that the ideas in the Torah came from God, but that it was written by humans. Conservative Jews are in the middle of Orthodox and Reform Jews and try to bring the traditions of Judaism into the modern world. Judaism recognizes many holidays, special occasions, and life cycle events throughout the year like The Sabbath, Hanukkah, Passover, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. The Sabbath is a day of rest and worship and takes place on Saturday, it is the one day of the week when Jews are not allowed to work. Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights and is celebrated for eight days in December to remember the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days straight. Passover celebrates the exodus of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. Purim is a festive holiday that includes a special meal and costumes and is sometimes referred to as the “Jewish Mardi Gras”. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and takes place in September or October. Yom Kippur is the holiest day in Judaism. Jews celebrate Yom Kippur by fasting and prying for forgiveness of their sins.
While researching about Judaism I had the pleasure of interviewing Rabbi Robert Rubin. Rabbi Robert Rubin is the religious leader at Adath Israel Synagogue in Merion World Religions Report 4...