The Jewish People share a unique culture and religion. Judaism is based on the responsibility to: LOVE AND CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER.

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  • The Jewish People share a unique culture and religion. Judaism is based on the responsibility to: LOVE AND CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
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  • Judaism Briefly-- Judaism is approximately 4000 years old and is the oldest of the worlds monotheistic religions (religions with only one God). On the Jewish calendar, this is the year 5772! This calendar counts from the creation of the world. Judaism has the smallest population, with only about 15-16 million followers around the world. Judaisms holy city is Jerusalem, in the State of Israel. The Patriarchs of Judaism are: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who are among the founding stories of Judaism over 3800 years ago. 2
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  • Jews Believe-- In ONE God, creator of the Universe. That human beings are made in Gods image and have the power to choose between good and evil. Jews have a duty to imitate God in their ethical and moral behavior. In TORAH, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) which contain the religious, moral and social laws which guide the lives of the Jewish people, as well as the historical stories of the Jewish people. In the celebration of and sanctification of life. In the covenant relationship between God and the Jewish people. Judaism is LIFE CENTERED. We have a sacred obligation to do good while on earth, care for family and worship God. That sins can be atoned for through asking for forgiveness from others, repentance and prayer, since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. 3
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  • Jews Believe -- * In MITZVOT: Jews must study the Torah and observe its teachings (mitzvot). Care for the poor Love their neighbors Celebrate Shabbat and observe festivals/holidays Respect Gods rules of honesty, truth and fairness Observe Jewish laws on matters of life, death, education and marriage In a Messiah: Early Israelite prophets predicted a future Messiah. Traditional BeliefThe Messianic Age will be brought about by a Messiah, a direct descendent of King David and a human being. He will establish an age of complete peace and gather in Jews from around the world. Modern BeliefThis view, usually expressed in Reform Judaism, stresses that the Messianic Age will be brought about on earth by people working WITH God to make a better world. In TIKKUN OLAM: Literally healing the world. (Broken Vessel) 4
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  • Jews as a People-- 15-16 million world-wide population United by a common heritage, history, language (Hebrew) and culture Jews live in nearly every country in the world: USA, Israel, Africa, Europe, Australia, England, South America, Mexico, China, Japan, Russia, Canada +++ There are Caucasian Jews, Asian Jews, Black Jews, Indian Jews +++ Different ways of practicing Judaism: Orthodox: Modern or Chasidic (ultra-Orthodox) Conservative: moderate Reform: modern Many other branches, but all are Jewish and all follow the TORAH. 5
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  • Jewish Life Cycle Celebrations-- Bris (Brit Milah): ritual circumcision of 8 day old baby boy sign of Gods covenant with Abraham Consecration: 5-6 year old children brought into religious school (done in Reform and some Conservative congregations) Bar/Bat Mitzvah: 13 year old boy/girl reads from the TORAH (in original Hebrew) and assumes adult responsibility within the congregation. Confirmation: 10 th 0r 11 th grade graduation from religious school (not a Biblical mandatea modern innovation) Marriage: sanctifies the loving relationship between two individuals who wish to found a family Under a chuppah (wedding canopy) Breaking a glass Ketubahmarriage contract Death: funeral as soon after death as possible; no embalming Sitting Shiva for 7 days Memorials Yartzeit 6
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  • Signs and Symbols of Judaism The Menorah The Menorah is a seven branched candelabrum and is the oldest symbol of the Jewish people. It is said to represent the Burning Bush as seen by Moses on Mount Sinai. It first appears in the Tent of Meeting in the Book of Exodus and the end of each branch is a lamp lit by olive oil. The Menorah was used in the Temple in Jerusalem and is still a symbol used in many Temples and Synagogues, as well as in Jewish homes around the world. 7
