Judaism the religion of the Jews, based on the Old Testament and the Talmud and having as its central point a belief in the one God as transcendent creator of all things and the source of all righteousness. Judaism is an Abrahamic, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Some scholars argue that modern Jewry evolved from Yahwism, the religion of ancient Israel and Judah, by the late 6th century BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions.
Founder of Judaism
The origins of Jewish faith are explained throughout the Torah. According to the text, God first revealed himself to a Hebrew man named Abraham, who became known as the founder of Judaism.
Jews believe that God made a special covenant with Abraham and that he and his descendants were a chosen people who would create a great nation.
Abraham’s son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob, also became central figures in ancient Jewish history. Jacob took the name Israel, and his children and future generations became known as Israelites.
Jewish people believe there’s only one God who has established a covenant—or special agreement—with them. Their God communicates to believers through prophets and rewards good deeds while also punishing evil.
Most Jews (with the exception of a few groups) believe that their Messiah hasn’t yet come—but will one day.
The six-pointed Star of David is the symbol of Jewry.
Today, there are about 14 million Jews worldwide. Most of them live in the United States and Israel.
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Types of Judaism
There are several sects in Judaism, which include:
For instance, most believe Shabbat shouldn’t involve working, driving or handling money.
Orthodox Jewry is a diverse sect that includes several subgroups, including Hasidic Jews. This form started in the 18th century in Eastern Europe and holds different values than traditional or ultra-Orthodox Jewry. Hasidic Jews emphasize a mystical experience with God that involves direct communion through prayer and worship. Chabad is a well-known Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic movement.
Reform Jewry is considered a liberal category of the religion that values ethical traditions over strict observance of Jewish laws. Followers promote progressive ideas and adaptation. Most of the Jews living in the United States follow Reform Judaic traditions.
Many people consider this form of Judaism somewhere in between Orthodox and Reform Judaism. Typically, conservative Jews honour the traditions of Judaism while allowing for some modernization.
Rabbi Sherwin Wine founded this denomination of Jewry in 1963. Humanistic Jews celebrate Jewish history and culture without an emphasis on God.
While there are various denominations of Jewry, many Jews don’t identify with a particular classification and simply refer to themselves as Jewish.
Jewish people observe several important days and events in history, such as:
Passover: This holiday lasts seven or eight days and celebrates Jewish freedom from slavery in Egypt. Specifically, Passover refers to the biblical story of when the Hebrew God “passed over” houses of Jewish families and saved their children during a plague that was said to have killed all other first-born babies in Egypt.
Jews celebrate the birth of the universe and humanity during this holiday, which is also known as the Jewish New Year.
This “Day of Atonement” is considered the holiest day of the year for Jews who typically spend it fasting and praying.
High Holy Days:
The 10 days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are also known as the High Holidays, the Days of Awe or Yamim Noraim.
This Jewish celebration, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” lasts eight days. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees defeated the Syrian-Greeks over 2,000 years ago.