Judaism

For a discussion of Jews as an ethnicity or ethnic group see the article on Jew.

Judaism is the religious culture of the Jewish people. It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. The tenets and history of Judaism are the major part of the foundation of other Abrahamic religions religions, including Christianity and Islam. For all of these reasons, Judaism has been a major force in shaping the world.

Introduction

Judaism does not easily fit into common Western categories, such as religion, race, ethnicity, or culture. This is because Jews understand Judaism in terms of its 4,000-year history. During this time, Jews have experienced slavery, anarchic self-government, theocratic self-government, conquest, occupation, and exile; they have been in contact, and have been influenced by ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenic cultures, as well as modern movements such as the Enlightenment and the rise of nationalism. Thus, Daniel 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."

The seven-branched Menorah is an ancient symbol of Judaism. It was used in the Temple in ancient Jerusalem.

According to both traditional Jews and critical historical scholars, a number of qualities distinguish Judaism from the other religions that existed when it first emerged. The first characteristic is monotheism. This notion is derived directly from the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) where God makes it part of the Ten Commandments: "...I am the Lord your God. Do not have any other gods before Me. Do not represent [such] gods by any carved statue or picture of anything in the heaven above, on the earth below, or in the water below the land. Do not bow down to [such gods] or worship them. I am God your Lord, a God who demands exclusive worship" [1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments#Exodus_20.2FDeuteronomy_5)

The Jewish understanding of this is that:

  1. "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt..." The belief in the existence of God, that God exists for all time, that God is the sole creator of all that exists, that God determines the course of events in this world. This is the foundation of Judaism. To turn from these beliefs is to deny God and the essence of Judaism.
  2. "You shall have no other gods besides Me...Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above..." One is required to believe in God and God alone. This prohibits belief in or worship of any additional deities, gods, spirits or incarnations. To deny the uniqueness of God, is to deny all that is written in the Torah. It is also a prohibition against making or possessing objects that one or other may bow down to or serve such as crucifixes, and any forms of paintings or artistic representations of God. One must not bow down to or serve any being or object but God. [2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments#Jewish_interpretation)

The significance of this idea lies in that Judaism holds that an omniscient and omnipotent God created humankind as recorded in the Book of Genesis, in the Creation according to Genesis starting with the very first verse of Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." While in polytheistic religions, the gods are limited by the preoccupation of personal desires irrelevant to humankind, by limited powers, and by the interference of other powers, in Judaism, God is unlimited and fully available to care for Creation.

Second, the Torah (i.e. The Hebrew Bible) specifies a number of laws, known as the 613 mitzvot, to be followed by the Children of Israel. Other religions at the time were characterized by temples in which priests would worship their gods through sacrifice. The Children of Israel similarly had a Temple in Jerusalem, priests, and made sacrifices -— but these were not the sole means of worshiping God.

As a matter of practical worship (in comparison to other religions) Judaism seeks to elevate everyday life to the level of the ancient temples' worship by worshipping God through the spectrum of daily activites and actions. It has traditionally maintained that this is how the individual would merit rewards in the afterlife, called gan eden (Hebrew: "Garden of Eden") or olam haba ("World to Come").

Religious view of the development of Judaism

According to Orthodox Judaism and most religious Jews, the Biblical patriarch Abraham was the first Jew. Rabbinic literature records that he was the first to reject idolatry and preach monotheism. As a result, God promised he would have children. His first child was Ishmael and then he had Isaac, who God said would carry on his work and inherit the Land of Israel (then called Canaan) after having been exiled and redeemed. God sent the patriarch Jacob and his children to Egypt; after they eventually became enslaved, God sent Moses to redeem the Israelites from slavery. After the Exodus from Egypt, God led them to Mount Sinai and gave them the Torah, and eventually brought them to the land of Israel.

God set the descendants of Aaron, Moses' brother, to be a priestly class within the Israelite community. They first officiated in the tabernacle (a portable house of worship), and later their descendants were in charge of worship in the Temple in Jerusalem

Once the Jews had settled in the land of Israel, the tabernacle was planted in the city of Shiloh for over 300 years during which time God provided great men, and occasionally women, to rally the nation against attacking enemies, some of which were sent by God as a punishment for the sins of the people. This is described in the Book of Joshua and the Book of Judges. As time went on, the spiritual level of the nation declined to the point that God allowed the Philistines to capture the tabernacle in Shiloh.

