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February 10, 2014
 Objectives: Students will be able to
explain the main beliefs of Judaism and
 Question: Who founded Confucianism?
 Agenda: Notes/worksheet on Shinto and
 Worldwide: 14,551,000 Jews
– US: 5.6 million
– Asia: 4.5 million
– Europe: 2.4 million
 Many different groups/divisions of
Judaism that exist
– Conflicting beliefs about observances, etc.
Importance of History
*The basis of the Jewish religion is its history. It is
the most important aspect.
– demonstrated through the celebration of life cycle
events in people’s lives
– holiday celebrations commemorate historic events
 The key event is the Exodus from Egypt
(recorded Book of Exodus)
– Many important aspects of observances are linked to
this event
Judaism as a Race
 Judaism is an ethnic religion
 Began as a religion of an extended family, a tribe
of peoples known as the Hebrews
 Jewish people today continue to think of
themselves as a family, a nation of peoples, as
well as a religion
Sacred Texts
 The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh
– Known by Christians as "Old Testament“
– contains the same books as the Christian version but in a
different order after the first five
 Considered revealed and inspired by God
– Interpretation of early history of the Hebrew people,
establishment of a nation
– Story of God’s interaction with His "Chosen People" (His-Story)
– Foundation of Jewish life
 Called the Bible
– (Biblia) means "little books“
– Actually a library of 39 independent books divided into 3
The 3 Categories
1. Torah
 Most important text
 Divine instruction and guidance or "Written Law”
 Books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
 Covers history from creation through the Exodus and
wandering in the desert
 613 commandments from God
2. Prophets: Words and revelations of the minor
and major prophets
Ezekiel, Isaiah, Amos, Jonah, etc.
3. Writings: poetic and devotional material written
and used during the same time as the Prophets,
words and works of the sages
Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, etc.
 The Talmud
– Oral tradition passed to Moses and beyond
– Finally written down in the 2nd century
– Contains info on rituals, marriages,
agricultural laws, festivals, etc.
The “Name” of God
 Written by Hebrew consonants YHVH
– Means “I am”
 Jews do not have a personal name for God
– Christians and others have Anglicized it to Yahweh or
– Written by Orthodox Jews as G-d
 God referred to as:
– Adonai (The Lord)
A Few Main Beliefs
 Jews do not believe in
"original sin" (no need for
a "savior" in the Christian
 The Ten Commandments
– first 4 have to do with our
relationship with God
– Next 6 refer to our
relationship with other
Problem for Humans
 Rebellion against God
and consequential
– Adam and Eve
 Who is the Messiah?
– Has not arrived yet to
usher in a new age
– He is expected
Life after Death
 Emphasis on good life on earth more than
good afterlife
 References in Psalms to heaven and hell
– Influenced by Zoroastrians?
– Lack specific descriptions of life beyond death
 Jewish calendar based on lunar month
 Sabbath/Shabbat
– Observed each week
– Sundown on Fridaysundown on Saturday
 Rosh Hashanah
– New year
– Begins the Days of Awe
– Concentrate on prayer, contemplation, self-searching
 Yom Kippur
– 10th day (of awe)
– Holiest day observed
– Repentance: 24 hours of atonement and fasting
 Chanukkah
– Celebrated
rededication of
Jerusalem temple in
164 BCE (after
destruction by Greeks)
– Sacred oil lasted 8
days for celebration
– Minor festival
 Most important holiday
 Marks deliverance form slavery in Egypt
under Moses’ leadership
 Sacred meal: seder
– Unleavened bread (matzah)
 Boys: 13+1 day, girls 12+1 day
– Bar Mitzvah means “son of the commandment”
 Commands from God
– No immediate reward
– Obedience rewards in afterlife