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"Judaica (clockwise from top): "Shabbat candlesticks, "handwashing cup, "Chumash and "Tanakh, "Torah "pointer, "shofar and "etrog box

Judaism (originally from "Hebrew יהודה‬, Yehudah, ""Judah";[1][2] via "Latin and "Greek) is an ancient, "monotheistic, "Abrahamic religion with the "Torah as its foundational text.[3] It encompasses the "religion, "philosophy and "culture of the "Jewish people.[4] Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the "covenant that "God established with the "Children of Israel.[5] Judaism includes a wide corpus of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization. The Torah is part of the larger text known as the "Tanakh or the "Hebrew Bible, and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the "Midrash and the "Talmud. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide,[6] Judaism is "the tenth largest religion in the world.

Within Judaism there are a variety of movements, most of which emerged from "Rabbinic Judaism, which holds that God revealed his laws and "commandments to "Moses on "Mount Sinai in the form of both the "Written and "Oral Torah.[7] Historically, this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the "Sadducees and "Hellenistic Judaism during the "Second Temple period; the "Karaites and "Sabbateans during the early and later medieval period;[8] and among segments of the modern non-Orthodox denominations. Modern branches of Judaism such as "Humanistic Judaism may be "nontheistic.[9] Today, the largest "Jewish religious movements are "Orthodox Judaism ("Haredi Judaism and "Modern Orthodox Judaism), "Conservative Judaism and "Reform Judaism. Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to "Jewish law, the authority of the "Rabbinic tradition, and the significance of the "State of Israel.[10] Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more "traditional" interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism. A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews.[11][12] Historically, "special courts enforced Jewish law; today, these courts still exist but the practice of Judaism is mostly voluntary.[13] Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and "rabbis and scholars who interpret them.[14]

The "history of Judaism spans more than 3,000 years.[15] Judaism has its roots as a structured religion in the "Middle East during the "Bronze Age.[16] Judaism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions.[17][18] The "Hebrews and "Israelites were already referred to as "Jews" in later books of the Tanakh such as the "Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title "Children of Israel".[19] Judaism's texts, traditions and values strongly influenced later "Abrahamic religions, including "Christianity, "Islam and the "Baha'i Faith.[20][21] Many aspects of Judaism have also directly or indirectly influenced secular Western "ethics and civil law.[22]["page needed] "Hebraism is just as important a factor in the development of "Western civilization as Hellenism, and Judaism, as the mother religion of "Christianity, has considerably shaped Western ideals and morality since the Christian Era.[23]

Jews are an "ethnoreligious group[24] and include those born Jewish and "converts to Judaism. In 2015, the "world Jewish population was estimated at about 14.3 million, or roughly 0.2% of the total world population.[25] About 43% of all Jews reside in "Israel and another 43% reside in the United States and Canada, with most of the remainder living in Europe, and other minority groups spread throughout South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.[25]


Defining characteristics and principles of faith[edit]

Defining characteristics[edit]

Glass platter inscribed with the Hebrew word zokhreinu – (god) remember us
A 19th-century silver "Macedonian Hanukkah menorah

Unlike other ancient Near Eastern gods, the Hebrew God is portrayed as unitary and solitary; consequently, the Hebrew God's principal relationships are not with other gods, but with the world, and more specifically, with the people he created.[26]["page needed] Judaism thus begins with ethical monotheism: the belief that God is one and is concerned with the actions of mankind.[27] According to the "Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), God promised "Abraham to make of his offspring a great nation.[28] Many generations later, he commanded the nation of "Israel to love and worship only one God; that is, the Jewish nation is to reciprocate God's concern for the world.[29] He also commanded the Jewish people to love one another; that is, Jews are to imitate God's love for people.[30] These commandments are but two of a large corpus of "commandments and "laws that constitute this "covenant, which is the substance of Judaism.

Thus, although there is an esoteric tradition in Judaism ("Kabbalah), Rabbinic scholar "Max Kadushin has characterized normative Judaism as "normal mysticism", because it involves everyday personal experiences of God through ways or modes that are common to all Jews.[31] This is played out through the observance of the "Halakha (Jewish law) and given verbal expression in the "Birkat Ha-Mizvot, the short blessings that are spoken every time a positive commandment is to be fulfilled.

The ordinary, familiar, everyday things and occurrences we have, constitute occasions for the experience of God. Such things as one's daily sustenance, the very day itself, are felt as manifestations of God's loving-kindness, calling for the Berakhot. Kedushah, holiness, which is nothing else than the imitation of God, is concerned with daily conduct, with being gracious and merciful, with keeping oneself from defilement by idolatry, adultery, and the shedding of blood. The Birkat Ha-Mitzwot evokes the consciousness of holiness at a rabbinic rite, but the objects employed in the majority of these rites are non-holy and of general character, while the several holy objects are "non-theurgic. And not only do ordinary things and occurrences bring with them the experience of God. Everything that happens to a man evokes that experience, evil as well as good, for a Berakah is said also at evil tidings. Hence, although the experience of God is like none other, the occasions for experiencing Him, for having a consciousness of Him, are manifold, even if we consider only those that call for Berakot.[32]

Whereas "Jewish philosophers often debate whether God is "immanent or "transcendent, and whether people have free will or their lives are determined, "Halakha is a system through which any Jew acts to bring God into the world.

Ethical monotheism is central in all sacred or normative texts of Judaism. However, monotheism has not always been followed in practice. The Jewish Bible ("Tanakh) records and repeatedly condemns the widespread worship of other gods in "ancient Israel.[33] In the Greco-Roman era, many different interpretations of monotheism existed in Judaism, including the interpretations that gave rise to Christianity.[34]

Moreover, some have argued that Judaism is a non-creedal religion that does not require one to believe in God.["citation needed] For some, observance of Jewish law is more important than belief in God per se.[35] In modern times, some liberal Jewish movements do not accept the existence of a personified deity active in history.[36][37] The debate about whether one can speak of authentic or normative Judaism is not only a debate among religious Jews but also among historians.[38]

Core tenets[edit]

13 Principles of Faith:
  1. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the Creator and Guide of everything that has been created; He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.
  2. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is One, and that there is no unity in any manner like His, and that He alone is our God, who was, and is, and will be.
  3. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, has no body, and that He is free from all the properties of matter, and that there can be no (physical) comparison to Him whatsoever.
  4. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the first and the last.
  5. I believe with perfect faith that to the Creator, Blessed be His Name, and to Him alone, it is right to pray, and that it is not right to pray to any being besides Him.
  6. I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.
  7. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses our teacher, "peace be upon him, was true, and that he was the chief of the prophets, both those who preceded him and those who followed him.
  8. I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that is now in our possession is the same that was given to Moses our teacher, peace be upon him.
  9. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be exchanged, and that there will never be any other Torah from the Creator, Blessed be His Name.
  10. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, knows all the deeds of human beings and all their thoughts, as it is written, "Who fashioned the hearts of them all, Who comprehends all their actions" ("Psalms 33:15).
  11. I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, rewards those who keep His commandments and punishes those that transgress them.
  12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the "Messiah; and even though he may tarry, nonetheless, I wait every day for his coming.
  13. I believe with perfect faith that there will be a revival of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator, Blessed be His name, and His mention shall be exalted for ever and ever.


Scholars throughout "Jewish history have proposed numerous formulations of Judaism's core tenets, all of which have met with criticism.[39] The most popular formulation is "Maimonides' "thirteen principles of faith, developed in the 12th century. According to Maimonides, any Jew who rejects even one of these principles would be considered an apostate and a heretic.[40][41] Jewish scholars have held points of view diverging in various ways from Maimonides' principles.[42][43]

In Maimonides' time, his list of tenets was criticized by "Hasdai Crescas and "Joseph Albo. Albo and "the Raavad argued that Maimonides' principles contained too many items that, while true, were not fundamentals of the faith.

Along these lines, the ancient historian "Josephus emphasized practices and observances rather than religious beliefs, associating "apostasy with a failure to observe Jewish law and maintaining that the requirements for conversion to Judaism included "circumcision and adherence to traditional customs. Maimonides' principles were largely ignored over the next few centuries.[44] Later, two poetic restatements of these principles (""Ani Ma'amin" and ""Yigdal") became integrated into many Jewish liturgies,[45] leading to their eventual near-universal acceptance.[46][47]

In modern times, Judaism lacks a centralized authority that would dictate an exact religious dogma.[14][48] Because of this, many different variations on the basic beliefs are considered within the scope of Judaism.[42] Even so, all "Jewish religious movements are, to a greater or lesser extent, based on the principles of the "Hebrew Bible and various commentaries such as the "Talmud and "Midrash. Judaism also 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.[42][49][50][51][52] In the "Mishnah, a core text of "Rabbinic Judaism, acceptance of the Divine origins of this covenant is considered an essential aspect of Judaism and those who reject the Covenant forfeit their share in the "World to Come.[53]

Establishing the core tenets of Judaism in the modern era is even more difficult, given the number and diversity of the contemporary "Jewish denominations. Even if to restrict the problem to the most influential intellectual trends of the nineteenth and twentieth century, the matter remains complicated. Thus for instance, "Joseph Soloveitchik's (associated with the "Modern Orthodox movement) 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. "Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of the "Reconstructionist Judaism, abandons the idea of religion for the sake of identifying Judaism with "civilization and by means of the latter term and secular translation of the core ideas, he tries to embrace as many Jewish denominations as possible. 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. 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.[54]

Jewish religious texts[edit]

The following is a basic, structured list of the central works of Jewish practice and thought.

Many traditional Jewish texts are available online in various "Torah databases (electronic versions of the Traditional Jewish Bookshelf). Many of these have advanced search options available.