The people of Israel then told Samuel the prophet that they had reached the point where they needed a permanent king like other nations had, and described in the Books of Samuel. God knew this was not best for the Jews, but acceded to this request and had Samuel appoint Saul, a great but very humble man, 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 in his stead.

Once David was established as king, he told the prophet Nathan that he would like to build a permanent temple. As a reward for his actions, God promised David that he would allow his son to build the temple and the throne would never depart from his children. David himself was not allowed to build the temple because he had been involved in many wars, making it inappropriate for him to build a temple representing peace. As a result, it was David's son Solomon who built the first permanent temple according to God's will, in Jerusalem. This era is described in the Books of Kings.

After Solomon's death, the kingdom was split into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Israel had a number of kings, but after a few hundred years God allowed Assyria to conquer Israel and exile its people because of the rampant idolatry in the kingdom. The southern kingdom of Judah, whose capital was Jerusalem, home of the Temple, remained under the rulership of the house of David. However, as in the north, idolatry increased to the point that God allowed Babylonia to conquer it, destroy the temple which had stood for 410 years and exile its people to Babylonia, with the promise that they would be redeemed after seventy years. These events are recored in the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Jeremiah.

After seventy years the Jews were allowed back into Israel under the leadership of Ezra, and the temple was rebuilt, as recorded in the Book of Ezra and the Book of Nehemiah. The Second Temple stood for 420 years after which it was destroyed by the Roman general (later emperor) Titus. This is the state in which it is to remain until a descendant of David arises to restore the glory of Israel (the current existence of the Islamic Dome of the Rock is not relevent to the Rabbinical view.)

The Torah given on Mount Sinai was summarized in the five books of Moses. Together with the books of the prophets is called the Written Torah. The details and interpretation of the law, which are called the Oral Torah or oral law were originally unwritten. However as the persecutions of the Jews increased and the details were in danger of being forgotten, rabbinic tradition holds that these oral laws were recorded in the Mishnah, and the Talmud, as well as other holy books.

Critical historical view of the development of Judaism

Although monotheism is fundamental to Rabbinic Judaism, according to many critical Bible scholars the Torah often implies that the early Israelites accepted the existence of other gods. However, they viewed their God as the Creator and the one that mankind was morally bound to worship alone. But by the Hellenic period most Jews had come to believe that their God was the only God (and thus, the God of everyone), and that the record of His revelation (the Torah) contained within it universal truths. This attitude may reflect growing Gentile interest in Judaism (some Greeks and Romans considered the Jews a most "philosophical" people because of their belief in a God that cannot be represented visually), and growing Jewish interest in Greek philosophy, which sought to establish universal truths.

Jews began to grapple with the tension between the particularism of their claim that only Jews were required to obey the Torah, and the universalism of their claim that the Torah contained universal truths. The result is a set of beliefs and practices concerning both identity, ethics, one's relation to nature, and one's relation to God, that privilege "difference" -— the difference between Jews and non-Jews; the differences between locally variable ways of practicing Judaism; a close attention to different meanings of words when interpreting texts; attempts to encode different points of view within texts, and a relative indifference to creed and dogma.

The subject of the Hebrew Bible is an account of the Israelites' (also called Hebrews) relationship with God as reflected in their history from the beginning of time until the building of the Second Temple (approx. 350 BCE). This relationship is generally portrayed as contentious, as Jews struggle between their faith in God and their attraction for other gods, and as some Jews (most notably and directly, Abraham, Jacob -- later known as Israel—and Moses) struggle with God. Modern scholars also suggest that the Torah consists of a variety of inconsistent texts that were edited together in a way that calls attention to divergent accounts (see Documentary hypothesis).

Religious doctrine and Principles of Faith

Main article: Jewish principles of faith

While Judaism has always affirmed a number of Jewish principles of faith, it has never developed a fully binding "catechism". It is difficult to generalize about Jewish theology because Judaism is non-creedal; that is, there is no agreed-upon dogma (set of orthodox beliefs) that most Jews believed were required of Jews. While individual Jewish rabbis, or sometimes entire groups, at times agreed upon a firm dogma, other rabbis and groups disagreed. With no central agreed-upon authority, no one formulation of Jewish principles of faith could take precedent over any other.

