Hanna McDaniel 1st period


A religion developed among the ancient Hebrews and characterized by the belief in one transcendent* God who has revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets and by a religious life in accordance with the Scriptures and rabbinic* traditions. Judaism is a religion and a culture that was largely persecuted in the second World War and in the Holocaust.Whatever the reason was, one thing we all know was that during the Holocaust, the Jews were treated terribly. Not that they were the only ones, there were many other groups and individuals that were treated inhumanly. However, the Jews seemed to be a main focus. Some people don't exactly know what Judaism is, so the question is: What is Judaism?

What are Jews?

Are the Jews a Race?

No, Judaism is not a race. Judaism is a religion and a culture, and you can chose whether or not you want to be a part of it. As stated by Tracey R. Rich, author of the website Judaism 101," Race is a genetic distinction, and refers to people with shared ancestry and shared genetic traits." You don't by any means have to share a common ancestry to be a Jew, though many Jews do. Judaism, as a culture, isn't set or definite. Jewish people from different places and of different ethnicities have different cultures. For example, an American Jew's idea of their culture might not be the same as a Jew from another country.

What do the Jews Believe?

Judaism actually has no formal set of beliefs. In this religion, actions are more important. But there still are some principles, which some believe to be the minimum requirements of Jewish belief. These are some:

  • God exists
  • God is the only god and is unique
  • God has no physical existence
  • God is eternal
  • Prayer is to be directed to God and God alone
  • God knows the thoughts and deeds of man
  • God will reward the good and punish the wicked

What is Judaism? A video by JewishHistoryDotOrg

What Is Judaism?

Judaism vs. Christianity

There are some differences between these two religions. However, both are similar. Here are some similarities and differences, just to list a few:

  • Sacred Text: Judaism uses the Torah; Christianity uses the Bible(the Torah plus the New Testament)
  • Current Major Locations: Judaism is majorly in Europe, Israel, & North America; Christianity is majorly in Europe, and both North & South America
  • Date Founded (estimate): Judaism was thought to be founded around 1300 BC; Christianity was thought to be founded around 30 BC
  • Original Languages: Judaism's original language was Hebrew; Christianity's original languages were Aramaic and Greek
  • Major Branches Today: Judaism's main branches today are orthodox, conservative, & reform; Christianity's main branches today are catholic, orthodox, & protestant
  • Worldwide Today: Judaism: 14 million; Christianity: 2 billion

A Summary

Judaism, in its simplest terms, is a religion. It is a religion very similar to Christianity, though it does have it's differences. Judaism is a religion more based on being a good person and believing in a few principles at most. Anyone can become a Jew, regardless of their race, background, or family. Jewish culture can vary from place to place and person to person. In short, Judaism isn't a race, nor a culture or ethnicity. Jewish culture varies depending on the place and the person. Jews were one of the many groups persecuted during the Holocaust, and seem to be the most famous. One famous Jewish person from the Holocaust is Anne Frank. Bottomline, Judaism is a religion, plain and simple.

Some Facts

  • In Judaism, finding someone a job that enables self-sufficiency is the highest form of charity
  • In Judaism, you don't need to be Jewish to get into the next world (heaven)
  • At least 400 descendants of Nazis have converted to Judaism and moved to Israel
  • In Judaism, there are 4 different New Year's Days
  • After Christianity, Judaism is the largest religious affiliation in the U.S.

More Info!

The following is a link to a video interview of Gerda Haas, a Jewish woman, when asked if the Jewish people were very religious.

Websites for More!


Transcendent: being beyond comprehension

Rabbi: a Jew trained for professional religious leadership

David's Star: a six-pointed star that is often used as a Jewish Symbol

The Torah: the Jewish Bible

Synagogue: a building where Jewish people meet for religious worship and instruction