Jewish legal literature[edit]

The basis of Jewish law and tradition (halakha) is the "Torah (also known as the "Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses). According to rabbinic tradition, there are "613 commandments in the Torah. Some of these laws are directed only to men or to women, some only to the ancient priestly groups, the "Kohanim and "Leviyim (members of the tribe of "Levi), some only to farmers within the "Land of Israel. Many laws were only applicable when the "Temple in Jerusalem existed, and only 369 of these commandments are still applicable today.[56]

While there have been Jewish groups whose beliefs were based on the written text of the Torah alone (e.g., the "Sadducees, and the "Karaites), most Jews believe in the "oral law. 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.

According to Rabbinical Jewish tradition, God gave both the Written Law (the "Torah) and the "Oral law to Moses on "Mount Sinai. The Oral law is the oral tradition as relayed by God to Moses and from him, transmitted and taught to the sages ("rabbinic leaders) of each subsequent generation.

For centuries, the Torah appeared only as a written text transmitted in parallel with the oral tradition. Fearing that the oral teachings might be forgotten, Rabbi "Judah haNasi undertook the mission of consolidating the various opinions into one body of law which became known as the Mishnah.[57]

The Mishnah consists of 63 tractates codifying Jewish law, which are the basis of the Talmud. According to "Abraham ben David, the "Mishnah was compiled by Rabbi "Judah haNasi after the destruction of Jerusalem, in "anno mundi 3949, which corresponds to 189 CE.[58]

Over the next four centuries, the Mishnah underwent discussion and debate in both of the world's major Jewish communities (in Israel and "Babylonia). The commentaries from each of these communities were eventually compiled into the two "Talmuds, the Jerusalem Talmud (Talmud Yerushalmi) and the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli). These have been further expounded by commentaries of various Torah scholars during the ages.

In the text of the Torah, many words are left undefined and many procedures are mentioned without explanation or instructions. Such phenomena are sometimes offered to validate the viewpoint that the Written Law has always been transmitted with a parallel oral tradition, illustrating the assumption that the reader is already familiar with the details from other, i.e., oral, sources.[59]

Halakha, the rabbinic Jewish way of life, then, is based on a combined reading of the Torah, and the oral tradition—the Mishnah, the halakhic "Midrash, the Talmud and its commentaries. The Halakha has developed slowly, through a precedent-based system. The literature of questions to rabbis, and their considered answers, is referred to as "responsa (in "Hebrew, Sheelot U-Teshuvot.) Over time, as practices develop, codes of Jewish law are written that are based on the responsa; the most important code, the "Shulchan Aruch, largely determines Orthodox religious practice today.

Jewish philosophy[edit]

Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. Major Jewish philosophers include "Solomon ibn Gabirol, "Saadia Gaon, "Judah Halevi, "Maimonides, and "Gersonides. Major changes occurred in response to the "Enlightenment (late 18th to early 19th century) leading to the post-Enlightenment Jewish philosophers. Modern Jewish philosophy consists of both Orthodox and non-Orthodox oriented philosophy. Notable among Orthodox Jewish philosophers are "Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, "Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and "Yitzchok Hutner. Well-known non-Orthodox Jewish philosophers include "Martin Buber, "Franz Rosenzweig, "Mordecai Kaplan, "Abraham Joshua Heschel, "Will Herberg, and "Emmanuel Lévinas.

Rabbinic hermeneutics[edit]

13 Principles of Hermeneutics:
  1. A law that operates under certain conditions will surely be operative in other situations where the same conditions are present in a more acute form
  2. A law operating in one situation will also be operative in another situation if the text characterizes both situations in identical terms.
  3. A law that clearly expresses the purpose it was meant to serve will also apply to other situations where the identical purpose may be served.
  4. When a general rule is followed by illustrative particulars, only those particulars are to be embraced by it.
  5. A law that begins with specifying particular cases, and then proceeds to an all-embracing generalization, is to be applied to particulars cases not specified but logically falling into the same generalization.
  6. A law that begins with a generalization as to its intended applications, then continues with the specification of particular cases, and then concludes with a restatement of the generalization, can be applied only to the particular cases specified.
  7. The rules about a generalization being followed or preceded by specifying particulars (rules 4 and 5) will not apply if it is apparent that the specification of the particular cases or the statement of the generalization is meant purely for achieving a greater clarity of language.
  8. A particular case already covered in a generalization that is nevertheless treated separately suggests that the same particularized treatment be applied to all other cases which are covered in that generalization.
  9. A penalty specified for a general category of wrongdoing is not to be automatically applied to a particular case that is withdrawn from the general rule to be specifically prohibited, but without any mention of the penalty.
  10. A general prohibition followed by a specified penalty may be followed by a particular case, normally included in the generalization, with a modification in the penalty, either toward easing it or making it more severe.
  11. A case logically falling into a general law but treated separately remains outside the provisions of the general law except in those instances where it is specifically included in them.
  12. Obscurities in Biblical texts may be cleared up from the immediate context or from subsequently occurring passages
  13. Contradictions in Biblical passages may be removed through the mediation of other passages.

—"R. Ishmael[60]

"Orthodox and many other "Jews do not believe that the revealed "Torah consists solely of its written contents, but of its interpretations as well. The study of "Torah (in its widest sense, to include both poetry, narrative, and law, and both the "Hebrew Bible and the "Talmud) is in Judaism itself a sacred act of central importance. For the sages of the "Mishnah and "Talmud, and for their successors today, the study of Torah was therefore not merely a means to learn the contents of God's revelation, but an end in itself. According to the "Talmud,

These are the things for which a person enjoys the dividends in this world while the principal remains for the person to enjoy in the world to come; they are: honoring parents, loving deeds of kindness, and making peace between one person and another. But the study of the Torah is equal to them all. (Talmud Shabbat 127a).

In Judaism, "the study of "Torah can be a means of experiencing God".[61] Reflecting on the contribution of the "Amoraim and "Tanaim to contemporary Judaism, Professor Jacob Neusner observed:

The rabbi's logical and rational inquiry is not mere logic-chopping. It is a most serious and substantive effort to locate in trivialities the fundamental principles of the revealed will of God to guide and sanctify the most specific and concrete actions in the workaday world .... Here is the mystery of Talmudic Judaism: the alien and remote conviction that the intellect is an instrument not of unbelief and desacralization but of sanctification."[62]

To study the Written Torah and the Oral Torah in light of each other is thus also to study how to study the word of God.

In the study of Torah, the sages formulated and followed various "logical and "hermeneutical principles. According to David Stern, all Rabbinic hermeneutics rest on two basic axioms:

first, the belief in the omni-significance of Scripture, in the meaningfulness of its every word, letter, even (according to one famous report) scribal flourish; second, the claim of the essential unity of Scripture as the expression of the single divine will.[63]

These two principles make possible a great variety of interpretations. According to the Talmud,

A single verse has several meanings, but no two verses hold the same meaning. It was taught in the school of R. Ishmael: 'Behold, My word is like fire—declares the Lord—and like a hammer that shatters rock' (Jer 23:29). Just as this hammer produces many sparks (when it strikes the rock), so a single verse has several meanings." (Talmud Sanhedrin 34a).

Observant Jews thus view the Torah as dynamic, because it contains within it a host of interpretations[64]

According to Rabbinic tradition, all valid interpretations of the "written Torah were revealed to Moses at Sinai in "oral form, and handed down from teacher to pupil (The oral revelation is in effect coextensive with the Talmud itself). When different rabbis forwarded conflicting interpretations, they sometimes appealed to hermeneutic principles to legitimize their arguments; some rabbis claim that these principles were themselves revealed by God to Moses at Sinai.[65]

Thus, "Hillel called attention to seven commonly used hermeneutical principles in the interpretation of laws ("baraita at the beginning of "Sifra); "R. Ishmael, thirteen (baraita at the beginning of Sifra; this collection is largely an amplification of that of Hillel).[66] "Eliezer b. Jose ha-Gelili listed 32, largely used for the exegesis of narrative elements of Torah. All the hermeneutic rules scattered through the "Talmudim and "Midrashim have been collected by "Malbim in Ayyelet ha-Shachar, the introduction to his commentary on the "Sifra. Nevertheless, R. Ishmael's 13 principles are perhaps the ones most widely known; they constitute an important, and one of Judaism's earliest, contributions to "logic, "hermeneutics, and "jurisprudence.[67] "Judah Hadassi incorporated Ishmael's principles into "Karaite Judaism in the 12th century.[68] Today R. Ishmael's 13 principles are incorporated into the Jewish prayer book to be read by observant Jews on a daily basis.[69][70][71][72]

Jewish identity[edit]

Origin of the term "Judaism"[edit]

A "mezuzah case

The term "Judaism" derives from Iudaismus, a Latinized form of the Ancient Greek "Ioudaismos (Ἰουδαϊσμός) (from the verb ἰουδαΐζειν, "to side with or imitate the [Judeans]"),[73] and it was ultimately inspired by the "Hebrew יהודה, Yehudah, ""Judah";[74][75] in Hebrew: יַהֲדוּת, Yahadut. The term Ἰουδαϊσμός first appears in the "Hellenistic Greek book of "2 Maccabees in the 2nd century BCE. In the context of the age and period it meant "seeking or forming part of a cultural entity"[76] and it resembled its antonym "hellenismos, a word that signified a people's submission to "Hellenic ("Greek) cultural norms. The conflict between iudaismos and hellenismos lay behind the "Maccabean revolt and hence the invention of the term iudaismos.[76]

"Shaye J. D. Cohen writes in his book The Beginnings of Jewishness:

