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Judaism is an
Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites and the worship o ...

Abrahamic
,
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
, and
ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...
comprising the collective
religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...
,
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling diff ...

cultural
, and
legal Law is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as oppose ...

legal
tradition and civilization of the
Jewish people Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2International Organization for Standardization, ISO 259 is a series of international standards for the romanization of Hebrew, romanization of Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew characters into Latin alphabet, La ...
. It has its roots as an
organized religion Organized religion, also known as institutional religion, is religion in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and Formal organization, formally established. Organized religion is typically characterized by an official doctr ...
in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
during the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
. Modern Judaism evolved from
Yahwism Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of History of ancient Israel and Judah, ancient Israel. Yahwism was Polytheism, polytheistic, with a plethora of Deity, gods and Goddess, goddesses. Heading the pantheon was Yahweh, wi ...
, the religion of
ancient Israel and Judah The Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were two related Israelites, Israelite kingdoms from the Archaeology of Israel#Iron Age/Israelite period, Iron Age period of the ancient Southern History of the ancient ...
, by around 500 BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that
God In monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the ...
established with the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
, their ancestors. It encompasses a wide body of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization. The
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
is part of the larger text known as the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
, and its supplemental oral tradition is represented by later texts such as the
Midrash ''Midrash'' (;"midrash"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
he, מִדְרָשׁ; ...

Midrash
and the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
. Judaism's texts, traditions and values strongly influenced later
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family ...

Abrahamic religions
, including
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
and
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
.
HebraismHebraism hiːbreɪɪz(ə)mis a lexical item, usage or trait characteristic of the Hebrew language. By synecdoche, successive extension it is often applied to the Jews, Jewish people, their Judaism, faith, Zionism, national ideology or Jewish cul ...
, like Hellenism, played a seminal role in the formation of
Western civilization Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired ...
through its impact as a core background element of
Early Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religi ...
.Cambridge University Historical Series, ''An Essay on Western Civilization in Its Economic Aspects'', p.40: Hebraism, like Hellenism, has been an all-important factor in the development of Western Civilization; Judaism, as the precursor of Christianity, has indirectly had had much to do with shaping the ideals and morality of western nations since the christian era. Within Judaism, there are a variety of religious movements, most of which emerged from
Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the codification of ...
, which holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
on
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...
in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah. Historically, all or part of this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the
Sadducees The Sadducees (; he, צְדוּקִים ''Ṣĕdûqîm'') were a sect or group of Jews who were active in Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', ...

Sadducees
and
Hellenistic Judaism Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin origin c. 1400) i ...
during the
Second Temple period The Second Temple period in Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism a ...
; the Karaites during the early and later medieval period; and among segments of the modern non-Orthodox denominations. Some modern branches of Judaism such as
Humanistic Judaism Humanistic Judaism ( ''Yahadut Humanistit'') is a Jewish movement that offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life. It defines Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "King ...
may be considered
secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...

secular
or
nontheistic Nontheism or non-theism is a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in a personal god, God or gods. Nontheism has generally been used to describe apathy or silence towards the subject of ...
. Today, the largest
Jewish religious movements Jewish religious movements, sometimes called "denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu denominations ** Schools of Buddhism, B ...
are
Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, ...
(
Haredi Judaism Haredi Judaism ( he, יהדות חֲרֵדִית ', ; also spelled ''Charedi'' in English; plural ''Haredim'' or ''Charedim'') consists of groups within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branche ...

Haredi Judaism
and
Modern Orthodox Judaism Modern Orthodox Judaism (also Modern Orthodox or Modern Orthodoxy) is a movement within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary . , it is chiefly defined by regarding the , both ...
),
Conservative Judaism Conservative Judaism (known as Masorti Judaism outside North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict ...
, and
Reform Judaism Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish religious movements, Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its Jewish ethics, ethical aspects to its cerem ...
. Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to ''
halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific ...
'' (Jewish law), the authority of the
rabbinic tradition Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, is the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Judaism, Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabb ...
, and the significance of the
State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is ...
. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and ''halakha'' are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more
liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more traditionalist interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism. A typical Reform position is that ''halakha''should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews. Historically,
special courts: ''This is an article on the Polish special courts during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by count ...
enforced ''halakha''; today, these courts still exist but the practice of Judaism is mostly voluntary. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and the
rabbis A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated re ...

rabbis
and scholars who interpret them. Jews are an
ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or an ethno-religious group), or simply an ethnoreligion, is a grouping of people who are unified by a common Religion, religious and ethnic group, ethnic background. Furthermore, the term ethno-religious group, along wi ...
including those born Jewish, in addition to
converts to Judaism Conversion to Judaism ( he, גיור, ''giyur'') is the process by which gentile, non-Jews adopt the Judaism, Jewish religion and become members of the Jewish ethnoreligion, ethnoreligious community. It thus resembles both religious conversion, ...
. In 2019, the world Jewish population was estimated at about 14.7 million, or roughly 0.25% of the total world population. About 46.9% of all Jews reside in Israel and another 38.8% reside in the United States and Canada, with most of the remainder living in Europe, and other minority groups spread throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.


Etymology

The term ''Judaism'' derives from ''Iudaismus'', a Latinized form of the Ancient Greek '' Ioudaismos'' (Ἰουδαϊσμός) (from the verb , "to side with or imitate the udeans). Its ultimate source was the
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
יהודה, ''Yehudah'', "
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
", which is also the source of the Hebrew term for Judaism: יַהֲדוּת, ''Yahadut''. The term ''Ἰουδαϊσμός'' first appears in the
Hellenistic Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of Greek spoken and written during the Hellenistic period ...

Hellenistic Greek
book of
2 Maccabees The Second Book of Maccabees, also called 2 Maccabees, is a deuterocanonical The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), of ...
in the 2nd century BCE. In the context of the age and period it meant "seeking or forming part of a cultural entity" and it resembled its antonym ''
hellenismos Hellenism (Ἑλληνισμός) represents the totality of Hellenic culture, it is understood as a "body of humanistic and classical ideals associated with ancient Greece" as well as to identify "the language, culture, and values of the Hell ...
'', a word that signified a people's submission to Hellenic (
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
) cultural norms. The conflict between ''iudaismos'' and ''hellenismos'' lay behind the
Maccabean revolt The Maccabean Revolt ( he, מרד החשמונאים) was a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים ''Makabīm'' or he, מַקַבִּים, ''Maqabīm''; or ''Maccabaei''; el, ...

Maccabean revolt
and hence the invention of the term ''iudaismos''. Shaye J. D. Cohen writes in his book ''The Beginnings of Jewishness'': According to the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' the earliest citation in English where the term was used to mean "the profession or practice of the Jewish religion; the religious system or polity of the Jews" is Robert Fabyan's ''The newe cronycles of Englande and of Fraunce'' (1516). "Judaism" as a direct translation of the Latin ''Iudaismus'' first occurred in a 1611 English translation of the
apocrypha Apocrypha (Gr. ἀπόκρυφος, ‘the hidden hings) The biblical Books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews fro ...
(
Deuterocanon The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its p ...
in
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
and
Eastern Orthodoxy The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a Communion (Christ ...
), 2 Macc. ii. 21: "Those that behaved themselves manfully to their honour for Iudaisme."


History


Origins

At its core, the Tanakh is an account of the
Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israe ...
s' relationship with
God In monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the ...

God
from their earliest history until the building of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
(c. 535 BCE).
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
is hailed as the first
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...

Hebrew
and the father of the Jewish people. As a reward for his act of faith in one God, he was promised that
Isaac Isaac, ''Isaák''; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, ; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gene ...

Isaac
, his second son, would inherit the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
(then called
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
). Later, the descendants of Isaac's son
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
were enslaved in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, and God commanded
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
to lead
the Exodus The Exodus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

the Exodus
from Egypt. At
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...
, they received the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
—the five books of Moses. These books, together with
Nevi'im Nevi'im (; he, נְבִיאִים ''Nəḇīʾīm'', "Prophets", literally "spokespersons") is the second major division of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the ...
and
Ketuvim Ketuvim (; hbo, כְּתוּבִים Kethūvīm "writings") is the third and final section of the Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afro ...
are known as ''Torah Shebikhtav'' as opposed to the Oral Torah, which refers to the Mishnah and the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
. Eventually, God led them to the
land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

land of Israel
where the
tabernacle According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the books of and , the verse 10:11, and som ...

tabernacle
was planted in the city of Shiloh for over 300 years to rally the nation against attacking enemies. As time went on, the spiritual level of the nation declined to the point that God allowed the
Philistines The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of th ...
to capture the tabernacle. The people of Israel then told
Samuel Samuel ''Šəmūʾēl''; ar, إِشْمَوِيل ' or '; el, Σαμουήλ ''Samouḗl''; la, Samūēl is a figure who, in the narratives of the , plays a key role in the transition from the period of the to the institution of a under ...
the
prophet In religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involu ...
that they needed to be governed by a permanent king, and Samuel appointed
Saul Saul (; he, , translit=Šāʾūl; gr, Σαούλ; ), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first monarch of the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kingdom of Israel. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, suppose ...
to be their King. When the people pressured Saul into going against a command conveyed to him by Samuel, God told Samuel to appoint
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...

David
in his stead. Once King David was established, he told the prophet Nathan that he would like to build a permanent temple, and as a reward for his actions, God promised David that he would allow his son,
Solomon Solomon (; he, , ), ''Šlēmūn''; : سُلَيْمَان ', also : ' or '; el, Σολομών ''Solomōn''; : Salomon) also called Jedidiah (, ), was, according to the and Christian , a fabulously wealthy and wise monarch of the who suc ...

Solomon
, to build the
First Temple According to the Biblical narrative, Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was a temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, t ...

First Temple
and the throne would never depart from his children. Rabbinic tradition holds that the details and interpretation of the law, which are called the ''Oral Torah'' or ''oral law'', were originally an unwritten tradition based upon what God told Moses on Mount Sinai. However, as the persecutions of the Jews increased and the details were in danger of being forgotten, these oral laws were recorded by
Rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civili ...

Rabbi
Judah HaNasi Judah ha-Nasi ( he, יְהוּדָה הַנָשִׂיא‎, ''Yəhūḏā haNāsīʾ‎''; Yehudah HaNasi or Judah the Prince) or Judah I, was a second-century rabbi (a tannaim, tanna of the fifth generation) and chief redactor and editing, edito ...
(Judah the Prince) in the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
, redacted ''circa'' 200 CE. The Talmud was a compilation of both the Mishnah and the
Gemara The Gemara (also transliteration, transliterated Gemarah, or in Ashkenazi pronunciation Gemore; from Aramaic , from the Aramaic language, Hebrew verb ''gamar'', to finish or complete) is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analys ...
, rabbinic commentaries redacted over the next three centuries. The Gemara originated in two major centers of Jewish scholarship,
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
and
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the
Jerusalem Talmud The Jerusalem Talmud ( he, תַּלְמוּד יְרוּשַׁלְמִי, ''Talmud Yerushalmi'', often ''Yerushalmi'' for short), also known as the Palestinian Talmud or ''Talmuda de-Eretz Yisrael'' (Talmud of the Land of Israel), is a collection o ...
. It was compiled sometime during the 4th century in Palestine. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled from discussions in the houses of study by the scholars
Ravina I Ravina I (; died c. AD 420) was a Babylonian Jewish Talmudist and rabbi, of the 5th and 6th generation of amoraim. Biography His father seems to have died before he was born or at an early age, and it was necessary for his mother informed him of so ...
,
Ravina II :''For the Amora sage of the 5th and 6th generation, see: Ravina I.'' Ravina II or Rabina II (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. ...
, and
Rav Ashi :''For the seventh generation Amora sage of Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, ...

Rav Ashi
by 500 CE, although it continued to be edited later. According to critical scholars, the Torah consists of inconsistent texts edited together in a way that calls attention to divergent accounts. Several of these scholars, such as Professor Martin Rose and
John Bright John Bright (16 November 1811 – 27 March 1889) was a British Radicals (UK), Radical and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation and a promoter of free trade policies. A Quaker, Bright is most f ...
, suggest that during the First Temple period the people of Israel believed that each nation had its own god, but that their god was superior to other gods. Some suggest that strict monotheism developed during the Babylonian Exile, perhaps in reaction to
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster Zoroaster (, ; el, Ζωροάστρης, ''Zōr ...
dualism. In this view, it was only by the
Hellenic period Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (5th and 4th centuries BC) in Greek culture.The "Classical Age" is "the modern designation of the period from about 500 B.C. to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C." ( Thomas R. Martin, ...
that most Jews came to believe that their god was the only god and that the notion of a clearly bounded Jewish nation identical with the Jewish religion formed. John Day argues that the origins of biblical
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
, El,
Asherah Asherah , ''ʾăšērâ''; Ugaritic language, Ugaritic: 𐎀𐎘𐎗𐎚 ''Aṯirat'', name=, group= in ancient Semitic religion, is a mother goddess who appears in a number of ancient sources. She appears in Akkadian literature, Akkadian wri ...
, and
Ba'al Baal (), properly Baal,; phn, , baʿl; hbo, , baʿal, ). was a title and honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term " ...

Ba'al
, may be rooted in earlier
Canaanite religion Canaanite religion refers to the group of ancient Semitic religions practiced by the Canaanites living in the ancient Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterra ...
, which was centered on a pantheon of gods much like the
Greek pantheon Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of the world, the lives ...
.


Antiquity

According to the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
, the
United Monarchy The United Monarchy () is the name given to the united Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near Ea ...
was established under
Saul Saul (; he, , translit=Šāʾūl; gr, Σαούλ; ), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first monarch of the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kingdom of Israel. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, suppose ...
and continued under
King David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...
and
Solomon Solomon (; he, , ), ''Šlēmūn''; : سُلَيْمَان ', also : ' or '; el, Σολομών ''Solomōn''; : Salomon) also called Jedidiah (, ), was, according to the and Christian , a fabulously wealthy and wise monarch of the who suc ...

