"Choose One Religion. Describe The Main Beliefs And Practices Of The Religion And Discuss ...."

5403 words - 22 pages

"Choose one religion. Describe the main beliefs and practices of the religion and discuss what might be some of the challenges facing members of that religious community seeking to practice their religion in Britain"The religion that I have chosen to investigate for the purpose of this assignment is Judaism. There has long been a strong Jewish presence in Manchester; in 1875 there was a population of 10000 Jews, (though the first synagogue opened in 1788) which rose to 35000 by 1914. This was the England's largest Jewish community outside London and consisted of Jews mostly from Eastern Europe. They came from Russia, Austria and Romania in attempts to escape popular anti Semitism and an ...view middle of the document...

Most Jewish people in the world live in Israel or the USA. The largest European Jewish community is in France. There are 285,000 Jews living in the UK. Only 85,000 of them are active in their faith, but many of the others still regard being Jewish as a vital part of their identity.Jewish beliefsJudaism is based upon the concept if a transcendent deity who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. This God is also just and merciful. To list the beliefs of any religion would be an extremely complex task, however the author of Mishnah Torah, Rambam, has been responsible for compiling every conceivable topic of Jewish law in subject matter order and providing a simple statement of thirteen principles of faith. In his own time, he was widely condemned because he claimed that the Mishnah Torah was a substitute for studying the Talmud. Rambam's thirteen principles of faith, which he thought were the minimum requirements of Jewish belief, are:1.God exists2.God is one and unique3.God is incorporeal4.God is eternal5.Prayer is to be directed to God alone and to no other6.The words of the prophets are true7.Moses' prophecies are true, and Moses was the greatest of the prophets8.The Written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral Torah (teachings now contained in the Talmud and other writings) were given to Moses9.There will be no other Torah10.God knows the thoughts and deeds of men11.God will reward the good and punish the wicked12.The Messiah will come13.The dead will be resurrectedThe words 'Judaism' and 'Jew' are derived from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, who in the Old Testament had one of the 12 tribes named after him. The religion itself is that of the ancient Hebrews and their descendants based on two principal covenants. In the "Book of Genesis" there is a covenant with God and Abraham (about 2000bc). God appears to Abraham and in a vision and promises to protect him. God promises Abraham that he will have many descendants, among whom will be kings and rulers. Furthermore this covenant promised by God is declared to be an everlasting covenant for all subsequent generations after Abraham. This covenant was marked by the act of circumcision of all males, and therefore if a male were not circumcised then he would not be part of the covenant with God.At the centre of Jewish belief is the faith in the God who took the Israelites out of their bondage in Egypt and revealed his divine teaching to them in the second important covenant and then led them to the Holy land. In Alan Unterman's chapter on Judaism in 'The New Penguin Handbook of Living Religions', (pg 22), he explains that,"The idea of God's redemptive acts in history has coloured the Jews' view of their situation since the biblical period, and proffers the hope that one day the Messiah or anointed one of god will come to usher in a messianic age where the Jews will be gathered once again to the Land of Israel." (1)This second important covenant was the renewal of the covenant with Moses,...

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