We are tempted, of course, to translate [Ioudaïsmós] as "Judaism," but this translation is too narrow, because in this first occurrence of the term, Ioudaïsmós has not yet been reduced to the designation of a religion. It means rather "the aggregate of all those characteristics that makes Judaeans Judaean (or Jews Jewish)." Among these characteristics, to be sure, are practices and beliefs that we would today call "religious," but these practices and beliefs are not the sole content of the term. Thus Ioudaïsmós should be translated not as "Judaism" but as Judaeanness.[77]

The earliest instance in Europe where the term was used to mean "the profession or practice of the Jewish religion; the religious system or polity of the Jews"["citation needed] is Robert Fabyan's The newe cronycles of Englande and of Fraunce a 1513. "Judaism" as a direct translation of the Latin Iudaismus first occurred in a 1611 English translation of the "apocrypha ("Deuterocanon in "Catholic and "Eastern Orthodoxy), 2 Macc. ii. 21: "Those that behaved themselves manfully to their honour for Iudaisme."[78]

Distinction between Jews as a people and Judaism[edit]

According to "Daniel Boyarin, the underlying distinction between religion and ethnicity is foreign to Judaism itself, and is one form of the dualism between spirit and flesh that has its origin in "Platonic philosophy and that permeated "Hellenistic Judaism.[79] Consequently, in his view, Judaism does not fit easily into conventional Western categories, such as religion, ethnicity, or culture. Boyarin suggests that this in part reflects the fact that much of Judaism's more than 3,000-year history predates the rise of Western culture and occurred outside the West (that is, Europe, particularly medieval and modern Europe). During this time, Jews experienced slavery, anarchic and theocratic self-government, conquest, occupation, and exile. In the Diaspora, they were in contact with, and influenced by, ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenic cultures, as well as modern movements such as the Enlightenment (see "Haskalah) and the rise of nationalism, which would bear fruit in the form of a Jewish state in their ancient homeland, the "Land of Israel. They also saw an elite population convert to Judaism (the "Khazars), only to disappear as the centers of power in the lands once occupied by that elite fell to the people of Rus and then the Mongols.["citation needed] Thus, Boyarin has argued that "Jewishness disrupts the very categories of identity, because it is not national, not genealogical, not religious, but all of these, in dialectical tension."[80]

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

Who is a Jew?[edit]

According to "Rabbinic Judaism, a Jew is anyone who was either born of a Jewish mother or who "converted to Judaism in accordance with Jewish Law. "Reconstructionist Judaism and the larger denominations of worldwide "Progressive Judaism (also known as Liberal or Reform Judaism) accept the child as Jewish if one of the parents is Jewish, if the parents raise the child with a Jewish identity, but not the smaller regional branches.["clarification needed] All mainstream forms of Judaism today are open to sincere converts, although conversion has traditionally been discouraged since the time of the Talmud. The conversion process is evaluated by an authority, and the convert is examined on his or her sincerity and knowledge.[81] Converts are called "ben Abraham" or "bat Abraham", (son or daughter of Abraham). Conversions have on occasion been overturned. In 2008, Israel's highest religious court invalidated the conversion of 40,000 Jews, mostly from Russian immigrant families, even though they had been approved by an Orthodox rabbi.[82]

Rabbinical Judaism maintains that a Jew, whether by birth or conversion, is a Jew forever. Thus a Jew who claims to be an atheist or converts to another religion is still considered by traditional Judaism to be Jewish. According to some sources, the Reform movement has maintained that a Jew who has converted to another religion is no longer a Jew,[83][84] and the Israeli Government has also taken that stance after Supreme Court cases and statutes.[85] However, the Reform movement has indicated that this is not so cut and dried, and different situations call for consideration and differing actions. For example, Jews who have converted under duress may be permitted to return to Judaism "without any action on their part but their desire to rejoin the Jewish community" and "A proselyte who has become an apostate remains, nevertheless, a Jew".[86]

"Karaite Judaism believes that Jewish identity can only be transmitted by patrilineal descent. Although a minority of modern Karaites believe that Jewish identity requires that both parents be Jewish, and not only the father. They argue that only patrilineal descent can transmit Jewish identity on the grounds that all descent in the Torah went according to the male line.[87]

The question of what determines Jewish identity in the State of Israel was given new impetus when, in the 1950s, "David Ben-Gurion requested opinions on mihu Yehudi ("Who is a Jew") from Jewish religious authorities and intellectuals worldwide in order to settle citizenship questions. This is still not settled, and occasionally resurfaces in "Israeli politics.

Historical definitions of "Jewish identity have traditionally been based on "halakhic definitions of matrilineal descent, and halakhic conversions. Historical definitions of who is a Jew date back to the codification of the "Oral Torah into the "Babylonian Talmud, around 200 "CE. Interpretations of sections of the Tanakh, such as "Deuteronomy 7:1–5, by Jewish sages, are used as a warning against "intermarriage between Jews and "Canaanites because "[the non-Jewish husband] will cause your child to turn away from Me and they will worship the gods (i.e., idols) of others." Leviticus 24:10 says that the son in a marriage between a Hebrew woman and an "Egyptian man is "of the community of Israel." This is complemented by Ezra 10:2–3, where Israelites returning from Babylon vow to put aside their "gentile wives and their children.[88][89] A popular theory is that the rape of Jewish women in captivity brought about the law of Jewish identity being inherited through the maternal line, although scholars challenge this theory citing the Talmudic establishment of the law from the pre-exile period.[90][91] Since the anti-religious "Haskalah movement of the late 18th and 19th centuries, halakhic interpretations of Jewish identity have been challenged.[92]

Jewish demographics[edit]

The total number of Jews worldwide is difficult to assess because the definition of "who is a Jew" is problematic; not all Jews identify themselves as Jewish, and some who identify as Jewish are not considered so by other Jews. According to the Jewish Year Book (1901), the global Jewish population in 1900 was around 11 million. The latest available data is from the World Jewish Population Survey of 2002 and the Jewish Year Calendar (2005). In 2002, according to the Jewish Population Survey, there were 13.3 million Jews around the world. The Jewish Year Calendar cites 14.6 million. Jewish population growth is currently near zero percent, with 0.3% growth from 2000 to 2001.

Jewish religious movements[edit]

Rabbinic Judaism[edit]

Rabbinic Judaism (or in some Christian traditions, Rabbinism) (Hebrew: "Yahadut Rabanit" – יהדות רבנית) has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the "Talmud. It is characterised by the belief that the "Written Torah (Written Law) cannot be correctly interpreted without reference to the "Oral Torah and the voluminous literature specifying what behavior is sanctioned by the "Law.

The "Jewish Enlightenment of the late 18th century resulted in the division of "Ashkenazi (Western) Jewry into religious movements or denominations, especially in North America and Anglophone countries. The main denominations today outside Israel (where the situation is rather different) are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform.

A "Reform synagogue with mixed seating and equal participation of men and women

Jewish movements in Israel[edit]

Most Jewish Israelis classify themselves as "secular" (hiloni), ""traditional" (masorti), "religious" (dati) or "Haredi. The term "secular" is more popular as a self-description among Israeli families of western (European) origin, whose Jewish identity may be a very powerful force in their lives, but who see it as largely independent of traditional religious belief and practice. This portion of the population largely ignores organized religious life, be it of the official Israeli rabbinate (Orthodox) or of the liberal movements common to diaspora Judaism (Reform, Conservative).

The term "traditional" (masorti) is most common as a self-description among Israeli families of "eastern" origin (i.e., the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa). This term, as commonly used, has nothing to do with the "Conservative Judaism, which also names itself "Masorti" outside North America. There is a great deal of ambiguity in the ways "secular" and "traditional" are used in Israel: they often overlap, and they cover an extremely wide range in terms of worldview and practical religious observance. The term "Orthodox" is not popular in Israeli discourse, although the percentage of Jews who come under that category is far greater than in the "diaspora. What would be called "Orthodox" in the diaspora includes what is commonly called dati (religious) or haredi (ultra-Orthodox) in Israel. The former term includes what is called ""Religious Zionism" or the "National Religious" community, as well as what has become known over the past decade or so as haredi-leumi ("nationalist haredi), or "Hardal", which combines a largely haredi lifestyle with nationalist ideology. (Some people, in "Yiddish, also refer to observant Orthodox Jews as frum, as opposed to frei (more liberal Jews)).

Haredi applies to a populace that can be roughly divided into three separate groups along both ethnic and ideological lines: (1) "Lithuanian" (non-hasidic) haredim of "Ashkenazic origin; (2) Hasidic haredim of Ashkenazic origin; and (3) "Sephardic haredim.

Karaites and Samaritans[edit]

"Karaite Judaism defines itself as the remnants of the non-Rabbinic Jewish sects of the "Second Temple period, such as the "Sadducees. The Karaites ("Scripturalists") accept only the Hebrew Bible and what they view as the "Peshat ("simple" meaning); they do not accept non-biblical writings as authoritative. Some European Karaites do not see themselves as part of the Jewish community at all, although most do.

The "Samaritans, a very small community located entirely around "Mount Gerizim in the "Nablus/"Shechem region of the "West Bank and in "Holon, near "Tel Aviv in Israel, regard themselves as the descendants of the Israelites of the Iron Age "kingdom of Israel. Their religious practices are based on the literal text of the written "Torah (Five Books of Moses), which they view as the only authoritative scripture (with a special regard also for the "Samaritan Book of Joshua).

Jewish observances[edit]

Jewish ethics[edit]

Jewish ethics may be guided by "halakhic traditions, by other moral principles, or by central Jewish virtues. Jewish ethical practice is typically understood to be marked by values such as justice, truth, peace, loving-kindness ("chesed), compassion, humility, and self-respect. Specific Jewish ethical practices include practices of charity ("tzedakah) and refraining from negative speech ("lashon hara). Proper ethical practices regarding sexuality and many other issues are subjects of dispute among Jews.


