33 Facts About Judaism


Judaism is an Abrahamic, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people.

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Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Israelites, their ancestors.

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Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and halakha are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed.

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Term Judaism derives from Iudaismus, a Latinized form of the Ancient Greek Ioudaismos (from the verb, "to side with or imitate the [Judeans]").

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In 200 CE, however, Jews were granted Roman citizenship and Judaism was recognized as a religio licita until the rise of Gnosticism and Early Christianity in the fourth century.

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Judaism thus begins with ethical monotheism: the belief that God is one and is concerned with the actions of mankind.

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Judaism commanded the Jewish people to love one another; that is, Jews are to imitate God's love for people.

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The debate about whether one can speak of authentic or normative Judaism is not only a debate among religious Jews but among historians.

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Along these lines, the ancient historian Josephus emphasized practices and observances rather than religious beliefs, associating apostasy with a failure to observe halakha and maintaining that the requirements for conversion to Judaism included circumcision and adherence to traditional customs.

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In modern times, Judaism lacks a centralized authority that would dictate an exact religious dogma.

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Judaism universally recognizes the Biblical Covenant between God and the Patriarch Abraham as well as the additional aspects of the Covenant revealed to Moses, who is considered Judaism's greatest prophet.

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Thus for instance, Joseph Soloveitchik's answer to modernity is constituted upon the identification of Judaism with following the halakha whereas its ultimate goal is to bring the holiness down to the world.

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In turn, Solomon Schechter's Conservative Judaism was identical with the tradition understood as the interpretation of Torah, in itself being the history of the constant updates and adjustment of the Law performed by means of the creative interpretation.

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Finally, David Philipson draws the outlines of the Reform movement in Judaism by opposing it to the strict and traditional rabbinical approach and thus comes to the conclusions similar to that of the Conservative movement.

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These oral traditions were transmitted by the Pharisee school of thought of ancient Judaism and were later recorded in written form and expanded upon by the rabbis.

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In contrast to this point of view, practices such as Humanistic Judaism reject the religious aspects of Judaism, while retaining certain cultural traditions.

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All mainstream forms of Judaism today are open to sincere converts, although conversion has traditionally been discouraged since the time of the Talmud.

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Rabbinical Judaism maintains that a Jew, whether by birth or conversion, is a Jew forever.

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Karaite Judaism believes that Jewish identity can only be transmitted by patrilineal descent.

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Judaism'storical definitions of who is a Jew date back to the codification of the Oral Torah into the Babylonian Talmud, around 200 CE.

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The notion "traditional Judaism" includes the Orthodox with Conservative or solely the Orthodox Jews.

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Sephardi and Mizrahi observance of Judaism tends toward the conservative, and prayer rites are reflective of this, with the text of each rite being largely unchanged since their respective inception.

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Karaite Judaism defines itself as the remnants of the non-Rabbinic Jewish sects of the Second Temple period, such as the Sadducees.

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Role of the priesthood in Judaism has significantly diminished since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE when priests attended to the Temple and sacrifices.

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Christianity survived, but by breaking with Judaism and becoming a separate religion; the Pharisees survived but in the form of Rabbinic Judaism.

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Hasidic Judaism was founded by Yisroel ben Eliezer, known as the Ba'al Shem Tov (or Besht).

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Hasidic Judaism eventually became the way of life for many Jews in Eastern Europe.

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Some of the reasons for the rejection of Hasidic Judaism were the exuberance of Hasidic worship, its deviation from tradition in ascribing infallibility and miracles to their leaders, and the concern that it might become a messianic sect.

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In Central Europe, followed by Great Britain and the United States, Reform Judaism developed, relaxing legal obligations (especially those that limited Jewish relations with non-Jews), emulating Protestant decorum in prayer, and emphasizing the ethical values of Judaism's Prophetic tradition.

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The differences between Christianity and Judaism originally centered on whether Jesus was the Jewish Messiah but eventually became irreconcilable.

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Attitude of Christians and Christian Churches toward the Jewish people and Judaism have changed in a mostly positive direction since World War II.

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Some members of Messianic Judaism argue that it is a sect of Judaism.

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Jewish organizations of every denomination reject this, stating that Messianic Judaism is a Christian sect, because it teaches creeds which are identical to those of Pauline Christianity.

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