This approach to religious doctrine dates back at least two thousand years. For example, the ancient historian Josephus emphasized practices and traditions rather than beliefs when he describes the characteristics of an apostate (a Jew who does not follow traditional customs) and the requirements for conversion to Judaism (circumcision, and adherence to traditional customs). Despite the above, in Orthodox Judaism some principles (e.g. the Divine origin of the Torah) are considered important enough that public rebellion against them can put one in the category of "apikoros" (heretic).

Over the centuries, a number of clear formulations of Jewish principles of faith have appeared; most of them have much in common, yet they differ in certain details. A comparison of them demonstrates a wide array of tolerance for varying theological perspectives. Generally, however, the thirteen principles of faith expressed by Maimonides are considered authorative descriptions of Jewish beliefs:

  • God is one - Judaism is based on strict unitarian monotheism, the belief in one God, the eternal creator of the universe and the source of morality. The idea of God as a duality or trinity is heretical for Jews to hold; it is considered akin to polytheism.
  • God is all powerful (omnipotent), as well as all knowing (omniscient). The different names of God are ways to express different aspects of God's presence in the world. See the entry on Names of God in Judaism.
  • God is non-physical, non-corporeal, and eternal. All statements in the Hebrew Bible and in rabbinic literature which use anthropomorphism are held to be linguistic conceits or metaphors, as it would otherwise be impossible to talk about God.
  • To God alone may one offer prayer. Any belief that an intermediary between man and God could be used, whether necessary or even optional, has traditionally been considered heretical.
  • The Hebrew Bible, and much of the beliefs described in the Mishnah and Talmud, are held to be the product of divine Revelation. How Revelation works, and what precisely one means when one says that a book is "divine", has always been a matter of some dispute. Different understandings of this subject exist among Jews.
  • The words of the prophets are true.
  • Moses was the chief of all prophets.
  • The Torah (five books of Moses) is the primary text of Judaism.
  • God will reward those who observe His commandments, and punish those who violate them.
  • God chose the Jewish people to be in a unique covenant with God; see Jews as a chosen people.
  • The messianic age. There will be a moshiach (Jewish Messiah), or perhaps a messianic era.
  • The soul is pure at birth. People are born with a yetzer ha'tov, a tendency to do good, and with a yetzer ha'ra, a tendency to do bad. Thus, human beings have free will and can choose the path in life that they will take.
  • People can atone for sins through words and deeds, and without intermediaries. The liturgy of the Days of Awe (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) states that prayer, repentance and tzedakah (dutiful giving of charity) atone for sin. Atonement is deemed only meaningful if accompanied by sincere decision to cease unacceptable actions, and then only if appropriate amends to others are honestly undertaken. It covers wrongdoings by which a person has fallen short of divine wishes in his daily life, and thus there is always a "way back" to God. In Judaism, sin is more considered in terms of a wrongful action, contravening divine commandment to live a holy life, than wrongful thought. A more detailed discussion of the Jewish view of sin is available in the entry on sin.

The traditional Jewish bookshelf

Jews are often called the "people of the book," and Judaism has an age-old intellectual tradition focusing on text-based Torah study. The following is a basic, structured list of the central works of Jewish practice and thought. For more detail, see Rabbinic literature.

  • The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and Jewish bible study, which include:
    • Mesorah
    • Targum
    • Jewish Biblical exegesis (also see Midrash below)
  • Works of the Talmudic Era (classic rabbinic literature)
    • The Mishnah and its commentaries.
    • The Tosefta and the minor tractates.
    • The Talmud:
      • The Jerusalem Talmud and its commentaries.
      • The Babylonian Talmud and its commentaries.
    • Midrashic Literature:
      • Halakhic Midrash
      • Aggadic Midrash
  • Halakhic literature
    • The Major Codes of Jewish Law and Custom
      • The Mishneh Torah and its commentaries.
      • The Tur and its commentaries.
      • The Shulhan Arukh and its commentaries.
    • Other books on Jewish Law and Custom
    • The Responsa literature
  • Jewish Thought and Ethics
    • Jewish philosophy
    • Kabbalah
    • Hasidic works
    • Jewish ethics and the Mussar Movement
  • The Siddur and Jewish liturgy
  • Piyyut (Classical Jewish poetry)

