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The Success Of Judaism Essay

2121 words - 8 pages

Judaism has survived throughout history by being flexible and by admitting foreign influences into its practice. Its success in the 21st century depends on its ability to continue doing this in response to the pressures of modernity.

Judaism has endured the challenges imposed upon it, by its ability to preserve deep-rooted traditions of the past. It is through maintaining customs from preceding times that defines the foundations of modern day Jewish practice, be it through observance, prayer or habit. In combination to this, its capacity to be versatile and incorporate outside influence has served to maintain its popularity as a major world faith. In order to continue its future religious success, Judaism must persist upholding the traditions that it stands for. However, in the light of pressures of modernity that arise through social change, including feminism and assimilation it must also incorporate aspects of outside influence to promote its popularity.

Judaism has survived through emerging itself as a faith of tradition, including those developed in both Diasporic times as well as the biblical period. It is through the upholding of various forms of tradition that has united the global Jewish population. This is evident within prayer, observance and custom. As revealed through the practice of the Orthodox Jewish population, tradition plays a major part of defining the faith through the close following of Halakah. This is evident within the environment of Orthodox synagogue services; women are prohibited from wearing pants, those who are married must cover their heads and a mekhitzah segregates the seating between men and women. Despite social change that has provided freedom from such restrictions, Orthodox Judaism has held onto these traditions, which have acted in defining it through continuity. If such aspects were removed from the service, it would alienate the Orthodox Jewish community, as it is through such customs that have been observed throughout generations and therefore characterizes the continuing existence of the religion.

It is not solely the Orthodox community that have relied upon tradition as a means to exist. Within all strands of Judaism, tradition has played a major part in the continued existence of the faith. This is evident in relation towards Jewish practice, such as through customs observed during festivals. This includes the performing of the Passover Seder, the eating of “Latkes” during Chanukah and the maintenance of kashrut. It is through the participation of such traditions that identifies Jewish practice.

Judaism has continued to exist through the desire to maintain tradition through historical descent. As Jacob Neusner states, “the Judaic religious tradition is shaped by the historical life of the Jewish people” therefore indicating how elements of Jewish historical significance have acted in forming and strengthening an attachment to the faith. This is evident when referring to various periods such as...

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