Judaism is… • “A 4000 year old tradition with ideas about what it means to be human and how to make the world a holy place” • A “covenant relationship” between God and the Hebrew people • A faith, a people, a way of life…
A 4000 year old tradition… • The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (“Israel”) – origins of the Hebrew people (more than 3800 years ago) • Enslaved in ancient Egypt and freed by Moses (more than 3300 years ago) • Hebrew monarchy in the “Promised Land” (The Land of Israel), ends 6th century BCE
As a faith, Jews Believe… • In one God, creator of the universe • In prophets of old – especially Moses, through whom Torah was revealed to the Hebrew people • In Torah (first five books of the Bible), containing religious, moral and social law which guides the life of a Jew • the Hebrew Bible does not include the New Testament
As a people, Jews are… • A nation in Diaspora (dispersed) • 15 – 16 million in worldwide population • United by a common heritage (an “ethnic” religion), divided in contemporary practice: • Orthodox: • Modern • Chasidic / Hasidic (Ultra Orthodox) • Reformed Conservative – moderates, response to reform
Hasidic Boy circa 1950s/1960s Side curls are called “payot” This is a tradition that comes from the Book of Leviticus which states that mean must not cut the “corners” of their head It is a literal interpretation that connects Jewish boys and men to their beliefs
As a way of life, Judaism is based on… • 613 commandments found in Torah (“Written Law”) • Talmud (“Oral Law”) – commentary of ancient rabbis that elaborates on how to apply God’s Law in everyday life through: • Dietary rules (Kashrut/Kosher) • Dress and other symbols • Prayer and devotion to the one God • The Temple and Temple rites • Observance of Holy days • Proper social relations between male and female, in business, judicial rulings, etc. • Thus sanctifying life, blessing it in every way
How does Judaism sanctify life? Life cycle celebrations: • Bris – ritual circumcision, sign of the covenant • Bar/Bat Mitzvah – full adult status and responsibility within the religion • Marriage - "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:22) • Death – funerals, mourning (sitting “Shiva”), and memorials (“Yartzeits”)
How does Judaism sanctify time? The Jewish Holidays: • High Holidays: • Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) • Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) • Sukkot, the “Festival of Booths” (fall harvest festival) • Simchat Torah – celebrating Torah • Chanukah, the “Festival of Lights”
More Holy Days… • Purim (“Lots”) – a carnival (commemorates events told in book of Esther) • Pesach (“Passover”) – commemorates the exodus from Egypt (events told in Exodus) • Shavuot (“weeks,” Pentecost) – commemorates receipt of Torah at Sinai • Other, minor festivals • Shabbat (Sabbath, 7th day, on Saturday) – the “Day of Rest”
How is Judaism related to Christianity? • Judaism predates Christianity – it is the foundation of Christianity but is not a part of it • Jesus was Jewish, as were his followers and the Apostles • Jews do not believe that Jesus was anything more than a good and wise man who lived and died 2000 years ago – Jews still await their messiah • The Jewish messiah would not be divine. He would be a political figure who restores the Hebrew monarchy and causes peace to reign on Earth • Jews are not concerned about salvation and the “world to come”
What are Jews really concerned about? • Tikkun Olam - “repairing this world” through justice and righteousness; through “deed, not creed” • The heart of Judaism is in the home and family, social responsibility and doing Mitzvot (“good deeds” based on God’s commandments) • Through education and hard work we make our lives, the lives of others, and the world, what God intended it to be – Holy!
To Life! To Life! LeChaim!
Web resources • Judaism 101: http://jewfaq.org/”an online encyclopedia of Judaism, covering Jewish beliefs, people, places, things, language, scripture, holidays, practices and customs” • ReligiousTolerance.org on Judaism: http://www.religioustolerance.org/judaism.htm • This P0werpoint presentation available at: http://www.nvcc.edu/home/lshulman/Rel232/resource/judaism.ppt
Jewish Symbols From Living Judaism by Rabbi Wayne Dosick
Magen David • Star of David • Was on the shields of David’s warriors • Symbol on the Flag of the state of Israel • Used throughout the world as a clear and unique identifying symbol of Jews and Judaism
Menorah • Seven (or nine) branched candleholder • One of the oldest Jewish symbols—one of the ritual objects described in the Torah • Today the nine branched menorah is used in celebration of Chanukah • The seven branched menorah is the authentic ancient symbol (one for each of the 6 days of creation and 1 for sabbath)
Chai • The Jewish symbol of life • Expresses the hope and prayer for life, health and prosperity • Popular Jewish toast—L’chayim—To Life
Mazal Tov • Means good luck or congratulations • Particularly used for significant life events (ie. Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, birthdays, etc.)