Related Topics

  • Torah databases (electronic versions of the Traditional Jewish Bookshelf)
  • List of Jewish Prayers and Blessings

Jewish Law and interpretation

Main article: Halakha

The basis of Jewish law and tradition ("halakha") is the Torah (the five books of Moses). According to rabbinic tradition there are 613 commandments in the Torah. Some of these laws are directed only to men or to women, some only to the ancient priestly groups, the Kohanim and Leviyim (members of the tribe of Levi), some only to those who practice farming within the land of Israel. Many laws were only applicable when the Temple in Jerusalem existed, and fewer than 300 of these commandments are still applicable today.

While there have been Jewish groups which claimed to be based on the written text of the Torah alone (e.g. the Sadducees, the Karaites), most Jews believed in what they call the oral law. These oral traditions originated in the Pharisee sect of ancient Judaism, and were latter recorded in written form and expanded upon by the Rabbis.

Rabbinic Judaism has always held that the books of the Tanakh (called the written law) have always been transmitted in parallel with an oral tradition. To justify this viewpoint, Jews point to the text of the Torah, where many words are left undefined, and many procedures mentioned without explanation or instructions; this, they argue, means that the reader is assumed to be familiar with the details from other, i.e. oral, sources. This parallel set of material was originally transmitted orally, and came to be known as "the oral law".

By time of Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi (200 CE), after the destruction of Jerusalem, much of this material was edited together into the Mishnah. Over the next four centuries this law underwent discussion and debate in both of the world's major Jewish communities (in Israel and Babylon), and the commentaries on the Mishnah from each of these communities eventually came to be edited together into compilations known as the two Talmuds. These have been expounded by commentaries of various Torah scholars during the ages.

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 (in Hebrew, '"Sheelot U-Teshuvot".) Over time, as practices develop, codes of Jewish law are written that are based on the responsa; the most important code, the Shulkhan Arukh, largely determines Jewish religious practice up till today.

What makes a person Jewish?

Main article: Who is a Jew

According to Jewish law, someone is considered to be a Jew if he or she was born of a Jewish mother or converted in accord with Jewish Law. (Recently, the American Reform and Reconstructionist movements have included those born of Jewish fathers and gentile mothers, if the children are raised practicing Judaism only.) All mainstream forms of Judaism today are open to sincere converts.

A Jew who ceases to practice Judaism is still considered a Jew, as is a Jew who does not accept Jewish principles of faith and becomes an agnostic or an atheist; so too with a Jew who converts to another religion. However, in the latter case, the person loses standing as a member of the Jewish community and becomes known as an apostate. In the past, family and friends were said to often formally mourn for the person, though this is rarely done today.

The question of what determines Jewish identity was given new impetus when, in the 1950s, David ben Gurion requested opinions on mihu Yehudi ("who is a Jew") from Jewish religious authorities and intellectuals worldwide. The question is far from settled and occasionally resurfaces in Israeli politics.

Jewish philosophy

Main article: Jewish philosophy

Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. Early Jewish philosophy was influenced by the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle and Islamic philosophy. Major Jewish philosophers include Solomon ibn Gabirol, Saadia Gaon, Maimonides and Gersonides. Major changes occurred in response to the enlightenment (late 1700s to early 1800s) leading to the post-Enlightenment Jewish philosophers, and then modern Jewish philosophers such as Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Will Herberg, Emmanuel Levinas, Richard Rubenstein, Emil Fackenheim, and Joseph Soloveitchik.

Jewish denominations

Main article: Jewish denominations

Over the past two centuries the Jewish community has divided into a number of Jewish denominations; each has a different understanding of what principles of belief a Jew should hold, and how one should live as a Jew. Unlike Christian denominations, these doctrinal differences have not fundamentally split Jewish denominations, which continue to overlap on many issues. It would not be unusual for a Conservative Jew to attend either an Orthodox or Reform synagogue, for example.

