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Stephen Trevathan

on 17 December 2012

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Transcript of Judaism

Judaism One of the oldest surviving religions
5,000 years plus Origins lie in the ancient beliefs of a
small semitic tribe known as Hebrews Currently approximately 14 million people claim Jewry Incorporates both a religion and a nation Jewry can only be claimed through the maternal line Modern collective Judaism has been characterized
and formed mainly through the suffering,
persecution and dispersion (diaspora) of the Jewish people 70 A.D. Destruction of Jerusalem 1,100,000 Jews were killed and 97,000 taken into slavery and captivity.

115 Rebellion of the Jews in Mesopotania, Egypt, Cyrene and Cyprus. Jews and Romans inflicted many barbaric atrocities on each other, causing the death of several hundreds of thousands of Romans and Jews.

132-35 The Bar Kochba rebellion (Bar Kochba was a false Messiah). Caused the death of 500,000 Jews; thousands were sold into slavery or taken into captivity.

135 Roman Emperor Hadrian commenced his persecution of the Jews. Jerusalem established as a pagan city. Erection of a Jupiter temple on the temple mountain (Moriah) and a temple to Venus on Golgotha. Jews were forbidden to practice circumcision, the reading of the Law, eating of unleavened bread at Passover or any Jewish festival. infringement of this edict brought the death penalty.
315 Constantine the Great established "Christianity" as the State religion throughout the Roman Empire; issued many anti-Jewish laws.
379-95 Theodosius the Great expelled Jews from any official gate position or place of honor. Permitted the destruction of their synagogues if by so doing, it served a religious purpose.
613 Persecution of the Jews in Spain. All Jews who refused to be baptized had to leave the country. A few years later the remaining Jews were dispossessed, declared as slaves and given to pious "Christians" of position. All children 7 years or over were taken from their parents and given to receive a "Christian" education.
1096 Bloody persecutions of the Jews at the beginning of the First Crusade, in Germany. Along the cities on the Rhine River alone, 12,000 Jews were killed. The Jews were branded second only to the Moslems as the enemies of Christendom.
1121 Jews driven out of Flanders (now part of Belgium). They were not to return nor to be tolerated until they repented of the guilt of killing Jesus Christ.
1130 The Jews of London had to pay compensation of 1 million marks for allegedly killing a sick man.
1146-47 Renewed persecution of the Jews in Germany at the beginning of the Second Crusade. The French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews as an introduction to the Second Crusade. It was only because of the intervention of Emperor Conrad who declared Nuerenberg and a small fortress as places of refuge for the Jews, and that of Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, that the result was not quite as devastating as at the time of the First Crusade.
1181 French King Philip banished the Jews from his domain. They were permitted to sell all movable possessions, but the immovable such as land and houses reverted to the king. Seven years later he called the Jews back.
1189 At the coronation of Richard the Lionhearted, unexpected persecution of the Jews broke out in England. Most Jewish houses in London were burned, and many Jews killed. All possessions of the Jews were claimed by the Crown. Richard's successor alone, relieved the Jews of more than 8 million marks.
1215 At the IV Lateran Church Council, restrictions against the Jews by the church of Rome were issued.
1290 Edward I banished the Jews from England. 16,000 Jews left the country.
1298 Persecution of the Jews in Franconia, Bavaria and Austria. The Nobleman Kalbfleish alleged that he had received a divine order to destroy all the Jews. 140 Jewish communities were destroyed, and more than 100,000 Jews were mercilessly killed.
1306 King Philip the Fair banished the Jews from France. 100,000 Jews left the country.
1320 In France, 40,000 shepherds dedicated themselves for the Shepherd Crusade to free Palestine from the Moslems. Under the influence of criminals and land speculators, they destroyed 120 Jewish communities.
1321 Jews were accused of having incited outlaws to poison wells and fountains in the district of Guienne, France. 5,000 Jews were burned at the stake.
1348 Jews were blamed for the plague throughout Europe, especially in Germany. In Strausberg 2,000 Jews were burned. In Maintz 6,000 were killed in most gruesome fashion, and in Erfut 3,000; and in Worms 400 Jews burned themselves in their homes.
1370 Jews were blamed for having defiled the "Host" (wafer used in the Mass) in Brabant. The accused were burned alive. Again, all Jews were banned from Flanders and until the year 1820, every 15 years a feast was kept to celebrate the event.
1391 Persecutions in Spain. In Seville and 70 other Jewish communities, the Jews were cruelly massacred and their bodies dismembered.
1394 Second banishment of Jews from France.
1453 The Franciscan monk, Capistrano, persuaded the King of Poland to withdraw all citizens' rights of the Jewish people.
1478 The Spanish inquisition directed against the Jews.
1492 The banishment of Jews from Spain. 300,000 Jews who refused to be "baptized" into the Church of Rome left Spain penniless. Many migrated to the Muslim country, Turkey, where they found tolerance and a welcome.
1497 Banishment of the Jews from Portugal. King Manuel, generally friendly to the Jews, under pressure from Spain instigated forced baptism to keep the Jews. 20,000 Jews desired to leave the country. Many were ultimately declared slaves.
1516 First Ghetto established in Venice.
1540 Banishment of Jews from Naples and 10 years later, from Genoa and Venice.
1794 Restriction of Jews in Russia, Jewish men were forced to serve 25 years in the Russian military. Many hundreds of thousands of Jews left Russia.
1846-78 All former restriction, against the Jews in the Vatican State were re-inforced by Pope Pius IX.
1903 Renewed restrictions of Jews in Russia. Frequent pogroms (massacres); general impoverishment of Russian Jewry.
1933 Commencement of persecution of Jews in Hitler Germany. Inception of the systematic destruction of 6,000,000 Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe. http://www.funnyvideoshd.com/stereotypical-jew-song.html The historical stereotype The Jewish faith has triumphed and still exists today despite all of its problems in the past. Many religions would have fallen and ceased to exist under this kind of persecution. To the Jewish believer this is perhaps because they are the ‘chosen people.’ This religion continues to prove its strength and resilience even today and will continue to do so.

