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Judaism At the outset, it is important to note that there is a distinction between the Jewish people and the religion of Judaism; not all Jewish people.

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Presentation on theme: "Judaism At the outset, it is important to note that there is a distinction between the Jewish people and the religion of Judaism; not all Jewish people."— Presentation transcript:

1 Judaism At the outset, it is important to note that there is a distinction between the Jewish people and the religion of Judaism; not all Jewish people are religious. Many profess to be atheists or agnostics. There are also Jews who are religious, yet have converted to other religions. Of the some 15 million Jewish people in the world today: around 4.5 million are in Israel some 7 million are in North America approx.1 million are in countries that were part of the former Soviet Union approx. 2 million are spread throughout European countries

2 Yes and no. Being Jewish can mean you are a part of a religious movement. However, the great majority of Jews become a part of the religious movement through birth and not due to their beliefs or actions. In this way, being Jewish is like being a citizen of a religious movement. A Jewish identity is automatically bestowed on the babies of Jewish mothers. And this identity stays with them throughout life no matter what they believe or how they act. A person who was born to a Jewish mother or has gone through the conversion process is considered a Jew even if he or she does not believe in Judaism and does not observe Jewish practices. Thus, there are non-religious Jews or secular Jews. A person who was not born to a Jewish mother or has not gone through the conversion process is not considered a Jew even if he or she believes in Judaism and observes Jewish practices. Thus, the conversion process is a very meaningful because it is the only way for a non-Jew to become Jewish. Is “Jewish” a Religious or Ethnic Identity?

3 Moses was the greatest prophet, leader and teacher that Judaism has ever known. In fact, one of the primary Principles of Faith is the belief that Moses‘ prophecies are true, and that he was the greatest of the prophets. He is called "Moshe Rabbeinu," that is, Moses, Our Teacher/Rabbi. Interestingly, the numerical value of "Moshe Rabbeinu" is 613: the number of mitzvot that Moses taught the Children of Israel! He is described as the only person who ever knew God face-to-face (Deut. 34:10) and spoke directly to God (Num. 12:8); that is, God spoke to Moses directly, in plain language, not through visions and dreams, as God communicated with other prophets. The story Moses is so central to the Jewish faith because of his leadership in the Hebrew exodus from Egypt, his founding of the nation of Israel, and his role as the person receiving the law of the Jewish people (the Ten Commandments & the Torah). Moses

4 Deed – Not Creed Judaism is a religion that focuses on the importance of the actions of the righteous, rather than justification found in faith. The “correct actions” for a Jew are spelled out in the Torah. Whether one is an Orthodox, Reform, or Conservative Jew, the unifying belief is that the goal of all humanity is to live in such a way as to perpetuate the betterment of self and of society, therefore affirming one’s standing before God’s standard. If there is any one religious principle that all Jews explicitly affirm and teach, it is the unity and singularity of God as He is revealed though the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”) This – the Sh’ma as it is called – is the cornerstone of all Jewish belief. The Jewish life is one of duty and deed; it is what you do to improve the here and now that matters – the idea of “storing up treasure for heaven” is unknown to the Jew. Jews believe that they are born in grace, live in grace, and that they will die in grace (sin is not a fact of birth, it is a matter of choice).

5 What’s the Purpose Then? Tikun Olam : “Fixing the World” – the Jewish believer is engaged in the literal process of fixing a broken world. This is the ultimate purpose of every Jewish believers life. Through the observance of the law, the Jew will contribute to the restoration of the nation of Israel, preparing the way for the Messiah to come and take his place in God’s kingdom on earth: “Judaism is a faith that believes in the renewal and change of the human being. Change is hard and arduous, but possible. We can remake ourselves because more than anything else, what we are is a product of our own choice and our own work.” Rabbi David Wolpe Olam Ha-Ba : “The World to Come” – Jews believe that there is a world to come in which the Messiah will reign, a world in which the Jewish temple will be rebuilt and the nation of Israel will be fully restored, instituting a world order of justice and compassion.

6 The Daily Life of a Jew Mizvot: the 613 “do’s and don’ts” regarding the daily life of a Jew – none of the Mizvot deal with beliefs, each of them deal specifically with a particular action. “Some look at the teachings of the Mizvot and deduce that Jews are trying to earn their way into Heaven by observing rules. This is a gross mischaracterization of the Jewish religion. It is important to remember that unlike other religions, Judaism isn’t focused on the question of how to get into Heaven. Judaism rather, is focused on our life on earth and how to best live that life. Non-Jews frequently ask me, ‘do you think that you will go to Hell if you don’t do such-and-such?’ – to which I always respond that the question of where I’m going after death simply doesn’t enter into the equation when I think about observing the Mizvot. We perform the Mizvot because it is our privilege and our sacred obligation to do so…we perform them out of a sense of love and duty to our Creator, not out of a desire to get something in return.” Rabbi Izakson

7 The “Branches” of Judaism Reform Conservative Orthodox Orthodox Jews are the oldest, most conservative, and most diverse group of religious Jews. Modern Orthodox, hasidism and Ultra Orthodox share a basic belief in the derivation of Jewish law, even as they hold very different outlooks on life. They attempt to follow the original form of Judaism as they view it to be presented in the Torah. They look upon every word in their sacred texts as being divinely inspired. Reform Jews are a liberal group, comprised of mostly North American Jews, although the movement started in the 1790's in Germany. They follow the ethical laws of Judaism, but leave up to the individual the decision whether to follow or ignore the dietary and other traditional laws. They use modern forms of worship. There are many female rabbis in reform congregations. Often this group is referred to as practicing “contemporary Judaism.” Conservative Judaism began in the mid-nineteenth century as a reaction against the Reform movement. It is a main-line movement midway between Reform and Orthodox. Some of the more “obscure” or “ancient” traditions are not observed, however the goal is to avoid changing the religion to simply conform to cultural norms.

