Judaism

The followers

The followers of Judaism are Jews.

The Jewish people are descendants of Abraham, whose Semitic ancestors lived in the Fertile Crescent and who lived most of his life in the Middle Eastern country of Israel.

The central teachings/beliefs

Judaism shares characteristics with two other major monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam. Its central beliefs include an allegiance to a single god and a recognition of a special relationship between Jews and God, who believe themselves to be God's chosen people.

Judaisms Holy days/Holidays

All Jewish holidays begin the evening before the date specified on most calendars. This is because a Jewish "day" begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight.Holidays end at nightfall of the date specified on most calendars; that is, at the time when it becomes dark out, about an hour after sunset.

Judaism’s Places of Worship

A Jewish "church" is called a synagogue, shul or temple. A synagogue is a place of worship and study, and a "town hall". There are several important ritual items found in the synagogue. Non-Jews may visit a synagogue, but dress and should behave appropriately. The Temple is the ancient center of Jewish worship.

Judaism Symbol

Over time, the Star of David became identified with the Jews, and has long since been used as a symbol of Judaism, as a religion, and of the Jewish people as a whole.

Judaism’s Sacraments / Traditions

Jewish Initiation marks a person’s entry into God’s Covenant with Abraham and membership of Gods Chosen people. The two important stages of male Initiation in the Jewish tradition are B’rit Milah and Bar Mitzvah. The Bat Mitzvah marks a Jewish girl’s “coming of age”. Hehu (Jesus) was initiated into the Covenant of his ancestors. There are two stages in the Jewish Initiation tradition, Circumcision of male children, Bar Mitzvah for boys, and more recently Bat Mitzvah for girls.

Judaism’s Worship Leaders

Rabbi: Teacher and decider of matters of religious law
Chazan: Cantor, who leads congregation in prayer
Gabbai: Volunteer who assists with Torah readings
Kohein: Descendant of Aaron, the original High Priest
Levi: Descendant of the biblical Levites
Rebbe: The leader of a Chasidic community
Tzaddik: A righteous person with spiritual power

Judaism’s Holy Book

Torah in the narrowest sense refers to the first five books of the Bible. In a broader sense, Torah includes all Jewish law and tradition. Torah was given to Moses in written form with oral commentary.

Judaism’s Holy Cities / Places

Nineteenth century out-of scale map of Judaism's four holy cities, with Jerusalem, Hebron, Safedt, and Tiberias. Each of the four cities includes representations of the sacred shrines, as well as the graves of sainted rabbis and holy men.


Jerusalem: Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual center of the Jewish people.


Hebron: Hebron is the burial place of most of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs.


Safedt: came to be regarded as a holy city after the influx of Jews following the expulsion from Spain in 1492.


Tiberias: was significant in Jewish history as the place where the “Jerusalem Talmud” was composed, but its status as a holy city was due to the influx of rabbis who established the city as a center for Jewish learning in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Besides God, which religious figure is common to all three religions?

Abraham is both common all three religions. They are called Abrahamic religions because they come from one source. Christians refer to Abraham as father in faith. Islam has religious practices that are like the traditions of Abraham. Judaism follows the practices and ideals of Abraham as one of the first spiritual fathers. All three religions claim to be direct descendants of Abraham.

Which view about God is common to all three religions?

All three religions believe in one God who created everything. God gives us messages in the texts of the holy books used to worship. He sends angels to give messages. One day he will judge us all on the Day of Judgement.