The History of Jewish Persecution
by Alexandria Moss If you were to ask me: what is the Jewish experience of suffering? I would first have to respond this way: the Jewish experience of suffering is ever present, a kind of mathematical constant embedded in the entire history of my people. Of course, there is the ordinary experience of suffering common to the human condition: loss of a loved one, setbacks in making a better life for family and friends, personal tragedies and ironic dénouements. But added to this list of personal tragedies is a Jewish multiplication factor which makes the suffering all the more painful – there is the undeniable fact that wherever Jews have lived throughout their long history, they have been on the receiving end of what some have called “the longest hatred” and what today is called anti-Semitism. It is not that Jews want to suffer; it is rather that Jews have constantly been made to suffer.
Ronald C. Kiener

In Judaic terms both the cause and effect of suffering is placed within an understanding
of God’s preferential love for Israel.

In Leviticus 26:14-39 and Deuteronomy 28:15-68, an extensive list of calamaties to cause suffering—drought, famine, pestilence, disease, defeat, destruction, exile, and enslavement— are promised as the terrible consequences for breaking the convenant. Jewish interpretations of suffering
can be classed as two general
modes, retribution and redemption: Both modes of interpretation or outcomes of suffering are understood in relation to God’s love for Israel.

The Torah describes this dual approach:
Suffering is caused by sin (Genesis 3:16-19) and yet suffering removes sin (Leviticus 16:29-30). Herein lies the key connection between reward and punishment so characteristic of the Abrahamic faiths. Through these gruesome scenarios, suffering is caused as a result of divine displeasure and retribution.

God’s justice could be visited upon Israel, just as it could be sent upon evil nations. In Judaism the 'chosenness' is the belief that the Jews were chosen to be in a covenant with God. Underlying all of this is the idea that “The Lord reproves the one He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:12). Yet in Israel’s case God’s anger is based on
deep concern for His chosen people, a divine love expressed
as parental love; (Deuteronomy 8:5) or
as matrimonial love (Hosea 1-3; Jeremiah 2-3), or a mixture of the two (Ezekiel 16). With this image of a heavenly Father correcting his errant children, a shift occurs away from a merely punitive toward a more disciplinary view of pains or privations sent by God. It asserts that it is not just the wicked who suffer,
for the straying are rebuked in order to return them to the covenant, and even the righteous may require testing (Psalms 11:5; 17:3; 26:2). Thus misfortunes do not necessarily entail God’s abandonment of his people; instead they may intimate chastisement, testifying to the Lord’s abiding love (Amos 3:2). Not far beneath the surface of this comes the idea that suffering is actually a sign of divine favor.

