Judaism is breed on the following beliefs:
There is one God.
God created the universe.
God revealed His divine pattern for life for all
mankind through the Torah.
God gave the Torah to Moses for the Jewish
God hears prayers directly; the pure in heart may
commune with God directly without any
Man is good and is not tainted with original sin.
The immortality of the soul is the inheritance of
everyone, especially those who are remembered
for good deeds.
The beliefs of Judaism were forged in the history of
the Jewish people.
The history of the Jews began about 4,000 years ago
when Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, settled
in the land of Canaan-now Israel. During a period of
40 years when the people of Israel wandered in the
wilderness of the Sinai, the Ten Commandments were
given to the people by God, through their leader, Moses.
These commandments, and other laws described in the
Bible, formed the basis of Judaism.
Not always faithful to their religion, the Jewish
people were provided with great prophets who taught
and preached. These prophets were not fortunetellers
but men inspired by visions of Gods love for mankind.
Among the prophets were Isaiah, Hosea, Malachi,
Jeremiah, Micah, and Ezekiel. These ancient teachers
gave the world an understanding of God and his love for
people through their addresses to the Jewish people.
These testimonies are recorded in the Old Testament in
the Prophetic Books of the Bible.
Legacy and Identity of Judaism
Traditionally, the teachings of Judaism have
included the love of God; respect for parents and the
aged; love of neighbors, including the stranger; just
dealings; kindness to animals; and a love of peace.
Judaism also taught the lesson of liberty. Taking as their
inspiration the thrilling story of the Israelite march from
Egyptian slavery to the land of freedom, the ancient
Jews emphasized the importance of democracy. In fact,
the words of Moses, Proclaim ye liberty throughout the
land to all the inhabitants thereof, were inscribed on the
American Liberty Bell.
The Jewish people are remarkable because they
have managed to retain their identity in many different
countries and throughout many centuries when similar
groups lost theirs by merging with other cultures. The
most important tradition that kept the Jews together as
a people was their religion.
LITERATURE. Throughout the world for
centuries, the Jewish people have looked to the literature
of Judaism for guidance and inspiration. There are
several important and widely studied Jewish literary
works that Jews world-wide use in the practice of their
religion. Included in the great works of Jewish literature
are the Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Zohair, Shulchan
Aruch, and Siddur. The Jews use these works to
establish, delineate, and interpret their laws, customs,
traditions, and rituals.
You can find a detailed
description of these great Jewish literary works in figure
CALENDAR. The Jewish calendar, according to
tradition, started with the creation of the earth
approximately 3,760 years before the beginning of the
Christian era. As shown in figure 1-12, the Jewish
calendar is based on a lunar year of 12 months, 29 or 30
days per month, and approximately 354 days per year.
To understand the Jewish holy days and traditions, you
should become familiar with the Jewish calendar.
NOTE: As you study the text and figures in this
section, be aware of variations in spelling in regard to
the English translation of Hebrew words representing
Jewish holy days, rituals, literary works, and so forth.
The presentation of these different spellings is
intentional to allow you to become aware of the various
transliterations for these words.
ISRAEL. For nearly 2,000 years, the Jews were
without a homeland of their own and were scattered
through all parts of the world. Although the Jews
embraced many practices of their new lands, spoke the
languages, and made many major contributions, their
religion gave them a bond with Jews living everywhere
else in the world. A bond they also shared, however, was
the absence of a Jewish homeland. In 1948, the state of
Israel was set up as a modern homeland for the Jews.