Solomon
with its capital in
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
. After Solomon's reign, the nation split into two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Israel (in the north) and the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Le ...
(in the south). The Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
n ruler
Sargon II Sargon II (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_.ht ...
in the late 8th century BCE with many people from the capital Samaria being taken captive to Media and the Khabur River valley. The
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Le ...
continued as an independent state until it was conquered by a Babylonian army in the early 6th century BCE, destroying the
First Temple According to the Biblical narrative, Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was a temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, t ...
that was at the center of ancient Jewish worship. The Judean elite was exiled to
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
and this is regarded as the first
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
. Later many of them returned to their homeland after the subsequent conquest of Babylonia by the
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...

Persians
seventy years later, a period known as the
Babylonian Captivity The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
. A new
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
was constructed, and old religious practices were resumed. During the early years of the Second Temple, the highest religious authority was a council known as the Great Assembly, led by Ezra of the Book of Ezra. Among other accomplishments of the Great Assembly, the last books of the Bible were written at this time and the canon sealed.
Hellenistic Judaism Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin origin c. 1400) i ...
spread to
Ptolemaic Egypt The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , o ...
from the 3rd century BCE. After the Great Revolt (66–73 CE), the Romans destroyed the Temple.
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Traianus Hadrianus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born into a Roman Italo-Hispanic family, which settled in Spain from the Italian city of Atri, Abruzzo, Atri in Picenum. Hi ...

Hadrian
built a pagan idol on the Temple grounds and prohibited circumcision; these acts of ethnocide provoked the
Bar Kokhba revolt The Bar Kokhba revolt ( he, מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא, links=no; ''Mered Bar Kokhba'') was a rebellion of the Jews of the , led by , against the . Fought circa 132–136 CE, it was the last of three major , so it is also known as T ...
132–136 CE after which the Romans banned the study of the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
and the celebration of Jewish holidays, and forcibly removed virtually all Jews from Judea. In 200 CE, however, Jews were granted Roman citizenship and Judaism was recognized as a '' religio licita'' ("legitimate religion") until the rise of
Gnosticism Gnosticism (from grc, γνωστικός, gnōstikós, , 'having knowledge') is a collection of religious ideas and systems which coalesced in the late 1st century AD among Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pro ...
and
Early Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religi ...
in the fourth century. Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews, Jewish worship stopped being centrally organized around the Temple, prayer took the place of sacrifice, and worship was rebuilt around the community (represented by a minimum of ten adult men) and the establishment of the authority of rabbis who acted as teachers and leaders of individual communities.


Defining characteristics and principles of faith

Unlike other ancient Near Eastern gods, the Hebrew God is portrayed as
unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
and solitary; consequently, the Hebrew God's principal relationships are not with other gods, but with the world, and more specifically, with the people he created. Judaism thus begins with ethical monotheism: the belief that God is one and is concerned with the actions of mankind. According to the Hebrew Bible, God promised
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
to make of his offspring a great nation. Many generations later, he commanded the nation of
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
to love and worship only one God; that is, the Jewish nation is to reciprocate God's concern for the world. He also commanded the Jewish people to love one another; that is, Jews are to imitate God's love for people. These commandments are but two of a large corpus of commandments and
laws Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
that constitute this
covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion) In religion, a covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general. The concept, central to the Abrahamic religions The Abraha ...
, which is the substance of Judaism. Thus, although there is an esoteric tradition in Judaism (
Kabbalah Kabbalah ( he, קַבָּלָה, links=no ''Qabālā'', literally "reception, tradition" or "correspondence") is an esoteric method, discipline, and Jewish theology, school of thought in Jewish mysticism. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is ...

Kabbalah
), Rabbinic scholar
Max KadushinMax Kadushin ( be, Макс Кадушын; December 6, 1895, Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск/Менск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislač and the Nyamiha Riv ...
has characterized normative Judaism as "normal mysticism", because it involves everyday personal experiences of God through ways or modes that are common to all Jews. This is played out through the observance of the ''
halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific ...
'' (Jewish law) and given verbal expression in the Birkat Ha-Mizvot, the short blessings that are spoken every time a positive commandment is to be fulfilled. Whereas
Jewish philosophers Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of an ethnoreligious group and a nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish ...
often debate whether God is immanent or transcendent, and whether people have free will or their lives are determined, ''halakha'' is a system through which any Jew acts to bring God into the world. Ethical monotheism is central in all sacred or normative texts of Judaism. However, monotheism has not always been followed in practice. The Jewish Bible records and repeatedly condemns the widespread worship of other gods in
ancient Israel The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were two related Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the anci ...
. In the Greco-Roman era, many different interpretations of monotheism existed in Judaism, including the interpretations that gave rise to Christianity. Moreover, some have argued that Judaism is a non-creedal religion that does not require one to believe in God. For some, observance of ''halakha'' is more important than belief in God ''per se''. In modern times, some liberal Jewish movements do not accept the existence of a personified deity active in history. The debate about whether one can speak of authentic or normative Judaism is not only a debate among religious Jews but also among historians.


Core tenets

In the strict sense, in Judaism, unlike Christianity and Islam, there are no fixed universally binding articles of faith, due to their incorporation into the liturgy. Scholars throughout
Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek records d ...
have proposed numerous formulations of Judaism's core tenets, all of which have met with criticism. The most popular formulation is
Maimonides Moses ben Maimon ; (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides ( ) grc-gre, Μωυσής Μαϊμωνίδης ; la, Moses Maimonides and also referred to by the acronym Rambam ( he, רמב״ם),, for ''Rabbeinu Mōše bēn Maimun'', "Our Ra ...

Maimonides
'
thirteen principles of faith There is no established formulation of principles of faith that are recognized by all Jewish religious movements, branches of Judaism. Central authority in Judaism is not vested in any one person or group - although the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewi ...
, developed in the 12th century. According to Maimonides, any Jew who rejects even one of these principles would be considered an apostate and a heretic. Jewish scholars have held points of view diverging in various ways from Maimonides' principles. Thus, within
Reform Judaism Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish religious movements, Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its Jewish ethics, ethical aspects to its cerem ...
only the first five principles are endorsed. In Maimonides' time, his list of tenets was criticized by
Hasdai Crescas Hasdai ben Abraham Crescas (; he, חסדאי קרשקש; c. 1340 in Barcelona, Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in ...
and
Joseph Albo Joseph Albo ( he, יוסף אלבו; c. 1380–1444) was a Jews, Jewish philosophy, philosopher and rabbi who lived in Spain during the fifteenth century, known chiefly as the author of ''Sefer ha-Ikkarim'' ("Book of Principles"), the classic work ...
. Albo and the Raavad argued that Maimonides' principles contained too many items that, while true, were not fundamentals of the faith Along these lines, the ancient historian
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
emphasized practices and observances rather than religious beliefs, associating
apostasy Apostasy (; grc-gre, ἀποστασία ''apostasía'', "a defection or revolt") is the formal religious disaffiliation, disaffiliation from, abandonment of, or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader ...
with a failure to observe ''halakha'' and maintaining that the requirements for conversion to Judaism included
circumcision Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin The foreskin is the double-layered fold of smooth muscle tissue, blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. Th ...

circumcision
and adherence to traditional customs. Maimonides' principles were largely ignored over the next few centuries. Later, two poetic restatements of these principles ("''''" and "''
Yigdal Yigdal ( he, יִגְדָּל; ''yighdāl'', or ;''yighdal''; means "Magnify Magnification is the process of enlarging the angular diameter, apparent size, not physical size, of something. This enlargement is quantified by a calculated number a ...
''") became integrated into many Jewish liturgies, leading to their eventual near-universal acceptance. In modern times, Judaism lacks a centralized authority that would dictate an exact religious dogma. Because of this, many different variations on the basic beliefs are considered within the scope of Judaism. Even so, all
Jewish religious movements Jewish religious movements, sometimes called "denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu denominations ** Schools of Buddhism, B ...
are, to a greater or lesser extent, based on the principles of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
and various commentaries such as the Talmud and
Midrash ''Midrash'' (;"midrash"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
he, מִדְרָשׁ; ...

Midrash
. Judaism also universally recognizes the Biblical
Covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion) In religion, a covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general. The concept, central to the Abrahamic religions The Abraha ...
between God and the
Patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Or ...
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
as well as the additional aspects of the Covenant revealed to
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
, who is considered Judaism's greatest
prophet In religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involu ...
. In the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
, a core text of
Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the codification of ...
, acceptance of the Divine origins of this covenant is considered an essential aspect of Judaism and those who reject the Covenant forfeit their share in the World to Come. Establishing the core tenets of Judaism in the modern era is even more difficult, given the number and diversity of the contemporary
Jewish denominations Jewish religious movements, sometimes called "Religious denomination, denominations", include different groups which have developed among Jews from ancient times. Today, the main division is between the "traditional" branches of Judaism (Orthodox ...
. Even if to restrict the problem to the most influential intellectual trends of the nineteenth and twentieth century, the matter remains complicated. Thus for instance, Joseph Soloveitchik's (associated with the Modern Orthodox movement) answer to modernity is constituted upon the identification of Judaism with following the ''halakha'' whereas its ultimate goal is to bring the holiness down to the world.
Mordecai Kaplan Mordecai Menahem Kaplan (June 11, 1881 – November 8, 1983), was a rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study of Jewish texts such ...

Mordecai Kaplan
, the founder of the
Reconstructionist Judaism Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern Jewish movement that views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of dis ...
, abandons the idea of religion for the sake of identifying Judaism with
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
and by means of the latter term and secular translation of the core ideas, he tries to embrace as many Jewish denominations as possible. In turn,
Solomon Schechter Solomon Schechter ( he, שניאור זלמן הכהן שכטר‎; 7 December 1847 – 19 November 1915) was a Moldavian-born American rabbi, academic scholar and educator, most famous for his roles as founder and President of the United ...

Solomon Schechter
's
Conservative Judaism Conservative Judaism (known as Masorti Judaism outside North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict ...
was identical with the tradition understood as the interpretation of Torah, in itself being the history of the constant updates and adjustment of the Law performed by means of the creative interpretation. Finally,
David Philipson David Philipson (August 9, 1862 – June 29, 1949) was an American Reform Judaism, Reform rabbi, orator, and author. The son of German Jews, German-Jewish immigrants, he was a member of the first graduating class of the Hebrew Union College in ...

David Philipson
draws the outlines of the Reform movement in Judaism by opposing it to the strict and traditional rabbinical approach and thus comes to the conclusions similar to that of the Conservative movement.


Religious texts

The following is a basic, structured list of the central works of Jewish practice and thought. * Tanakh (
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
) and
Rabbinic literature Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, is the entire spectrum of rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study of Jewish texts ...
** Mesorah **
Targum A targum ( arc, תרגום 'interpretation, translation, version') was an originally spoken translation of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic la ...

Targum
** Jewish Biblical
exegesis Exegesis (; from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is app ...
(also see Midrash below) * Works of the Talmudic Era (classic rabbinic literature) **
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
and commentaries **
Tosefta The Tosefta (Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Jewish Babylonian Aramaic was the form of Middle Aramaic employed by writers in Lower Mesopotamia between the fourth and eleventh centuries. It is most commonly identified with the language of the Babylo ...
and the
minor tractates The minor tractates (Hebrew: מסכתות קטנות, ''masechtot qetanot'') are essays from the Talmudic period or later dealing with topics about which no formal tractate exists in the Mishnah. They may thus be contrasted to the Tosefta, whose tr ...
**
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
: *** The
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has ...
and commentaries ***
Jerusalem Talmud The Jerusalem Talmud ( he, תַּלְמוּד יְרוּשַׁלְמִי, ''Talmud Yerushalmi'', often ''Yerushalmi'' for short), also known as the Palestinian Talmud or ''Talmuda de-Eretz Yisrael'' (Talmud of the Land of Israel), is a collection o ...
and commentaries *
Midrash ''Midrash'' (;"midrash"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
he, מִדְרָשׁ; ...

Midrash
ic literature: **
Halakhic Midrash ''Midrash halakha'' ( he, הֲלָכָה) was the ancient Judaic rabbinic method of Torah study Torah study is the study of the Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It ca ...
**
Aggadic Midrash Aggadah ( he, אַגָּדָה or ; Jewish Babylonian Aramaic אַגָּדְתָא; "tales, fairytale, lore") is the non-legalistic pardes (Jewish exegesis), exegesis which appears in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly the ...
*
Halakhic ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ; also transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', ''halachah'', or ''halocho''; ) is the collective body of Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people ...
literature ** Major codes of Jewish law and custom ***
Mishneh Torah The ''Mishneh Torah'' ( he, מִשְׁנֵה תּוֹרָה, "Repetition of the Torah"), also known as ''Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka'' (ספר יד החזקה "Book of the Strong Hand"), is a Legal code, code of Rabbinic Judaism, Rabbinic Jewish religio ...
and commentaries *** and commentaries ***
Shulchan Aruch The ''Shulchan Aruch'' ( he, שֻׁלְחָן עָרוּך , literally: "Set Table"), sometimes dubbed in English as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most widely consulted of the various Codification (law), legal codes in Judaism. It was authored in ...

Shulchan Aruch
and commentaries **
Responsa ''Responsa'' (plural of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
literature * Thought and ethics **
Jewish philosophy Jewish philosophy () includes all philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...
**
Musar literature Musar literature is didactic Didacticism is a philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings spe ...
and other works of
Jewish ethics Jewish ethics is the ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, ...
**
Kabbalah Kabbalah ( he, קַבָּלָה, links=no ''Qabālā'', literally "reception, tradition" or "correspondence") is an esoteric method, discipline, and Jewish theology, school of thought in Jewish mysticism. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is ...