A Yemenite Jew at morning prayers, wearing a "kippah skullcap, prayer shawl and "tefillin

Traditionally, Jews recite prayers three times daily, "Shacharit, "Mincha, and "Ma'ariv with a fourth prayer, "Mussaf added on "Shabbat and "holidays. At the heart of each service is the "Amidah or Shemoneh Esrei. Another key prayer in many services is the declaration of faith, the "Shema Yisrael (or Shema). The Shema is the recitation of a verse from the Torah ("Deuteronomy 6:4): Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad—"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God! The Lord is One!"

Most of the prayers in a traditional Jewish service can be recited in solitary prayer, although communal prayer is preferred. Communal prayer requires a "quorum of ten adult Jews, called a "minyan. In nearly all Orthodox and a few Conservative circles, only male Jews are counted toward a minyan; most Conservative Jews and members of other Jewish denominations count female Jews as well.

In addition to prayer services, observant traditional Jews recite "prayers and benedictions throughout the day when "performing various acts. Prayers are recited upon "waking up in the morning, before eating or drinking different foods, "after eating a meal, and so on.

The approach to prayer varies among the Jewish denominations. Differences can include the texts of prayers, the frequency of prayer, the number of prayers recited at various religious events, the use of musical instruments and choral music, and whether prayers are recited in the traditional liturgical languages or the vernacular. In general, Orthodox and Conservative congregations adhere most closely to tradition, and Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues are more likely to incorporate translations and contemporary writings in their services. Also, in most Conservative synagogues, and all Reform and Reconstructionist congregations, women participate in prayer services on an "equal basis with men, including roles traditionally filled only by men, such as "reading from the Torah. In addition, many Reform temples use musical accompaniment such as organs and mixed choirs.

Religious clothing[edit]

A "kippah (Hebrew: כִּפָּה, plural kippot; Yiddish: יאַרמלקע, yarmulke) is a slightly rounded brimless skullcap worn by many Jews while praying, eating, reciting blessings, or studying Jewish religious texts, and at all times by some Jewish men. In Orthodox communities, only men wear kippot; in non-Orthodox communities, some women also wear kippot. Kippot range in size from a small round beanie that covers only the back of the head to a large, snug cap that covers the whole crown.

"Tzitzit (Hebrew: צִיציִת) ("Ashkenazi pronunciation: tzitzis) are special knotted "fringes" or "tassels" found on the four corners of the "tallit (Hebrew: טַלִּית) (Ashkenazi pronunciation: tallis), or prayer "shawl. The tallit is worn by Jewish men and some Jewish women during the prayer service. Customs vary regarding when a Jew begins wearing a tallit. In the Sephardi community, boys wear a tallit from bar mitzvah age. In some Ashkenazi communities, it is customary to wear one only after marriage. A tallit katan (small tallit) is a fringed garment worn under the clothing throughout the day. In some Orthodox circles, the fringes are allowed to hang freely outside the clothing.

"Tefillin (Hebrew: תְפִלִּין), known in English as phylacteries (from the Greek word φυλακτήριον, meaning safeguard or amulet), are two square leather boxes containing biblical verses, attached to the forehead and wound around the left arm by leather straps. They are worn during weekday morning prayer by observant Jewish men and some Jewish women.[95]

A "kittel (Yiddish: קיטל), a white knee-length overgarment, is worn by prayer leaders and some observant traditional Jews on the "High Holidays. It is traditional for the head of the household to wear a kittel at the Passover seder in some communities, and some grooms wear one under the wedding canopy. Jewish males are buried in a tallit and sometimes also a kittel which are part of the "tachrichim (burial garments).

Jewish holidays[edit]

Jewish holidays are special days in the Jewish calendar, which celebrate moments in Jewish history, as well as central themes in the relationship between God and the world, such as "creation, "revelation, and "redemption.


Two braided Shabbat "challahs placed under an embroidered "challah cover at the start of the Shabbat meal

"Shabbat, the weekly day of rest lasting from shortly before sundown on Friday night to nightfall on Saturday night, commemorates God's day of rest after six days of creation.[96] It plays a pivotal role in Jewish practice and is governed by a large corpus of religious law. At sundown on Friday, the woman of the house welcomes the Shabbat by lighting two or more candles and reciting a blessing. The evening meal begins with the Kiddush, a blessing recited aloud over a cup of wine, and the Mohtzi, a blessing recited over the bread. It is customary to have "challah, two braided loaves of bread, on the table. During Shabbat, Jews are forbidden to engage in any activity that falls under "39 categories of melakhah, translated literally as "work". In fact the activities banned on the Sabbath are not "work" in the usual sense: They include such actions as lighting a fire, writing, using money and carrying in the public domain. The prohibition of lighting a fire has been extended in the modern era to driving a car, which involves burning fuel and using electricity.

Three pilgrimage festivals[edit]

Some "sukkot in Jerusalem

Jewish holy days (chaggim), celebrate landmark events in Jewish history, such as the Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah, and sometimes mark the change of seasons and transitions in the agricultural cycle. The three major festivals, Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot, are called "regalim" (derived from the Hebrew word "regel", or foot). On the three regalim, it was customary for the Israelites to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices in the Temple.

High Holy Days[edit]


The High Holidays (Yamim Noraim or "Days of Awe") revolve around judgment and forgiveness.


Purim street scene in Jerusalem
"Torah reading, France, 1860 "Museum of Jewish Art and History

"Purim ("Hebrew: ""About this sound פורים  Pûrîm ""lots") is a joyous Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the "Persian Jews from the plot of the evil "Haman, who sought to "exterminate them, as recorded in the biblical "Book of Esther. It is characterized by public recitation of the Book of Esther, mutual gifts of food and drink, "charity to the poor, and a celebratory meal (Esther 9:22). Other customs include drinking wine, eating special pastries called "hamantashen, dressing up in masks and costumes, and organizing carnivals and parties.

Purim has celebrated annually on the 14th of the Hebrew month of "Adar, which occurs in February or March of the Gregorian calendar.


"Hanukkah ("Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎, "dedication") also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday that starts on the 25th day of "Kislev ("Hebrew calendar). The festival is observed in Jewish homes by the kindling of lights on each of the festival's eight nights, one on the first night, two on the second night and so on.

The holiday was called Hanukkah (meaning "dedication") because it marks the re-dedication of the Temple after its desecration by "Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Spiritually, Hanukkah commemorates the "Miracle of the Oil". According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication of the "Temple in Jerusalem following the victory of the "Maccabees over the "Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated "oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days – which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate new oil.

Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Bible and was never considered a major holiday in Judaism, but it has become much more visible and widely celebrated in modern times, mainly because it falls around the same time as Christmas and has national Jewish overtones that have been emphasized since the establishment of the State of Israel.

Fast days[edit]

"Tisha B'Av ("Hebrew: תשעה באב‎ or ט׳ באב, "the Ninth of "Av") is a day of mourning and fasting commemorating the destruction of the "First and "Second Temples, and in later times, the "expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

There are three more minor Jewish fast days that commemorate various stages of the destruction of the Temples. They are the "17th Tamuz, the "10th of Tevet and "Tzom Gedaliah (the 3rd of Tishrei).

Israeli holidays[edit]

The modern holidays of "Yom Ha-shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), "Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) and "Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) commemorate the horrors of the "Holocaust, the fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terrorism, and Israeli independence, respectively.

There are some who prefer to commemorate those who were killed in the Holocaust on the "10th of Tevet.

Torah readings[edit]

The core of festival and "Shabbat prayer services is the public reading of the "Torah, along with connected readings from the other books of the "Tanakh, called "Haftarah. Over the course of a year, the whole Torah is read, with the cycle starting over in the autumn, on "Simchat Torah.

Synagogues and religious buildings[edit]

Interior of the "Belz Great Synagogue in Jerusalem.

Synagogues are Jewish houses of prayer and study. They usually contain separate rooms for prayer (the main sanctuary), smaller rooms for study, and often an area for community or educational use. There is no set blueprint for synagogues and the architectural shapes and interior designs of synagogues vary greatly. The Reform movement mostly refer to their synagogues as temples. Some traditional features of a synagogue are:

In addition to synagogues, other buildings of significance in Judaism include "yeshivas, or institutions of Jewish learning, and "mikvahs, which are ritual baths.

