Final for Religions of the World

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Final for Religions of the World

Category : Articles

The Religion of Judaism

Axia UOP

October 17, 2010

The Religion of Judaism

When you ask someone what they know about Judaism and they are not of the Jewish religion, what do they usually say Most people will just say they are different but really have no understanding what makes the Jewish religion different from there own. That is what I would have told you before I had begun my research on the religion of Judaism. I will be sharing my research with you throughout this paper as to the differences of the Jewish religion and how in many ways, it is very similar to all other religions.
What are the Jewish religions basic beliefs The religious beliefs start with being that there is only one god, who created and rules all. They believe that their god is all powerful, all knowing, and in all places at all times, and that he is merciful. They say and believe that everyone was created by god therefore, everyone is an image of God and that everyone is created equal. God created everyone with freewill which gives everyone the responsibility for their choices they have made. Since there religion is an ethical religion they have accepted the Ten Commandments from god at Mount Sinai.
Judaism follows the Torah which is known as the holy book for this specific religion. Torah stands for the teachings of God which is the combined body of Jewish teaching embodied in the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud . The torah teaches how to act, think and even feel about life and death. There are 613 commandments in the book of Torah but there are 13 prominent commandments that people of Judaism follow without question. Those Commandments are:
? I am the Lord your God
? You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence
? You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain
? Remember the day of Shabbat to keep it holy
? Honor your father and your mother
? You shall not commit adultery
? You shall not steal
? Do not give false testimony against your neighbor
? You shall not covet your fellow??™s possessions
There is also what they have related to Judaism as Rambam??™s thirteen principals of faith:
? God exists
? God is one and unique
? God is incorporeal
? God is eternal
? Prayer is to be directed to God alone
? The words of the prophets are true
? Moses was the greatest prophet and his prophecies are true
? The torah was given to Moses
? There will be no other Torah
? God knows the thoughts and deeds of men
? God will reward the good and punish the wicked
? The messiah will come
? The dead will be resurrected
I recently have had the pleasure of doing some research in the Agudath BNAI Israel Synagogue, located in Lorain, Ohio. This was an experience that I found quite pleasurable. There were things that I would have never imagined I would have experienced. When you first walk into the Synagogue, men and boys are to where caps on there heads called Kippahs. The men and boys wear these upon their head to recognize their God who is above us. They have a Rabbi who proceeds over the worship, even though a rabbi has no actual authority to make interpretations into the Torah. The Rabbi has been ordained to teach a certain level of education that has been defined for the community in which they have studied. The synagogues that I had attended had strong feelings for Cantorial music which dates back a very long time. It was however very difficult for me to understand most of the worship for as it was spoken in one of the official languages of Israel, known as Hebrew. There was this beautiful thing that they called a Menorah which is a ceremonial candleholder consisting of a central stem surrounded by curved branches, used in the Jewish Temple and as an emblem of Judaism. I had always thought that a Menorah had seven branches on it. When I asked the rabbi why it had 8 branches, he said that is because it is improper to exactly duplicate the Menorah. He then proceeded to tell me that there is also a Chanukah also known as Hanukkah, which is a Jewish holiday. The Chanukah is also known as the festival of lights. This holiday starts after the sunset of the first evening of the 24th day of the Hebrew month which may occur at any time from late November to late December of Kislev.
After the worship service I had the pleasure of interviewing a gentleman by the name of Joseph Scheingross. He was extremely helpful in helping me understand more about the Jewish religion and there traditions. We started out with the traditions since I had just sat through the worship service and had gotten most of that information from the Rabbi. We started with Passover, this holiday celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation. He also told me that celebrating Passover is more that just celebrating the birth of a Jewish nation it is also celebrating there freedom as Jews. We quickly moved on to Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Since Jewish people do not celebrate Christmas they celebrate Hanukkah. During Hanukkah they light the Hanukkah candles together and then eat and play games. Hanukkah food is normally oil rich in following the tradition of oil that burned for eight days. Potato pancakes he said is a Hanukkah favorite. Dreidel is a game of Hanukkah that the kids love to play. It has simple rules so that the whole family can play. During our conversation I asked about presents, he said that they used to give what they called Hanukkah gelt which is money. This tradition has changed to a gift giving tradition for many Jewish families.
We then talked about what they call Bar Mitzvah, The son of the commandment and a Bat Mitzvah for the daughter of commandment. This is when a son or daughter accepts god??™s commandments and enter into the adult Jewish community. In many Conservative and Reform synagogues, girls celebrate becoming a Bat Mitzvah at age 13, along with boys. This also coincides with physical puberty. Prior to this, the childs parents are held responsible for the childs belief of Jewish law and tradition. After this age, children bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics and are privileged to take part in all areas of the Jewish community life. All branches of Judaism view a child??™s entrance into the Jewish adulthood as a joyous occasion.
I then asked him how the Jewish religion differed from the religion of Christianity. He replied one way we differ is that Christians believe that Messiah Jesus has come and the Jewish are still waiting for the messiah to come. He said Jews live a daily life of the following law to get into heaven while Christians follow Christ. He said that the two religions are so closely related. Mr. Scheingross said that Judaism places more emphasis on actions, focusing primary questions on how to respond to the eternal covenant of God. In Christianity they say that human actions are irrelevant. Jewish people do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus where as Christians do believe in the resurrection. Also that Christians recognize Jesus as the Messiah believing that salvation to eternal life is God??™s will for all people. Jews believe that the people of all religions are children of God and are equal before god. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Many denominations believe in predestination, while other does not. Salvation is available to all people. The then said however grace is extended to all who will accept it and go would have no man perish in the Christian religion. Unfortunately diving revelation and forgiveness he said is not part of Jewish religion. He also said that Jews recite prayers three times daily with a fourth prayer added on Shabbat and holidays. Where as the Christian religion just visits the churches regularly on Sundays for a Holy mass and Bible Studies. It has been said that Jesus in the Christian eyes was a son of god, a savior of the world and the Jewish community see??™s him as a false prophet. The Jewish community has also denied the resurrection of Jesus where the Christian community has affirmed it. The Jewish community believes that with a strong belief in god and good deeds they will receive the means of salvation. The Christian community on the other hand believes that faith, good deeds, sacraments will give them the means of salvation. I have had a chance to locate a wonderful chart that gives the best breakdown between the religions that I could find. This is what it had to say,