Kabbalah
**
Hasidic Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism ( he, חסידות, Ḥăsīdut, ; originally, "piety"), is a subgroup of Haredi Judaism that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory of contemporary Wester ...
works *
Siddur Siddur ( he, סִדּוּר , ; plural siddurim , ) is a term for a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards ...
and
Jewish liturgy Jewish prayer ( he, תְּפִלָּה, ; plural ; yi, תּפֿלה, tfile , plural ; Yinglish: davening from Yiddish 'pray') is the prayer recitation that forms part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism. These prayers, often with ...
* ''
Piyyut A ''piyyut'' or ''piyut'' (plural piyyutim or piyutim, he, פִּיּוּטִים / פיוטים, פִּיּוּט / פיוט ; from Greek ποιητής ''poiētḗs'' "poet") is a liturgical poem, usually designated to be sung, chanted, ...
'' (Classical Jewish poetry)


Legal literature

The basis of ''halakha'' and tradition is the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
(also known as the
Pentateuch The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebre ...
or the Five Books of Moses). According to rabbinic tradition, there are
613 commandments The Judaism, Jewish tradition that there are 613 commandments ( he, תרי״ג מצוות, taryag mitzvot) or mitzvot in the Torah (also known as the Law of Moses) is first recorded in the 3rd century CE, when Rabbi Simlai mentioned it in a sermon ...
in the Torah. Some of these laws are directed only to men or to women, some only to the ancient priestly groups, the
Kohanim Kohen ( he, כֹּהֵן'','' "priest", pl. , ' "priests") is the Hebrew word for "priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans ...
and Leviyim (members of the tribe of
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
), some only to farmers within the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
. Many laws were only applicable when the
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during th ...
existed, and only 369 of these commandments are still applicable today. While there have been Jewish groups whose beliefs were based on the written text of the Torah alone (e.g., the
Sadducees The Sadducees (; he, צְדוּקִים ''Ṣĕdûqîm'') were a sect or group of Jews who were active in Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', ...
, and the Karaites), most Jews believe in the
oral law An oral law is a code of conduct A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral content of a rock * Norm (philosophy ...
. These oral traditions were transmitted by the
Pharisee The Pharisees (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans an ...
school of thought of ancient Judaism and were later recorded in written form and expanded upon by the rabbis. According to Rabbinical Jewish tradition, God gave both the Written Law (the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
) and the
Oral Torah According to Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, C ...
to Moses on
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...
. The Oral law is the oral tradition as relayed by God to Moses and from him, transmitted and taught to the sages (
rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civili ...

rabbi
nic leaders) of each subsequent generation. For centuries, the Torah appeared only as a written text transmitted in parallel with the oral tradition. Fearing that the oral teachings might be forgotten, Rabbi
Judah haNasi Judah ha-Nasi ( he, יְהוּדָה הַנָשִׂיא‎, ''Yəhūḏā haNāsīʾ‎''; Yehudah HaNasi or Judah the Prince) or Judah I, was a second-century rabbi (a tannaim, tanna of the fifth generation) and chief redactor and editing, edito ...
undertook the mission of consolidating the various opinions into one body of law which became known as the ''Mishnah''. The Mishnah consists of 63 tractates codifying ''halakha'', which are the basis of the Talmud. According to
Abraham ben David Abraham ben David ( – 27 November 1198), also known by the abbreviation RABaD (for ''Rabbeinu'' Abraham ben David) Ravad or RABaD III, was a Provençal rabbi, a great commentator on the Talmud, ''Sefer Halachot'' of Rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi and '' ...
, the ''
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
'' was compiled by Rabbi
Judah haNasi Judah ha-Nasi ( he, יְהוּדָה הַנָשִׂיא‎, ''Yəhūḏā haNāsīʾ‎''; Yehudah HaNasi or Judah the Prince) or Judah I, was a second-century rabbi (a tannaim, tanna of the fifth generation) and chief redactor and editing, edito ...
after the destruction of Jerusalem, in anno mundi 3949, which corresponds to 189 CE. Over the next four centuries, the Mishnah underwent discussion and debate in both of the world's major Jewish communities (in Israel and
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
). The commentaries from each of these communities were eventually compiled into the two Talmuds, the Jerusalem Talmud (''Talmud Yerushalmi'') and the Babylonian Talmud (''Talmud Bavli''). These have been further expounded by commentaries of various Torah scholars during the ages. In the text of the Torah, many words are left undefined and many procedures are mentioned without explanation or instructions. Such phenomena are sometimes offered to validate the viewpoint that the Written Law has always been transmitted with a parallel oral tradition, illustrating the assumption that the reader is already familiar with the details from other, i.e., oral, sources. ''Halakha'', the rabbinic Jewish way of life, then, is based on a combined reading of the Torah, and the oral tradition—the Mishnah, the halakhic Midrash, the Talmud and its commentaries. The ''halakha'' has developed slowly, through a precedent-based system. The literature of questions to rabbis, and their considered answers, is referred to as
responsa ''Responsa'' (plural of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
(in
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
, ''Sheelot U-Teshuvot''.) Over time, as practices develop, codes of ''halakha'' are written that are based on the responsa; the most important code, the
Shulchan Aruch The ''Shulchan Aruch'' ( he, שֻׁלְחָן עָרוּך , literally: "Set Table"), sometimes dubbed in English as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most widely consulted of the various Codification (law), legal codes in Judaism. It was authored in ...

Shulchan Aruch
, largely determines Orthodox religious practice today.


Jewish philosophy

Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. Major Jewish philosophers include
Philo of Alexandria Philo of Alexandria (; grc, Φίλων, Phílōn; he, , Yedidia (Jedediah) HaCohen; ), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from ...

Philo of Alexandria
,
Solomon ibn Gabirol Solomon ibn Gabirol (also Solomon ben Judah; he, שלמה בן יהודה אבן גבירול ''Shlomo Ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol'', ; ar, أبو أيوب سليمان بن يحيى بن جبيرول ''Abu Ayyub Sulayman bin Yahya bin Jabirul'', ) w ...
,
Saadia Gaon Sa'adiah ben Yosef Gaon ( ar, سعيد بن يوسف الفيومي ''Saʻīd bin Yūsuf al-Fayyūmi''; he, סעדיה בן יוסף אלפיומי גאון; alternative English Names: Rabbeinu Sa'adiah Gaon ("our Rabbi heSaadia Gaon"), often ...
,
Judah Halevi Judah Halevi (also Yehuda Halevi or ha-Levi; he, יהודה הלוי and Judah ben Shmuel Halevi ; ar, يهوذا اللاوي ''Yahuḏa al-Lāwī''; 1075 – 1141) was a Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher A philosopher is som ...

Judah Halevi
,
Maimonides Moses ben Maimon ; (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides ( ) grc-gre, Μωυσής Μαϊμωνίδης ; la, Moses Maimonides and also referred to by the acronym Rambam ( he, רמב״ם),, for ''Rabbeinu Mōše bēn Maimun'', "Our Ra ...

Maimonides
, and
Gersonides Levi ben Gershon (1288 – 1344), better known by his Graecized name as Gersonides, or by his Latinized name Magister Leo Hebraeus, or in Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasia ...
. Major changes occurred in response to the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
(late 18th to early 19th century) leading to the post-Enlightenment Jewish philosophers. Modern Jewish philosophy consists of both Orthodox and non-Orthodox oriented philosophy. Notable among Orthodox Jewish philosophers are
Eliyahu Eliezer DesslerEliyahu Eliezer Dessler (1892 – 30 December 1953) was an Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox rabbi, Talmudic scholar, and Jewish philosopher of the 20th century. He is best known for being the ''mashgiach ruchani'' ("spiritual counselor") of the Ponevez ...
, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and Yitzchok Hutner. Well-known non-Orthodox Jewish philosophers include
Martin Buber Martin Buber ( he, מרטין בובר; german: Martin Buber; yi, מארטין בובער; February 8, 1878 – June 13, 1965) was an Austrian Jewish and Israeli philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of existentialism cente ...

Martin Buber
,
Franz Rosenzweig Franz Rosenzweig (, ; 25 December 1886 – 10 December 1929) was a Germany, German theology, theologian, philosophy, philosopher, and Translation, translator. Early life and education Franz Rosenzweig was born in Kassel, Germany to a middle-cla ...

Franz Rosenzweig
,
Mordecai Kaplan Mordecai Menahem Kaplan (June 11, 1881 – November 8, 1983), was a rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study of Jewish texts such ...

Mordecai Kaplan
,
Abraham Joshua Heschel Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972) was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Judaism, Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. Heschel, a professor of Jewish mysticism at the ...
, , and
Emmanuel Lévinas Emmanuel Levinas (; ; 12 January 1906 – 25 December 1995) was a French philosopher of Lithuanian Jews, Lithuanian Jewish ancestry who is known for his work related to Jewish philosophy, existentialism, ethics, Phenomenology (philosophy), phenom ...
.


Rabbinic hermeneutics

Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
and many other
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
do not believe that the revealed
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
consists solely of its written contents, but of its interpretations as well. The study of
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
(in its widest sense, to include both poetry, narrative, and law, and both the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud) is in Judaism itself a sacred act of central importance. For the sages of the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
and Talmud, and for their successors today, the study of Torah was therefore not merely a means to learn the contents of God's revelation, but an end in itself. According to the Talmud, In Judaism, "the study of
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
can be a means of experiencing God". Reflecting on the contribution of the
Amoraim ''Amoraim'' (Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long h ...

Amoraim
and Tanaim to contemporary Judaism, Professor Jacob Neusner observed: To study the Written Torah and the Oral Torah in light of each other is thus also to study ''how'' to study the word of God. In the study of Torah, the sages formulated and followed various
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
al and
hermeneutical Hermeneutics () is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of Biblical hermeneutics, biblical texts, wisdom literature, and Philosophy, philosophical texts. Hermeneutics is more than interpretative principles ...
principles. According to David Stern, all Rabbinic hermeneutics rest on two basic axioms: These two principles make possible a great variety of interpretations. According to the Talmud, Observant Jews thus view the Torah as dynamic, because it contains within it a host of interpretations. According to Rabbinic tradition, all valid interpretations of the
written Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebre ...
were revealed to Moses at Sinai in oral form, and handed down from teacher to pupil (The oral revelation is in effect coextensive with the Talmud itself). When different rabbis forwarded conflicting interpretations, they sometimes appealed to hermeneutic principles to legitimize their arguments; some rabbis claim that these principles were themselves revealed by God to Moses at Sinai. Thus, Hillel called attention to seven commonly used hermeneutical principles in the interpretation of laws (
baraita ''Baraita'' (Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is ...
at the beginning of
Sifra Sifra (Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aram ...
); R. Ishmael, thirteen (baraita at the beginning of Sifra; this collection is largely an amplification of that of Hillel). Eliezer b. Jose ha-Gelili listed 32, largely used for the exegesis of narrative elements of Torah. All the hermeneutic rules scattered through the Talmudim and
Midrashim ''Midrash'' (;"midrash"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
he, מִדְרָשׁ; ...
have been collected by
Malbim Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michel Wisser (March 7, 1809 – September 18, 1879), better known as the Malbim ( he, מלבי"ם), was a rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religi ...

Malbim
in ''Ayyelet ha-Shachar'', the introduction to his commentary on the
Sifra Sifra (Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aram ...
. Nevertheless, R. Ishmael's 13 principles are perhaps the ones most widely known; they constitute an important, and one of Judaism's earliest, contributions to
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
,
hermeneutics Hermeneutics () is the theory and methodology Methodology is the study of research methods, or, more formally, "'a contextual framework' for research, a coherent and logical scheme based on views, beliefs, and values, that guides the choi ...
, and
jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whol ...
. Judah Hadassi incorporated Ishmael's principles into
Karaite Judaism Karaite Judaism () or Karaism (, sometimes spelt Karaitism (; ; also spelt Qaraite Judaism, Qaraism or Qaraitism) is a Jewish religious movement Jewish religious movements, sometimes called "Religious denomination, denominations", include d ...
in the 12th century. Today R. Ishmael's 13 principles are incorporated into the Jewish prayer book to be read by observant Jews on a daily basis.


Jewish identity


Distinction between Jews as a people and Judaism

According to Daniel Boyarin, the underlying distinction between religion and ethnicity is foreign to Judaism itself, and is one form of the dualism between spirit and flesh that has its origin in
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
nic philosophy and that permeated
Hellenistic Judaism Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin origin c. 1400) i ...
. Consequently, in his view, Judaism does not fit easily into conventional Western categories, such as religion, ethnicity, or culture. Boyarin suggests that this in part reflects the fact that much of Judaism's more than 3,000-year history predates the rise of Western culture and occurred outside the West (that is, Europe, particularly medieval and modern Europe). During this time, Jews experienced slavery, anarchic and theocratic self-government, conquest, occupation, and exile. In the Jewish diaspora, they were in contact with, and influenced by, ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenic cultures, as well as modern movements such as the Enlightenment (see
Haskalah The ''Haskalah'', often termed Jewish Enlightenment ( he, השכלה; literally, "wisdom", "erudition" or "education"), was an intellectual movement among the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organ ...
) and the rise of nationalism, which would bear fruit in the form of a Jewish state in their ancient homeland, the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
. They also saw an elite population convert to Judaism (the
Khazar The Khazars; he, כוזרים, Kuzarim; la, Gazari, or ; zh, 突厥曷薩 ; 突厥可薩部 ''Tūjué Kěsà bù'' () were a semi-nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fi ...
s), only to disappear as the centers of power in the lands once occupied by that elite fell to the people of Rus and then the Mongols. Thus, Boyarin has argued that "Jewishness disrupts the very categories of identity, because it is not national, not genealogical, not religious, but all of these, in dialectical tension." In contrast to this point of view, practices such as
Humanistic Judaism Humanistic Judaism ( ''Yahadut Humanistit'') is a Jewish movement that offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life. It defines Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "King ...
reject the religious aspects of Judaism, while retaining certain cultural traditions.


Who is a Jew?