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  • Magen David The Star of David Magen David This six-pointed star has become the symbol of everything Jewish. Jews started to use the symbol in the 17 th century. It has been seen as both a badge of courage and as a badge of humiliation at different times through the centuries. In the late 19 th century, the Magen David became the official symbol of the Zionist movement. The Star of David is central to the flag of the State of Israel. 8
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  • The Mezuzah The Mezuzah (Hebrew for door post) is a case containing a parchment scroll. The mezuzah is affixed to the right side of the door frame in a Jewish home and on doors inside the home. The Mezuzah is a reminder of Gods presence both inside the home and outside in the world. On the scroll is written the Shma and two other paragraphs from the books of Deuteronomy and Numbers. 9
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  • Kippah and Tallit Some Jews wear special garments when they go to the synagogue or temple. A Kippah is probably the most recognized Jewish symbol, after the Star of David. It is a small cap worn on the head. It is worn by some Jewish males (and females) to show that they respect God. A Tallit is a prayer shawl made of wool or silk, with has fringes/knots attached to each of its four corners. The Book of Numbers states that Jewish men must wear fringes at the corners of garments to help them remember God and the commandments. There are 613 knots on the tallit to represent the 613 Commandments. The numerical value of the word tzitzit (fringes), plus 8 strings, plus 5 knots equals 613. 10
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  • The TORAH The Torah contains the first five books of the Hebrew Bible which are written on a parchment scroll and wound around two wooden poles. In a broader sense, the term Torah can also include Neviim (The Prophets) and Ketuvim (The Writings). The Torah is the central text that guides Judaism. It provides a moral blueprint on how to live a good and honest life. The word TORAH derives from the Hebrew word to guide or to teach. 11
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  • FUNDAMENTAL JEWISH VALUES Justice and equality for all Respect for lifethe life of one person is no less important that the life of another. Hospitalitythe obligation to look after travelers and strangers CharityTZEDAKAHis the duty of every person. We must share what God has given us with others. Educationis paramount. The Torah says that it is the duty of every person to pursue a good quality of life through education. Social Responsibilitymeans looking after the welfare of others, just as God has done. TIKKUN OLAMmeans that we must do all we can to repair the world. 12
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  • Worship The Jewish house of worship is called a SYNAGOGUE OR TEMPLE. The prayer leader is called RABBI, which means teacher. The song leader is called a CANTOR. ALL JEWS around the world read the SAME EXACT Torah portion on the SAME EXACT day. The Synagogue or Temple is a place of worship, learning, study and a social center. The different branches of Judaism may worship differently but all follow the same worship pattern. Hebrew (and Aramaic) is the language of Jewish prayer. 13
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  • JEWISH HOLIDAYS Shabbat/Sabbath is the weekly day of rest. It is considered THE MOST IMPORTANT holiday. All Jewish holidays begin at sunset and end at sunset (Genesis). ROSH HASHANAH: Jewish New Year YOM KIPPUR: Day of Atonement SUKKOT: Feast of Booths SIMCHAT TORAH: Rejoicing in the Torah CHANUKAH: Feast of Lights PURIM: From the Book of Esther PESACH/PASSOVER: Freedom from Slavery in Egypt SHAVUOT: Feast of Weeks National Holidays in State of Israel Yom HaShoah: Remembrance of the Holocaust Yom HaZikaron: Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism Yom HaAtzmaut: Independence Day Yom Yerushalayim: Jerusalem Day commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. 14
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  • Hebrew Calendar: Lunisolar 15
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  • SHABBAT Shabbat begins Friday night at sundown and is over Saturday night at sundown. It is supposed to be a day of rest. God ceased work on the 7 th day of Creation (Genesis 2:1-3). In a Jewish home and/or in the Temple, candles are blessed first to welcome the Sabbath. The Kiddush is the blessing on the wine. The Hamotzi is the blessing on the challah, the braided loaves of bread. 16
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  • Rosh Hashanah: New Year 17
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  • Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement 18 The Shofar is a ceremonial wind instrument usually made from a ram's horn which is sounded during certain Jewish festivals, especially Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. According to tradition the sound of the Shofar represents the cry of the human soul yearning to be reunited with God its creator.