Comparison of Religious Beliefs Comparison of Statistics to Basics
|Judaism |Christianity |Judaism |Christianity |
|strict monotheism |Trinitarian monotheism |Jews |Christians |
|one God |one God |14 million |2 billion |
|Yahweh, Elohim |Yahweh, the Holy Trinity |12th largest |largest |
|angels and demons |angels and demons |Israel, Europe, USA |Europe, North and South America, rapid |
| | | |growth in Africa |
|prophets |saints, church fathers |Bible |Bible (Jewish Bible + New Testament) |
|false prophet |Son of God, God incarnate, savior of the|Talmud, Midrash, Responsa |church fathers, church councils, papal |
| |world | |decrees (Catholic only) |
|normal birth |virgin birth |Halakhah |Canon Law |
|death by crucifixion |death by crucifixion |rabbis |priests, ministers, pastors, bishops |
|denied |affirmed |synagogue |church, chapel, cathedral |
|denied |affirmed |Saturday |Sunday |
|through Prophets, recorded in |through Prophets and Jesus (as God |separate |separate |
|Bible |Himself), recorded in Bible | | |
|views vary |inspired, some believe inerrant in | | |
| |original languages | | |
|two equal impulses, one good |”original sin” inherited from Adam – | | |
|and one bad |tendency towards evil | | |
|belief in God, good deeds |correct belief, faith, good deeds, | | |
| |sacraments (some Protestants emphasize | | |
| |faith alone) | | |
|divine revelation and |predestination, various forms of grace | | |
|forgiveness | | | |
|views vary: either heaven or |eternal heaven | | |
|no afterlife | | | |
|views vary: either eternal |eternal hell, temporary purgatory | | |
|Gehenna, reincarnation, or no |(Catholicism) | | |
|afterlife | | | |
|Islam and Christianity are |Judaism is a true religion, but with | | |
|false interpretations and |incomplete revelation. Islam is a false | | |
|extensions of Judaism. |religion. | | |

I asked Mr. Scheingross what the Jewish Star represented. He said good question and proceed with this answer. The Shield of David aka Star of David. This is also known as the Jewish star. It has six point formed by two triangles which overlap and one upside down. He said it is still not certain in the Jewish communities as to where exactly where the Magen David was first used. Mr. Scheingross said that this six pointed star has bee indentified as a decoration at the side of the Menorah which at the time was regarded as the Shield of David. He said unfortunately the infamous use of the Jewish star was used to separate Jewish people from the rest of the population during Hilter??™s reign. At this time I had to Thank Mr. Scheingross for his time and effort and his information.
I have recently realized how close the Judaism religion is to the Christianity religion. I have never taken the time to sit and attend another religions worship like I had with this research. I had found it quite pleasurable. I had done some research in the Hitler??™s reign when I got home from the interview and it was absolutely disgusting as to the persecution that Jews have been through. I have to raise my hands in applause for the Jewish community in making it through the years of persecution that they had to make it through with out breaking there faith. This project has made me wonder how many other religions out there are so closely related to that of the Christian religion and the Judaism Religion.

References:

http://www.important.ca/judaism_christanity_comparison.html
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/judaism/FAQ/05-Worship/
Agudath BNAI Israel Synagogue, located in Lorain, Ohio
Mr. Joseph Scheingross of the Jewish Religion
http://www.religionfacts.com/islam/comparison_charts/islam_judaism_christianity.htm