  • Orthodox Judaism holds that the Torah was written by God and dictated to Moses, and that the laws within it are binding and unchanging. Orthodox Jews generally consider a 16th century CE law code, the Shulkhan Arukh, to be the definitive codification of Jewish law, and assert a continuity between pre-Enlightenment Judaism and modern-day Orthodox Judaism. Orthodox Judaism consists of Modern Orthodox Judaism and Haredi Judaism. Hasidic Judaism is a sub-set of Haredi Judaism. Most of Orthodox Judaism holds to one particular form of Jewish theology, based on Maimonides' 13 principles of Jewish faith.
  • Reform Judaism (outside of the USA also known as Progressive Judaism, and in the U.K. as Liberal Judaism) originally formed in Germany in response to the Enlightenment. Reform Judaism initially defined Judaism as a religion, rather than as a race or culture; rejected the ritual prescriptions and proscriptions of the Torah; and emphasized the ethical call of the Prophets. Reform Judaism developed a prayer service in the vernacular and emphasized decorum during services. Today, many Reform congregations have returned to Hebrew prayers and encourage some degree of legal observance.
  • Conservative Judaism. Outside of the USA it is known as Masorti (Hebrew for "Traditional") Judaism. "Masorti" is its official title in the State of Israel as well, although most Israelis use the word in a more general sense (see below). Conservative Judaism formed in the United States in the late 1800s through the fusion of two distinct groups: former Reform Jews who were alienated by that movement's emphatic rejection of Jewish law, and former Orthodox Jews who had rejected belief in the "oral law" (which claims continuity between God's revelation at Sinai and Jewish law as codified in the Shulkhan Arukh) in favor of the critical study of Jewish texts and history. Conservative Jews emphasize that Jews constitute a nation as well as a religion. Conservative scholars emphasize their identification with the Amoraim, the sages of the Talmud, who embraced open debates over interpretations (and reinterpretations) of Jewish law.
  • Reconstructionist Judaism started as a stream of philosophy by a rabbi within Conservative Judaism, and later became an independent movement emphasizing reinterpreting Judaism for modern times.

Many religious Jews do not look at one's denomination as a valid way of designating Jews; instead they view Jews by the level of their religious observance. According to most Orthodox Jews, Jewish people who do not keep the laws of Shabbat and Yom Tov (the holidays), Kashrut, and family purity are considered non-religious. Any Jew who keeps at least those laws would be considered observant and religious).

Jewish denominations in Israel

Even though all of these denominations exist in Israel, Israelis tend to classify Jewish identity in ways that are different than diaspora Jewry. Most Jewish Israelis classify themselves as "secular" (hiloni), "traditional" (masorti), or Haredi. "Secular," or non-observant, Judaism is more popular 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 among Israeli families of "eastern" origin (i.e. Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa). This term, as commonly used, has nothing to do with the official Masorti (Conservative) movement.

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 ideology and religious observance.

The term "Orthodox" (Ortodoxi) is unpopular in Israeli discourse (among both "secular" and "religious" alike). Nevertheless, the spectrum covered by "Orthodox" in the diaspora exists in Israel, again with some important variations. The "Orthodox" spectrum in Israel is a far greater percentage of the Jewish population in Israel than in the diaspora, though how much greater is hotly debated. Various ways of measuring this percentage, each with its pros and cons, include the proportion of religiously observant Knesset members, the proportion of Jewish children enrolled in religious schools, and statistical studies on "identity".

What would be called "Orthodox" in the diaspora includes what is commonly called dati (religious) or haredi (ultra-Orthodox) in Israel. The former term includes what is called "Religious Zionism" or the "National Religious" community, as well as what has become known over the past decade or so as haredi-leumi (nationalist haredi), which combines a largely haredi lifestyle with nationist ideology.

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 origin; (2) Hasidic haredim of Ashkenazic origin; and (3) Sephardic haredim. The third group is the largest, and has been the most politically active since the early 1990s.

Karaism

Unlike the above denominations, which were ideological reactions that resulted from the exposure of traditional rabbinic Judaism to the radical changes of modern times, Karaite Judaism did not begin as a modern Jewish movement. The followers of Karaism believe they are the remnants of the non-Rabbinic Jewish sects of the Second Temple period, such as the Saducees, though others contend they are a sect started in the 8th and 9th centuries. The Karaites, or "Scripturalists," accept only the Hebrew bible and what they view as the Peshat/"Plain or Simple Meaning";, and do not accept non-biblical writings as authoritative. Some European Karaites do not see themselves as part of the Jewish community, while most do.

