An Ethnic Religion

Origin of Judaism

-Judaism started in 2000 B.C.E originating in Canaan (presently day Israel).

-The Jewish belief started from God making a covenant with the prophet Abraham.

-The followers of Judaism mostly live around the middle eastern area.

-If they do not they live in that area there are usually small Jewish communities around certain regions.

-The sacred text is called the Torah which is a scroll that contains all of the beliefs.

-The Torah is usually written by hand for the Temples or Synagogues, but most ordinary followers have a Torah in book form at their home.

-The people that spread the message or the people that run the temple are called Rabbis. Very similar to a priest in the Christian religion.

-There are four types of Judaism currently. The types include Orthodox, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative.

-Jerusalem is the center of Jewish beliefs, that is where most of the major Jewish events actually were believed to take place.

Supreme Being, Prophets, and Key People

Supreme Being:

  • God is the greatest key figure in Judaism. God or Lord very sacred to Jews. They do no say his name aloud and they spell it as G-d or L-rd

Prophets and Key People:

  • Moses was the greatest prophet. He is described as the only person who knew God face-to-face. He led the Exodus of the Jewish slaves out of Egypt to the promised land. He was responsible for securing the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai.
  • Abraham was the first Jew, and one of the Patriarchs of Judaism. As the founder of Judaism, he is the physical and spiritual ancestor of the Jewish people. He re advocated monotheism and proved his faith in one God by sacrificing his son Issac. His faith in God has be a model for future generations of Jews.
  • Solomon was the King of Israel who led the nation to superpower and downfall. A prolific writer, he composed 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. His wisdom was proverbial. He amassed great wealth and his reign with foreign alliances extended Israel's territory. He built the first holy temple in Jerusalem. His despotism made Northern Israelite Tribes revolt. buried in the City of David after death.
  • David was the most brilliant leader of ancient Israel and was the first king of United Israel. He founded a dynasty centered in Jerusalem that was in power for about 500 years. He bought the Ark of the Covenant to the Jewish nation with the Torah at its center. He was an intelligent statesman, faithful friend, skillful and gifted at playing musical instruments and writing Psalms.
  • Aaron was the elder brother of Moses and founded priesthood and was the first high priest. Also aided Moses in leading Israelites out of Egyptian bondage
  • Jacob was the third of the Jewish Patriarchs and son of Issac. His name was changed to "Israel" after he wrestled with a spirit. His 12 sons became the 12 tribes of Israel.
  • Issac was one of the patriarchs of the Jewish people and son of Abraham and Sarah. He cooperated willingly to be sacrificed b y his father to God. He made peace with the Philistines in Beersheba. He died at the age of 180.
  • Joseph was the son of Jacob and famous for is ability to interpret dreams. He became viceroy of Egypt after he interpreted Pharaoh's dreams. He is remembered for his tolerance, loyalty, forgiveness, morality, wisdom, and faith in God.

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Moses with Ten Commandments

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Abraham at the altar

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Solomon delivering justice

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David fighting Goliath

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Aaron in Pharoh's court

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Jacob fighting with a spirit

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Issac with his father Abraham

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Joseph interpreting Pharoh's dreams

Geographic Distribution

-Formed: 2000 B.C.E.
-Origin: Canaan
-Followers: 14,000,000
-Deity: God (monotheistic)
-Sacred texts: Torah, Tanakh (Hebrew scriptures), Talmud
-Headquarters: None

-Canaan is the biblical origin located between the jordan river and the mediterranean, approximately what is now the state of israel and palestinian territories.

-Many followers do not affiliate with any branch so are excluded from the census. therefore there is not an accurate count on the amount of Jewish followers.

-Movement of Judaism:
Top five countries in Jewish population:
-North America 5,489,000
-Israel 5,313,800
-France 490,561
-Canada 393,660
-United Kingdom 350,000
-most ethnic religions are not widespread but Judaism is an exception.

