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Transcript of Judaism
Introduction to Judaism
Worldwide: 14,551,000 Jews
US: 5.6 million
Asia: 4.5 million
Europe: 2.4 million
Many different groups/divisions of Judaism that exist
Conflicting beliefs about observances, etc.
Origin of Name
Jews were descendants of Abraham and originally called Hebrews. Israelites were descendents of Jacob (son of Isaac) and grandson of Abraham. Hebrews and Israelites can be synonymous.
Around time of Babylonian exile became known as Jews (most Israelites members of tribe of Judah) and the religion Judaism (their country was Judah)
Race or Ethnic Group?
It is important to note that no single Jewish “race” of genetically related people exists.
More accurate to think of the Jewish people as an ethnic group that shares a common history.
Began as a religion of an extended family, a tribe of peoples known as the Hebrews
Jewish people today continue to think of themselves as a family – both past and present, a nation of peoples, as well as a religion.
The Covenant- An Agreement
The 1st Covenant
– God commanded Abraham to move his people from Ur to Canaan. What would Abraham receive in return? God promised “I will make of you a great nation.”
The 2nd Covenant
– God commanded the Hebrews to follow the 10 commandments. What would they receive in return? God would protect the Hebrews.
The "Name" of God
Written by Hebrew consonants YHVH
-Means “I am”
Jews do not have a personal name for God
-Christians and others have Anglicized it to Yahweh or Jehovah
-Written by Orthodox Jews as G-d
God referred to as:
-Adonai (The Lord)
-Elohim, or HaShem (the Name) - the unpronounceable name of God
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone” (Deut.6:4, Tanakh).
Why would this statement be revolutionary?
The Hebrew Bible or
-Known by Christians as "Old Testament“
-contains the same books as the Christian version but in a different order after the first five
Considered revealed and inspired by God
-Interpretation of early history of the Hebrew people, establishment of a nation
-Story of God’s interaction with His "Chosen People”
-Foundation of Jewish life
Called the Bible
-(Biblia) means "little books“
-Actually a library of 39 independent books divided into 3 categories:
3 Categories of the Hebrew Bible:
Most important text
Divine instruction and guidance or "Written Law”
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers
First Five Books also known as
-Covers history from creation through the Exodus and wandering in the desert
-613 commandments from God
The Prophets –
- Include historical accounts of ancient Israel and proclamations of the will of God
- spoken by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joshua (God's mouthpieces)
-Poetry of Psalms, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, list of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes composed later than the rest of Tanakh
Together with the Torah in Hebrew the three categories begin w/ T, N, and K. Therefore, the Bible is referred to as the
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Though he maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me besides the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
3 Categories Cont.
Teachings of the Rabbis:
Sacred Texts-The Mishnah & Talmund
- a teacher of the Torah or leader of Jewish worship. The teachings of the rabbi’s were later written down which leads us to:
– It contains teachings that were formulated and taught orally by the rabbi’s until written down in 200CE.
– Based directly on the Mishnah it offers commentary supported by biblical passages.
God is Providential
From the beginning, the Jewish people have interpreted acts of history as God acting on behalf of the Jewish people
– Israelites moved from Canaan to Egypt where food was easier to acquire.
Forced into slavery by Pharaoh
God sent 10 plagues to punish Pharaoh– Frogs! Locusts! on Egypt. After the last plague (Death of the Firstborn) Pharaoh exiled the Israelites from Egypt.
This event was known as the Exodus and is one of the most important events in Israelite history.
Exodus & Revelation
Exodus & Revelation Cont.
God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to safety (and parted the Red Sea in the process)
God also called Moses to lead the people to Mt. Sinai where he was given the Ten Commandments and a 2nd Covenant was entered into with God. Do you remember what it was?
Because Moses is speaking for God, what is he called?
A Few Main Beliefs
The Ten Commandments
first 4 have to do with our relationship with God
Next 6 refer to our relationship with other people
Who is the Messiah?
-Has not arrived yet to usher in a new age
-He is expected
Monarchy of David and Solomon
c1000 to 922 CE
King David led to height of power
David’s son Solomon built temple in Jerusalem, became center of Israelite worship
David regarded as prototype for model of Messiah – a savior whom Jews believe will be sent by God to restore peace and justice to the world.
End of Solomon’s reign kingdom became divided – northern kingdom, Israel fell to Assyrians in
; southern kingdom fell to Babylonians who destroyed Solomon’s Temple and exiled many citizens to Babylon.
Later the Persians captured Babylon and Cyrus the Great (next year) allowed the Jews to return and in
the second Temple was rebuilt.
Greeks and Romans
– Alexander the Great conquered Palestine.
Greek language and culture take precedence
Different forms of Judaism arose in response to the Greek conquest: Sadducees, Essenes, Pharisees
– Romans conquered Palestine.