8 The Messiah? Jews believe that the Messianic prophecies are not fulfilled in Christ… 1) Build the third temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).  Gather all Jews back to the land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).  Usher in an era of world peace, ending hatred, oppression, suffering and disease (Isaiah 2:4).  Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel – uniting the entire human race as one (Zechariah 14:9). 5) Jews believe that the Messiah will be a prophet, and because prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of the world Jewery, Jesus was not a prophet (during the time of Ezra – circa 300 B.C. – this time the majority of Jews refused to move from Babylon to Israel, thus ending the line of prophets with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).

9 Messiah cont.  He must be descended on his father’s side from King David (Genesis 49:10 & Isaiah 11:1). Of course, according to the Christian tradition Jesus was born of a virgin, and therefore the Jewish believer holds that Christ could not possibly have fulfilled this messianic requirement. 7) The Messiah will lead the Jewish people into full Torah observance. Deuteronomy 13:1-4, states that all mitzvahs (laws) remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet…(see Jesus’ words on this in John 1:45, 9:16, & Acts 3:22, 7:37).

10 The Jewish Life Kosher – In determining whether a recipe you want to post is kosher, bear in mind the basic concepts of kosher food: no mixing of dairy and meat; no pork or pork products; no shell fish. This also applies to food products containing such ingredients. For example, a food coloring made from a shell fish would be considered unkosher and would taint the food in which it might be used. Similarly, using, e.g., an animal fat together with dairy ingredients renders the product unkosher and taints even the implements used in making it. If a recipe is not in keeping with these basic requirements, consider whether substitutions can be made to adjust it (e.g., substituting margarine for butter in a meat recipe). If you are unsure of how to make such substitutions, post the recipe and ask for suggestions as how to do so. Bar/Bat Mitzvah (“son/daughter of the commandment”) – Under Jewish Law, children are not obligated to observe the commandments, although they are encouraged to do so as much as possible to learn the obligations they will have as adults. At the age of 13 (12 for girls), children become obligated to observe the commandments. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony formally marks the assumption of that obligation, along with the corresponding right to take part in leading religious services, to count in a minyan (the minimum number of people needed to perform certain parts of religious services), to form binding contracts, to testify before religious courts and to marry. Although a Jewish girl or Jewish boy automatically becomes a Bar Mitzvah upon reaching the ages of 12 & 13 years, technically no ceremony is needed to confer these rights and obligations. The popular ceremonies are not required, and do not fulfill any commandment. It is a relatively modern innovation, not mentioned in the Talmud, and the elaborate ceremonies and receptions that are commonplace today were unheard of as recently as a century ago.

11 Significant Jewish “Holy” Days Shabbat – The Sabbath (or Shabbat, as it is called in Hebrew) is one of the best known and least understood of all Jewish observances. It is primarily a day of rest and spiritual enrichment. Shabbat is the most important ritual observance in Judaism. It is the only ritual observance instituted in the Ten Commandments. It is also the most important special day, even more important than Yom Kippur. The word "Shabbat" means to cease, to end, or to rest. People who do not observe Shabbat think of it as a day filled with stifling restrictions, or simply as a day of prayer; yet, to those who observe Shabbat, it is a precious gift from God, a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when we can set aside all of our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to spiritual pursuits. The following are forbidden on the Sabbath: Sowing, plowing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, selecting, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking, shearing wool, washing wool, beating wool, dyeing wool, spinning, weaving, making two loops, weaving two threads, separating two threads, tying, untying, sewing two stitches, tearing, trapping, slaughtering, flaying, salting meat, curing hide, scraping hide, cutting hide up, writing two letters, erasing two letters, building, tearing a building down, extinguishing a fire, kindling a fire, hitting with a hammer, taking an object from the private domain to the public, or transporting an object in the public domain. Also prohibited are travel, the use of electricity, buying and selling of goods or services, and other weekday tasks that would interfere with the spirit of Shabbat.

12 “Holy” Days cont. Yom Kippur – Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year – sins between man and God. On Yom Kippur, the judgments of God are entered into “the books” and then sealed. This day is, essentially, the last appeal, the last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate repentance and make amends. Rosh Hashanah – In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the Jewish year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game. There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions." Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. Passover – Passover is the time when each Jew embarks on a personal journey from slavery to freedom. Much like God delivered the Hebrew people from their enslavement in Egypt (“passing over” their firstborn, further convincing Pharaoh to free the Hebrews). In order to guide Jews in their quest, their Sages carefully wrote an outline of 15 steps to freedom. It's called the Haggadah. The Sages say that Passover occurs on the 15th of Nissan (the Jewish month), to teach us that just as the moon waxes for 15 days, so too our growth must be in 15 gradual steps. Think of these as 15 pieces of the Passover puzzle. Assemble them all and you've got freedom!

13 The Wailing Wall

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