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Different Forms Of Judaism Essay

1477 words - 6 pages

For this assignment, I interviewed a man named Sam Goldenhersh. He practices Judaism. There are different forms of Judaism. They are Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. Sam is an Orthodox Jew. He is married and has four children, and one on the way, making him a caregiver. He is also a Rabbi for his faith.
When I asked Sam what the core beliefs of Judaism are, he immediately mentioned the Torah, which is composed of the first five books of the Bible. He said the Torah is God’s spoken word written down by Moses, and that he takes those words very seriously. He also spoke about the importance of both oral and written law. According to the website Judaism 101, there are two Torahs, the written and the oral (Rich). The Written Torah is what Sam described -- the first five books of the Bible. The Oral Torah is basically teachings in the Talmud and other writings. Sam also stressed the importance of Jewish belief in one God. Jews do not believe in the Holy Trinity that Christians believe in. Jews believe God is one and unique. According to Judaism 101, “God is incorporeal and eternal.” (Rich). When I specifically asked about the sacred texts of Judaism, Sam responded by referring again to the Torah and also to the books in the Old Testament. He said there were twenty-four books in their version of the Old Testament, as opposed to Christian versions, because they do not separate any books, such as Samuel. During my research I learned, in Judaism 101, “that Moses was the best prophet and all his prophecies were correct.” (Rich). This explains why Sam, who is orthodox, takes the Torah very seriously. Jews also believe that the Messiah has not come yet, and that they are still waiting for him to appear. Sam mentioned this briefly, but we did not discuss it at length.
I asked Sam if he was a devout Jewish person, and he responded with a quick yes. I followed up by asking what that means. He said to be devout, one has to be observant of Jewish law, which has been passed down from generation. He also said you must keep with Jewish tradition. I got more information about this when I asked about something he does everyday to express his faith. Sam prays three times a day. According to Judaism 101, “all prayers are directed towards God and only God.” (Rich). He also wears a kippah, or cap, everyday to express his faith. A big thing that most Jews practice is kosher. “Kosher is also known as laws of kashrut.” (Rich). The “beasts of the earth” may not be eaten. Some animals may be eaten, but they must be killed in the way of Jewish law. The blood must be drained, and Jews cannot eat fat or nerves. Meat cannot be eaten with dairy. Wine and grape juice must not be drunk if not made by Jews. Sam also observes the Sabbath. He will leave work early on Fridays to get ready, and to make sure he is home before sundown. His whole family participates. During the Sabbath, Jews cannot do basic activities including cooking or even using the phone (“The Shabbat Laws”)....

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