According to
Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the codification of ...
, a Jew is anyone who was either born of a Jewish mother or who
converted to Judaism Conversion to Judaism ( he, גיור, ''giyur'') is the process by which gentile, non-Jews adopt the Judaism, Jewish religion and become members of the Jewish ethnoreligion, ethnoreligious community. It thus resembles both religious conversion, ...
in accordance with ''halakha''.
Reconstructionist Judaism Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern Jewish movement that views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of dis ...
and the larger denominations of worldwide
Progressive Judaism Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its ethical aspects to the ceremonial ones, and belief in a continuous rev ...
(also known as Liberal or Reform Judaism) accept the child as Jewish if one of the parents is Jewish, if the parents raise the child with a Jewish identity, but not the smaller regional branches. All mainstream forms of Judaism today are open to sincere converts, although conversion has traditionally been discouraged since the time of the Talmud. The conversion process is evaluated by an authority, and the convert is examined on his or her sincerity and knowledge. Converts are called "ben Abraham" or "bat Abraham", (son or daughter of Abraham). Conversions have on occasion been overturned. In 2008, Israel's highest religious court invalidated the conversion of 40,000 Jews, mostly from Russian immigrant families, even though they had been approved by an Orthodox rabbi. Rabbinical Judaism maintains that a Jew, whether by birth or conversion, is a Jew forever. Thus a Jew who claims to be an atheist or converts to another religion is still considered by traditional Judaism to be Jewish. According to some sources, the Reform movement has maintained that a Jew who has converted to another religion is no longer a Jew, and the Israeli Government has also taken that stance after Supreme Court cases and statutes. However, the Reform movement has indicated that this is not so cut and dried, and different situations call for consideration and differing actions. For example, Jews who have converted under duress may be permitted to return to Judaism "without any action on their part but their desire to rejoin the Jewish community" and "A proselyte who has become an apostate remains, nevertheless, a Jew".
Karaite Judaism Karaite Judaism () or Karaism (, sometimes spelt Karaitism (; ; also spelt Qaraite Judaism, Qaraism or Qaraitism) is a Jewish religious movement Jewish religious movements, sometimes called "Religious denomination, denominations", include d ...
believes that Jewish identity can only be transmitted by patrilineal descent. Although a minority of modern Karaites believe that Jewish identity requires that both parents be Jewish, and not only the father. They argue that only patrilineal descent can transmit Jewish identity on the grounds that all descent in the Torah went according to the male line. The question of what determines Jewish identity in the State of Israel was given new impetus when, in the 1950s,
David Ben-Gurion David Ben-Gurion ( ; he, דָּוִד בֶּן-גּוּרִיּוֹן ; born David Grün; 16 October 1886 – 1 December 1973) was the primary national founder of the State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yī ...
requested opinions on ''mihu Yehudi'' ("Who is a Jew") from Jewish religious authorities and intellectuals worldwide in order to settle citizenship questions. This is still not settled, and occasionally resurfaces in
Israeli politics Israeli may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the State of Israel * Israelis, citizens or permanent residents of the State of Israel * Modern Hebrew, a language * ''Israeli'' (newspaper), published from 2006 to 2008 See also * Isr ...
. Historical definitions of
Jewish identity up Ashkenazi Jews praying in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, showing traditional Jewish clothing and practice, including tallit, the Torah, and head coverings. (1878 painting by Maurice Gottlieb) Jewish identity is the objective or subjective state ...
have traditionally been based on ''halakhic'' definitions of matrilineal descent, and ''halakhic'' conversions. Historical definitions of who is a Jew date back to the codification of the Oral Torah into the Babylonian Talmud, around 200 CE. Interpretations of sections of the Tanakh, such as
Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, דְּבָרִים), "the words f Moses F, or f, is the sixth Letter (alphabet), let ...
7:1–5, by Jewish sages, are used as a warning against intermarriage between Jews and
Canaanites Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have emerged from Common Semitic in the ...
because " he non-Jewish husbandwill cause your child to turn away from Me and they will worship the gods (i.e., idols) of others." Leviticus 24 says that the son in a marriage between a Hebrew woman and an
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...
man is "of the community of Israel." This is complemented by Ezra 10, where Israelites returning from Babylon vow to put aside their
gentile Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jews, Jew". Other groups claiming affiliation with Israelites, groups that claim Israelite heritage sometimes use the term ''gentile'' to describe outsiders, notably Mormons. More ...

gentile
wives and their children. A popular theory is that the rape of Jewish women in captivity brought about the law of Jewish identity being inherited through the maternal line, although scholars challenge this theory citing the Talmudic establishment of the law from the pre-exile period. Since the anti-religious ''
Haskalah The ''Haskalah'', often termed Jewish Enlightenment ( he, השכלה; literally, "wisdom", "erudition" or "education"), was an intellectual movement among the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organ ...
'' movement of the late 18th and 19th centuries, ''halakhic'' interpretations of Jewish identity have been challenged.


Jewish demographics

The total number of Jews worldwide is difficult to assess because the definition of "who is a Jew" is problematic; not all Jews identify themselves as Jewish, and some who identify as Jewish are not considered so by other Jews. According to the ''Jewish Year Book'' (1901), the global Jewish population in 1900 was around 11 million. The latest available data is from the World Jewish Population Survey of 2002 and the Jewish Year Calendar (2005). In 2002, according to the Jewish Population Survey, there were 13.3 million Jews around the world. The Jewish Year Calendar cites 14.6 million. It is 0.25% of world population. Jewish population growth is currently near zero percent, with 0.3% growth from 2000 to 2001.


Jewish religious movements


Rabbinic Judaism

Rabbinic Judaism (or in some Christian traditions, Rabbinism) (Hebrew: "Yahadut Rabanit" – יהדות רבנית) has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud. It is characterised by the belief that the
Written Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebre ...
(Written Law) cannot be correctly interpreted without reference to the Oral Torah and the voluminous literature specifying what behavior is sanctioned by the
Law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
. The
Jewish Enlightenment The ''Haskalah'', often termed Jewish Enlightenment ( he, השכלה; literally, "wisdom", "erudition"), was an intellectual movement among the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are ...
of the late 18th century resulted in the division of
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
(Western) Jewry into religious movements or denominations, especially in North America and Anglophone countries. The main denominations today outside Israel (where the situation is rather different) are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. The notion "traditional Judaism" includes the Orthodox with Conservative or solely the Orthodox Jews. *
Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, ...
holds that both the Written and Oral Torah were divinely revealed to
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
and that the laws within it are binding and unchanging. Orthodox Jews generally consider commentaries on the ''
Shulchan Aruch The ''Shulchan Aruch'' ( he, שֻׁלְחָן עָרוּך , literally: "Set Table"), sometimes dubbed in English as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most widely consulted of the various Codification (law), legal codes in Judaism. It was authored in ...

Shulchan Aruch
'' (a condensed codification of ''halakha'' that largely favored Sephardic traditions) to be the definitive codification of ''halakha''. Orthodoxy places a high importance on Maimonides' 13 principles as a definition of Jewish faith. Orthodoxy is often divided into
Haredi Judaism Haredi Judaism ( he, יהדות חֲרֵדִית ', ; also spelled ''Charedi'' in English; plural ''Haredim'' or ''Charedim'') consists of groups within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branche ...

Haredi Judaism
and
Modern Orthodox Judaism Modern Orthodox Judaism (also Modern Orthodox or Modern Orthodoxy) is a movement within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary . , it is chiefly defined by regarding the , both ...
.
Haredi Haredi Judaism ( he, יהדות חֲרֵדִית ', ; also spelled ''Charedi'' in English; plural ''Haredim'' or ''Charedim'') consists of groups within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branche ...

Haredi
is less accommodating to modernity and has less interest in non-Jewish disciplines, and it may be distinguished from
Modern Orthodox Judaism Modern Orthodox Judaism (also Modern Orthodox or Modern Orthodoxy) is a movement within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary . , it is chiefly defined by regarding the , both ...
in practice by its styles of dress and more stringent practices. Subsets of Haredi Judaism include
Hasidic Judaism Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism ( he, חסידות, Ḥăsīdut, ; originally, "piety"), is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardi ...
, which is rooted in the
Kabbalah Kabbalah ( he, קַבָּלָה, links=no ''Qabālā'', literally "reception, tradition" or "correspondence") is an esoteric method, discipline, and Jewish theology, school of thought in Jewish mysticism. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is ...

Kabbalah
and distinguished by reliance on a
Rebbe A Rebbe ( he, רבי: ) or Admor ( he, אדמו״ר) is the spiritual leader in the Hasidic movement Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism ( he, חסידות, Ḥăsīdut, ; originally, "piety"), is a subg ...

Rebbe
or religious teacher; their opponents
Misnagdim ''Misnagdim'' (, "Opponents"; Sephardi pronunciationSephardi Hebrew (or Sepharadi Hebrew) is the pronunciation system for Biblical Hebrew language, Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Sephardi Jewish practice. Its phonology was influ ...
(Lithuanian); and Sephardic Haredi Judaism, which emerged among
Sephardic Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or sefarditas), pt, Judeus sefarditas or His ...
and
Mizrahi ''Mizrachi'' or ''Mizrahi'' ( he, מזרחי, lit. ''Eastern'') may refer to: * Mizrahi, a sephardic surname, given to Jews who got to the Iberian Peninsula from the east or Jews who lived in the eastern side of the peninsula. *Mizrahi Jews, Jews fr ...
(Asian and North African) Jews in Israel. "Centrist" Orthodoxy ( Joseph B. Soloveitchik) is sometimes also distinguished. *
Conservative Judaism Conservative Judaism (known as Masorti Judaism outside North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict ...
is characterized by a commitment to traditional ''halakha'' and customs, including observance of
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
and
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
, a deliberately non-fundamentalist teaching of Jewish principles of faith, a positive attitude toward modern culture, and an acceptance of both traditional rabbinic and modern scholarship when considering Jewish religious texts. Conservative Judaism teaches that ''halakha'' is not static, but has always developed in response to changing conditions. It holds that the Torah is a divine document written by prophets inspired by God and reflecting his will, but rejects the Orthodox position that it was dictated by God to Moses. Conservative Judaism holds that the Oral Law is divine and normative, but holds that both the Written and Oral Law may be interpreted by the rabbis to reflect modern sensibilities and suit modern conditions. *
Reform Judaism Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish religious movements, Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its Jewish ethics, ethical aspects to its cerem ...
, called Liberal or Progressive Judaism in many countries, defines Judaism in relatively universalist terms, rejects most of the ritual and ceremonial laws of the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
while observing moral laws, and emphasizes the ethical call of the
Prophets In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the super ...
. Reform Judaism has developed an egalitarian prayer service in the vernacular (along with
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
in many cases) and emphasizes personal connection to Jewish tradition. *
Reconstructionist Judaism Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern Jewish movement that views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of dis ...
, like Reform Judaism, does not hold that ''halakha'', as such, requires observance, but unlike Reform, Reconstructionist thought emphasizes the role of the community in deciding what observances to follow. * Jewish Renewal is a recent North American movement which focuses on spirituality and social justice but does not address issues of ''halakha''. Men and women participate equally in prayer. *
Humanistic Judaism Humanistic Judaism ( ''Yahadut Humanistit'') is a Jewish movement that offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life. It defines Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "King ...
is a small non-theistic movement centered in North America and Israel that emphasizes
Jewish culture Jewish culture is the culture of the Jewish people Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2International Organization for Standardization, ISO 259 is a series of international standards for the romanization of Hebrew, romanization of ...
and history as the sources of Jewish identity. *
Subbotniks The Subbotniks ( rus, Субботники, p=sʊˈbotnʲɪkʲɪ, "Sabbatarians") is a common name for Russians, Russian religious movements of Christian origin, whom majority belonged to Rabbinic Judaism, Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism, the Judai ...
(Sabbatarians) are a movement of Jews of
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...

Russian
ethnic origin in the 18th–20th centuries, the majority of whom belonged to Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism. Many settled in the
Holy Land The Holy Land (: , la, Terra Sancta; : or ) is an area roughly located between the and the Eastern Bank of the . Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical and with the . The term "Holy Land" usually refers to a territory ro ...

Holy Land
as part of the Zionist
First Aliyah The First Aliyah (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and ...
in order to escape oppression in the Russian Empire and later mostly intermarried with other Jews, their descendants included Alexander Zaïd, Major-General Alik Ron, and the mother of
Ariel Sharon Ariel Sharon (; , ', also known by his diminutive A diminutive is a root word A root (or root word) is the core of a word that is irreducible into more meaningful elements. In morphology, a root is a morphologically simple unit which can ...

Ariel Sharon
.


Sephardi and Mizrahi Judaism

While traditions and customs vary between discrete communities, it can be said that
Sephardi Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas or Hispanic Jew ...
and
Mizrahi ''Mizrachi'' or ''Mizrahi'' ( he, מזרחי, lit. ''Eastern'') may refer to: * Mizrahi, a sephardic surname, given to Jews who got to the Iberian Peninsula from the east or Jews who lived in the eastern side of the peninsula. *Mizrahi Jews, Jews fr ...
Jewish communities do not generally adhere to the "movement" framework popular in and among
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
Jewry. Historically, Sephardi and Mizrahi communities have eschewed denominations in favour of a "big tent" approach. This is particularly the case in contemporary
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...
, which is home to the largest communities of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the world. (However, individual Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews may be members of or attend synagogues that do adhere to one Ashkenazi-inflected movement or another.) Sephardi and Mizrahi observance of Judaism tends toward the conservative, and prayer rites are reflective of this, with the text of each rite being largely unchanged since their respective inception. Observant Sephardim may follow the teachings of a particular rabbi or school of thought; for example, the Sephardic
Chief Rabbi of Israel The Chief Rabbinate of Israel ( he, הָרַבָּנוּת הָרָאשִׁית לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, ''Ha-Rabanut Ha-Rashit Li-Yisra'el'') is recognized by law as the supreme rabbinic Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut ...
.


Jewish movements in Israel

Most Jewish Israelis classify themselves as "secular" (''hiloni''), "traditional" (''masorti''), "religious" (''dati'') or ''
Haredi Haredi Judaism ( he, יהדות חֲרֵדִית ', ; also spelled ''Charedi'' in English; plural ''Haredim'' or ''Charedim'') consists of groups within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branche ...