– Jews wage revolt known as Jewish War. War won by Romans.
-Romans destroy Second Temple.
Focus on Torah rather than physical center.
– Romans exile Jews (when did this happen before?) Many remained in Babylon or Persia. For the first time living away from homeland maintaining their religious identity.
Jews live under Muslim (Africa, Spain, Near East) and Christian rule (Europe)
Muslims: Free to practice own religion – pay a tax
successful moneylenders, helped economy, victims of "blood libels", large scale expulsions
Many migrated to Poland; however Cossack Rebellion against Poland resulted in massacre of ¼ pop.
8th Century-mid 18th Century
Applied philosophy of Plato and Aristotle
Guide for the Perplexed
13 beliefs backbone of Jewish theology
If Maimonides stresses reason,
stresses God best known through heart and love
Does not abandon basic forms of Jewish practice but believes Torah can be interpreted on many levels and contains hidden meanings that can bring one closer to God
Follows Ten Commandments
Draws from some of mystical teachings of Kabbalist tradition
-God is immanent (present in His creation)
-Known first with the heart
Emphasizes personal relationships with God and the Community rather than focus on the Torah
– Leader of each Hasidic community; a holy man thought to have a close relationship with God.
Life after Death
Emphasis on good life on earth more than good afterlife
References in Psalms to heaven and hell
Lack specific descriptions of life beyond death
Modern Institutional Divisions
Most relevant in North America
-Being Jewish and being completely involved in modern society are compatible. Reform is relatively relaxed in observing rituals.
-1/3 of Jews in the U.S. are Reform
-maintains that Torah is standard of truth and life must conform to it.
-despite changes in society, Jewish life should change little.
-1/10 of Jewish people in U.S. are Orthodox
Modern Divisions (Cont.)
-Occupies a middle position (somewhat open to change)
-Quite strict regarding observance of traditional Jewish practice ex: worship liturgy in Hebrew
-Laws regulating the diet (kosher) and behavior on Sabbath are strictly observed
Jewish calendar based on lunar month
-Observed each week
-Sundown on Fridaysundown on Saturday
-Begins the Days of Awe (repentance)
-Concentrate on prayer, contemplation, self-searching
-10th day (of awe)
-Holiest day observed
-Repentance: 24 hours of atonement and fasting
Sweets for the sweet new year
-Celebrated rededication of Jerusalem temple in
(after destruction by Greeks)
-Sacred oil lasted 8 days for celebration
Most important holiday
Marks deliverance from slavery in Egypt under Moses’ leadership
-Unleavened bread (matzah)
Boys: 13, girls 12
Bar Mitzvah means “son of the commandment”
Bat Mitvah means "daughter of the commandanment"
Commands from God
-No immediate reward
-Obedience rewards in afterlife
Evaluate how the Jewish people were treated during the Classical, Medieval, and Modern periods. In the last paragraph argue during which period was anti-Semitism the most harsh? Make sure to support your argument with specific evidence.
1. God's existence
2. His unity
3. His incorporeality
4. his timelessness
5. that he is approachable through prayer
7. the superiority of Moses to all other prophets
8. revelation of the Law
9. immutability of the Law
10. Divine providence
11. Divine justice
12. the coming Messiah
13. the resurrection and human immortality
Also referred to as the Shoah (mass destruction)
persecution of Jews from 1933-1945, estimated 6 million die
1935 Nuremberg Laws
: deprived Jews of their citizenship rights & forbad marriages b/w Jews and non-Jews & limited kinds of work Jews could do
November 1938- Night of Broken Glass
: Nazi's launched violent attack on Jewish community (homes, businesses, synagogues), murdered close to 100
: Jews fled to other countries, US start to close doors after taking tens of thousands
: forced Jews to move to segregated Jewish areas, sealed w/ barbed wire and stone walls, lived on 187 calories a day, some resistance
: Genocide of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, disabled, mentally ill
: SS (elite security force) hunted down Jews, rounded up, shot into pits that became graves, those not killed were taken to concentration camps
1942 Final Stage
: Built extermination camps, gas chambers kill up to 6,000 a day (Auschwitz), those not killed w/ cyanide gas or CO2 became prisoners
Originally referred to as movement to re-establishment of Jewish homeland (Zion biblical name for Jerusalem)
Modern nation of Israel established in
May of 1948
, Zionism now refers to general support of Israel.
focuses on how to worship God (ie. a Jew is an "observer of the commandments")
Ethics: help needy, give food & shelter to guests, visit sick
Daily Worship: prayer (mandatory ages 13 & older), 3x daily at home or synagogue, excused for household obligations
Wear skull cap called yarmuke (Yiddish) or Kipah (Hebrew)
Set of small boxes containing biblical passages (secured to forehead & left arm to be near mind & heart)
prayer shawl (drawn over head for privacy)