It is a change in emphasis from the retributive to redemptive Later on in Jewish history, redemptive suffering was emphasised in rabbinic interpretations. 'yissurin shel ahavah', the 'afflictions of love' According to the traditional Jewish interpretation of the Bible, Israel's character as the chosen people is unconditional as it says in
Although the Torah also says, "Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people" (Exodus 19:5), God promises that He will never exchange His people with any other. "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you." (Genesis 17:7).
Other Torah verses about chosenness, "For all the earth is mine: and you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). "The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your ancestors." (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).
The obligation imposed upon the Israelites is emphasized by the prophet Amos (3:2): "You only have I singled out of all the families of the earth: therefore will I visit upon you all your iniquities." The Convenant(s) Abrahamic Convenant To make his descendants a great nation.
Those who curse Abraham will be cursed. Circumcision is the sign of the
agreement and must be upheld Promises that the descdendants will
possess all the land between Eygpt
and the Euphrates. To make Abraham the father of many nations Mosaic Convenant To make the children
of Israel God's
most favoured people
if they follow the
ten commandments To make the children of
Israel a nation of priests. Give the people of Israel
the Sabbath as a sign of the
convenant Suffering of the Jews .........in return for worshipping the One True Reality and to follow the way of kindness, generosity, forgiveness of others, righteousness and practising justice Different types of Jews and Judaism Ashkenazi Sephardi Hasidic Under Orthodox Judaismbut promotes spirituality and joy through Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith The founder was Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov an 18th century rabbi in Eastern Europe (the region he has from has changed hands between Poland and Russia but is in now in the Ukraine) as a reaction against overly legalistic Judaism. Just before dying his last words were 'fear absolutely no one or no thing but G-d, and love every single jew no matter who he/she is and no matter what he/she is doing.' Orthodox Mysticism, he said, is not the Kabbalah, which everyone may learn; but that sense of true oneness, which is usually as strange, unintelligible, and incomprehensible to mankind as dancing is to a dove. However, the man who is capable of this feeling is endowed with a genuine intuition, and it is the perception of such a man which is called prophecy, according to the degree of his insight. From this it results, in the first place, that the ideal man may lay claim to authority equal, in a certain sense, to the authority of the Prophets. This focus on oneness and personal revelation helps earn his mystical interpretation of Judaism the title of panentheism. It is interesting to link this up with the idea of Prophecy in the Abrahamic faiths - 'nabi' or plural 'neb'im' see p; 395 History of World Religions. Rituals Reform Liberal Shabbat Passover