Haredi
''. The term "secular" is more popular as a self-description among Israeli families of western (European) origin, whose Jewish identity may be a very powerful force in their lives, but who see it as largely independent of traditional religious belief and practice. This portion of the population largely ignores organized religious life, be it of the official Israeli rabbinate (Orthodox) or of the liberal movements common to diaspora Judaism (Reform, Conservative). The term "traditional" (''masorti'') is most common as a self-description among Israeli families of "eastern" origin (i.e., the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa). This term, as commonly used, has nothing to do with the
Conservative Judaism Conservative Judaism (known as Masorti Judaism outside North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict ...
, which also names itself "Masorti" outside North America. There is a great deal of ambiguity in the ways "secular" and "traditional" are used in Israel: they often overlap, and they cover an extremely wide range in terms of worldview and practical religious observance. The term "Orthodox" is not popular in Israeli discourse, although the percentage of Jews who come under that category is far greater than in the Jewish diaspora. What would be called "Orthodox" in the diaspora includes what is commonly called ''
dati Religious Zionism ( he, צִיּוֹנוּת דָּתִית, Romanization of Hebrew, translit. ''Tziyonut Datit'') is an ideology that combines Zionism and Orthodox Judaism. Its adherents are also referred to as ''Dati Leumi'' ( "National Religious ...
'' (religious) or ''haredi'' (ultra-Orthodox) in Israel. The former term includes what is called "
Religious Zionism Religious Zionism ( he, צִיּוֹנוּת דָּתִית, translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wi ...
" or the "National Religious" community, as well as what has become known over the past decade or so as ''haredi-leumi'' (
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
''haredi''), or "Hardal", which combines a largely ''haredi'' lifestyle with nationalist ideology. (Some people, in
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...

Yiddish
, also refer to observant Orthodox Jews as ''
frum Frum ( yi, פֿרום, , religious', 'pious) is a word that describes Jewish religious devotion. The term is only applied to Chareidi Judaism and right-wing Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist bran ...
'', as opposed to ''frei'' (more liberal Jews)). ''Haredi'' applies to a populace that can be roughly divided into three separate groups along both ethnic and ideological lines: (1) "Lithuanian" (non-hasidic) ''haredim'' of
Ashkenazic Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations ...
origin; (2) Hasidic ''haredim'' of Ashkenazic origin; and (3)
Sephardic Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or sefarditas), pt, Judeus sefarditas or His ...
''haredim''.


Karaites and Samaritans

Karaite Judaism Karaite Judaism () or Karaism (, sometimes spelt Karaitism (; ; also spelt Qaraite Judaism, Qaraism or Qaraitism) is a Jewish religious movement Jewish religious movements, sometimes called "Religious denomination, denominations", include d ...
defines itself as the remnants of the non-Rabbinic Jewish sects of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
period, such as the
Sadducees The Sadducees (; he, צְדוּקִים ''Ṣĕdûqîm'') were a sect or group of Jews who were active in Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', ...
. The Karaites ("Scripturalists") accept only the Hebrew Bible and what they view as the
Peshat Peshat (also P'shat, ) is one of four classical methods of Jewish biblical exegesis Exegesis (; from the Greek from , "to lead out") is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text. Traditionally, the term was used primarily for work with ...
("simple" meaning); they do not accept non-biblical writings as authoritative. Some European Karaites do not see themselves as part of the Jewish community at all, although most do. The
Samaritans Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating from the of historical . They are native to the and adhere to , an , and in t ...

Samaritans
, a very small community located entirely around
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew Samaritan Hebrew () is a reading tradition used liturgically by the Samaritans The Samaritans (; Samaritan Hebrew: , ' (, 'Guardians/Keepers/Watchers (of the Torah)'); he, שומרונים, ''Shomronim'' ...
in the
Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ''Shechem'', ISO 259-3 ''Škem''; el, Νεάπολις, Νeápolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem (approximately by road), with a ...

Nablus
/
Shechem Shechem , also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם / Standard ''Šəḵem'' Tiberian ''Šeḵem'', "shoulder"; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoenician lang ...

Shechem
region of the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
and in
Holon Holon ( he, חוֹלוֹן ) is a city on the central coastal strip of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִ ...

Holon
, near
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv-Yafo ( he, תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ, ''Tel Aviv-Yafo'' ; ar, تَلّ أَبِيب - يَافَا, ''Tall ʾAbīb-Yāfā''), often referred to as just Tel Aviv, is the most populous city in the metropolitan area of . Locate ...

Tel Aviv
in Israel, regard themselves as the descendants of the Israelites of the Iron Age kingdom of Israel. Their religious practices are based on the literal text of the written
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
(Five Books of Moses), which they view as the only authoritative scripture (with a special regard also for the Samaritan Book of Joshua).


Haymanot (Ethiopian Judaism)

Haymanot (meaning "religion" in Ge'ez and Amharic) refers the Judaism practiced by Ethiopian Jews. This version of Judaism differs substantially from Rabbinic, Karaite, and Samaritan Judaisms, Ethiopian Jews having diverged from their coreligionists earlier. Sacred scriptures (the Orit) are written in Ge'ez, not Hebrew, and dietary laws are based strictly on the text of the Orit, without explication from ancillary commentaries. Holidays also differ, with some Rabbinic holidays not observed in Ethiopian Jewish communities, and some additional holidays, like
Sigd Mehlella ( gez, ምህልላ, , Supplication), also Amata Saww (, 'Grouping Day') or Sigd (, 'Prostration', he, סיגד, also romanized ''Sig'd''), is one of the unique holidays of the Beta Israel Beta Israel ( he, בֵּיתֶא יִשְׂ ...
.


Secular Judaism

Jewish secularism refers to
secularism Secularism is the principle of seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...

secularism
in a particularly Jewish context, denoting the definition of Jewishness either with little recourse to religion or without. Jewish Secularist ideologies first arose in the latter third of the 19th century, and reached the apogee of their influence in the
interwar period In the history of the 20th century, the Interwar period lasted from 11 November 1918 to 1 September 1939 (20 years, 9 months and 21 days), the end of the First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as t ...
.


Noahide (''B'nei Noah'' movement)

Noahidism Noahidism () or Noachidism () is a monotheistic Monotheism is the belief in one god. A narrower definition of monotheism is the belief in the existence of only one god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, ...
is a
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...
religious movementVarious sociological classifications of religious movements have been proposed by scholars. In the sociology of religion, the most widely used classification is the church-sect wikt:typology, typology. The typology states that churches, ecclesia, de ...
based on the
Seven Laws of Noah In Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an org ...
and their traditional interpretations within
Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the codification of ...
. According to the ''halakha'', non-Jews (
gentiles Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jew Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards develope ...
) are not obligated to
convert to Judaism Conversion to Judaism ( he, גיור, ''giyur'') is the process by which gentile, non-Jews adopt the Judaism, Jewish religion and become members of the Jewish ethnoreligion, ethnoreligious community. It thus resembles both religious conversion, ...
, but they are required to observe the Seven Laws of Noah to be assured of a place in the World to Come (Olam Ha-Ba), the final reward of the righteous. The divinely ordained penalty for violating any of the Laws of Noah is discussed in the Talmud, but in practical terms it is subject to the working legal system which is established by the society at large. Those who subscribe to the observance of the Noahic Covenant are referred to as ''B'nei Noach'' (
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
: בני נח, "Children of Noah") or ''Noahides'' ( /ˈnoʊ.ə.haɪdɪs/). Supporting organizations have been established around the world over the past decades by both Noahides and Orthodox Jews. Historically, the Hebrew term ''B'nei Noach'' has applied to all non-Jews as descendants of Noah. However, nowadays it's primarily used to refer specifically to those non-Jews who observe the Seven Laws of Noah.


Jewish observances


Jewish ethics

Jewish ethics may be guided by ''halakhic'' traditions, by other moral principles, or by central Jewish virtues. Jewish ethical practice is typically understood to be marked by values such as justice, truth, peace, loving-kindness (
chesed ''Chesed'' ( he, חֶסֶד, also Romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken ...
), compassion, humility, and self-respect. Specific Jewish ethical practices include practices of charity (
tzedakah ''Tzedakah'' or ''Ṣedaqah'' ( he, צדקה ) is a Hebrew word meaning "righteousness", but commonly used to signify '. This concept of "charity" differs from the modern Western understanding of "charity." The latter is typically understood as ...
) and refraining from negative speech (
lashon hara#REDIRECT Lashon hara ''Lashon hara'' (or ''loshon horo'') ( he, לשון הרע; "evil tongue") is the halakhic ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ; also transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', ''halachah'', or ''halocho''; ) is the co ...
). Proper ethical practices regarding sexuality and many other issues are subjects of dispute among Jews.


Prayers

Traditionally, Jews recite prayers three times daily,
Shacharit Shacharit ( he, שַחֲרִית ''šaḥăriṯ''), or Shacharis in Ashkenazi Hebrew, is the morning tefillah (prayer) of Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", vi ...
,
Mincha Mincha ( he, מִנחַה, pronounced as ; sometimes spelled ''Minchah'' or ''Minḥa'') is the afternoon prayer service in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamis ...
, and Ma'ariv with a fourth prayer,
MussafMussaf (also spelled Musaf) is an additional Jewish services, service that is recited on Shabbat, Jewish holidays, Yom Tov, Chol Hamoed, and Rosh Chodesh. The service, which is traditionally combined with the Shacharit in synagogues, is considered to ...
added on
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
and
holidays A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tr ...
. At the heart of each service is the ''
Amidah The Amidah ( he, תפילת העמידה, ''Tefilat HaAmidah'', "The Standing Prayer"), also called the ''Shemoneh Esreh'' ( 'eighteen'), is the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy Jewish prayer ( he, תְּפִלָּה, ; plural ; ...
'' or ''Shemoneh Esrei''. Another key prayer in many services is the declaration of faith, the ''
Shema Yisrael ''Shema Yisrael'' (''Shema Israel'' or ''Sh'ma Yisrael''; he , שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל; "Hear, O Israel") is a Jewish prayer, and is also the first two words of a section of the Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instructio ...
'' (or ''Shema''). The ''Shema'' is the recitation of a verse from the Torah (
Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, דְּבָרִים), "the words f Moses F, or f, is the sixth Letter (alphabet), let ...
6:4): ''Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad''—"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God! The Lord is One!" Most of the prayers in a traditional Jewish service can be recited in solitary prayer, although communal prayer is preferred. Communal prayer requires a quorum of ten adult Jews, called a ''minyan''. In nearly all Orthodox and a few Conservative circles, only male Jews are counted toward a ''minyan''; most Conservative Jews and members of other Jewish denominations count female Jews as well. In addition to prayer services, observant traditional Jews recite List of Jewish prayers and blessings, prayers and benedictions throughout the day when List of Jewish prayers and blessings#Everyday prayers and blessings, performing various acts. Prayers are recited upon Modeh ani, waking up in the morning, before eating or drinking different foods, Birkat Hamazon, after eating a meal, and so on. The approach to prayer varies among the Jewish denominations. Differences can include the texts of prayers, the frequency of prayer, the number of prayers recited at various religious events, the use of musical instruments and choral music, and whether prayers are recited in the traditional liturgical languages or the vernacular. In general, Orthodox and Conservative congregations adhere most closely to tradition, and Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues are more likely to incorporate translations and contemporary writings in their services. Also, in most Conservative synagogues, and all Reform and Reconstructionist congregations, women participate in prayer services on an Egalitarianism, equal basis with men, including roles traditionally filled only by men, such as Torah reading, reading from the Torah. In addition, many Reform temples use musical accompaniment such as organs and mixed choirs.


Religious clothing

A ''kippah'' (Hebrew: כִּפָּה, plural ''kippot''; Yiddish: יאַרמלקע, ''yarmulke'') is a slightly rounded brimless skullcap worn by many Jews while praying, eating, reciting blessings, or studying Jewish religious texts, and at all times by some Jewish men. In Orthodox communities, only men wear kippot; in non-Orthodox communities, some women also wear kippot. ''Kippot'' range in size from a small round beanie that covers only the back of the head to a large, snug cap that covers the whole crown. ''Tzitzit'' (Hebrew: צִיציִת) (Ashkenazi Hebrew, Ashkenazi pronunciation: ''tzitzis'') are special knotted "fringes" or "tassels" found on the four corners of the ''tallit'' (Hebrew: טַלִּית) (Ashkenazi pronunciation: ''tallis''), or prayer shawl. The ''tallit'' is worn by Jewish men and some Jewish women during the prayer service. Customs vary regarding when a Jew begins wearing a tallit. In the Sephardi community, boys wear a tallit from bar mitzvah age. In some Ashkenazi communities, it is customary to wear one only after marriage. A ''tallit katan'' (small tallit) is a fringed garment worn under the clothing throughout the day. In some Orthodox circles, the fringes are allowed to hang freely outside the clothing. Tefillin (Hebrew: תְפִלִּין), known in English as phylacteries (from the Greek word φυλακτήριον, meaning ''safeguard'' or ''amulet''), are two square leather boxes containing biblical verses, attached to the forehead and wound around the left arm by leather straps. They are worn during weekday morning prayer by observant Jewish men and some Jewish women. A ''kittel'' (Yiddish: קיטל), a white knee-length overgarment, is worn by prayer leaders and some observant traditional Jews on the High Holidays. It is traditional for the head of the household to wear a kittel at the Passover seder in some communities, and some grooms wear one under the wedding canopy. Jewish males are buried in a ''tallit'' and sometimes also a ''kittel'' which are part of the ''tachrichim'' (burial garments).


Jewish holidays

Jewish holidays are special days in the Jewish calendar, which celebrate moments in Jewish history, as well as central themes in the relationship between God and the world, such as Creation myth, creation, revelation, and salvation, redemption.


Shabbat

''
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
'', the weekly day of rest lasting from shortly before sundown on Friday night to nightfall on Saturday night, commemorates God's day of rest after six days of creation. It plays a pivotal role in Jewish practice and is governed by a large corpus of religious law. At sundown on Friday, the woman of the house welcomes the Shabbat by lighting two or more candles and reciting a blessing. The evening meal begins with the Kiddush, a blessing recited aloud over a cup of wine, and the Mohtzi, a blessing recited over the bread. It is customary to have challah, two braided loaves of bread, on the table. During Shabbat, Jews are forbidden to engage in any activity that falls under 39 categories of activity prohibited on Shabbat, 39 categories of ''melakhah'', translated literally as "work". In fact the activities banned on the Sabbath are not "work" in the usual sense: They include such actions as lighting a fire, writing, using money and carrying in the public domain. The prohibition of lighting a fire has been extended in the modern era to driving a car, which involves burning fuel and using electricity.