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  • Sukkot: Feast of Booths Four days after Yom Kippur; exactly half a year away from Passover, Sukkot is a week-long festival. Thanksgiving festival when Jews give thanks for the abundant harvest. Many Jewish families build a Sukkah, an outdoor booth, in which to eat and celebrate. The Sukkah represents the temporary dwellings in which people lived during the Exodus from Egypt and during harvests in Israel. Or, they might represent the temporary dwelling of the soul in the body. 19
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  • CHANUKAH The Chanukkiah is the special nine- branched candelabra associated with Chanukah. Chanukah, a Hebrew word which means Dedication, is an eight day Jewish festival which is celebrated in late November or December. The Shamash, the candle used to light the other candles, is lit each night. Then the Shamash is used to light one additional candle each night until all eight are liton the eighth day. Gifts are given and fried foods are plentiful. The official Chanukah game is called Spin the Dreidel (a 4-sided top with the letters nun, gimel, hay and shin printed on each side. 20
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  • PASSOVER/PESACH Passover is an eight day celebration of spring, of birth and rebirth, and of a journey from slavery to freedom. The Haggadah, which is read at the Seder on the first night of Passover, is the story of the Hebrews escape from slavery in Egypt. Special, ceremonial foods are eaten especially matzah, which is unleavened bread. Many families have different traditions, or ways to celebrate Passover. 21
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  • SHAVUOT The Torah says that Shavuot should be celebrated 50 DAYS AFTER the Sabbath of Passover (Leviticus 23:15). Shavuot celebrates Moses being given the Torah on Mount Sinai. Shavuot also celebrates the shift from spring to summer. It is also called the holiday of first fruits being brought to the Temple in Jerusalem as an offering to God. 22
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  • KOSHER-- There are laws governing every aspect of Jewish life, and this extends to food. The dietary laws are called kashrut and they outline the foods that can be eaten and how they should be prepared. The word KOSHER means fit or proper and describes food that complies with rules of kashrut. Many dietary laws are mentioned in the Torah and others come from rabbinic interpretations. The degree of observance varies among Jews, with some following all the rules and some following some. Meat and Dairy--animals with cloven hooves and chew their cud are OK Parev Food--are foods that are neither meat nor dairy and can be eaten with both kinds of meals. Examples are fruit, vegetables, rice, eggs and lentils. Seafoodonly fish with BOTH fins and scales can be eaten. Salmon, trout and cod are Kosher. Pork is a no-no Shellfish is a no-no Animals must be slaughtered painlessly Blood needs to be drained Meat and dairy cannot be eaten together A Kosher household must have two sets of dishes and utensils to keep meat and dairy separate 23
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  • JUDAISM TODAY There are several major Jewish groups, each with its own organizational structure. The three below are commonly found in the US; however, these are by no means all of the different branches. ORTHODOX JUDAISM The TORAH is the word of God; it is literally true and must be obeyed as law. Worship and prayers remain mostly unchanged since the Middle Ages. Services are conducted in Hebrew, although some English is used. Shabbat and holidays are strictly observed according to rabbinic law. Traditional roles exist for men and women; sexes are separated during worship. Women are not permitted to be rabbis. Dietary laws (KASHRUT/KOSHER) are strictly observed. CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM The TORAH is the divinely inspired word of God. Conservative Jews believe that the law continues to evolve. Each generation must reinterpret it to preserve its relevance. Most prayers are in Hebrew, but some are in English. Rules regarding the Sabbath and other holidays are observed by most. Men and women may sit together in services. Dietary laws are observed by some. REFORM JUDAISM The TORAH means teaching rather than law and it is open to interpretation. Scripture is not literally true; some stories are considered inspired or symbolic. Services are conducted in both Hebrew and English equally. Beliefs and practices are more liberal; Reform Jews believe that Jewish life must change with the times. Reform Jews believe in informed choice. Women actively participate in services and are considered equals; women may be rabbis. Dietary laws are a personal choice. 24
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  • How is Judaism Related to Christianity? Judaism predates Christianityit is the foundation of Christianity but NOT a part of it. Jesus was Jewish, as were his followers and the apostles. Jews believe that Jesus was a good and wise man who lived and died 2000 years ago. Jews do not believe that Jesus was the son of God. Jews still await the Messiah. Jews believe that God will deal mercifully and justly with all of human kind. Jews do NOT believe in a specific place called heaven or hell. 25
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  • Christianity Christianity has about 2.1 billion followers worldwide. It is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived in Israel 2000 years ago. Christians believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the 3 rd day after his crucifixion. Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. Christians believe that there is only one God, but this one God consists of three entities. Christians believe that they can have a personal relationship with God and that they can be saved by faith and/or good works. Grace is the law code. Christians believe in actual heaven and hell. The Bible (both Old and New Testaments)...


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