Pesach http://www.nkusa.org/AboutUs/FAQs/index.cfm It reverences Jewish tradition, and seeks to preserve all that is good in the Judaism of the past. But it lives in the present. It desires that Judaism shall be an active force for good in the lives of Jewish individuals, families and communities today, and that it shall make its contribution to the betterment of human society. And it stresses "the full equality and participation of men and women in every sphere of religious life; an emphasis on ethical conduct above ritual observance; an affirmation of each individual's freedom to act responsibly in accordance with the dictates of the informed religious conscience; a pride in combining our Jewish heritage with full participation in the civic life of this country; and an awareness of our duty not only to the Jewish people and to the State of Israel, but also to the entire human family, each one of whom is created in the Divine image" It was not the 'Orthodox' Jews who introduced the word 'orthodoxy' into Jewish discussion. It was the modern 'progressive' Jews who first applied this name to 'old', 'backward' Jews as a derogatory term. This name was at first resented by 'old' Jews. And rightly so. 'Orthodox' Judaism does not know any varieties of Judaism. It conceives Judaism as one and indivisible. It does not know a Mosaic, prophetic and rabbinic Judaism, nor Orthodox and Liberal Judaism. It only knows Judaism and non-Judaism. It does not know Orthodox and Liberal Jews. It does indeed know conscientious and indifferent Jews, good Jews, bad Jews or baptised Jews; all, nevertheless, Jews with a mission which they cannot cast off. They are only distinguished accordingly as they fulfil or reject their mission. (Samson Raphael Hirsch, Religion Allied to Progress, in JMW. p. 198)[ The term "Orthodoxy" is applied to Jewish traditionalist movements that have consciously resisted the influences of modernization that arose in response to the European Emancipation and Enlightenment movements. It is not usually employed to designate Jewish traditionalism prior to the modern era, nor does the phenomenon appear in communities that were unaffected by the Reform movement; e.g., in North Africa, or in Eastern Europe before the mid-nineteenth-century.
The adjective "Orthodox" ("correct belief") is taken from the conceptual world of Christianity, where it denotes a conservative and ritualistic religious outlook, as viewed from the perspective of liberal Protestantism. It appears to have been first applied derisively to Jewish conservatives by a Reform polemicist in an article published in 1795. Reform Judaism is the most liberal branch of modern Judaism. In an attempt to adapt to the social, cultural, and political situation of the modern world, Reform Judaism has either abandoned or changed many of the traditional Jewish religious observances. At its core, the Reform movement challenged the belief that the laws and rituals taken from the Bible required strict observance in the modern world. The Reform movement began in Germany in the early 19th century when many European Jews struggled to achieve full political emancipation and social integration. They began to question their adherence to some of the traditional religious practices that made them distinct. Abraham Geiger (1810-74), considered by many to be the spiritual father of the Reform movement, based this new movement on the concept that the essence of Judaism was the universal idea of ethical monotheism and it therefore has an important role in human history. Hebrew tribes belonged to the
Semitic languages group which
is traced to the Syrian Arabian desert http://gonartjewishworld.blogspot.com/ The major themes of Judaism:
is one, righteous God who oversees and works within the world - both in the natural order and the social human sphere http://www.mindspring.com/~jaypsand/abayudaya.htm http://www.mindspring.com/~jaypsand/ghana.htm http://www.mindspring.com/~jaypsand/lemba.htm http://www.mindspring.com/~jaypsand/timbuktu.htm Historicity Choseness and Suffering Certainly Judaism teaches that Jews have a special relationship with God, but it’s worth noting that the Bible does not call Jews The Chosen People, but A Chosen People. The distinction is huge. Jews do not believe that God is only capable of one special relationship and indeed the Jewish prophets are clear in the Bible that God cares for all his creatures. Jews do not believe that everyone should be Jewish or even that someone would be better off in some way by being so. Thus Jews would far rather that people were good and moral according to their own religion than that they tried to follow Jewish teachings and practices. Clive Lawton RE CPD Handbook Judaism is a religion of Law not love
While Orthodox Judaism works through a system of legal decisions and binding laws (halachah and mitzvot) its continuous intent is to create a caring and fair society. Judaism fears a world in which each person listens to their own conscience without firm rules, because one cannot be confident that one’s ‘conscience’ is not really just an assertion of self-interest. Jews are foreign
Since Jews have been moved around the world so often – mostly not through their own choice but through expulsion or oppression, there are very few Jews who can trace their origins in the UK back more than about four or five generations (though there are still some Jews who are descended from the first Jews to be readmitted to England in the 17th century). However, by far the majority of Jews living in the UK today have British born parents and usually grandparents, carry British passports and know themselves to be British, rather than anything else. Jews are mean or excessively concerned about money