Three pilgrimage festivals

Jewish holy days (''chaggim''), celebrate landmark events in Jewish history, such as the Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah, and sometimes mark the change of seasons and transitions in the agricultural cycle. The three major festivals, Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot, are called "regalim" (derived from the Hebrew word "regel", or foot). On the three regalim, it was customary for the Israelites to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices in the Temple. *Passover (''Pesach'') is a week-long holiday beginning on the evening of the 14th day of Nisan (the first month in the Hebrew calendar), that commemorates the Book of Exodus, Exodus from Egypt. Outside Israel, Passover is celebrated for eight days. In ancient times, it coincided with the barley harvest. It is the only holiday that centers on home-service, the Passover Seder, Seder. leavening agent, Leavened products (chametz) are removed from the house prior to the holiday and are not consumed throughout the week. Homes are thoroughly cleaned to ensure no bread or bread by-products remain, and a symbolic burning of the last vestiges of chametz is conducted on the morning of the Seder. Matzo is eaten instead of bread. * Shavuot ("Pentecost" or "Feast of Weeks") celebrates the revelation of the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
to the
Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israe ...
s on Mount Sinai. Also known as the Festival of Bikurim, or first fruits, it coincided in biblical times with the wheat harvest. Shavuot customs include all-night study marathons known as Tikkun Leil Shavuot, eating dairy foods (cheesecake and blintzes are special favorites), reading the Book of Ruth, decorating homes and synagogues with greenery, and wearing white clothing, symbolizing purity. *Sukkot ("Tabernacles" or "The Festival of Booths") commemorates the Israelites' forty years of wandering through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. It is celebrated through the construction of temporary booths called ''sukkot'' (sing. ''sukkah'') that represent the temporary shelters of the Israelites during their wandering. It coincides with the fruit harvest and marks the end of the agricultural cycle. Jews around the world eat in ''sukkot'' for seven days and nights. Sukkot concludes with Shemini Atzeret, where Jews begin to pray for rain and Simchat Torah, "Rejoicing of the Torah", a holiday which marks reaching the end of the Torah reading cycle and beginning all over again. The occasion is celebrated with singing and dancing with the Torah scrolls. Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are technically considered to be a separate holiday and not a part of Sukkot.


High Holy Days

The High Holidays (''Yamim Noraim'' or "Days of Awe") revolve around judgment and forgiveness. * Rosh Hashanah, (also ''Yom Ha-Zikkaron'' or "Day of Remembrance", and ''Yom Teruah'', or "Day of the Sounding of the Shofar"). Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year (literally, "head of the year"), although it falls on the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, Tishri. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the 10-day period of atonement leading up to Yom Kippur, during which Jews are commanded to search their souls and make amends for sins committed, intentionally or not, throughout the year. Holiday customs include blowing the shofar, or ram's horn, in the synagogue, eating apples and honey, and saying blessings over a variety of symbolic foods, such as pomegranates. * Yom Kippur, ("Day of Atonement") is the holiest day of the Jewish year. It is a day of communal fasting and praying for forgiveness for one's sins. Observant Jews spend the entire day in the synagogue, sometimes with a short break in the afternoon, reciting prayers from a special holiday prayerbook called a "Machzor". Many non-religious Jews make a point of attending synagogue services and fasting on Yom Kippur. On the eve of Yom Kippur, before candles are lit, a prefast meal, the "seuda mafseket", is eaten. Synagogue services on the eve of Yom Kippur begin with the Kol Nidre prayer. It is customary to wear white on Yom Kippur, especially for Kol Nidre, and leather shoes are not worn. The following day, prayers are held from morning to evening. The final prayer service, called "Ne'ilah", ends with a long blast of the shofar.


Purim

Purim (
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
: ''Pûrîm'' "Cleromancy, lots") is a joyous Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Persian Jews from the plot of the evil Haman (Bible), Haman, who sought to genocide, exterminate them, as recorded in the biblical Book of Esther. It is characterized by public recitation of the Book of Esther, mutual gifts of food and drink, Alms, charity to the poor, and a celebratory meal (Esther 9:22). Other customs include drinking wine, eating special pastries called hamantashen, dressing up in masks and costumes, and organizing carnivals and parties. Purim has celebrated annually on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar, which occurs in February or March of the Gregorian calendar.


Hanukkah

Hanukkah ( he, חֲנֻכָּה, "dedication") also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday that starts on the 25th day of Kislev (Hebrew calendar). The festival is observed in Jewish homes by the kindling of lights on each of the festival's eight nights, one on the first night, two on the second night and so on. The holiday was called Hanukkah (meaning "dedication") because it marks the re-dedication of the Temple after its desecration by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Spiritually, Hanukkah commemorates the "Miracle of the Oil". According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication of the
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during th ...
following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days—which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate new oil. Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Bible and was never considered a major holiday in Judaism, but it has become much more visible and widely celebrated in modern times, mainly because it falls around the same time as Christmas and has national Jewish overtones that have been emphasized since the establishment of the State of Israel.


Fast days

Tisha B'Av ( he, תשעה באב or , "the Ninth of Av (month), Av") is a day of mourning and fasting commemorating the destruction of the First Temple, First and
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
s, and in later times, the Alhambra Decree, expulsion of the Jews from Spain. There are three more minor Jewish fast days that commemorate various stages of the destruction of the Temples. They are the Seventeenth of Tamuz, 17th Tamuz, the 10th of Tevet and Tzom Gedaliah (the 3rd of Tishrei).


Israeli holidays

The modern holidays of Yom Ha-shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) and Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) commemorate the horrors of the Holocaust, the fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terrorism, and Israeli independence, respectively. There are some who prefer to commemorate those who were killed in the Holocaust on the Tenth of Tevet#Day of general kaddish, 10th of Tevet.


Torah readings

The core of festival and
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
prayer services is the public reading of the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
, along with connected readings from the other books of the Tanakh, called Haftarah. Over the course of a year, the whole Torah is read, with the cycle starting over in the autumn, on Simchat Torah.


Synagogues and religious buildings

Synagogues are Jewish houses of prayer and study. They usually contain separate rooms for prayer (the main sanctuary), smaller rooms for study, and often an area for community or educational use. There is no set blueprint for synagogues and the architectural shapes and interior designs of synagogues vary greatly. The Reform movement mostly refer to their synagogues as temples. Some traditional features of a synagogue are: * The ark (synagogue), ark (called ''aron ha-kodesh'' by Ashkenazi Jews, Ashkenazim and ''hekhal'' by Sephardi Jews, Sephardim) where the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
scrolls are kept (the ark is often closed with an ornate curtain (''parochet'') outside or inside the ark doors); * The elevated reader's platform (called ''Bema#Judaism, bimah'' by Ashkenazim and ''tebah'' by Sephardim), where the Torah is read (and services are conducted in Sephardi synagogues); * The sanctuary lamp, eternal light (''ner tamid''), a continually lit lamp or lantern used as a reminder of the constantly lit Menorah (Temple), menorah of the
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during th ...
* The pulpit, or ''amud'', a lectern facing the Ark where the hazzan or prayer leader stands while praying. In addition to synagogues, other buildings of significance in Judaism include yeshivas, or institutions of Jewish learning, and mikvahs, which are ritual baths.


Dietary laws: ''kashrut''

The Jewish dietary laws are known as ''
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
''. Food prepared in accordance with them is termed kosher foods, kosher, and food that is not kosher is also known as ''treifah'' or ''treif''. People who observe these laws are colloquially said to be "keeping kosher". Many of the laws apply to animal-based foods. For example, in order to be considered kosher, mammals must have split hooves and ruminants, chew their cud. The pig is arguably the most well-known example of a non-kosher animal. Although it has split hooves, it does not chew its cud. For seafood to be kosher, the animal must have fins and Scale (zoology), scales. Certain types of seafood, such as shellfish, crustaceans, and eels, are therefore considered non-kosher. Concerning birds, a list of non-kosher species is given in the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
. The exact translations of many of the species have not survived, and some non-kosher birds' identities are no longer certain. However, traditions exist about the ''kashrut'' status of a few birds. For example, both chickens and turkeys are permitted in most communities. Other types of animals, such as amphibians, reptiles, and most insects, are prohibited altogether. In addition to the requirement that the species be considered kosher, meat and poultry (but not fish) must come from a healthy animal slaughtered in a process known as ''shechitah''. Without the proper Animal slaughter, slaughtering practices even an otherwise kosher animal will be rendered ''treif''. The slaughtering process is intended to be quick and relatively painless to the animal. Forbidden parts of animals include the blood, some fats, and the area in and around the sciatic nerve. ''Halakha'' also forbids the consumption of meat and dairy products together. The waiting period between eating meat and eating dairy varies by the order in which they are consumed and by community, and can extend for up to six hours. Based on the Biblical injunction against cooking a kid in its mother's milk, this rule is mostly derived from the Oral Torah, the Talmud and Rabbinic la. Chicken and other kosher birds are considered the same as meat under the laws of ''kashrut'', but the prohibition is rabbinic, not biblical. The use of Dishware, dishes, serving utensils, and ovens may make food ''treif'' that would otherwise be kosher. Utensils that have been used to prepare non-kosher food, or dishes that have held meat and are now used for dairy products, render the food ''treif'' under certain conditions. Furthermore, all Orthodox and some Conservative authorities forbid the consumption of processed grape products made by non-Jews, due to ancient pagan practices of using wine in rituals. Some Conservative authorities permit wine and grape juice made without rabbinic supervision. The Torah does not give specific reasons for most of the laws of ''
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
''. However, a number of explanations have been offered, including maintaining ritual purity, teaching impulse control, encouraging obedience to God, improving health, reducing cruelty to animals and preserving the distinctness of the Jewish community. The various categories of dietary laws may have developed for different reasons, and some may exist for multiple reasons. For example, people are forbidden from consuming the blood of birds and mammals because, according to the Torah, this is where animal souls are contained. In contrast, the Torah forbids Israelites from eating non-kosher species because "they are unclean". The
Kabbalah Kabbalah ( he, קַבָּלָה, links=no ''Qabālā'', literally "reception, tradition" or "correspondence") is an esoteric method, discipline, and Jewish theology, school of thought in Jewish mysticism. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is ...

Kabbalah
describes sparks of holiness that are released by the act of eating kosher foods, but are too tightly bound in non-kosher foods to be released by eating. Survival concerns supersede all the laws of ''kashrut'', as they do for most ''halakhot''.


Laws of ritual purity

The Tanakh describes circumstances in which a person who is ''tahor'' or ritually pure may become ''tamei'' or ritually impure. Some of these circumstances are contact with human corpses or grave (burial), graves, seminal flux, vaginal flux, menstruation, and contact with people who have become impure from any of these. In Rabbinic Judaism, Kohanim, members of the hereditary caste that served as priests in the time of the Temple, are mostly restricted from entering grave sites and touching dead bodies. During the Temple period, such priests (Kohanim) were required to eat their bread offering (Terumah) in a state of ritual purity, which laws eventually led to more rigid laws being enacted, such as Handwashing in Judaism, hand-washing which became a requisite of all Jews before consuming ordinary bread.


Family purity

An important subcategory of the ritual purity laws relates to the segregation of menstruating women. These laws are also known as ''niddah'', literally "separation", or family purity. Vital aspects of ''halakha'' for traditionally observant Jews, they are not usually followed by Jews in liberal denominations. Especially in
Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, ...
, the Biblical laws are augmented by Rabbinical injunctions. For example, the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
mandates that a woman in her normal menstrual period must abstain from sexual intercourse for seven days. A woman whose menstruation is prolonged must continue to abstain for seven more days after bleeding has stopped. The Rabbis conflated ordinary ''niddah'' with this extended menstrual period, known in the Torah as ''zavah'', and mandated that a woman may not have sexual intercourse with her husband from the time she begins her Menstrual cycle, menstrual flow until seven days after it ends. In addition, Rabbinical law forbids the husband from touching or sharing a bed with his wife during this period. Afterwards, purification can occur in a ritual bath called a mikveh Traditional Ethiopian Jews keep menstruating women in separate huts and, similar to Karaite Judaism, Karaite practice, do not allow menstruating women into their temples because of a temple's special sanctity. Emigration to Israel and the influence of other Jewish denominations have led to Ethiopian Jews adopting more normative Jewish practices.


Life-cycle events

Life-cycle events, or rites of passage, occur throughout a Jew's life that serves to strengthen Jewish identity and bind him/her to the entire community. * Brit milah – Welcoming male babies into the covenant through the rite of
circumcision Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin The foreskin is the double-layered fold of smooth muscle tissue, blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. Th ...

circumcision
on their eighth day of life. The baby boy is also given his Hebrew name in the ceremony. A naming ceremony intended as a parallel ritual for girls, named ''zeved habat'' or brit bat, enjoys limited popularity. * Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah, Bar mitzvah and Bat mitzvah – This passage from childhood to adulthood takes place when a female Jew is twelve and a male Jew is thirteen years old among Orthodox and some Conservative congregations. In the Reform movement, both girls and boys have their bat/bar mitzvah at age thirteen. This is often commemorated by having the new adults, male only in the Orthodox tradition, lead the congregation in prayer and publicly read a "portion" of the Torah. * Jewish views of marriage, Marriage – Marriage is an extremely important lifecycle event. A wedding takes place under a ''chuppah'', or wedding canopy, which symbolizes a happy house. At the end of the ceremony, the groom breaks a glass with his foot, symbolizing the continuous mourning for the destruction of the Temple, and the scattering of the Jewish people. * Bereavement in Judaism, Death and Mourning – Judaism has a multi-staged mourning practice. The first stage is called the shiva (Judaism), shiva (literally "seven", observed for one week) during which it is traditional to sit at home and be comforted by friends and family, the second is the ''shloshim'' (observed for one month) and for those who have lost one of their parents, there is a third stage, ''avelut yud bet chodesh'', which is observed for eleven months.


