My previous knowledge of Judaism and Jews was only what I saw in television sitcoms and movies, which satirically portrayed them as rich and traditional in nature. Embarking on this Comparative Religion course, I knew there would be some revelations on many of the religions being discussed but so far, Judaism has surprised me the most. This is not because of their spirituality, but there customs and strict adherence to tradition.
Judaism is one of monotheistic faiths and is considered by Jews as the oldest religion as it gave birth to Christianity and Islam. These three religions follow the teachings of Abraham and Sarah, and their offspring. However, Judaism differs from Islam since their holy scripture, called the Tanakh features 24 books, most of them similar to the books of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Judaist teachings are based on the Tanakh and Pentateuch. The Jewish house of worship is called the Synagogue. Alike Islam, Abraham and Sarah are seen as the early saints however, Islam’s religious teachings are mostly from people that came from the line of Ishmael and not Isaac.
Jews do not believe that the messianic age has come and gone unlike Christians who believe Jesus Christ was born on the earth and died for the sins of men.
It was a bit surprising to learn that Judaism is segmented into Orthodox, Conservative and Reform factions. I always thought the religion was strict toward tradition and all Jews were the same. Orthodox Jew, were the strictest practitioners of Judaism as they practice almost all rituals associated with the faith. Bar Mitzvah, Brit Mala and the Sabbath are some of the more popular rituals done by Orthodox Jews.
Conservative Jews perform holy rituals but not as much as the Orthodox Jews. They choose which aspects of the religion they perform. Finally, the Reform Jews tend to practice little or no rituals and they use modern interpretation of the Tanakh.
In an Introduction to Judaism by Rabi Beril Wein, he said Judaism should not be confused with being Jewish. He said Jews were free to live their lives however they chose but Judaism was the beliefs, customs and practices held by people of the faith.
I must say that in paying greater attention to the Orthodox Jews, this is where several aspects of the religion shocked me.
On the Jewish Sabbath, which is held on the seventh day...