Medieval impositions on Jews often left them with little choice but to engage in money lending or small trading. In a world where most people did not deal with money much but bartered and exchanged, Jews were certainly more involved with money than many of their non-Jewish counterparts. Furthermore, deeply conscious of the possibility of persecution or expulsion, many Jews were concerned to keep their wealth, such as it was, as liquid and portable as possible. But a basic characteristic of Jews as a community is generosity, hospitality and charitable activity. Every Jewish community around the world has sophisticated systems of support for Jews who need support, and Jews also contribute disproportionately to general charities too. One need only look at the endowments to many major public institutions to see Jews giving their money in large amounts to good causes, both Jewish and general. Jews have undue influence
This lie can be traced back almost directly to a forgery that appeared in the early 20th century called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purported to be the record of a shadowy global Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. Though it was almost immediately demonstrated to be a total fraud, the ideas in the book – and indeed the book itself – still travel the world, reappearing from time to time in all kinds of accusations against the Jews for influencing or controlling this or that aspect of world affairs. The main thing to know about the Jews is that they were the victims of the Holocaust
Traumatic and devastating though the Holocaust was, it is not and should not be a major defining fact about the Jews. Certainly understanding its impact will explain the current psychology of many Jews today, but it casts no light on the wisdom or lifestyle, teaching or traditions of Jews, except perhaps something about Jewish resilience and optimism in the face of crushing oppression. Jews like to keep themselves to themselves
This tends to be mostly true about Charedi Jews, although even then, there are Charedi local councillors in parts of Inner London and Manchester and at least one Charedi led Muslim-Jewish dialogue group. However, Charedim are a small minority of Jews. Most Jews, once allowed, are enthusiastic participants in general society, whether it’s playing their part in civic society, contributing to the development of the arts and sciences or simply being constructive members of their work teams and local community. Of course, not surprisingly, like all people with a deep commitment to something in particular, committed Jews will spend more time on their Jewish lives which might detract from their involvement in everything else available. Other Misconceptions concerning the Jews
by Clive Lawton In the 18th century, a group grew up in Poland, which argued for a more mystical, charismatic and populist approach to Judaism than had become customary amongst the highly scholastic leaders of Jewish life. This movement was called chasidism and spread like wildfire through the poorer working Jews of Eastern Europe. Chasidism is characterised by a warm commitment to enthusiasm and good intention. The Chasidic masters - rebbes - taught that even if someone was not learned, and even if they did not keep everything perfectly, God was concerned to value each good act done and each good intention. Given the grinding poverty of many Jews in 18th and 19th century Eastern Europe, and their general sense of hopelessness and oppression, this was a wonderfully liberating and inspiring approach. For some time, the traditional leadership of the Jewish community condemned and opposed Chasidism until the rise of other movements and attitudes, which led them to realise that they were broadly on the same side, so that nowadays, most Chasidim are counted in the ranks of the Charedim (see below) and, to the casual observer seem indistinguishable from non-Chasidic Charedim. Even Chasidim are sub-divided into different groups but most can be easily identified by their distinctive costume of long dark coats, black hats and ringlets at the sides of their heads. Current Jewish Groupings
It is important to realise that a significant proportion of Jews today do not really identify with most of the disputes concerning Jewish practices, and the authority of the traditional texts that divide the Orthodox from the Reform. These Jews might be called secular or humanist and a significant proportion of American, Israeli and Eastern European Jewry would fall into these categories. Those Jews who apportion binding authority to the Torah and the traditional interpretations of the halachah will be called Orthodox and can broadly be divided into two groups, Charedim (often inaccurately called ultra-Orthodox) and Modern Orthodox. The difference between these two groups is largely the extent to which they wish to seek to integrate aspects of secular culture, technology and knowledge into their lives. Zionism (Hebrew: ציונות‎, Tsiyonut) is a form of Jewish
nationalism that has risen out of a sense of
aggrievement towards the persecution
and suffering of the Jews As a result it proposes a Jewish nation state in a territory defined
as the Land of Israel.
Zionism supports Jews upholding their Jewish identity
and opposes the assimilation of Jews into other societies
and has advocated the return of Jews to Israel as a means for
Jews to be liberated from anti-Semitic discrimination, exclusion,
and persecution that has occurred in other societies Zionism http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/01/don%E2%80%99t-conflate-judaism-and-zionism/ The term Zionism was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum. Zionism is the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, advocated, from its inception, tangible as well as spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions, left and right, religious and secular, joined to form the Zionist movement and worked together toward these goals. Disagreements led to rifts, but ultimately, the common goal of a Jewish state in its ancient homeland was attained. The term “Zionism” was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum.
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