world religions

yoana Hernandez

Judaism

Judaism is one of the world’s oldest religions still practiced. It originated in the beliefs, practices,

and experiences of the ancient Israelites. Today, Judaism is practiced by millions of Jews living

in every inhabited continent.

Jewish observance is expressed through the fulfillment of the commandments of Jewish law.

These commandments include both teachings about traditional practices, such as not eating

certain foods, and teachings about ethical requirements, such as giving charity. Some forms of

Judaism believe that all Jewish teachings must be followed. Other forms of Judaism believe that

only the teachings about how to lead moral lives are required and the others are optional.

Because Judaism is a diverse religion with a wide variety of beliefs and practices, one should

not assume that a Jewish person has a particular belief or follows a particular religious practice.

Different forms of Judaism are connected by a strong sense of peoplehood, a common heritage,

and shared values

what region of the world is the religion most popular

Estimates of the world's Jewish population range from about 12 million to over 17 million. On the high end of realistic estimates of how many people would consider themselves Jews seems to be about 15 million, but a figure this high would include a large number of non-practicing, purely ethnic Jews. Judaism is far more important in areas such as history, literature, science, politics, and religion, than its relatively small numbers might suggest. The American Jewish Year Book published in 2000 by the American Jewish Committee, reports there are currently 5.7 million Jews in the United States, 362,000 in Canada, and 13,191,500 worldwide

who founded the religion

Judaism began about 4000 years ago with the Hebrew people in the Middle East. Abraham, a Hebrew man, is considered the father of the Jewish faith because he promoted the central idea of the Jewish faith: that there is one God. At the time many people in the Middle East worshipped many gods. It is said that Abraham and his wife Sarah, who were old and childless, were told by God that their children would be as plentiful as the stars in the sky and that they would live in a land of their own -- the Promised Land. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, known as the Patriarchs, are both the physical and spiritual ancestors of Judaism. They founded the religion now known as Judaism, and their descendants are the Jewish people.

what are the belief of this religion

Jewish people believe in the Torah, which was the whole of the laws given to the Israelities at Sinai. They believe they must follow God's laws which govern daily life. Later legal books, written by rabbis, determine the law as it applies to life in each new place and time.


The Ten Commandments, as written in the Torah, are:

•Worship no other God but me.

•Do not make images to worship.

•Do not misuse the name of God.

•Observe the Sabbath Day (Saturday). Keep it Holy.

•Honor and respect your father and mother.

•Do not murder.

•Do not commit adultery.

•Do not steal.

•Do not accuse anyone falsely. Do not tell lies about other people.

• Do not envy other's possessions.


There are three basic groups of Jewish people who have a different understanding of the interpretation of the Torah.

•Orthodox Jews believe that all of the practices in the Torah which it is practical to obey must be obeyed without question.

•Conservative and Reform Jews believe that the ancient laws and practices have to be interpreted for modern life with inclusion of contemporary sources and with more concern with community practices than with ritual practices.

•Reform Jews also allow everyone to sit together, men and women, and both Hebrew and the local language are spoken in services.

what is the religion sacred text

The Tenakh is the ancient collection of writings that are sacred to the Jews. They were written over almost a thousand years from 1000 to 100 BCE. The word Tenakh comes from the three first letters of the three books included in this text: the Torah, plus the Nev'im (prophets) and the Ki'tuvim (writings, which include histories, prophecies, poems, hymns and sayings).


The Torah is written on scrolls and kept in a special cabinet called the aron hakodish, the holy ark, in synagogues. The Torah is read with a pointer called a yad (hand) to keep it from being spoiled. Each week, one section is read until the entire Torah is completed and the reading begins again.


The Talmud is also an important collection of Jewish writings. Written about 2000 years ago, it is a recording of the rabbis discussion of the way to follow the Torah at that time. Later texts, the Mishnah Torah and the Shulhan Aruch, are recordings of rabbinic discussions from later periods.

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what the religions sacred sites

Israel itself is a very sacred place to Jewish people. Jews who do not live there try to visit at some point in their lives. In particular, Jerusalem is important because it is the ancient capital of Israel and the site of the original temple. The Western Wall of the ancient temple remains. This is where the tablets that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai with the ten commandments were stored in a golden box called the Ark of the Covenant. Jewish people make pilgrimages to this wall. It is also called the Wailing Wall because people grieve the destruction of the temple and other persecution of the Jews. Jewish people worship in synagogues. A synagogue is a center for Jewish life - not just worshipping, but education and community.


Synagogues, of course, vary in style around the world, but all contain certain features.


The Holy Ark with one or more Torah scrolls, covered by curtains.


A six-pointed star, the Star of David, is often found both inside and outside synagogues.


An eternal light in front of the ark, which represents the light which led the Hebrew people through the Sinai and was in the original temple, is kept lit at all times.


A reading table, at the front or in the middle of the sanctuary, sometimes on a stage, or bimah.


A replica of the ten commandments.


A special seat for the rabbi.


No images of God since images are forbidden in the commandments.

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what is the religion sacred symbols

The Magen David (Shield of David, or as it is more commonly known, the Star of David) is the symbol most commonly associated with Judaism today, but it is actually a relatively new Jewish symbol.
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what are the religions sacred days

This is the first in a series of pages on the Jewish holidays. This page discusses some basic considerations that apply to all or many holidays. Each of the individual holiday pages talks about the significance of a holiday, its traditional observances and related customs, the date on which each holiday will occur for the next five years, and in some cases recipes for traditional, Ashkenazic holiday-related foods.


The holidays covered are listed in the site index in the right margin. For those who just want information on a need-to-know basis, there is also A Gentile's Guide to the Jewish Holidays, which will give you a basic awareness of the holidays most commonly observed by American Jews.

how many people believe in the religion today

15 million peoples

are men and women treated different in this religion