What is Judaism?

Judaism is among the oldest religions that are practiced up to this time. Its origin is based on the experiences and beliefs of Israelites during the ancient times. In these present time, Jews live all over the world.
Being a Jew means that one has to adhere and fulfill the commandments of the Jewish law. Most of these commandments are centered on the traditional practices and the teachings about what one has to have ethically. These requirements include being good to people and also charity to those who do not have. However its not correct to think that for one to be a Jew he or she has to follow stipulated rules or regulations. This is because the religion, unlike other religions in the world is diverse and varies from various places.
What is God in the Jewish perspective?
Jews believe that there is only one God. He created the universe he wants all people to live in peace and harmony and also cares about the world as a whole. According to us Jews the belief of ethical monotheism has spread from us to other religions including Islam and Christianity. When one has the understanding of this religion he gets the general understanding of the history of the world.
What books do Jews use?
Jews use a book called the Hebrew bible which gets its name from the first language it was written in. The book has tried to maintain its original language since Jews believe that by learning in Hebrew, one is able to live righteously. The Christian bible also has a piece of the Hebrew bible which according to them it is called the old testament. This is also evidence that proves that Christianity is as a result of Judaism. There are also the Ten Commandments which essentially are Jewish law according to Judaism.
The Hebrew holy book is divided into three parts which are the Torah, the prophets and the writings. The Torah according to the Christian religions also called the five books of Moses. The book is also considered as the holiest book among the other books.
There is also the Talmud which contains teachings about the religion which go inline with the legal aspects. In the same book, there are also the ethics, the traditions and also narrations about various holly encounters of prophets and other people of God. According to the part, these laws have been passed over the past generations until the invention of writing came into being. This time was around 70CE. The Talmud has about twelve thousand and eight hundred pages. The book combined with the Jewish bible form the ethical basis of the Jewish law, ethics and philosophy (Novak, David, 19).
What name is given to the religious leaders of the religion?
A rabbi is the name we give to our leaders. For one to be a rabbi he has to spend many years learning about Judaism. Apart from teaching the basics of the religion, they also give comfort to the members of the community who may be bereaved and also represent the religion where other religions are involved.
Unlike other religions, Jews have not elevated their leaders to the level of being able to speak with God. They are only respected because of their perfect mastery of the contents of the religion. They are also not only leaders but have a role to serve the community too.
What symbols do you have in your religion?
The symbol that is most commo0on in the religion is the star that belonged to King David. This is a representation of the shape of the shield of King David. The star has to be present at all the places where Jews go to worship. There is also cross which acts a sign to show that various places have been allocated for worship.
What does it take one to be a Jew?
A person does not have to be religiously observant to be a Jew. The identity of a Jew is seen when one practices the religion and sees reason or believes in the religion. When a person is able top observe all these it is said that he or she is into the Jewish community or his or her identity is Jewish. In the Jewish religion, we believe that God and the Israelites got into a covenant where they promised to obey the law of Torah and God chose to protect them against evil. The fact that Jews believe that they are chosen ones doesn`t mean that they are better than other religions. Jews believe that they are the same to all people it is only that they see their convent with God to of great importance. This covenant also gives them the mandate to change the world and make it a better place.
What are the main teachings in the Jewish religion?
The main teaching in Judaism is the fact that there should be social justice. This is all people are to be treated fairly irrespective of their background and religion. It is from the fact that God created all people equally and gave them similar chances to prosper and get the best from the world. This shows that God sees all humanity to be the same and therefore it is the responsibility of the Jewish people to honor God`s wish and treat all humanity in a similar manner. The law of Torah also emphasizes that one should love his neighbor the same way he loves himself. It also emphasizes that in any case, one makes a mistake, his or her trial has to be just, and no bias against him or her should be used to make judgment. These teachings have made many Jews to consider the fact that social justice is the most noteworthy thing in life (Borowitz, Eugene 342)
Earlier you mentioned about the tradition practices of Jews. Can you tell me what these religious practices are?