The main article Jewish views of religious pluralism describes how Judaism views other religions; it also describes how members of each of the Jewish religious denomination view the other denominations.

Jewish prayer and practice

Prayers

Main article: Jewish services

There are three main daily prayer services, named Shacharit, Mincha (literally: flour-offering) and Maariv or Arvit. All services include a number of benedictions called the Amidah or the Shemonah Esrei ("eighteen"), which on weekdays consists of nineteen blessings (one was added in the time of the Mishna, but the name remains). Another key prayer in many services is the declaration of faith, the Shema which is recited at shacharit and maariv. Most of the prayers in a traditional Jewish service can be said in solitary prayer, but Kaddish and Kedusha require a group of ten adult men (or men and women in some branches of Judaism) called a minyan (prayer quorum). There are also prayers and benedictions recited throughout the day, such as those before eating or drinking.

There are a number of common Jewish religious objects used in prayer. The tallit is a Jewish prayer shawl. A kippah or yarmulke (skullcap) is a head covering worn during prayer by most Jews, and at all times by more orthodox Jews — especially Ashkenazim. Phylacteries or tefillin, boxes containing the portions of the Torah mandating them, are also worn by religious Jews during weekday morning services.

The Jewish approach to prayer differs slightly between the various branches of Judaism, although all use the same set of prayers and texts, the frequency of prayer, the number of prayers recited at various religious events, and whether one prays in a particular liturgical language or the vernacular differs from denomination to denomination, with Conservative and Orthodox congregations using more traditional services, while Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues are more likely to incorporate translations, contemporary writings, and abbreviated services.

Shabbat

Main article: Shabbat

Shabbat, the weekly day of rest lasting from Friday night to Saturday night, celebrates God's creation as a day of rest that commemorates God's day of rest upon the completion of creation. It plays an important role in Jewish practice and is the subject of a large body of religious law. Some consider it the most important Jewish holiday.

Jewish holidays

Main article: Jewish holidays

The Jewish holy days celebrate central themes in the relationship between God and the world, such as creation, revelation, and redemption. Some holidays are also linked to the agricultural cycle.

Three holidays celebrate revelation by commemorating different events in the passage of the Children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to their return to the land of Canaan. They are also timed to coincide with important agricultural seasons. They are also pilgramage holidays, for which the Children of Israel would journey to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to God in His Temple.

  • Pesach or Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, and coincides with the barley harvest. It is the only holiday that centers on home-service, the Seder. Pesach occurs on the 15th of Nissan; Nissan is the first month of the Jewish calendar, because it was in this month that the Children of Israel left Egypt.
  • Shavuot or Pentacost or Feast of Weeks celebrates Moses' giving of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, and marks the transition from the barley harvest to the wheat harvest.
  • Sukkot, or The Festival of booths or the Festival of the ingathering commemorates the wandering of the Children of Israel through the desert. It is celebrated through the construction of temporary booths that represent the temporary shelters of the Children of Israel during their wandering. It coincides with the fruit harvest, and marks the end of the agricultural cycle.
  • Rosh Hashanah, also Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). Called the Jewish New Year because it celebrates the day that the world was created, and marks the advance in the calendar from one year to the next, although it occurs in the seventh month, Tishri. It is also a holiday of redemption, as it marks the beginning of the atonement period that ends ten days later with Yom Kippur.
  • Yom Kippur, or The Day of Atonement, also called "the Sabbath of Sabbaths," is a holiday centered on redemption; a day of atonement and fasting for sins committed during the previous year. Many consider this the most important Jewish holiday.

There are many minor holidays as well, including Purim, which celebrates the events told in the Biblical book of Esther, and Chanukkah, which is not established in the Bible but which celebrates the successful rebellion by the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire.

Torah readings

The core of festival and Sabbath prayer services is the public reading of the Torah, along with connected readings from the other books of the Jewish Bible, called Haftarah. During the course of a year, the full Torah is read, and the cycle begins again every autumn during Simhat Torah (“rejoicing in the Torah”).

