Scramblin' thru... Judaism
"A priest and a rabbi walk into..."
The Jewish people date back 3,000 years. The word "Jew" came into existence in the 5th Century bc to refer to the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah. The Judeans were descendents of the Ancient Israelites, Hebrew-speaking people whose origins are shrouded in mystery.
The Israelites believed and worshiped just one God (monotheism). Their religion, Judaism, was founded in 2000 BC, making it the oldest monotheistic religion. (Hinduism is the world's oldest organized religion.)
In roughly 1050 BC, the various tribes of Israelites united to form the Kingdom of Israel. However, around 920 bc, feuding split the kingdom into the Kingdom of Israel in the north and the Kingdom of Judah in the south.
Israel fell in 720 BC to the Assyrians while Judah fell in 586 BC to the Babylonians. Following the Babylonian conquest, the Jewish Diaspora [pronounced: die-as-pore-ah], which means "dispersion", began. It was during this time that The Torah was written. One of its Psalms reads: "By the waters of Babylon, we lay down, yea we wept."
The Holocaust was an attempt to destroy the Jewish people during World War II (1939-1945). In all, six million were murdered. In 1948, Israel was formed to give Jews their own country. This upset Palestinian Arabs living in the lands used to make Israel. Conflicts continue today.
Judaism has impacted other religions. Christianity grew out of Judaism, and Islam accepted many Jewish traditions. In fact, all three religions borrow from each other’s holy books to form their own.
The Torah (Judaism) became the Old Testament in The Bible (Christianity), and The Qur'an (Islam) contains the stories of Moses, David, and Jesus.
What's even more impressive (because of all the fighting between
the three), is that they worship the same God.
Major Jewish religious observances include the following:
Passover: commemorates the exodus of the Jews out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, as led by Moses.
Yom Kippur: a day of atonement, fasting, and prayer.
Rosh Hashanah: the Jewish New Year in September or October.
Hanukkah: an eight-day celebration of the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC.
Jews believe that the human condition can be improved, that the holy book The Torah must be followed, and that a Messiah will eventually bring the world to a state of paradise.
Jews believe that Jesus Christ, considered the Messiah by Christians, was just a prophet. They do not believe he was the Son of