Most of the traditional practices of Jews are based on the commandments written in the Jewish law. For example, we eat only the food that has been legalized by the bible. Shellfish and pork are not allowed in our religion. Mixing of milk and meat product is also not allowed. Men have to cover their heads with a cap called the Kippah. Working during traditional holy days is also prohibited. However most of these laws are not followed nowadays since most people modify the rules to fit to the current system of life.
Where did the religion begin?
Judaism began in Israel. All the Jewish narratives, stories and prayers connect to Israel. This is also where all the religious sites are located. A good example is Jerusalem. This was the Jews` capital, also where the temple, Judaism`s holiest place is located. This is also the reason why most Jews in the whole world feel like they are connected to Israel. This is furthered by the fact that the country is the only one that gave room and proper treatment to our entire Jewish community who were persecuted all over the world. The country is also democratic and has equal rights for all its citizens.
Are there any particular days for Jews?
Jewish holidays unlike other holiday start on the sunset of the indicated day and end on the sunset. This is because of the fact that in the Jewish tradition, all days begin at sunset and end in the next evening and not midnight. Our calendar has 365 days just like all the other calendars, but there are instances where we add some extra days.
The most common holiday in the Jewish calendar is the weekly Sabbath which according to us it is called Shabbat. This day is observed from the sundown of every fifth day of the week to the sunset of the next day. Work is set aside on these days. Most of the time is spent of praying and fasting. Other holidays are based on various events. Special food and traditional practices are also allocated to these days (Jacobs, Louis, 101)
Where do the Jews worship?
Just like Christians worship in churches, Jews worship centers are called synagogues. All our sacred texts are available in these synagogues. The Torah scroll for example is what one cannot miss when one visits a synagogue. During services scriptures are read from the Torah. Teenage girls and boys are also given religious responsibilities to equip them with the necessary skills to use in their future life.
Lastly what do Jews believe regarding abortion?
The fact that abortion is legalized and practiced in many countries is a point of concern. This is because not only Judaism condemns murder of the unborn but also other religions in the world. The belief of Judaism in social justice also raises the fact that one has to be judged fairly where he or she makes a mistake or commits an offence. In some instances, there is the fact that one had to undergo abortion because of circumstances that would cause problem to her life. It is fair is the person is true to what she is saying. If it is fact that the baby is putting the mother in danger then there is no problem undertaking the procedure.
There are other instances where people abort their children in the name of rape, unwanted pregnancies or various other fake problems. This according to Judaism is wrong, and this person should be punished. The fetus is a creature of God and should be given fair treatment. Any other person who facilities the process of abortion should also be punished. This includes the doctor who operates or prescribes medicine to the woman who is aborting.
Most people tend to think that abortion is the solution to their problems. Ironically it is the start of the earthly and heavenly problems. God will punish anyone according to the way they behave during their time on earth it is always wise for a person to try his or her best to follow the rules of Judaism and act to please all the people in the society.
Judaism is a religion that promotes God teachings amongst its followers. The religion does not put a lot of emphasis on very many rules, but the importance of a person following the commandments of the religion. The rules of the religion are easy to follow, and they are ethically relevant. Good example is the issue of social justice. All the rules, constitutions of countries or the unwritten norms of the world focus most to the aspect of equal treatment of every member of the society and also ability to live together and help those that are less fortunate. This is the main aspect of the religion. However the religion despite the fact that it emphasizes on social justice women are not given as equal treatment as men. This shows that there is a little weakness in the justice that is being passed across by the teachings of the religion.
The leaders of Judaism also undergo serious training unlike Christian leaders. This reduces the possibility of a religious leader giving the wrong information to the congregation. This also ensures that the most critical aspects of the religion are observed. The Jewish rules are also open. The aspect of professionalism of the Jewish leaders is portrayed in the leader that I interviewed. He seems to have much information about the religion and he is also able to supply the right information in an eloquent manner.
Works cited
Borowitz. Eugene B, Exploring Jewish ethics: Papers on covenant responsibility. Detroit, 1990.
Jacobs, Louis, A Tree of Life: Diversity, Flexibility, and Creativity in Jewish Law. Oxford, 1984
Novak, David, Jewish-Christian Dialogue: a Jewish Justification. New York, 1989. Jewish Social Ethics. New York/Oxford, 1992.

BACK TO TOP