Dietary laws: Kashrut

Main article: Kashrut

The laws of kashrut ("keeping kosher") are the Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with Jewish law is termed kosher, and food not in accord with Jewish law is termed treifah or treif. From the context of the laws in the book of Leviticus, the purpose of kashrut is related to ritual purity and holiness. Reform and Reconstructionist Jews do not keep kosher, Orthodox Jews and some Conservative Jews do keep kosher, to varying degrees of strictness.

Family purity

Main article: Niddah

The laws of niddah ("menstruant", often referred to euphemistically as "family purity") and various other laws regulating the interaction between men and women (e.g. tzeniut, modesty in dress) are perceived, especially by Orthodox Jews, as vital factors in Jewish life.

The laws of niddah dictate that sexual intercourse cannot take place while the woman is having a menstrual flow, and she has to count seven "clean" days and immerse in a mikvah (ritual bath).

Life-cycle events

Life-cycle events occur throughout a Jew's life that bind him/her to the entire community.

  • Brit milah - Welcoming male babies into the covenant through the rite of circumcision.
  • Bar mitzvah and Bat mitzvah - Celebrating a child's reaching the age of majority, becoming responsible from now on for themselves as an adult for living a Jewish life and following halakha.
  • Marriage
  • Shiv'ah (mourning) - Judaism has a multi-staged mourning practice. The first stage is called the Shiv'ah (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

Judaism does not have a clergy, in the sense of full-time specialists required for religious services. Technically, the last time Judaism had a clergy was prior to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., when priests attended to the Temple and sacrifices. The priesthood is an inherited position, and although priests no longer have clerical duties, they are still honored in many Jewish communities

  • Kohen (priest) - patrilineal descendant of Aaron, brother of 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.
  • Levi (Levite) - Patrilineal descendant of Levi the son of Jacob. Today, a Levite is called up second to the reading of the Torah.

Prayer leaders

From the times of the Mishna and Talmud to the present, Judaism has required specialists or authorities for the practice of very few rituals or ceremonies. A Jew can fulfil most requirements for prayer by himself. Some activities -- reading the 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 presense of ten adults (Orthodox Jews and some Conservative Jews require ten adult men; some Conservative Jews and Reform Jews include women in the minyan).

The most common professional clergy in a synogogue are:

  • Rabbi of a congregation - Jewish scholar who is charged with answering the legal questions of a congregation. Orthodox Judaism requires semicha (Rabbinical ordination). 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 koreh (see below).
    • Hassidic Rebbe - Rabbi who is the head of a Hassidic dynasty.
  • Hazzan (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 often, but not always, filled by a Rabbi and/or Hazzan in many congregations:

  • 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 speaking Hebrew clearly may act as shatz (Orthodox Jews and some Conservative Jews allow only men to act as shatz; some Conservative Jews and Reform Jews allow women to act as shatz as well).
  • Baal koreh (master of the reading) reads the weekly Torah portion. The requirements for acting as baal koreh are the same as those for the shatz.

Note that these roles are not mutually exclusive. The same person is often qualified to fill more than one role, and often does.

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 large synagogues have often adopted the practice of hiring rabbis and hazzans to act as shatz and baal koreh, and this is still typically the case in most Conservative and Reform congretations. However, in most Orthodox synagogues these positions are filled by laypeople.

Specialized religious roles

  • Dayan (judge) - expert in Jewish law who sits on a beth din (rabbinical court) for either monetary matters or for overseeing the giving of a bill of divorce. A dayan always requires semicha.
  • Mohel - performs the brit milah (circumcision). An expert in the laws of circumcision who has received training from a qualified mohel.
  • Shochet (ritual slaughterer) - slaughters all kosher meat. In order for meat to be kosher, it must be slaughtered by a shochet who is expert in the laws and has received training from another shochet, as well as having regular contact with a rabbi and revising the relevant guidelines on a regular basis.
  • Sofer (scribe) - Torah scrolls, tefillin (phylacteries), mezuzahs (scrolls put on doorposts), and gittin (bills of divorce) must be written by a sofer who is an expert in the laws of writing.
  • Rosh yeshivah - head of a yeshiva. Somebody who is an expert in delving into the depths of the Talmud, and lectures the highest class in a Yeshiva.
  • Mashgiach of a yeshiva - expert in mussar (ethics). Oversees the emotional and spiritual welfare of the students in a yeshiva, and gives lectures on mussar.
  • Mashgiach over kosher products - supervises merchants and manufacturers of kosher food to ensure that the food is kosher. Either an expert in the laws of kashrut, or (generally) under the supervision of a rabbi who is expert in those laws.