Amen • Literally “So be it” • Means I agree/affirm • After a blessing it is customary for those who have heard the blessing to say Amen
Shalom • Means hello/goodbye/peace • Comes from root word shalem which means whole/complete • Peace comes when there is wholeness, completeness, unity. • Pease is the eternal Jewish prayer—world peace, peace between people, inner peace, harmony.
Modern Denominations of Judaism From Living Judaism by Rabbi Wayne Dosick
Orthodox Judaism • Mainstream Judaism • Belief in the direct revelation of divine law which was recorded in the Torah • It is eternal, unchanging, and the sole guide for life • Carefully and strictly observe the commandments as the direct will of God • Ultra-Orthodox assert that complete separation from secular society
Chasidism—Sect of Orthodox Famous for their dress. From eastern Europe in the early 18th C. Emphasizes both contemplative meditation and fervent joy. Lubavitch Chasidism (Chabad) is contemporary American Chasidism
Reform Judaism Early 19th C. Germany Assert authorship of Torah to Divinely inspired human beings Modern worship mostly in vernacular
Conservative Judaism Response to Reform mid to late 19th C. Europe Agree that change was necessary but felt Reform had eliminated too many basic Jewish practices Motto is “tradition and change” Fiddler on the Roof
Reconstructionist Judaism Early 1920s in US by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan Judaism is not merely a religion, but an evolving religious civilization, a peoplehood, a culture, as well as a faith community
All of Judaism To accept Torah and fulfill its mitzvot To embrace the ethical mandate of Judaism To regulate existence to Judaism’s rituals & observances To support Jewish causes To be a devoted member of the Jewish community To maintain a bond and a sense of mutual interdependence with the Jewish Land To feel a connection to Jewish history To be committed to the creative survival of the Jewish future
Jewish Literature From Living Judaism by Rabbi Wayne Dosick
Torah • Creation: God Created the Universe and everything in it, The covenant was created between God and Humanity (specifically between God and the Jewish people) • Redemption: Israelites were saved from bondage in Egypt (in order to experience revelation) • Revelation: God gave his 613 mitzvotas a standard for conduct and behavior • Mixed with ritual practices this provides the framework of lifestyle for all humanity.
Torah • Genesis (Bereshit): contains stories of creation, records the establishment of the covenant between God and the Jewish people, tells of the lives of the patriarchs and matriarchs • Exodus (Sh’mot): account of Israelites enslaved in Egypt, the exodus from Egypt, the receiving of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai • Leviticus (Vayikra): gives God’s ethical and ritual laws and specific instructions to priests on how to perform their duties • Numbers (Bamidbar): recounts the of the Israelites through the desert and gives more of God’s ethical and ritual laws • Deuteronony (Devarim): Moses reviews the laws and the people prepare to enter the promised land.
Nevi’im • 2nd section of the Hebrew Bible, prophets • Not a soothsayer but rather a messenger of God to the people • Prophets admonished the Jewish people for forgetting and forsaking God’s commands • They called on the people to examine their lives and their conduct • Nevi’im is divided in two sections: early and latter prophets
Nevi’im • Early Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel (2), Kings (2) • Latter Prophets: • Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel • Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nachum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
Ketuvim • 3rd section of Hebrew Bible, writings • Contains wisdom literature, poetry, songs, narrative, history, religious philosophy, and love hymns…12 books in total • Books include: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nechemiah, Chronicles
Tenach / Tanakh • Hebrew name for Hebrew Bible • Created by taking the first letter of each of the three sections of the Bible and making a word out of those three letters. • T: for Torah • N: for Nevi’im • CH: for Ketuvim
Mishnah • The first compilation of the Oral Law between 200 BCE and 200 CE • Collects all of the Jewish legal material from the post-Torah era. • Divided into 6 orders (or chapters) • Seeds, Festivals, Women, Damages, Holy Things, Purifications
Gemara • A compilation of the discussions, interpretations, explanations, and theological arguments about the Mishnah. • New interpretations and new laws that arose after Mishnah from about 200-600 CE • Contains both Jewish law and Jewish stories
Talmud • Is the combined Mishnah and Gemara • Largest compilation of post-biblical law • Remains the basic and central document of post-biblical law • Talmud is studied: • For the practical application of its laws • For its mind-expanding challenges in logic and reasoning • For its total immersion in Jewish concerns • For its wisdom and insights into the human experience • And for the simple love of learning and growing