Community leadership


Classical priesthood

The role of the priesthood in Judaism has significantly diminished since the destruction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
in 70 CE when priests attended to the Temple and sacrifices. The priesthood is an inherited position, and although priests no longer have any but ceremonial duties, they are still honored in many Jewish communities. Many Orthodox Jewish communities believe that they will be needed again for a future Third Temple and need to remain in readiness for future duty. * Kohen (priest) – patrilineal descendant of Aaron, brother of
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
. In the Temple, the ''kohanim'' were charged with performing the sacrifices. Today, a Kohen is the first one called up at the reading of the Torah, performs the Priestly Blessing, as well as complying with other unique laws and ceremonies, including the ceremony of redemption of the first-born. * Levi (Levite) – Patrilineal descendant of
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
the son of
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
. In the
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during th ...
, the levites sang Psalms, performed construction, maintenance, janitorial, and guard duties, assisted the priests, and sometimes interpreted the law and Temple ritual to the public. Today, a Levite is called up second to the reading of the Torah.


Prayer leaders

From the time of the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
and Talmud to the present, Judaism has required specialists or authorities for the practice of very few rituals or ceremonies. A Jew can fulfill most requirements for prayer by himself. Some activities—reading the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
and ''haftarah'' (a supplementary portion from the Prophets or Writings), the prayer for mourners, the blessings for bridegroom and bride, the complete grace after meals—require a ''minyan'', the presence of ten Jews. The most common professional clergy in a synagogue are: *
Rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civili ...

Rabbi
of a congregation – Jewish scholar who is charged with answering the legal questions of a congregation. This role requires ordination by the congregation's preferred authority (i.e., from a respected Orthodox rabbi or, if the congregation is Conservative or Reform, from academic seminaries). A congregation does not necessarily require a rabbi. Some congregations have a rabbi but also allow members of the congregation to act as ''shatz'' or ''baal kriyah'' (see below). ** Hassidic ''
Rebbe A Rebbe ( he, רבי: ) or Admor ( he, אדמו״ר) is the spiritual leader in the Hasidic movement Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism ( he, חסידות, Ḥăsīdut, ; originally, "piety"), is a subg ...

Rebbe
'' – rabbi who is the head of a
Hasidic Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism ( he, חסידות, Ḥăsīdut, ; originally, "piety"), is a subgroup of Haredi Judaism that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory of contemporary Wester ...
dynasty. * Hazzan (note: the "h" denotes voiceless pharyngeal fricative) (cantor) – a trained vocalist who acts as ''shatz''. Chosen for a good voice, knowledge of traditional tunes, understanding of the meaning of the prayers and sincerity in reciting them. A congregation does not need to have a dedicated hazzan. Jewish prayer services do involve two specified roles, which are sometimes, but not always, filled by a rabbi or hazzan in many congregations. In other congregations these roles are filled on an ad-hoc basis by members of the congregation who lead portions of services on a rotating basis: * Shaliach tzibur or ''Shatz'' (leader—literally "agent" or "representative"—of the congregation) leads those assembled in prayer and sometimes prays on behalf of the community. When a ''shatz'' recites a prayer on behalf of the congregation, he is ''not'' acting as an intermediary but rather as a facilitator. The entire congregation participates in the recital of such prayers by saying ''amen'' at their conclusion; it is with this act that the ''shatz's'' prayer becomes the prayer of the congregation. Any adult capable of reciting the prayers clearly may act as ''shatz''. In Orthodox congregations and some Conservative congregations, only men can be prayer leaders, but all Progressive Judaism, Progressive communities now allow women to serve in this function. * The Baal kriyah or ''baal koreh'' (master of the reading) reads the weekly
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
portion. The requirements for being the ''baal kriyah'' are the same as those for the ''shatz''. These roles are not mutually exclusive. The same person is often qualified to fill more than one role and often does. Often there are several people capable of filling these roles and different services (or parts of services) will be led by each. Many congregations, especially larger ones, also rely on a: * Gabbai (sexton) – Calls people up to the Torah, appoints the ''shatz'' for each prayer session if there is no standard ''shatz'', and makes certain that the synagogue is kept clean and supplied. The three preceding positions are usually voluntary and considered an honor. Since the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
large synagogues have often adopted the practice of hiring rabbis and hazzans to act as ''shatz'' and ''baal kriyah'', and this is still typically the case in many Conservative and Reform congregations. However, in most Orthodox synagogues these positions are filled by laypeople on a rotating or ad-hoc basis. Although most congregations hire one or more Rabbis, the use of a professional hazzan is generally declining in American congregations, and the use of professionals for other offices is rarer still.


Specialized religious roles

* ''Beth din#Officers of a beth din, Dayan'' (judge) – An ordained rabbi with special legal training who belongs to a ''beth din'' (rabbinical court). In Israel, religious courts handle marriage and divorce cases, conversion and financial disputes in the Jewish community. * Mohel (circumciser) – An expert in the laws of circumcision who has received training from a previously qualified ''mohel'' and performs the ''brit milah'' (circumcision). * shechita, Shochet (ritual slaughterer) – In order for meat to be kosher, it must be slaughtered by a ''shochet'' who is an expert in the laws of kashrut and has been trained by another ''shochet.'' * Sofer (scribe), Sofer (scribe) –
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
scrolls, ''tefillin'' (phylacteries), ''mezuzah, mezuzot'' (scrolls put on doorposts), and ''gittin'' (bills of divorce) must be written by a ''sofer'' who is an expert in Hebrew calligraphy and has undergone rigorous training in the laws of writing sacred texts. * Rosh yeshiva – A Torah scholar who runs a yeshiva. * Mashgiach ruchani, Mashgiach of a yeshiva – Depending on which yeshiva, might either be the person responsible for ensuring attendance and proper conduct, or even supervise the emotional and spiritual welfare of the students and give lectures on Mussar movement, mussar (Jewish ethics). * Mashgiach – Supervises manufacturers of kosher food, importers, caterers and restaurants to ensure that the food is kosher. Must be an expert in the laws of
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
and trained by a rabbi, if not a rabbi himself.


Historical Jewish groupings (to 1700)

Around the 1st century CE, there were several small Jewish sects: the Pharisees,
Sadducees The Sadducees (; he, צְדוּקִים ''Ṣĕdûqîm'') were a sect or group of Jews who were active in Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', ...
, Zealots, Essenes, and early Christianity, Christians. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, these sects vanished.
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
survived, but by breaking with Judaism and Schism (religion), becoming a separate religion; the Pharisees survived but in the form of
Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the codification of ...
(today, known simply as "Judaism"). The
Sadducees The Sadducees (; he, צְדוּקִים ''Ṣĕdûqîm'') were a sect or group of Jews who were active in Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', ...
rejected the Revelation, divine inspiration of the
Prophets In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the super ...
and the Ketuvim, Writings, relying only on the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
as divinely inspired. Consequently, a number of other core tenets of the Pharisees' belief system (which became the basis for modern Judaism), were also dismissed by the Sadducees. (The
Samaritans Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating from the of historical . They are native to the and adhere to , an , and in t ...

Samaritans
practiced a similar religion, which is traditionally considered separate from Judaism.) Like the Sadducees who relied only on the Torah, some Jews in the 8th and 9th centuries rejected the authority and divine inspiration of the oral law as recorded in the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
(and developed by later rabbis in the two Talmuds), relying instead only upon the Tanakh. These included the Isunians, the Yudganites, the Malikites, and others. They soon developed oral traditions of their own, which differed from the rabbinic traditions, and eventually formed the Karaism, Karaite sect. Karaites exist in small numbers today, mostly living in Israel. Rabbinical and Karaite Jews each hold that the others are Jews, but that the other faith is erroneous. Over a long time, Jews formed distinct ethnic groups in several different geographic areas—amongst others, the Ashkenazi Jews (of Central Europe, central and Eastern Europe), the Sephardi Jews (of Spain, Portugal, and North Africa), the Beta Israel of Ethiopia, the Yemenite Jews from the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula and the Cochin Jews, Malabari and Cochin Jews from Kerala . Many of these groups have developed differences in their prayers, traditions and accepted canons; however, these distinctions are mainly the result of their being formed at some cultural distance from normative (rabbinic) Judaism, rather than based on any doctrinal dispute.


Persecutions

Antisemitism arose during the Middle Ages, in the form of persecutions, pogroms, forced conversions, expulsions, social restrictions and ghettoization. This was different in quality from the repressions of Jews which had occurred in ancient times. Ancient repressions were politically motivated and Jews were treated the same as members of other ethnic groups. With the rise of the Churches, the main motive for attacks on Jews changed from politics to religion and the religious motive for such attacks was specifically derived from Christian views about Jews and Judaism. During the Middle Ages, Jewish people who lived under Muslim rule generally experienced tolerance and integration,Cohen, Mark R.
The Neo-Lachrymose Conception of Jewish-Arab History
" ''Tikkun'' 6.3 (1991)
but there were occasional outbreaks of violence like Almohads#Status of non-Muslims, Almohad's persecutions.Amira K. Bennison and María Ángeles Gallego.
Jewish Trading in Fes On The Eve of the Almohad Conquest
" MEAH, sección Hebreo 56 (2007), 33–51


Hasidism

Hasidic Judaism was founded by Yisroel ben Eliezer (The Baal Shem Tov), Yisroel ben Eliezer (1700–1760), also known as the ''Ba'al Shem Tov'' (or ''Besht''). It originated in a time of persecution of the Jewish people when European Jews had turned inward to Talmud study; many felt that most expressions of Jewish life had become too "academic", and that they no longer had any emphasis on spirituality or joy. Its adherents favored small and informal gatherings called Shtiebel, which, in contrast to a traditional synagogue, could be used both as a place of worship and for celebrations involving dancing, eating, and socializing. Ba'al Shem Tov's disciples attracted many followers; they themselves established numerous Hasidic sects across Europe. Unlike other religions, which typically expanded through word of mouth or by use of print, Hasidism spread largely owing to Tzadiks, who used their influence to encourage others to follow the movement. Hasidism appealed to many Europeans because it was easy to learn, did not require full immediate commitment, and presented a compelling spectacle. Hasidic Judaism eventually became the way of life for many Jews in Eastern Europe. Waves of Jewish immigration in the 1880s carried it to the United States. The movement itself claims to be nothing new, but a ''refreshment'' of original Judaism. As some have put it: ''"they merely re-emphasized that which the generations had lost"''. Nevertheless, early on there was a serious schism between Hasidic and non-Hasidic Jews. European Jews who rejected the Hasidic movement were dubbed by the Hasidim as
Misnagdim ''Misnagdim'' (, "Opponents"; Sephardi pronunciationSephardi Hebrew (or Sepharadi Hebrew) is the pronunciation system for Biblical Hebrew language, Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Sephardi Jewish practice. Its phonology was influ ...
, (lit. "opponents"). Some of the reasons for the rejection of Hasidic Judaism were the exuberance of Hasidic worship, its deviation from tradition in ascribing infallibility and miracles to their leaders, and the concern that it might become a messianic sect. Over time differences between the Hasidim and their opponents have slowly diminished and both groups are now considered part of
Haredi Judaism Haredi Judaism ( he, יהדות חֲרֵדִית ', ; also spelled ''Charedi'' in English; plural ''Haredim'' or ''Charedim'') consists of groups within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branche ...

Haredi Judaism
.


The Enlightenment and new religious movements

In the late 18th century CE, Europe was swept by a group of intellectual, social and political movements known as the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
. The Enlightenment led to reductions in the European laws that prohibited Jews to interact with the wider secular world, thus allowing Jews access to secular education and experience. A parallel Jewish movement,
Haskalah The ''Haskalah'', often termed Jewish Enlightenment ( he, השכלה; literally, "wisdom", "erudition" or "education"), was an intellectual movement among the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organ ...
or the "Jewish Enlightenment", began, especially in Central Europe and Western Europe, in response to both the Enlightenment and these new freedoms. It placed an emphasis on integration with secular society and a pursuit of non-religious knowledge through reason. With the promise of political emancipation, many Jews saw no reason to continue to observe ''halakha'' and increasing numbers of Jews assimilated into Christian Europe. Modern religious movements of Judaism all formed in reaction to this trend. In Central Europe, followed by Great Britain and the United States, Reform Judaism, Reform (or Liberal) Judaism developed, relaxing legal obligations (especially those that limited Jewish relations with non-Jews), emulating Protestant decorum in prayer, and emphasizing the ethical values of Judaism's Prophetic tradition.
Modern Orthodox Judaism Modern Orthodox Judaism (also Modern Orthodox or Modern Orthodoxy) is a movement within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary . , it is chiefly defined by regarding the , both ...
developed in reaction to Reform Judaism, by leaders who argued that Jews could participate in public life as citizens equal to Christians while maintaining the observance of ''halakha''. Meanwhile, in the United States, wealthy Reform Jews helped European scholars, who were Orthodox in practice but critical (and skeptical) in their study of the Bible and Talmud, to establish a seminary to train rabbis for immigrants from Eastern Europe. These left-wing Orthodox rabbis were joined by right-wing Reform rabbis who felt that ''halakha'' should not be entirely abandoned, to form the Conservative Judaism, Conservative movement. Orthodox Jews who opposed the Haskalah formed Haredi Orthodox Judaism. After massive movements of Jews following The Holocaust and the creation of Israel, the state of Israel, these movements have competed for followers from among traditional Jews in or from other countries.