-it is widely diffused with relocation diffusion.
-originally the Jews were driven out, because of World War 2 and the Holocaust, many Jews went to america which explains the high numbers of Jewish people
- In Europe, they were forced to live in ghettos - a neighborhood set up by law for the Jews to segregate them. many came to America previous to WWII because of persecution in Europe

Migration to America
Dates -------------- Period -------------- Number of Immigrants

1654–1838 ---- Colonial/federal ----------- Fewer than 15,000
1838–80 -------German emigration ------------- 250,000
1881–1924 ---- Eastern European ------------- 2,000,000
1924–44 -------Pre-Holocaust ------------------- 100,000
1945–60 -------Holocaust survivors ------------- 250,000
Present ---------Russian Jews & others------ Up to 50,000 per year

Holy Texts

  • Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)-quintessential sacred text whose first five books comprise the Torah, the core of ancient writings sacred to Jews. It was written by Moses under divine inspiration.
  • Torah-contains an account of creation of world, God's special call to Abraham, the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses, God's rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt, wandering in the wilderness, and conquering of the promised land, Canaan.
  • Talmud: The Oral Torah-collection of rabbinical writings that interpret, explain, and apply Torah scriptures. Orthodox Jews believe that it was revealed to Moses along with Torah and passed down orally until it was written down.
  • Midrash-large body of rabbinical material derived from sermons. Compiled between 4th and 6th centuries.
  • Responsa-vast collection of answers to specific questions on Jewish law
  • Zohar: Book of Splendor-central text of Kabbalah, ans mystical branch of Judaism.
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The Torah

Religious Symbols

  • Mezuzah-Hebrew word for doorpost. Commonly found up on doors of Jewish homes. Constant reminder of G-d's presence. Every time a Jew passes through a door, he passes through a mezuzah and kisses his fingers, as a sign of love and respect for God.
  • Tzitzit and Tallit-fringes worn at corner of Jewish garments. It is tied with complex knots which have religious and numerological significance. Adult men wear a 4-cornered shawl called a tallit in the morning. A blessing is recited when the tallit is put on.
  • Tefillin-meant to remind Jew's of G-d's mitzvot. Bounded to head and arm. Blessings are recited when wearing it. It is removed at the conclusion of morning services.
  • Menorah-one of the oldest symbol of Jewish faith, a 7-branched candelabrum used in the temple. Symbol of the nation of Israel and Jew's mission to be light to the nations.
  • Yarmulke-comes from a Tartar word meaning "skullcap." Ancientpractice for Jews to cover heads during prayer to show respect for G-d. Wearing it is not religiously mandatory.
  • Magen David (Star of David) or (Shield of David)-symbol most commonly associated with Judaism today. Relatively new Jewish symbol. It represents the shape of King David's shield. Symbol of intertwined equilateral triangles. Top triangle signifies striving upward toward God, lower triangle strives downward towards real world. Intertwining signifies the inseparable Jewish people. Appears on flag of state of Israel and Israeli equivalent of Red Cross (Red Magen David)
  • Chai-commonly seen on necklaces and other jewelry and ornaments. Hebrew work for "living." Reflects Judaism's importance on importance of life.Gifts to charity are routinely given in multiples of 18, numeric value for word "chai"
  • Hamesh Hand (Hamsa Hand)-popular motif in Jewish Jewelry. Inverted hand with thumb and pinky pointing outward. Eye in center of hand or various Hebrew letters in middle. Represents protection against evil eye.
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The Star of David

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Chai symbol

Place of Worship

  • Synagogue-Jewish house of prayer and study. Has separate rooms for prayer and study. Primary purpose to acomadate Jewish communal prayer. Also used for communal activities. Contains an arc where Torah scrolls are kept. Center of Jewish religious community, a place of prayer, study , and education, social and charitable work as a center.
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Interior of a Synagogue

Impact on Social and Family Structures

  • Jewish greeting "shalom bayit" (peace in the home) is the Jewish ideal.
  • Marriage is treated as a holy union. The very term for marriage ceremony is Kiddushin which means sanctification or consecration
  • Family values based on Torah
  • Family is patriarchal, though there are several examples of women taking lead in the history
  • "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," (Exodus 20:12)
  • A Rabbi is considered to be a religious leader and expert on scriptures. People consult him for any religious, social, or domestic issues
  • Shabbat starts Friday evening, recognized with candle lighting, and prayers over bread and wine. Shabbat ends after sundown on Saturday with the Havdalah ceremony.
  • Important festivals are Hanukah, Passover, Rosh Hashana, and Yom Kippur
  • Important events in life are Brit Milah, Bar Mitzvah for boys, and Bat Mitzvah for girls
  • The 10 Commandments are a list of dos and don'ts for Jewish people
  • Pigs are considered unclean, and therefore, eating pork is a taboo
  • Kosher is method dictated for food preparation and animal slaughter
6 Cantor's Shabbat - Prayer 3

Shabbat Prayers

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Kosher Diagram

Discussion Question

How is Judaism manifest in daily lives of Jews around the world?