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Origins of Judaism
 Religion developed 3,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent
 Monotheistic (belief in one God)
 Shaped other religions like Christianity and Islam
 Shaped modern ideas about law and human rights
Early Israelites and Judaism
 Teachings and practices of Israelites became known as
Judaism, religion of Jewish people
 Beliefs:
 Monotheistic
 God created each person in God’s image
 Act based on ethics, ideas about right and wrong
 Source: Torah
 First five books of Hebrew Bible
Important People in Judaism: Abraham
 1700 B.C.E
 Lived in Ur, Mesopotamia
 God told Abraham to leave Ur and travel to Canaan, on the
Mediterranean Sea
 Covenant – binding agreement – between God and Abraham
 Canaan would become the land of Abraham’s descendants.
 Canaan known as Promised Land
Israelites – Twelve Tribes
 Patriarchs - Forefathers of Jewish people
 Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob
 Jacob had twelve sons
 Each son was the ancestor of a tribe
 Jacob was renamed Israel
 Twelve Tribes became known as Israelites
 Their stories are written down in Genesis, the first book of
the Torah
Famine in Canaan
 Famine: shortage of food
 Jacob’s family moves to Egypt (great supplies of grain) after
famine in Canaan
 Pharaoh enslaved and mistreated Israelites
 Book of Exodus
 2nd Book in Torah
 Describes the hardships of Israelites in Egypt and their escape.
 Israelite adopted by pharaoh’s family
 God appeared to him and asked him to rescue people from
 Pharaoh refused to let people out of Egypt
 God punished Egyptians
 Sickness
 Insects
 Death of Firstborn son
Moses and Israelites Leave Egypt
 Moses led Israelites to the Sinai Peninsula
 Exodus: escape of Israelites from Egypt
 Passover
 Celebration to commemorate God’s freeing them from slavery.
The Desert Experience
 Israelites lived in the desert for 40 years
 God provided instructions and ways of worship
 Faced harsh conditions and battled other peoples
 Questioned leadership of Moses and God
 Finally believed that obeying God’s commands would provide
everything they needed
The Ten Commandments
 Commandment – order to do something
 God gave Moses 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai
 Most important laws in the Torah
 Jewish people believe they have a covenant with God
Return to the Promised Land
 Joshua took leadership role after Moses died
 Israelites entered Canaan once more
 They conquered Jericho
 Then conquered other kingdoms in Canaan
 Tribes settled in different areas of Canaan
Jewish Scriptures – Hebrew Bible
 Divided into three sections
 The Torah
 The Prophets
 The Writings
The Torah (Law of Moses)
 God’s creation of the world
 Noah’s ark and the great flood
 Life of Abraham
 Covenant
 Stories of the Israelites
 Journey from Egypt to Promised Land
The Prophets
 Books by or about Jewish prophets
 Prophets: person believed to be chosen by God as a messenger
to bring truth to people
 Preachers, poets, etc.
 Told people how to relate and follow God
The Writings
 Great Hebrew literature
 Psalms: poems or songs as prayers to God
 Proverbs: wise sayings
 Books about heroes
 Chronicles: history of early Jewish people
Rabbis - Religious Teachers
 Recorded oral laws
 Discussed how laws should be interpreted
 Wrote commentaries on the laws
 Talmud: text from A.D. 600
 Collection of teachings and commentaries about Hebrew Bible
and Jewish Law
Key Teachings of Judaism
 Ethical Monotheism
 Observance of Law
 Love for Others
 Weekly day of rest (Sabbath)
 Commitment to study and prayer
 Connection to the Land of Israel
 Rightousness
 Individual Responsibility to God
 Justice