Spectrum of observance

Countries such as the United States, Israel, Canada, United Kingdom, Argentina and South Africa contain large Jewish populations. Jewish religious practice varies widely through all levels of observance. According to the 2001 edition of the National Jewish Population Survey, in the United States' Jewish community—the world's second largest—4.3 million Jews out of 5.1 million had some sort of connection to the religion. Of that population of connected Jews, 80% participated in some sort of Jewish religious observance, but only 48% belonged to a congregation, and fewer than 16% attend regularly. Birth rates for American Jews have dropped from 2.0 to 1.7. (Replacement rate is 2.1.) Intermarriage rates range from 40–50% in the US, and only about a third of children of intermarried couples are raised as Jews. Due to intermarriage and low birth rates, the Jewish population in the US shrank from 5.5 million in 1990 to 5.1 million in 2001. This is indicative of the general population trends among the Jewish community in the diaspora, but a focus on total population obscures growth trends in some denominations and communities, such as
Haredi Judaism Haredi Judaism ( he, יהדות חֲרֵדִית ', ; also spelled ''Charedi'' in English; plural ''Haredim'' or ''Charedim'') consists of groups within Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branche ...

Haredi Judaism
. The Baal teshuva movement is a movement of Jews who have "returned" to religion or become more observant.


Judaism and other religions


Christianity and Judaism

Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
was originally a sect of Second Temple Judaism, but the two religions Split of early Christianity and Judaism, diverged in the first century. The differences between Christianity and Judaism originally centered on whether Jesus was the Jewish Messiah but eventually became irreconcilable. Major differences between the two faiths include the nature of the Messiah, of Atonement in Judaism, atonement and Jewish views on sin, sin, the status of God's commandments to Israel, and perhaps most significantly of the God in Judaism, nature of God himself. Due to these differences, Judaism traditionally regards Christianity as Shituf or worship of the God of Israel which is not monotheistic. Christianity has traditionally regarded Judaism as obsolete with the invention of Christianity and Jews as a people replaced by the Church, though a Christian belief in dual-covenant theology emerged as a phenomenon following Christian reflection on how their theology influenced the Nazi The Holocaust, Holocaust. Since the time of the History of Christianity during the Middle Ages, Middle Ages, the Catholic Church upheld the ''Sicut Judaeis, Constitutio pro Judæis'' (Formal Statement on the Jews), which stated Until Jewish emancipation, their emancipation in the late 18th and the 19th century, Jews in Christian lands were subject to humiliating legal restrictions and limitations. They included provisions requiring Jews to wear specific and identifying clothing such as the Jewish hat and the yellow badge, restricting Jews to certain cities and towns or in certain parts of towns (Jewish ghettos in Europe, ghettos), and forbidding Jews to enter certain trades (for example selling new clothes in medieval Sweden). Disabilities also included special taxes levied on Jews, exclusion from public life, restraints on the performance of religious ceremonies, and linguistic censorship. Some countries went even further and completely expelled Jews, for example, Edict of Expulsion, England in 1290 (Jews were readmitted in 1655) and Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Spain in 1492 (readmitted in 1868). The first Jewish settlers in North America arrived in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1654; they were forbidden to hold public office, open a retail shop, or establish a synagogue. When the colony was seized by the British in 1664 Jewish rights remained unchanged, but by 1671 Asser Levy was the first Jew to serve on a jury in North America.Edwin G. Burrows, Burrows, Edwin G. & Mike Wallace (historian), Wallace, Mike. ''Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898''. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. pp. 60, 133-134 In 1791, French Revolution, Revolutionary France was the first country to abolish disabilities altogether, followed by Prussia in 1848. Emancipation of the Jews in the United Kingdom was achieved in 1858 after an almost 30-year struggle championed by Isaac Lyon Goldsmid with the ability of Jews to sit in parliament with the passing of the Jews Relief Act 1858. The newly created German Empire in 1871 abolished Jewish disabilities in Germany, which were reinstated in the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. Jewish life in Christian lands was marked by frequent blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and massacres. Religious prejudice was an underlying source against Jews in Europe. Christian rhetoric and antipathy towards Jews developed in the Apostolic Age, early years of Christianity and was reinforced by ever increasing anti-Jewish measures over the Early Christianity, ensuing centuries. The action taken by Christians against Jews included acts of violence, and murder culminating in the Holocaust. These attitudes were reinforced by Christian preaching, in art and popular teaching for two millennia which expressed contempt for Jews,Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. 5 May 2009
The Origins of Christian Anti-Semitism: Interview with Pieter van der Horst
/ref> as well as statutes which were designed to humiliate and stigmatise Jews. The Nazi Party was known for its Kirchenkampf, persecution of Christian Churches; many of them, such as the Protestant Confessing Church and the Catholic Church, as well as Quakers and Jehovah's Witnesses, aided and rescued Jews who were being targeted by the antireligious régime. The attitude of Christians and Christian Churches toward the Jewish people and Judaism have changed in a mostly positive direction since World War II. Pope John Paul II and the Catholic Church have "upheld the Church's acceptance of the continuing and permanent election of the Jewish people" as well as a Dual-covenant theology, reaffirmation of the covenant between God in Christianity, God and the Jews. In December 2015, the Holy See, Vatican released a 10,000-word document that, among other things, stated that Catholics should work with Jews to fight antisemitism.


Islam and Judaism

Both Judaism and
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
track their origins from the patriarch
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
, and they are therefore considered
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family ...

Abrahamic religions
. In both Jewish and Muslim tradition, the Jewish and Arabs, Arab peoples are descended from the two sons of Abraham—
Isaac Isaac, ''Isaák''; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, ; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gene ...

Isaac
and Ishmael, respectively. While both religions are Monotheism, monotheistic and share many commonalities, they differ based on the fact that Jews do not consider Jesus in Islam, Jesus or Muhammad to be prophets. The religions' adherents have interacted with each other since the 7th century when
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
originated and spread in the Arabian peninsula. Indeed, the years 712 to 1066 CE under the Ummayad and the Abbasid rulers have been called the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Non-Muslim monotheists living in these countries, including Jews, were known as dhimmis. Dhimmis were allowed to practice their own religions and administer their own internal affairs, but they were subject to certain restrictions that were not imposed on Muslims. For example, they had to pay the jizya, a per capita tax imposed on free adult non-Muslim males, and they were also forbidden to bear arms or testify in court cases involving Muslims. Many of the laws regarding dhimmis were highly symbolic. For example, dhimmis in some countries were required to wear Yellow badge, distinctive clothing, a practice not found in either the Qur'an or the hadiths but invented in Early Middle Ages, early medieval Baghdad and inconsistently enforced. Jews in Muslim countries were not entirely free from persecution—for example, many were killed, exiled or forcibly converted in the 12th century, in Persia, and by the rulers of the Almohad dynasty in North Africa and Al-Andalus, as well as by the Zaydi imams of Yemen in the 17th century (see: Mawza Exile). At times, Jews were also restricted in their choice of residence—in Morocco, for example, Jews were confined to walled quarters (mellahs) beginning in the 15th century and increasingly since the early 19th century. In the mid-20th century, Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, Jews were expelled from nearly all of the Arab countries. Most have chosen to live in Israel. Today, antisemitic themes including Holocaust denial have become commonplace in the propaganda of Islamic movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas, in the pronouncements of various agencies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and even in the newspapers and other publications of Refah Partisi.


Syncretic movements incorporating Judaism

There are some movements in other religions that include elements of Judaism. Among Christianity these are a number of denominations of ancient and contemporary Judaizers. The most well-known of these is Messianic Judaism, a religious movement, which arose in the 1960s,-In this, elements of the messianic traditions in Judaism,Michael L. Morgan, Steven Weitzman, (eds.,
''Rethinking the Messianic Idea in Judaism,''
Indiana University Press 2014 p.1. Gershom Scholem considered 'the messianic dimensions of the Kabbalah and of rabbinic Judaism as a central feature of a Jewish philosophy of history.'
are incorporated in, and melded with the Christianity#Beliefs, tenets of Christianity. The movement generally states that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, that he is one of the Trinity, Three Divine Persons, and that Salvation (Christianity), salvation is only achieved through acceptance of Jesus as one's savior. Some members of Messianic Judaism argue that it is a sect of Judaism. Jewish organizations of every denomination reject this, stating that Messianic Judaism is a Christian sect, because it teaches creeds which are identical to those of Pauline Christianity. Another religious movement is the Black Hebrew Israelite group, which not to be confused with less syncretic Black Judaism (a constellation of movements which, depending on their adherence to normative Jewish tradition, receive varying degrees of recognition by the broader Jewish community). Other examples of syncretism include Semitic neopaganism, a loosely organized sect which incorporates Paganism, pagan or Wiccan beliefs with some Jewish religious practices; Jewish Buddhists, another loosely organized group that incorporates elements of Asian spirituality in their faith; and some Jewish Renewal, Renewal Jews who borrow freely and openly from Buddhism, Sufism, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native American religions, and other faiths. The Kabbalah Centre, which employs teachers from multiple religions, is a New Age movement that claims to popularize the kabbalah, part of the Jewish mysticism, Jewish esoteric tradition.


Criticism


See also

* List of religious organizations#Jewish organizations *
Jewish culture Jewish culture is the culture of the Jewish people Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2International Organization for Standardization, ISO 259 is a series of international standards for the romanization of Hebrew, romanization of ...
* Judaism by country * Outline of Judaism


Footnotes


Bibliography

* Avery-Peck, Alan; Neusner, Jacob (eds.)
''The Blackwell reader in Judaism''
(Blackwell, 2001). * Avery-Peck, Alan; Neusner, Jacob (eds.)
''The Blackwell Companion to Judaism''
(Blackwell, 2003). * Daniel Boyarin, Boyarin, Daniel (1994). ''A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity''. Berkeley: University of California Press. * * Cohn-Sherbok, Dan
''Judaism: history, belief, and practice''
(Routledge, 2003). * Day, John (2000). ''Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan''. Chippenham: Sheffield Academic Press. * William G. Dever, Dever, William G. (2005). ''Did God Have a Wife?''. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. * Dosick, Wayne, ''Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition and Practice''. * * Israel Finkelstein, Finkelstein, Israel (1996). "Ethnicity and Origin of the Iron I Settlers in the Highlands of Canaan: Can the Real Israel Please Stand Up?" The ''Biblical Archaeologist'', 59(4). * Neil Gillman, Gillman, Neil, ''Conservative Judaism: The New Century'', Behrman House. * Jeffrey S. Gurock, Gurock, Jeffrey S. (1996). ''American Jewish Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective''. KTAV. * Guttmann, Julius (1964). Trans. by David Silverman, ''Philosophies of Judaism''. JPS. * Holtz, Barry W. (ed.), ''Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts''. Summit Books. * * * Paul Johnson (writer), Johnson, Paul (1988). ''A History of the Jews''. HarperCollins. * * Bernard Lewis, Lewis, Bernard (1984). ''The Jews of Islam''. Princeton: Princeton University Press. . * Lewis, Bernard (1999). ''Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice''. W. W. Norton & Co. . * Egon Mayer, Mayer, Egon, Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, "The American Jewish Identity Survey", a subset of ''The American Religious Identity Survey'', City University of New York Graduate Center. An article on this survey is printed in ''The New York Jewish Week'', November 2, 2001. * * * * Raphael, Marc Lee (2003)
''Judaism in America''
Columbia University Press. * * * Walsh, J.P.M. (1987). ''The Mighty from Their Thrones''. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers. * Max Weber, Weber, Max (1967). ''Ancient Judaism (book), Ancient Judaism'', Free Press, . * Wertheime, Jack (1997). ''A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America''. Brandeis University Press. * ;Jews in Islamic countries * Khanbaghi, A. (2006). ''The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval and Early Modern Iran''. IB Tauris. * Norman Stillman, Stillman, Norman (1979). ''The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book''. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. . * Simon, Reeva; Laskier, Michael; Reguer, Sara (eds.) (2002). ''The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa In Modern Times'', Columbia University Press.


Further reading

; Encyclopedias * * * *


External links

;General *
Online version
of ''The Jewish Encyclopedia'' (1901–1906)
About Judaism
by ''Dotdash'' (formerly ''About.com'')
Shamash's Judaism and Jewish Resources
;Orthodox/Haredi
Orthodox Judaism – The Orthodox Union

Chabad-Lubavitch





Aish HaTorah

Ohr Somayach
;Traditional/Conservadox
Union for Traditional Judaism
;Conservative


Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel

United Synagogue Youth
;Reform/Progressive
The Union for Reform Judaism (USA)

Reform Judaism (UK)

Liberal Judaism (UK)

World Union for Progressive Judaism (Israel)
;Reconstructionist
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
;Renewal
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal

OHALAH Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal
;Humanistic
Society for Humanistic Judaism
;Karaite
World Movement for Karaite Judaism
;Jewish religious literature and texts

(in Hebrew, with vowels).



from the 1917 Jewish Publication Society version.


Torah.org
(also known as ''Project Genesis'') Contains Torah commentaries and studies of Tanakh, along with Jewish ethics, philosophy, holidays and other classes.
The complete formatted Talmud online
Audio files of lectures for each page from an Orthodox viewpoint are provided in French, English, Yiddish and Hebrew. Reload the page for an image of a page of the Talmud. See also Torah database for links to more Judaism e-texts. ;Wikimedia Torah study projects Text study projects at :s:Wikisource, Wikisource. In many instances, the Hebrew versions of these projects are more fully developed than the English. * Mikraot Gedolot (Rabbinic Bible) in :s:he:מקראות גדולות, Hebrew :s:he:מ"ג איכה א א, (sample) and :s:Mikraot Gedolot, English :s:MG Numbers 1:1, (sample). * Hebrew cantillation, Cantillation at the "Vayavinu Bamikra" Project in :s:he:ויבינו במקרא, Hebrew (lists nearly 200 recordings) and :s:Vayavinu Bamikra, English. *
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
in :s:he:משנה, Hebrew :s:he:ברכות פרק א משנה א, (sample) and :s:Mishnah, English :s:Mishnah Berakhot 1:1, (sample). *
Shulchan Aruch The ''Shulchan Aruch'' ( he, שֻׁלְחָן עָרוּך , literally: "Set Table"), sometimes dubbed in English as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most widely consulted of the various Codification (law), legal codes in Judaism. It was authored in ...

Shulchan Aruch
in :s:he:שולחן ערוך, Hebrew and :s:Shulchan Aruch, English (Hebrew text with English translation). {{Authority control Judaism, Jews and Judaism, Abrahamic religions Monotheistic religions Ethnic religion Religion in ancient Israel and Judah Moses Abraham