 Worldwide: 14,551,000 Jews
  – US: 5.6 million
  – Asia: 4.5 million
  – Europe: 2.4 million
 Many different groups/divisions of
  Judaism that exist
  – Conflicting beliefs about observances, etc.
         Importance of History
*The basis of the Jewish religion is its history. It is
              the most important aspect.

   – demonstrated through the celebration of life cycle
     events in people’s lives
   – holiday celebrations commemorate historic events
 The key event is the Exodus from Egypt
  (recorded Book of Exodus)
   – Many important aspects of observances are linked to
     this event
 From the beginning, the
  Jewish people have
  interpreted acts of history
  as God acting on behalf of
  the Jewish people
   – Either to promote them or to
     punish them
   – History is seen as the story
     of God’s intervention in the
     lives of His “Chosen
 Six Periods of Jewish History
 The Patriarchs: AbrahamMoses (19th - 13th
  cent. BCE)
 Mosesthe Hebrew Monarchy (13th - 6th cent.
 The Babylonian Exile and Post Exilic Judaism
  (6th cent BCE - 1st cent. CE) ("Second Temple"
 Rabbinic period (1st - 7th cent CE)
 Medieval Judaism (7th - 18th cent. CE)
 Modern Judaism (18th cent. - current)
           Judaism as a Race
 Judaism is an ethnic religion
 Began as a religion of an extended family, a tribe
  of peoples known as the Hebrews
 Jewish people today continue to think of
  themselves as a family, a nation of peoples, as
  well as a religion
 God is understood by the Jews to intervene, to
  act, in and through history time and again,
  especially in the history of Israel (the people)
 Jews look to God’s action in the world
                     Sacred Texts
 The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh
   – Known by Christians as "Old Testament“
   – contains the same books as the Christian version but in a
     different order after the first five
 Considered revealed and inspired by God
   – Interpretation of early history of the Hebrew people,
     establishment of a nation
   – Story of God’s interaction with His "Chosen People" (His-Story)
   – Foundation of Jewish life
 Called the Bible
   – (Biblia) means "little books“
   – Actually a library of 39 independent books divided into 3
           The 3 Categories

1. Torah
   Most important text
   Divine instruction and guidance or "Written Law”
      Books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
      Covers history from creation through the Exodus and
       wandering in the desert
      613 commandments from God
2. Prophets: Words and revelations of the minor
  and major prophets
      Ezekiel, Isaiah, Amos, Jonah, etc.
3. Writings: poetic and devotional material written
   and used during the same time as the Prophets,
   words and works of the sages
      Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, etc.
 The Talmud
  – Oral tradition passed to Moses and beyond
  – Finally written down in the 2nd century
  – Contains info on rituals, marriages,
    agricultural laws, festivals, etc.
         The Nature of God
 Covenants with good people
  – Responds to their needsdeliverance
 Guides & directs His people
 Compassionate
 Controls with justice
 Source of forgiving, redeeming love
 Establishes peace on earth
          The “Name” of God
 Written by Hebrew consonants YHVH
   – Means “I am”
 Jews do not have a personal name for God
   – Christians and others have Anglicized it to Yahweh or
   – Written by Orthodox Jews as G-d
 God referred to as:
   – Adonai (The Lord)
   – Elohim, or HaShem (the Name) - the unpronounceable
     name of God
          A Few Main Beliefs
 Jews do not believe in
  "original sin" (no need for
  a "savior" in the Christian
 The Ten Commandments
   – first 4 have to do with our
     relationship with God
   – Next 6 refer to our
     relationship with other
 Importance of family
 Story/experience of exile and exodus
  – "Let my people go."
  – Compassion and concern for freedom of all
  – history of continual fight for freedom and
    continued survival
 God’s highest creatures
   – Earth has been given to them for food & pleasure
   – They are the “caretakers”
 Created in God’s image
   – Each is a soul and body united
   – Each should have a fellowship with God
 Responsible
   – Answer to God for conduct
   – Humans have choices/can make decisionssuffer
Problem for Humans
          Rebellion against God
           and consequential
           – Adam and Eve
          Who is the Messiah?
           – Has not arrived yet to
             usher in a new age
           – He is expected
            Life after Death
 Emphasis on good life on earth more than
  good afterlife
 References in Psalms to heaven and hell
  – Influenced by Zoroastrians?
  – Lack specific descriptions of life beyond death
 Jewish calendar based on lunar month
 Sabbath/Shabbat
   – Observed each week
   – Sundown on Fridaysundown on Saturday
 Rosh Hashanah
   – New year
   – Begins the Days of Awe
   – Concentrate on prayer, contemplation, self-searching
 Yom Kippur
   – 10th day (of awe)
   – Holiest day observed
   – Repentance: 24 hours of atonement and fasting
                              Shabbat dinner

Sweets for a sweet new year
 Chanukkah
  – Celebrated
    rededication of
    Jerusalem temple in
    164 BCE (after
    destruction by Greeks)
  – Sacred oil lasted 8
    days for celebration
  – Minor festival
 Most important holiday
 Marks deliverance form slavery in Egypt
  under Moses’ leadership
 Sacred meal: seder
  – Unleavened bread (matzah)

 613 mitzvot
 258 positive, 365 negative
 Boys: 13+1 day, girls 12+1 day
  – Bar Mitzvah means “son of the commandment”
 Commands from God
  – No immediate reward
  – Obedience rewards in afterlife

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