Dietary laws: kashrut[edit]

The Jewish dietary laws are known as "kashrut. Food prepared in accordance with them is termed "kosher, and food that is not kosher is also known as treifah or treif. People who observe these laws are colloquially said to be "keeping kosher".[97]

Many of the laws apply to animal-based foods. For example, in order to be considered kosher, "mammals must have split "hooves and "chew their cud. The "pig is arguably the most well-known example of a non-kosher animal.[98] Although it has split hooves, it does not chew its cud.[99] For "seafood to be kosher, the animal must have "fins and "scales. Certain types of seafood, such as "shellfish, "crustaceans, and "eels, are therefore considered non-kosher. Concerning birds, a list of non-kosher species is given in the "Torah. The exact "translations of many of the species have not survived, and some non-kosher birds' identities are no longer certain. However, "traditions exist about the kashrut status of a few birds. For example, both "chickens and "turkeys are permitted in most communities. Other types of animals, such as "amphibians, "reptiles, and most "insects, are prohibited altogether.[97]

In addition to the requirement that the species be considered kosher, meat and poultry (but not fish) must come from a healthy animal slaughtered in a process known as "shechitah. Without the proper "slaughtering practices even an otherwise kosher animal will be rendered treif. The slaughtering process is intended to be quick and relatively painless to the animal. Forbidden parts of animals include the "blood, some "fats, and the area in and around the "sciatic nerve.[97]

Jewish law also forbids the consumption of meat and dairy products together. The waiting period between eating meat and eating dairy varies by the order in which they are consumed and by community, and can extend for up to six hours. Based on the Biblical injunction against cooking a kid in its mother's milk, this rule is mostly derived from the "Oral Torah, the "Talmud and "Rabbinic law.[97] Chicken and other kosher birds are considered the same as meat under the laws of kashrut, but the prohibition is Rabbinic, not Biblical.[100]

The use of "dishes, serving utensils, and "ovens may make food treif that would otherwise be kosher. Utensils that have been used to prepare non-kosher food, or dishes that have held meat and are now used for dairy products, render the food treif under certain conditions.[97]

Furthermore, all "Orthodox and some "Conservative authorities forbid the consumption of processed "grape products made by non-Jews, due to ancient "pagan practices of using wine in rituals.[97] Some Conservative authorities permit wine and grape juice made without rabbinic supervision.[101]

The "Torah does not give specific reasons for most of the laws of kashrut.[97] However, a number of explanations have been offered, including maintaining ritual purity, teaching impulse control, encouraging obedience to God, improving health, reducing "cruelty to animals and preserving the distinctness of the Jewish community.[102] The various categories of dietary laws may have developed for different reasons, and some may exist for multiple reasons. For example, people are forbidden from consuming the blood of birds and mammals because, according to the Torah, this is where animal souls are contained.[103] In contrast, the Torah forbids Israelites from eating non-kosher species because "they are unclean".[104] The "Kabbalah describes sparks of holiness that are released by the act of eating kosher foods, but are too tightly bound in non-kosher foods to be released by eating.[105]

Survival concerns supersede all the laws of kashrut, as they do for most "halakhot.[106][107]

Laws of ritual purity[edit]

A silver matchbox holder for ritual use on "Shabbat with inscription in "Hebrew

The "Tanakh describes circumstances in which a person who is tahor or ritually pure may become tamei or ritually impure. Some of these circumstances are contact with human "corpses or "graves, seminal flux, vaginal flux, "menstruation, and contact with people who have become impure from any of these.[108][109] In Rabbinic Judaism, "Kohanim, members of the hereditary "caste that served as "priests in the time of the Temple, are mostly restricted from entering grave sites and touching dead bodies.[110] During the Temple period, such priests ("Kohanim) were required to eat their bread offering ("Terumah) in a state of ritual purity, which laws eventually led to more rigid laws being enacted, such as "hand-washing which became a requisite of all Jews before consuming ordinary bread.

Family purity[edit]

18th-century circumcision chair "Museum of Jewish Art and History

An important subcategory of the ritual purity laws relates to the segregation of menstruating "women. These laws are also known as "niddah, literally "separation", or family purity. Vital aspects of halakha for traditionally observant Jews, they are not usually followed by Jews in liberal denominations.[111]

Especially in "Orthodox Judaism, the Biblical laws are augmented by Rabbinical injunctions. For example, the "Torah mandates that a woman in her normal menstrual period must abstain from "sexual intercourse for seven days. A woman whose menstruation is prolonged must continue to abstain for seven more days after bleeding has stopped.[108] The Rabbis conflated ordinary niddah with this extended menstrual period, known in the Torah as "zavah, and mandated that a woman may not have sexual intercourse with her "husband from the time she begins her "menstrual flow until seven days after it ends. In addition, "Rabbinical law forbids the "husband from touching or sharing a bed with his wife during this period. Afterwards, purification can occur in a ritual bath called a "mikveh.[111]

Traditional "Ethiopian Jews keep menstruating women in separate "huts and, similar to "Karaite practice, do not allow menstruating women into their "temples because of a temple's special sanctity. Emigration to "Israel and the influence of other Jewish denominations have led to Ethiopian Jews adopting more normative Jewish practices.[112][113]

Life-cycle events[edit]

Life-cycle events, or "rites of passage, occur throughout a Jew's life that serves to strengthen Jewish identity and bind him/her to the entire community.

Community leadership[edit]

Classical priesthood[edit]

Jewish students with their teacher in "Samarkand, "Uzbekistan c. 1910.

The 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. The priesthood is an inherited position, and although priests no longer have any but ceremonial duties, they are still honored in many Jewish communities. Many Orthodox Jewish communities believe that they will be needed again for a future "Third Temple and need to remain in readiness for future duty.

Prayer leaders[edit]

From the time of the "Mishnah and "Talmud to the present, Judaism has required specialists or authorities for the practice of very few rituals or ceremonies. A Jew can fulfill most requirements for prayer by himself. Some activities—reading the "Torah and haftarah (a supplementary portion from the Prophets or Writings), the prayer for mourners, the blessings for bridegroom and bride, the complete grace after meals—require a "minyan, the presence of ten Jews.

The most common professional clergy in a "synagogue are:

Jewish prayer services do involve two specified roles, which are sometimes, but not always, filled by a rabbi or hazzan in many congregations. In other congregations these roles are filled on an ad-hoc basis by members of the congregation who lead portions of services on a rotating basis:

Many congregations, especially larger ones, also rely on a:

The three preceding positions are usually voluntary and considered an honor. Since the "Enlightenment large synagogues have often adopted the practice of hiring rabbis and hazzans to act as shatz and baal kriyah, and this is still typically the case in many Conservative and Reform congregations. However, in most Orthodox synagogues these positions are filled by laypeople on a rotating or ad-hoc basis. Although most congregations hire one or more Rabbis, the use of a professional hazzan is generally declining in American congregations, and the use of professionals for other offices is rarer still.

Specialized religious roles[edit]



Scenes from the "Book of Esther decorate the "Dura-Europos synagogue dating from 244 CE

At its core, the Tanakh is an account of the "Israelites' relationship with "God from their earliest history until the building of the "Second Temple (c. 535 BCE). "Abraham is hailed as the first "Hebrew and the father of the Jewish people. As a reward for his act of faith in one God, he was promised that "Isaac, his second son, would inherit the "Land of Israel (then called "Canaan). Later, the descendants of Isaac's son "Jacob were enslaved in "Egypt, and God commanded "Moses to lead "the Exodus from Egypt. At "Mount Sinai, they received the "Torah—the five books of Moses. These books, together with "Nevi'im and "Ketuvim are known as Torah Shebikhtav as opposed to the "Oral Torah, which refers to the Mishnah and the Talmud. Eventually, God led them to the "land of Israel where the "tabernacle was planted in the city of "Shiloh for over 300 years to rally the nation against attacking enemies. As time went on, the spiritual level of the nation declined to the point that God allowed the "Philistines to capture the tabernacle. The people of Israel then told "Samuel the "prophet that they needed to be governed by a permanent king, and Samuel appointed "Saul to be their King. When the people pressured Saul into going against a command conveyed to him by Samuel, God told Samuel to appoint "David in his stead.

The "Western Wall in "Jerusalem is a remnant of the wall encircling the "Second Temple. The "Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism.

Once King David was established, he told the prophet "Nathan that he would like to build a permanent temple, and as a reward for his actions, God promised David that he would allow his son, "Solomon, to build the "First Temple and the throne would never depart from his children.

Rabbinic tradition holds that the details and interpretation of the law, which are called the "Oral Torah or "oral law, were originally an unwritten tradition based upon what God told Moses on Mount Sinai. However, as the persecutions of the Jews increased and the details were in danger of being forgotten, these oral laws were recorded by "Rabbi "Judah HaNasi (Judah the Prince) in the "Mishnah, redacted circa 200 CE. The "Talmud was a compilation of both the Mishnah and the "Gemara, rabbinic commentaries redacted over the next three centuries. The Gemara originated in two major centers of Jewish scholarship, "Palestine and "Babylonia.[114] Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the "Jerusalem Talmud. It was compiled sometime during the 4th century in "Palestine.[114] The Babylonian Talmud was compiled from discussions in the houses of study by the scholars "Ravina I, "Ravina II, and "Rav Ashi by 500 CE, although it continued to be edited later.

Some critical scholars oppose the view that the sacred texts, including the "Hebrew Bible, were divinely inspired. Many of these scholars accept the general principles of the "documentary hypothesis and suggest that the "Torah consists of inconsistent texts edited together in a way that calls attention to divergent accounts.[115]["page needed][116][117] Many suggest that during the First Temple period, the people of Israel believed that each nation had its own god, but that their god was superior to other gods.[118]["page needed][119]["page needed] Some suggest that strict monotheism developed during the Babylonian Exile, perhaps in reaction to "Zoroastrian dualism.[120] In this view, it was only by the "Hellenic period that most Jews came to believe that their god was the only god and that the notion of a clearly bounded Jewish nation identical with the Jewish religion formed.[121]

"John Day argues that the origins of biblical "Yahweh, "El, "Asherah, and "Ba'al, may be rooted in earlier "Canaanite religion, which was centered on a pantheon of gods much like the "Greek pantheon.[122]


According to the "Hebrew Bible, the "United Monarchy was established under "Saul and continued under "King David and "Solomon with its capital in "Jerusalem. After Solomon's reign, the nation split into two kingdoms, the "Kingdom of Israel (in the north) and the "Kingdom of Judah (in the south). The Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the "Assyrian ruler "Sargon II in the late 8th century BCE with many people from the capital Samaria being taken captive to Media and the "Khabur River valley. The "Kingdom of Judah continued as an independent state until it was conquered by a Babylonian army in the early 6th century BCE, destroying the "First Temple that was at the center of ancient Jewish worship. The Judean elite was exiled to "Babylonia and this is regarded as the first Jewish Diaspora. Later many of them returned to their homeland after the subsequent conquest of Babylonia by the "Persians seventy years later, a period known as the "Babylonian Captivity. A new "Second Temple was constructed, and old religious practices were resumed.

