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JUDAISM From Moses to Einstein, Judaism has produced some of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known. Even today, in spite of near destruction, the influence of Jews is out of proportion to their numbers. However, defining Judaism can be problematic. Jews will often describe Judaism as being "not so much a religion, more a way of life." Another complicating factor these days is that many Jews are not "Jewish" in any religious sense of the word. You are Jewish regardless of "Judaism" as long as you are born a Jew. Religious belief is just one ingredient in the makeup of a Jew. So what is Judaism, and who is a Jew? Some information follows in order to help answer this question. Jewish history has shaped Jewish religion. From the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC until the State of Israel- was set up in 1948, wherever Jews lived they were continually under foreign rule. Throughout this time Jews have been constantly persecuted, culminating in an attempt to completely eradicate Jews from the planet by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The Torah is the first five book of the Hebrew bible, written (apparently) by Moses. God was revealed to the whole of humankind through the encounter Moses had on Mount Sinai, where God gave him the IO Commandments. The Torah is viewed as God's wiil, the source of all wisdom, offering guidance on the nature of ultimate reality. * The covenantal relationship to God lies at the very heart of Jewish consciousness. God has chosen (elected) the Jewish people. Basically , this relationship consists of an agreement between God and the people which promises, ''l will be your God if you will be my people." The whole spiritual centre of Judaism stems from the historical encounter between the people and God . The ultimate goal of life is the keeping of God's teachings in order to uphold this agreement. Belief and action are bound together in Judaism. Judaism is an intensely practical religion and it can be quite a challenge to realise that religion can infuse every aspect of life from the moment of waking. For Jews, their whole day, their weeks, months and years. their food and dress, their ethical standards and family life are defined by their religious commitment. Practice is more important than belief. The whole of the Torah is concerned with behaviour. All aspects of life are covered by this teaching, not merely those that tend to be classed as "religious" in today's world.