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Origins of Judaism
ancient Israelites
(Hebrews or Jews) were
nomadic people who
migrated from Mesopotamia
to Canaan (present-day
Israel & Lebanon) around
2000 BCE.
 Almost
everything we know about
the Israelites is based on the
Hebrew Bible.
 Hebrew Bible = Old Testament of
the Christian Bible.
 The first 5 books of the Hebrew
Bible are know as the Torah, which
is comprised of stories about the
ancient Israelites and descriptions
of Hebrew law.
The Israelites were the
founders of Judaism, one of
the 1 monotheistic religions.
Most other people of the time
practiced polytheistic
The Israelites believed their
God was all powerful and the
Judaism teaches that a person
serves God by studying the
Torah and living by its
 The Star of David, is the
universal symbol Judaism.
 There
are 3 major Jewish Sects:
1.Orthodox Jews – obey the
Torah without question.
2.Conservative Jews Interpret
3. Reform Jews
Torah to
make it
relevant today
Worship Practices
 Jews
worship in a synagogue or
 Usually they are built so that the
congregation faces towards
Jerusalem during worship.
 An ark, or cabinet, at the front of
the synagogue contains the scroll
of the Torah.
Worship Practices
 A lamp
called the eternal light
hangs before the ark,
symbolizing the eternal presence
of God.
 A rabbi (“teacher”) leads prayers
and reads passages of the
Hebrew Bible or Torah during the
service. He or she will also
deliver the sermon.
 Some
Jews follow strict dietary
laws based on passages from
the Hebrew Bible.
 These laws establish what is
kosher, or acceptable for Jews to
 Animals that are considered
unclean, like pigs & shellfish, are