During the early years of the Second Temple, the highest religious authority was a council known as the Great Assembly, led by Ezra of the Book of Ezra. Among other accomplishments of the Great Assembly, the last books of the Bible were written at this time and the canon sealed.

"Hellenistic Judaism spread to "Ptolemaic Egypt from the 3rd century BCE. After "the Great Revolt (66–73 CE), the Romans destroyed the Temple. "Hadrian built a pagan idol on the Temple grounds and prohibited circumcision; these acts of ethnocide provoked the "Bar Kokhba revolt 132–136 CE after which the Romans banned the study of the "Torah and the celebration of Jewish holidays, and forcibly removed virtually all Jews from Judea. In 200 CE, however, Jews were granted Roman citizenship and Judaism was recognized as a "religio licita ("legitimate religion") until the rise of "Gnosticism and "Early Christianity in the fourth century.

Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews, Jewish worship stopped being centrally organized around the Temple, prayer took the place of sacrifice, and worship was rebuilt around the community (represented by a minimum of ten adult men) and the establishment of the authority of rabbis who acted as teachers and leaders of individual communities (see "Jewish diaspora).

Historical Jewish groupings (to 1700)[edit]

The "Torah Ark of the Beth Jakov synagogue in "Macedonia

Around the 1st century CE, there were several small Jewish sects: the "Pharisees, "Sadducees, "Zealots, "Essenes, and "Christians. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, these sects vanished.[123] "Christianity survived, but by breaking with Judaism and "becoming a separate religion; the "Pharisees survived but in the form of "Rabbinic Judaism (today, known simply as "Judaism"). The "Sadducees rejected the "divine inspiration of the "Prophets and the "Writings, relying only on the "Torah as divinely inspired. Consequently, a number of other core tenets of the Pharisees' belief system (which became the basis for modern Judaism), were also dismissed by the Sadducees. (The "Samaritans practiced a similar religion, which is traditionally considered separate from Judaism.)

Like the Sadducees who relied only on the Torah, some Jews in the 8th and 9th centuries rejected the authority and divine inspiration of the "oral law as recorded in the "Mishnah (and developed by later rabbis in the two "Talmuds), relying instead only upon the "Tanakh. These included the Isunians, the Yudganites, the "Malikites, and others. They soon developed oral traditions of their own, which differed from the rabbinic traditions, and eventually formed the "Karaite sect. Karaites exist in small numbers today, mostly living in Israel. Rabbinical and Karaite Jews each hold that the others are Jews, but that the other faith is erroneous.

Over a long time, Jews formed distinct ethnic groups in several different geographic areas—amongst others, the "Ashkenazi Jews (of "central and "Eastern Europe), the "Sephardi Jews (of Spain, "Portugal, and "North Africa), the "Beta Israel of "Ethiopia, and the "Yemenite Jews from the southern tip of the "Arabian Peninsula. Many of these groups have developed differences in their prayers, traditions and accepted canons; however, these distinctions are mainly the result of their being formed at some cultural distance from normative (rabbinic) Judaism, rather than based on any doctrinal dispute.


"Antisemitism arose during the "Middle Ages, in the form of persecutions, "pogroms, "forced conversions, expulsions, social restrictions and "ghettoization.

This was different in quality from the repressions of Jews which had occurred in ancient times. Ancient repressions were politically motivated and Jews were treated the same as members of other ethnic groups. With the rise of the Churches, the main motive for attacks on Jews changed from politics to religion and the religious motive for such attacks was specifically derived from Christian views about Jews and Judaism.[124] During the "Middle Ages, Jewish people who lived under Muslim rule generally experienced tolerance and integration,[125] but there were occasional outbreaks of violence like "Almohad's persecutions.[126]


Hasidic Judaism was founded by "Yisroel ben Eliezer (1700–1760), also known as the Ba'al Shem Tov (or Besht). It originated in a time of persecution of the Jewish people when European Jews had turned inward to Talmud study; many felt that most expressions of Jewish life had become too "academic", and that they no longer had any emphasis on spirituality or joy. Its adherents favored small and informal gatherings called "Shtiebel, which, in contrast to a traditional synagogue, could be used both as a place of worship and for celebrations involving dancing, eating, and socializing.[127] Ba'al Shem Tov's disciples attracted many followers; they themselves established numerous Hasidic sects across Europe. Unlike other religions, which typically expanded through word of mouth or by use of print, Hasidism spread largely owing to "Tzadiks, who used their influence to encourage others to follow the movement. Hasidism appealed to many Europeans because it was easy to learn, did not require full immediate commitment, and presented a compelling spectacle.[128] Hasidic Judaism eventually became the way of life for many Jews in Eastern Europe. Waves of Jewish immigration in the 1880s carried it to the United States. The movement itself claims to be nothing new, but a refreshment of original Judaism. As some have put it: "they merely re-emphasized that which the generations had lost". Nevertheless, early on there was a serious schism between Hasidic and non-Hasidic Jews. European Jews who rejected the Hasidic movement were dubbed by the Hasidim as "Misnagdim, (lit. "opponents"). 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. Over time differences between the Hasidim and their opponents have slowly diminished and both groups are now considered part of "Haredi Judaism.

The Enlightenment and new religious movements[edit]

In the late 18th century CE, Europe was swept by a group of intellectual, social and political movements known as the "Enlightenment. The Enlightenment led to reductions in the European laws that prohibited Jews to interact with the wider secular world, thus allowing Jews access to secular education and experience. A parallel Jewish movement, "Haskalah or the "Jewish Enlightenment", began, especially in "Central Europe and "Western Europe, in response to both the Enlightenment and these new freedoms. It placed an emphasis on integration with secular society and a pursuit of non-religious knowledge through reason. With the promise of political emancipation, many Jews saw no reason to continue to observe Jewish law and increasing numbers of Jews assimilated into Christian Europe. Modern religious movements of Judaism all formed in reaction to this trend.

In "Central Europe, followed by "Great Britain and the United States, "Reform (or Liberal) 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. "Modern Orthodox Judaism developed in reaction to Reform Judaism, by leaders who argued that Jews could participate in public life as citizens equal to Christians while maintaining the observance of Jewish law. Meanwhile, in the United States, wealthy Reform Jews helped European scholars, who were Orthodox in practice but critical (and skeptical) in their study of the Bible and Talmud, to establish a seminary to train rabbis for immigrants from Eastern Europe. These left-wing Orthodox rabbis were joined by right-wing Reform rabbis who felt that Jewish law should not be entirely abandoned, to form the "Conservative movement. Orthodox Jews who opposed the Haskalah formed "Haredi Orthodox Judaism. After massive movements of Jews following "The Holocaust and the creation of "the state of Israel, these movements have competed for followers from among traditional Jews in or from other countries.

Spectrum of observance[edit]

Judaism is practised in all parts of the world, for example in a synagogue in downtown "Mumbai.

Countries such as the "United States, "Israel, "Canada, "United Kingdom, "Argentina and "South Africa contain large Jewish populations. Jewish religious practice varies widely through all levels of observance. According to the 2001 edition of the "National Jewish Population Survey, in the United States' Jewish community—the world's second largest—4.3 million Jews out of 5.1 million had some sort of connection to the religion.[129] Of that population of connected Jews, 80% participated in some sort of Jewish religious observance, but only 48% belonged to a congregation, and fewer than 16% attend regularly.[130]

Birth rates for American Jews have dropped from 2.0 to 1.7.[131] (Replacement rate is 2.1.) Intermarriage rates range from 40–50% in the US, and only about a third of children of intermarried couples are raised as Jews. Due to intermarriage and low birth rates, the Jewish population in the US shrank from 5.5 million in 1990 to 5.1 million in 2001. This is indicative of the general population trends among the Jewish community in the "Diaspora, but a focus on total population obscures growth trends in some denominations and communities, such as "Haredi Judaism. The "Baal teshuva movement is a movement of Jews who have "returned" to religion or become more observant.

Judaism and other religions[edit]

Christianity and Judaism[edit]

"Christianity was originally a sect of "Second Temple Judaism, but the two religions "diverged in the first century. The differences between Christianity and Judaism originally centered on whether Jesus was the Jewish Messiah but eventually became irreconcilable. Major differences between the two faiths include the nature of the Messiah, of "atonement and "sin, the status of God's commandments to Israel, and perhaps most significantly of the "nature of God himself. Due to these differences, Judaism traditionally regards Christianity as "Shituf or worship of the God of Israel which is not monotheistic. Christianity has traditionally regarded Judaism as obsolete with the invention of Christianity and Jews as a people replaced by the Church, though a Christian belief in "dual-covenant theology emerged as a phenomenon following Christian reflection on how their theology influenced the Nazi "Holocaust.[132]

Since the time of the "Middle Ages, the "Catholic Church upheld the "Constitution pro Judæis (Formal Statement on the Jews), which stated

We decree that no Christian shall use violence to force them to be baptized, so long as they are unwilling and refuse. ... Without the judgment of the political authority of the land, no Christian shall presume to wound them or kill them or rob them of their money or change the good customs that they have thus far enjoyed in the place where they live."[133]

Until "their emancipation in the late 18th and the 19th century, Jews in Christian lands were subject to humiliating legal restrictions and limitations. They included provisions requiring Jews to wear specific and identifying clothing such as the "Jewish hat and the "yellow badge, restricting Jews to certain cities and towns or in certain parts of towns ("ghettos), and forbidding Jews to enter certain trades (for example selling new clothes in medieval "Sweden). Disabilities also included special taxes levied on Jews, exclusion from public life, restraints on the performance of religious ceremonies, and linguistic censorship. Some countries went even further and completely expelled Jews, for example, "England in 1290 (Jews were readmitted in 1655) and "Spain in 1492 (readmitted in 1868). The first Jewish settlers in North America arrived in the Dutch colony of "New Amsterdam in 1654; they were forbidden to hold public office, open a retail shop, or establish a synagogue. When the colony was seized by the British in 1664 Jewish rights remained unchanged, but by 1671 "Asser Levy was the first Jew to serve on a jury in North America.[134] In 1791, "Revolutionary France was the first country to abolish disabilities altogether, followed by "Prussia in 1848. "Emancipation of the Jews in the United Kingdom was achieved in 1858 after an almost 30-year struggle championed by "Isaac Lyon Goldsmid[135] with the ability of Jews to sit in parliament with the passing of the "Jews Relief Act 1858. The newly united "German Empire in 1871 abolished Jewish disabilities in Germany, which were reinstated in the "Nuremberg Laws in 1935.

