Judaism was a parent of Christianity, and we probably know moreabout it than any other religion, excluding our own, right off the top of ourheads. The ancestors of the Jews, called the Israelites, established akingdom in Canaan-the land of Milk and Honey.
The Israelites first beganto see themselves in a special relationship with their God at about 1000B. C. E. God had selected them to be a Chosen People.
God had offered theChosen People a covenant, or special agreement. In this covenant, theIsraelites promised to worship only God, and in return God promised thempreservation throughout history and the land of Canaan. Canaan was latercalled Judah, Israel, and Palestine. Central to the understanding of the Jewish convenant is theprosperous herdsman who heard and followed God’s call, Abraham. Abraham answered God’s call and led his family from Ur of the Chaldees toCanaan. Abraham mad a son, Isaac, and a grandson Jacob who alsoinherited the convenant.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were called thepatriarchs, or the founders of Judiasm. Moses, being one of the great religious leaders in history, Godrevealed his name Yahweh to him. Yahweh means ?to be? in Hebrew. Theevents recorded in Exodus indicate that through Moses a new and deeperunderstanding of God was revealed. The worship of Yahweh was unknownbefore Moses. The Israelites as a whole began to realize that the God ofMoses was a very ?jealous God,? who would not tolerate worship of anyother god.
As the book of Exodus opens, we find that the Israelites are slaves inthe land of Egypt. Exodus became the heart and soul of Judaism. Mosesis the key character in Exodus and one of great religious leaders in history. The Exodus story is one that is very touching. The persecution of the Jews in the 1930’s was horrible and will beremembered forever. After being crushed in the economic disaster in theGreat Depression and being totally defeated in WWI, the time was perfectfor Hitler to take anti-Semitism, or hatred for Jews-to a whole differentlevel.
Jews all over became victims of Hitler’s awful laws such as those inPoland, Europe, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. It was an awfultime for the Jewish people and in camps all over Germany and Poland Jewswere being murdered by starvation, disease, beating, mutilation, infection,gassing, and burning. Six million Jews, or about one-third of the entireJewish population of the world was completely wiped out. Only fiftythousand Jews remained after the war.
The faith of the Jewish people wastested greatly during the Holocaust. The vivid living faith of the Jewish people is shown through theirmant festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Besides the Sabbathobservance, the Jewish year is filled with yearly festivals. They are allbased on the Jewish lunal calendar. Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish newyear, which is celebrated in October, opens ten ?Days of Awe?.
There is acelebration at the beginning and end of the two days. Yom Kippur is the?Day of Atonement?. It is considered the most holy day of the year and isthe closest to repentance. Five days after Yom Kippur, the Feast ofTabernacles, or Sukkoth, is celebrated. This is a week long feast in the fallcelebrating God’s presence when the Israelites were in the desert. TheRejoicing of the Torah closes the Sukkoth.
Hanukkah is the Festival ofLights and is celebrated in December. It commemorates the restoration ofthe Temple after it was destroyed by the Syrians. Purin celebrates Esther’ssuccess to find a plot to massacre all Jews in the Persian Empire. One ofthe most important spring holy days is Pesach, or the Passover. There aremany special foods associated with this holiday, especially those served atthe seder (ceremonial meal).
Fifty days after the Seder, the feast of thePentecost which remembers the giving of the Law of Moses fifty days afterthe Passover. The Jewish calendar year is filled with many feasts andspecial ceremonies. There are three branches of Judaism. Orthodox Judaism is theoldest and largest of the three branches.
It has the full tradition ofJudaism. It calls itself the ?Torah-True Judaism? because of its strictadherence to the law of Moses. This stance seems to influence and shapetis approach to theology. The second branch of Judaism is Reform. TheReform branch is extremely liberal and call their houses of worship?temples? and have begun to ordain female rabbis. They believe that theMosaic law should not be followed to closely.
The reform Jews still onlybelieve in one God. The last branch of Judaism is the conservative branchwhich lies in the middle of the Orthodox and the reform branches. Theyretain the essentials of Judaism and hold that personal conscience mustbe the final rule of life, and the always try to apply the Jewish tradition tomodern day life. Sometimes the conservative Jews are often timesprofessionals in the arts. Sorry this paper is longer than 500 words Miss. Bolen!! Religion Essays