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What is Judaism?

a Jewish man reading a religious textJudaism is the religion of the Jewish people. Judaism tells us what we should and should not do as it is written in the Torah.

Not all Jews have the same beliefs or do exactly the same things. That does not mean that their belief in Judaism is wrong, it is just different. Differences in Judaism show us that Judaism is alive!

Judaism has been alive for thousands of years. During that time, Jews have moved to many different places and rules have been changed a bit. However, the main ideas of Judaism have never changed.

Judaism has three main ideas:

  1. God
  2. Torah
  3. Israel

God

The first basic idea of Judaism is the belief that there is only one God. Abraham, the first Jew, realised that there is only one God and that He created the world and everything that is in it. Abraham then told this to his people, who became the Jewish people. This was the beginning of Judaism.

There are other religions that speak about God, but every religion has its own beliefs. The Jewish people have kept a link throughout history, starting with Abraham. This is how Judaism has been kept alive.

a Torah scrollTorah

In all the lands Jews have lived in through thousands of years, they have kept their idea of God. The way they did this was to carry a book with them, which contains stories and laws. This book is called the Torah.

The Torah contains all the laws of Judaism. It tells us what to do and what not to do. Some of the dos and don’t’s are rules and some of them are customs. The strongest rules of them all are called commandments. There are ten of these commandments in the Torah and we are told to obey them all the time.

Israel

I love IsraelAnother very important part of Judaism is the Land of Israel. One of the first stories in the Torah tells us how God told Abraham to leave his home and go to the land of Canaan (Israel used to be called ‘Canaan’. It has also been called ‘Zion’).

Many battles have taken place in Israel and the Jews have fought for many years to keep Israel as a Jewish homeland. On May 14 1948, Israel became an independent state and the Jews were able to form their own government. Many religious people and people called ‘Zionists’ believe that one day all the Jews from around the world will return to Israel.

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