Jewish life in Christian lands was marked by frequent "blood libels, expulsions, "forced conversions and "massacres. An underlying source of prejudice against Jews in Europe was religious. Christian rhetoric and antipathy towards Jews developed in the "early years of Christianity and was reinforced by ever increasing anti-Jewish measures over the "ensuing centuries. The action taken by Christians against Jews included acts of violence, and murder culminating in the "Holocaust.[136]:21[137]:169[138] These attitudes were reinforced in Christian preaching, art and popular teaching for two millennia, containing contempt for Jews,[139] as well as statutes which were designed to humiliate and stigmatise Jews. The "Nazi Party was known for its "persecution of Christian Churches; many of them, such as the Protestant "Confessing Church and the Catholic Church,[140] as well as "Quakers and "Jehovah's Witnesses, aided and rescued Jews who were being targeted by the antireligious régime.[141]

The attitude of Christians and Christian Churches toward the Jewish people and Judaism, have been changed mostly positive since "World War II. Pope "John Paul II and the Catholic Church have "upheld the Church's acceptance of the continuing and permanent election of the Jewish people" as well as a "reaffirmation of the covenant between "God and the Jews.[142] In December 2015, the "Vatican released a 10,000-word document that, among other things, stated that Catholics should work with Jews to fight antisemitism.[143]

Islam and Judaism[edit]

Both Judaism and "Islam arose from the patriarch "Abraham, and they are therefore considered "Abrahamic religions. In both Jewish and "Muslim tradition, the Jewish and "Arab peoples are descended from the two sons of Abraham—"Isaac and "Ishmael, respectively. While both religions are "monotheistic and share many commonalities, they differ based on the fact that Jews do not consider "Jesus or "Muhammad to be prophets. The religions' adherents have interacted with each other since the 7th century when "Islam originated and spread in the "Arabian peninsula. Indeed, the years 712 to 1066 CE under the "Ummayad and the "Abbasid rulers have been called the "Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Non-Muslim monotheists living in these countries, including Jews, were known as "dhimmis. Dhimmis were allowed to practice their own religions and administer their own internal affairs, but they were subject to certain restrictions that were not imposed on Muslims.[144] For example, they had to pay the "jizya, a per capita tax imposed on free adult non-Muslim males,[144] and they were also forbidden to bear arms or testify in court cases involving Muslims.[145] Many of the laws regarding dhimmis were highly symbolic. For example, dhimmis in some countries were required to wear "distinctive clothing, a practice not found in either the "Qur'an or the "hadiths but invented in "early medieval "Baghdad and inconsistently enforced.[146] Jews in Muslim countries were not entirely free from persecution—for example, many were killed, exiled or forcibly converted in the 12th century, in "Persia, and by the rulers of the "Almohad dynasty in North Africa and "Al-Andalus,[147] as well as by the Zaydi imams of Yemen in the 17th century (see: "Mawza Exile). At times, Jews were also restricted in their choice of residence—in "Morocco, for example, Jews were confined to walled quarters ("mellahs) beginning in the 15th century and increasingly since the early 19th century.[148]

In the mid-20th century, Jews were expelled from nearly all of the Arab countries.[149][150][151] Most have chosen to live in "Israel. Today, antisemitic themes including "Holocaust denial have become commonplace in the propaganda of Islamic movements such as "Hizbullah and "Hamas, in the pronouncements of various agencies of the "Islamic Republic of Iran, and even in the newspapers and other publications of "Refah Partisi.[152]

Syncretic movements incorporating Judaism[edit]

There are some movements that combine elements of Judaism with those of other religions. The most well-known of these is "Messianic Judaism, a religious movement, which arose in the 1960s,[153][154][155][156] that incorporates elements of Judaism with the "tenets of Christianity.[156][157][158][159][160] The movement generally states that "Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, that he is one of the "Three Divine Persons,[161][162] and that "salvation is only achieved through acceptance of Jesus as one's savior.[163] Some members of the movement argue that Messianic Judaism is a sect of Judaism.[164] 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.[165]

Other examples of "syncretism include "Semitic neopaganism, a loosely organized sect which incorporates "pagan or "Wiccan beliefs with some Jewish religious practices; "Jewish Buddhists, another loosely organized group that incorporates elements of Asian spirituality in their faith; and some "Renewal Jews who borrow freely and openly from "Buddhism, "Sufism, "Native American religions, and other faiths.

The "Kabbalah Centre, which employs teachers from multiple religions, is a "New Age movement that claims to popularize the "kabbalah, part of the "Jewish esoteric tradition.

See also[edit]


