By Jephina, Uma, and Ryan

Origins of Religion


A monotheistic religion that originated from the Hebrew Bible. It's origin dates back nearly four thousand years, in the ancient near eastern region of Canaan at 2000 B.C.E..

Basic Religion Beliefs

First religion to teach monotheism, belief of the existence of only one god. They believe more in doing the right thing and the way you live rather than estimate gods nature. They believe that there is a strong linkage of right acts to the belief in one God. Believe that god sent jews as examples of holiness and ethical behaviour.
Parshat Shoftim: What the Torah Says About Justice


Judaism is an ethnic religion because it is a religion anyone can join but it is not looking to be universal. They don’t find any reason to try and convert someone into their own religion. The members are generally from a certain region isolated because of cultural traditions, etc.


  1. Orthodox- 1st form of Jewish practice before 18th century. Try to reserve Jewish traditions
  2. Conservative- Formed as a reaction to religious persecution in Germany in the 19th century. Try to be on middle ground, following traditions but also blending with modern world.
  3. Reform- Formed in 18th century. Seeks to modernize Judaism

Geographic Distribution

How it Diffused

Judaism is widely diffused and practiced in many regions, not just surrounding the place of origin. In recent years, since the 1940s, Jews have been been forced to return to their homeland because of the Roman Diaspora. Most Jews however, went to Europe and a few to Northern Africa and Asia. While in Europe they were forced to live in ghettos, or neighbors set up by law to separate Jews. Even before WWII and the Holocaust, Jews were fleeing to America because of religious persecution. Due to the war and the mass extinction of Jews caused by the Nazi’s, an increasing number of Jews migrated to America, which in turn, resulted into their large numbers here.

Holy Places

  • Jerusalem, Holy City: It was mentioned hundreds of times in the Hebrew Bible, was the capital city of ancient Jewish kingdoms and home to Judaism’s holiest Temple, Beit HaMikdash. This holy sites focuses on Jewish longing, aspiration, and prayers.
  • Mount Betarim: It is the believed site of the covenant of the pieces between Abraham and God.
  • Western Wall: It is the remnant of the outer retaining wall built by Herod to expand the area housing the Second Jewish Temple. Its considered holy because its proximity to the Temple site, especially its proximity to the Western Wall of the Temple’s Holy of Holies (the inner sanctuary that housed the Ark of the Covenant and where the High Pries Kohen Gadol alone was permitted to enter on Yom Kippur).
  • Temple Beit HaMikdash: It is the focus of Jewish longing, aspiration, and prayers. It is the First Temple, is also referred to as the Jerusalem Temple, Solomon's Temple, and Beit HaMikdash (The Holy House). When it was completed, the Ark of the Covenant was stored there. With the Ark’s movement, worship became centralized there. The Bible commands Jewish men to appear, with a sacrifice, in the Temple three times a year during Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. It is now the religious and national center of the the Jewish.
  • Temple Mount: It is the epicenter of Judaism, where the Divine Presence (Shechina) rests, where the biblical Isaac was brought for sacrifice and Ark of the Covenant housing the Ten Commandments once stood,
  • Foundation Stone: The place regarded as the place from whence the world was created. According to the Talmud, this was also the location where God gathered dust that was made into Adam, and that Adam, Cain, Abel, and Noah offered sacrifices to God. It was also considered to be where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac. The Foundation Stone is found in the Dome of Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Where it is Practiced Today & Number of Followers Today

  • Some parts of the Middle East, the U.S., and there are small numbers in Europe, Africa, South America, Australia and Asia.
  • Around 13.3 million Jews in the world today

Distribution of Followers

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Unique Features

Important People

  • Moses- according to the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed. He is also called Moshe Rabbenu in Hebrew. Moses he is the most important prophet in Judaism.
  • Prophets- People that spoke on God's behalf and conveys message or teaching. They were role models of holiness, scholarship and closeness to God while setting the standards for the entire community.
  • Abraham- Abraham was the first Jew, the founder of Judaism, the physical and spiritual ancestor , and one of the three Patriarchs of religion.

Holy Texts

Religious Symbols

  • Candlesticks:The candle is a very important symbol for Jews. Fire is warm and inviting. The Kabbalah says that the flame is a symbol of God’s relationship to the world and to human beings.
  • Chai:The Hebrew word chai is made up of the Hebrew letters chet and yud. The word means “life” which is highly valued in Judaism.
  • Star of David:The six-pointed star known as the Star of David is an ancient symbol.
  • Menorah:The menorah is a symbol in most synagogues around the world. It has seven branches and was originally the candelabrum that was placed by the Israelites in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem.
  • Mezuzah:The mezurah is a symbol attached to the doorways of Jewish homes that identifies them as Jewish. The mezuzah has two parts - a parchment scroll on which certain prayers are written, and a protective container for the scroll.
  • Tzitzit:It is a commandment or reminder that God is always there and that we should always follow his commandments. Tzitzit are ritual fringes, knotted a special way to symbolise the 613 commandments in the Torah, and are worn on the corners of four-cornered garments.
  • Hamsa:It is a type of good luck charm that some Jews wear. It is shaped like a hand and usually has a picture of an eye in its middle. It reminds them of God's protective hand and his watchful eye.

Place of Worship

The place of worship for Judaism is a synagogue. men traditionally took the lead in learning and being able to read in Hebrew in Orthodox synagogues. Knowing the Hebrew scriptures has always been regarded as a good thing to know, so having Torah scrolls is a key feature in any Synagogue. Synagogues have been the central place of learning, of worship , and of community for the Jewish faith since 70 CE.

Impact on Social and Family Structures

Judaism is an ethnic religion which accepts converts. Judaism does not actively seek new converts, but will teach the anyone who wants to become one to the path to conversion. So in they really do not impact social and family structures.

Impact on Cultural Beliefs and Expectations

The spiritual teachings of the Jewish Faith are the universal basis of of all the monotheist religions. So in many ways they do have an affect on other cultural beliefs and expectations. The Judaic teachings most likely play somewhat of a role in the other monotheistic religions.

Essential Question

How has Judaism diffused around the world even though it is considered to be an ethic religion?