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Judaism and the Jewish People Section 1: The Origins of Judaism A Torah is generally seen written on a scroll. Image taken from: tlj-news.com. The Early Israelites and the Worship of One God The most important tenant of the Jewish religion is its belief in monotheism or the belief in one God. The Jewish people believe that their religious origins are found in the Torah. The Torah consist of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible Abraham and Isaac Abraham is known as the father of Judaism. Abraham is known as the starting point of the Jewish religion. God made an agreement with him, in which he agreed to move his family to Canaan. God promised him that if he did this, he, his current family, and his future family members would always own the land of Canaan. This is why Canaan is called, The Promised Land. Isaac was Abraham’s son and also a patriach of the Jewish religion. Jacob Jacob was the grandson of Abraham, who was the first patriarch of the Jewish religion. Jacob had twelve sons that started tribes, which represented the Jewish religion. Jacob’s name was eventually changed to Israel, thus the Jewish people became known as Israelites. What led to the Exodus? The Israelites went to Egypt, because there was lack of food in Canaan. The Israelites knew that grain was plentiful in Egypt, so they decided to move there. Upon their arrival into Egypt, the pharaoh allowed the Israelites to stay, but the pharaoh treated the Israelites very badly, as he compelled them to do hard work. Years of prayers finally were answered, when God went to Moses and told him to guide his people out of Egypt. Moses Moses was adopted by the pharaoh’s family. God came to Moses and told him to rescue his people by leading them out of Egypt. Moses then went to the pharaoh and asked that he lead the Israelites out of Egypt. The pharaoh refused to let them leave. As a result God sent many hardships to the people of Egypt. After the last punishment, in which the first-born son of every Egyptian was put to death, the pharaoh finally agreed to free the Israelites. Moses then led the Israelites out of Egypt. The Desert Experience According to the text, the Israelites had a difficult time living in the desert on their way back to Canaan. God gave them specific instructions, but they did not always listen to God. They soon realized that when they didn’t listen to God, bad things would happen. Eventually, they learned to listen and thus God provided food and water, which made their lives easier. Ten Commandments Image of the Ten Commandments. Image taken from: clydefossum.com. Laws for Living and the Impact of God’s Laws When Moses met God at the top of Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, along with other laws. The Ten Commandments is the most important aspect of the Torah. The Ten Commandments teach the Jewish people how to behave towards each other and God. Jewish people feel that all people are created in the image of God and thus it is duty to treat them with respect and goodwill Canaanite Art Return to the Promise Land The Israelites were questioning their faith, but after Moses received the Ten Commandments from God they resumed their journey to Canaan. After Moses died his deputy Joshua took over. He led the Israelites into Canaan and defeated city after city. After the Israelites took over Canaan, the descendants from Jacob’s sons settled in different areas of Canaan. The people living in Canaan when the Israelites invaded called themselves Canaanites. They believed in many Gods and Goddesses. This belief in more than one God was problematic to the Israelites, as they sometimes strayed away from their religion, but always came back to it. Section 2: The Teachings of Judaism This picture is of Masada, the location of the last stand of the Ancient Jewish Hebrew Bible The Jewish people are called “The People of the Book”, because they believe that scriptures or scared writings are a source of Jewish teachings. The Jewish people greatly value scholarship and writing, thus they believe that Hebrew Bible is not just a history of their ancestors, but God’s will as carried out in human events. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible consist of the Torah, which is the Jewish people’s holy book. The Prophets “The Prophet” books are about the prophets of the Jewish religion, or a person chosen by God as a messenger to bring the truth to the people. The prophets reminded people to obey God’s laws. They told people how they should relate to God, other people, and the land. The Prophet books traced the Jewish people’s history starting with Joshua. The Writings The third section of the Hebrew Bible talk about “The Writings”. The Writings include proverbs, Psalms, and the Song of Songs. The Writings portion of the Hebrew Bible also duscusses stories about Jewish heroes, such as Esther, Ruth, and Job. Importance of Law and Learning The Jewish laws are very important to the Jewish people, because it teaches them how to live their lives, how to treat others, and how to help those in need. There have been commentaries written about the Jewish laws by prominent rabbis. These commentaries describe how people should apply the laws in different scenarios. These teachings and comments were eventually written down in a book called the Talmud, which is still studied by the Jewish people today. Basic Teachings Picture is of a man touching the Western Wall. This image was taken from: Zimbo.com. Ethical Monotheism and Righteousness The most important tenant in the Jewish religion is the concept of ethical monotheism. Ethical monotheism is the belief in one God, who sets down the rules about what is right and wrong. The Jewish people believe that people were created in the image of God, thus they should treat everyone with respect and dignity. Jewish people also believe that they should fight for those who are having injustices done upon them and help those in need. Observance of Law, Love for Others, and Key Teachings The Jewish religion argues that it is an individual’s responsibility to follow the rules/laws of God. This responsibility applies to those who are leaders and those who are average people, thus having equality among all regarding laws. The Hebrew Bible argues that you should love others as you love yourself. With this said, the Jewish religion requires that its members participate in charity work and the fight for tolerance. The Sabbath is the day of rest for the Jewish people. The Sabbath is on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. The Jewish religion argues that this day should be work free day to study the Hebrew Bible and be with family. Section 3: The Jewish People This map shows the Kingdom of Israel. Image taken from: bibleresources.americanbible.org. WARRIOR JUDGES In the time of distress, judges, or leaders who were able to rally the Israelites together to defend their land, were called upon to lead the people. Judges were often prophets or warriors. The only woman judge was Deborah. Deborah was known for her ability to rally the people to fight. She is credited with inspiring an army to win a great battle. David and Solomon David was the second king of the Israelites. He was able to capture the city of Jerusalem and make it the Israel’s capital. He is believed to have been a contributor to the psalms found in the Bible. Solomon was David’s son. He became king after David died. He built the first Great Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon is known for his many wise saying sayings in the Bible’s Book of Proverbs. The Kingdom Divides and Foreigners Take Over After the death of Solomon the Kingdom of Israel divided in two. To the south the descendants of Solomon ruled the kingdom of Judah. The Kingdom of Judah lasted about 100 years, until Nebuchadnezzar conquered them, destroying the city of Jerusalem and the Great Temple. To the north, the rest of the Israelites created the kingdom if Israel. The Assyrians eventually took them over. The Assyrians were cruel leaders and thus sent the Israelites as slaves throughout the world, only some were able to escape to Judah. The Diaspora Communities of Jews living outside the ancient homeland were known as Diaspora, because they were being scattered or dispersed throughout the Fertile Crescent. The Jewish people were scattered throughout Babylon, Southwest Asia, the Persian Empire, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia. Esther was a Jewish woman, who married a Persian emperor. The emperor’s advisors planned to kill all Jewish people, but she managed to save her people by convincing her husband not to listen to his advisor. She saved thousands of Jewish people’s lives by this act. THE DIASPORA CONTINUED While away from their homelan, the Jewish people gathered at meeting places called synagogues. They often prayed, discussed the Hebrew Bible, and Scriptures. The leader of the synagogue is called a rabbi, who is a teacher of the Hebrew Bible. The Maccabees were a family living in Greece. They rebelled against their Greek rulers who tried to ban important parts of Judaism. The Jewish holiday Hanukkah is celebrated in remembrance of Maccabees victory and their reclaiming of the Jewish Temple. Legacy of Judaism The Jewish people has left a lasting impression on the people of this world. Their belief in one God has been the foundation for the monotheistic religions. Their belief in seeking justice and treating others, as you would want to be treated has become a universal way of life. Finally, their belief that every human is an individual and thus equality should be have for all is a constant in most democratic nations.