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  122. ^ John Day Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, page 68.
  123. ^ Sara E. Karesh; Mitchell M. Hurvitz (2005). Encyclopedia of Judaism. Infobase Publishing. pp. 444–. "ISBN "978-0-8160-6982-8. The Sadducees disappeared when the second Temple was destroyed in the year 70 C.E and Pharisaic Judaism became the preeminent Jewish sect. 
  124. ^ Langmuir, Gavin (1993). History, religion, and antisemitism. University of California Press. "ISBN "0-520-07728-8. 
  125. ^ Cohen, Mark R. "The Neo-Lachrymose Conception of Jewish-Arab History." Tikkun 6.3 (1991)
  126. ^ Amira K. Bennison and María Ángeles Gallego. "Jewish Trading in Fes On The Eve of the Almohad Conquest." MEAH, sección Hebreo 56 (2007), 33–51
  127. ^ Stampfer, Shaul. How and Why Did Hasidism Spread?. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. pp. 205–207. 
  128. ^ Stampfer, Shaul. How and Why Did Hasidism Spread?. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. pp. 202–204. 
  129. ^ "National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) 2000–01". 
  130. ^ Taylor, Humphrey (15 October 2003). "While Most Americans Believe in God, Only 36% Attend a Religious Service Once a Month or More Often" (PDF). HarrisInteractive. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  131. ^ This is My Beloved, This is My Friend: A Rabbinic Letter on Intimate relations, p. 27, "Elliot N. Dorff
  132. ^ R. Kendall Soulen, The God of Israel and Christian Theology, (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996) "ISBN "978-0-8006-2883-3
  133. ^ Baskin, Judith R.; Seeskin, Kenneth (12 July 2010). The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture. Cambridge University Press. p. 120. "ISBN "9780521869607. 
  134. ^ "New Amsterdam's Jewish Crusader". "Jewish Virtual Library. 
  135. ^ "Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, 1st Baronet". "Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  136. ^ Richard Harries. After the evil: Christianity and Judaism in the shadow of the Holocaust. Oxford University Press, 2003. "ISBN "978-0-19-926313-4
  137. ^ Hans Küng. On Being a Christian. Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y., 1976 "ISBN "978-0-385-02712-0
  138. ^ Lucy Dawidowicz The War Against the Jews, 1933–1945. First published 1975; this Bantam edition 1986, p. 23. "ISBN "0-553-34532-X
  139. ^ Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. 5 May 2009. The Origins of Christian Anti-Semitism: Interview with Pieter van der Horst
  140. ^ Gill, Anton (1994). An Honourable Defeat; A History of the German Resistance to Hitler. Heinemann Mandarin. 1995 paperback "ISBN "978-0-434-29276-9; p.57
  141. ^ Gottfried, Ted (2001). Heroes of the Holocaust. Twenty-First Century Books. pp. 24–25. "ISBN "9780761317173. Retrieved 14 January 2017. Some groups that are known to have helped Jews were religious in nature. One of these was the Confessing Church, a Protestant denomination formed in May 1934, the year after Hitler became chancellor of Germany. One of its goals was to repeal the Nazi law "which required that the civil service would be purged of all those who were either Jewish or of partly Jewish descent." Another was to help those "who suffered through repressive laws, or violence." About 7,000 of the 17,000 Protestant clergy in Germany joined the Confessing Church. Much of their work has one unrecognized, but two who will never forget them are Max Krakauer and his wife. Sheltered in sixty-six houses and helped by more than eighty individuals who belonged to the Confessing Church, they owe them their lives. German Catholic churches went out of their way to protect Catholics of Jewish ancestry. More inclusive was the principled stand taken by Catholic Bishop Clemens Count von Galen of Munster. He publicly denounced the Nazi slaughter of Jews and actually succeeded in having the problem halted for a short time. ... Members of the Society of Friends—German Quakers working with organizations of Friends from other countries—were particularly successful in rescuing Jews. ... Jehovah's Witnesses, themselves targeted for concentration camps, also provided help to Jews. 
  142. ^ Wigoder, Geoffrey (1988). Jewish-Christian Relations Since the Second World War. Manchester University Press. p. 87. "ISBN "9780719026393. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  143. ^ "Vatican issues new document on Christian-Jewish dialogue". 
  144. ^ a b Lewis (1984), pp. 10, 20
  145. ^ Lewis (1984), pp. 9, 27
  146. ^ Lewis (1999), p. 131
  147. ^ Lewis (1984), pp. 17, 18, 52, 94, 95; Stillman (1979), pp. 27, 77
  148. ^ Lewis (1984), p. 28
  149. ^ "Why Jews Fled the Arab Countries". Middle East Forum. Retrieved on 28 July 2013.
  150. ^ Shumsky, Dmitry. (12 September 2012) "Recognize Jews as refugees from Arab countries". Haaretz. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  151. ^ Meir, Esther. (9 October 2012) "The truth about the expulsion". 'Haaretz. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  152. ^ Bernard Lewis (June 1998). "Muslim Anti-Semitism". Middle East Quarterly. 
  153. ^ Feher, Shoshanah. Passing over Easter: Constructing the Boundaries of Messianic Judaism, Rowman Altamira, 1998, "ISBN "978-0-7619-8953-0, p. 140. "This interest in developing a Jewish ethnic identity may not be surprising when we consider the 1960s, when Messianic Judaism arose."
  154. ^ Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. 2. "Westport, Conn: "Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 191. "ISBN "978-0-275-98714-5. "LCCN 2006022954. "OCLC 315689134. In the late 1960s and 1970s, both Jews and Christians in the United States were surprised to see the rise of a vigorous movement of Jewish Christians or Christian Jews. 
  155. ^ Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. 2. "Westport, Conn: "Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 194. "ISBN "978-0-275-98714-5. "LCCN 2006022954. "OCLC 315689134. The Rise of Messianic Judaism. In the first phase of the movement, during the early and mid-1970s, Jewish converts to Christianity established several congregations at their own initiative. Unlike the previous communities of Jewish Christians, Messianic Jewish congregations were largely independent of control from missionary societies or Christian denominations, even though they still wanted the acceptance of the larger evangelical community. 
  156. ^ a b "Melton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Infobase Publishing, 2005, "ISBN "978-0-8160-5456-5, p. 373. "Messianic Judaism is a Protestant movement that emerged in the last half of the 20th century among believers who were ethnically Jewish but had adopted an Evangelical Christian faith.... By the 1960s, a new effort to create a culturally Jewish Protestant Christianity emerged among individuals who began to call themselves Messianic Jews."
  157. ^ Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. 2. "Westport, Conn: "Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 191. "ISBN "978-0-275-98714-5. "LCCN 2006022954. "OCLC 315689134. While Christianity started in the first century of the Common Era as a Jewish group, it quickly separated from Judaism and claimed to replace it; ever since the relationship between the two traditions has often been strained. But in the twentieth century groups of young Jews claimed that they had overcome the historical differences between the two religions and amalgamated Jewish identity and customs with the Christian faith. 
  158. ^ Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. 2. "Westport, Conn: "Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 194–195. "ISBN "978-0-275-98714-5. "LCCN 2006022954. "OCLC 315689134. When the term resurfaced in Israel in the 1940s and 1950s, it designated all Jews who accepted Christianity in its Protestant evangelical form. Missionaries such as the Southern Baptist Robert Lindsey noted that for Israeli Jews, the term nozrim, "Christians" in Hebrew, meant, almost automatically, an alien, hostile religion. Because such a term made it nearly impossible to convince Jews that Christianity was their religion, missionaries sought a more neutral term, one that did not arouse negative feelings. They chose Meshichyim, Messianic, to overcome the suspicion and antagonism of the term nozrim. Meshichyim as a term also had the advantage of emphasizing messianism as a major component of the Christian evangelical belief that the missions and communities of Jewish converts to Christianity propagated. It conveyed the sense of a new, innovative religion rather that ["sic] an old, unfavorable one. The term was used in reference to those Jews who accepted Jesus as their personal savior, and did not apply to Jews accepting Roman Catholicism who in Israel have called themselves Hebrew Christians. The term Messianic Judaism was adopted in the United States in the early 1970s by those converts to evangelical Christianity who advocated a more assertive attitude on the part of converts towards their Jewish roots and heritage. 
  159. ^ "Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2000). "Messianic Jewish mission". Messianic Judaism. "London: "Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 179. "ISBN "978-0-8264-5458-4. "OCLC 42719687. Retrieved 10 August 2010. Evangelism of the Jewish people is thus at the heart of the Messianic movement. 
  160. ^ Ariel, Yaakov S. (2000). "Chapter 20: The Rise of Messianic Judaism". Evangelizing the chosen people: missions to the Jews in America, 1880–2000. "Chapel Hill: "University of North Carolina Press. p. 223. "ISBN "978-0-8078-4880-7. "OCLC 43708450. Retrieved 10 August 2010. Messianic Judaism, although it advocated the idea of an independent movement of Jewish converts, remained the offspring of the missionary movement, and the ties would never be broken. The rise of Messianic Judaism was, in many ways, a logical outcome of the ideology and rhetoric of the movement to evangelize the Jews as well as its early sponsorship of various forms of Hebrew Christian expressions. The missions have promoted the message that Jews who had embraced Christianity were not betraying their heritage or even their faith but were actually fulfilling their true Jewish selves by becoming Christians. The missions also promoted the dispensationalist idea that the Church equals the body of the true Christian believers and that Christians were defined by their acceptance of Jesus as their personal Savior and not by their affiliations with specific denominations and particular liturgies or modes of prayer. Missions had been using Jewish symbols in their buildings and literature and called their centers by Hebrew names such as Emanuel or Beth Sar Shalom. Similarly, the missions' publications featured Jewish religious symbols and practices such as the lighting of a menorah. Although missionaries to the Jews were alarmed when they first confronted the more assertive and independent movement of Messianic Judaism, it was they who were responsible for its conception and indirectly for its birth. The ideology, rhetoric, and symbols they had promoted for generations provided the background for the rise of a new movement that missionaries at first rejected as going too far but later accepted and even embraced. 
  161. ^ "What are the Standards of the UMJC?". "Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. June 1998. Archived from the original on 20 October 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 1. We believe the Bible is the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of G-d.
    2. We believe that there is one G-d, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    3. We believe in the deity of the L-RD Yeshua, the Messiah, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  162. ^ Israel b. Betzalel (2009). "Trinitarianism". JerusalemCouncil.org. Retrieved 3 July 2009. This then is who Yeshua is: He is not just a man, and as a man, he is not from Adam, but from God. He is the Word of HaShem, the Memra, the Davar, the Righteous One, he didn't become righteous, he is righteous. He is called God's Son, he is the agent of HaShem called HaShem, and he is "HaShem" who we interact with and not die. 
  163. ^ "Do I need to be Circumcised?". JerusalemCouncil.org. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2010. To convert to the Jewish sect of HaDerech, accepting Yeshua as your King is the first act after one's heart turns toward HaShem and His Torah – as one can not obey a commandment of God if they first do not love God, and we love God by following his Messiah. Without first accepting Yeshua as the King and thus obeying Him, then getting circumcised for the purpose of Jewish conversion only gains you access to the Jewish community. It means nothing when it comes to inheriting a place in the World to Come.... Getting circumcised apart from desiring to be obedient to HaShem, and apart from accepting Yeshua as your King, is nothing but a surgical procedure, or worse, could lead to you believe that Jewish identity grants you a portion in the World to Come – at which point, what good is Messiah Yeshua, the Word of HaShem to you? He would have died for nothing!... As a convert from the nations, part of your obligation in keeping the Covenant, if you are a male, is to get circumcised in fulfillment of the commandment regarding circumcision. Circumcision is not an absolute requirement of being a Covenant member (that is, being made righteous before HaShem, and thus obtaining eternal life), but it is a requirement of obedience to God's commandments, because circumcision is commanded for those who are of the seed of Abraham, whether born into the family, adopted, or converted....If after reading all of this you understand what circumcision is, and that is an act of obedience, rather than an act of gaining favor before HaShem for the purpose of receiving eternal life, then if you are male believer in Yeshua the Messiah for the redemption from death, the consequence of your sin of rebellion against Him, then pursue circumcision, and thus conversion into Judaism, as an act of obedience to the Messiah. 
  164. ^ *"Jewish Conversion – Giyur". JerusalemCouncil.org. JerusalemCouncil.org. 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2009. We recognize the desire of people from the nations to convert to Judaism, through HaDerech (The Way)(Messianic Judaism), a sect of Judaism. 
  165. ^
    Simmons, Shraga. "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus". "Aish HaTorah. Retrieved 28 July 2010. Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
    #Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies. #Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah. #Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations. #Jewish belief is based on national revelation.
    Waxman, Jonathan (2006). "Messianic Jews Are Not Jews". "United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Archived from the original on 28 June 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2007. Hebrew Christian, Jewish Christian, Jew for Jesus, Messianic Jew, Fulfilled Jew. The name may have changed over the course of time, but all of the names reflect the same phenomenon: one who asserts that s/he is straddling the theological fence between Christianity and Judaism, but in truth is firmly on the Christian side....we must affirm as did the Israeli Supreme Court in the well-known Brother Daniel case that to adopt Christianity is to have crossed the line out of the Jewish community. 
    "Missionary Impossible". "Hebrew Union College. 9 August 1999. Archived from the original on 28 September 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2007. Missionary Impossible, an imaginative video and curriculum guide for teachers, educators, and rabbis to teach Jewish youth how to recognize and respond to "Jews-for-Jesus," "Messianic Jews," and other Christian proselytizers, has been produced by six rabbinic students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Cincinnati School. The students created the video as a tool for teaching why Jewish college and high school youth and Jews in intermarried couples are primary targets of Christian missionaries. 
    "FAQ's About Jewish Renewal". Aleph.org. 2007. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2007. What is ALEPH's position on so called messianic Judaism? ALEPH has a policy of respect for other spiritual traditions, but objects to deceptive practices and will not collaborate with denominations which actively target Jews for recruitment. Our position on so-called "Messianic Judaism" is that it is Christianity and its proponents would be more honest to call it that. 


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