Jewish religious history

Main article: Jewish history

Jewish history is an extensive topic, this section will cover the elements of Jewish history of most importance to the Jewish religion and the development of Jewish denominations.

Ancient Jewish religious history

Jews trace their religious lineage to the biblical patriarch Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. After the Exodus from Egypt, the Jews came to Canaan, and settled the land. A kingdom was established under Saul and continued under King David and Solomon with its capital in Jerusalem. After Solomon's reign the nation split into two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Israel (in the north) and the Kingdom of Judah (in the south). The Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrian ruler Shalmaneser V in the 8th century BCE and spread all over the Assyrian empire, where they were assimilated into other cultures and become known as the Ten Lost Tribes. The Kingdom of Judah continued as an independent state until it was conquered by a Babylonian army in the early 6th century BCE, destroying the First Temple that was at the centre of ancient Jewish worship. The Judean elite was exiled to Babylonia, but later at least a part of them returned to their homeland after the subsequent conquest of Babylonia by the Persians seventy years later, a period known as the Babylonian Captivity. A new Second Temple was constructed, and old religious practices were resumed.

After a Jewish revolt against Roman rule in 66 CE, the Romans all but destroyed Jerusalem; only a single "Western Wall" of the Second Temple remained. Following a second revolt, Jews were not allowed to enter the city of Jerusalem and most Jewish worship was forbidden by Rome. Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews, Jewish worship stopped being centrally organized around the Temple, and instead was rebuilt around rabbis who acted as teachers and leaders of individual communities. No new books were added to the Jewish Bible after the Roman period, instead major efforts went into interpreting and developing Jewish law.

Historical Jewish groupings (-1700)

Around the first century CE there were several small Jewish sects: the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes, and Christians. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE., these sects vanished. Christianity survived, but by breaking with Judaism and becoming a separate religion; the Pharisees survived but in the form of Rabbinic Judaism (today, known simply as "Judaism").

Some Jews in the 8th and 9th centuries adopted the Sadducees' rejection of the oral law of the Pharisees/Rabbis recorded in the Mishnah (and developed by later Rabbis in the two Talmuds), intending to rely 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 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 time Jews developed into distinct ethnic groups — amongst others, the Ashkenazi Jews (of Central and Eastern Europe with Russia); the Sephardi Jews (of Spain, Portugal and North Africa) and the Yemenite Jews, from the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. This split is cultural, and is not based on any doctrinal dispute, although the distance did result in minor differences in practice and prayers.

Hasidism

Main article: Hasidic Judaism

Hasidic Judaism was founded by Israel ben Eliezer (1700-1760), also known as the Ba'al Shem Tov (or Besht). His disciples attracted many followers; they themselves established numerous Hasidic sects across Europe. Hasidic Judaism eventually became the way of life for many Jews in Europe. Waves of Jewish immigration in the 1880s carried it to the United States.

Early on, there was a serious schism between the Hasidic and non-Hasidic Jews. European Jews who rejected the Hasidic movement were dubbed by the Hasidim as mitnagdim, (lit. "opponents"). Some of the reasons for the rejection of Hasidic Judaism were the overwhelming exuberance of Hasidic worship; their untraditional ascriptions of infallibility and alleged miracle-working to their leaders, and the concern that it might become a messianic sect. Since then all the sects of Hasidic Judaism have been subsumed into mainstream Orthodox Judaism, particularly Haredi Judaism.

The Enlightenment and Reform Judaism

Main article: Haskalah

In the late 18th century CE Europe was swept by a group of intellectual, social and political movements known as the 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 or the "Jewish Enlightenment," began, especially in Central 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. The thrust and counter-thrust between supporters of Haskalah and more traditional Jewish concepts eventually led to the formation of a number of different branches of Judaism: Haskalah supporters founded Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism, while traditionalists founded many forms of Orthodox Judaism, and Jews seeking a balance between the two sides founded Conservative Judaism. A number of smaller groups came into being as well.

The Holocaust

While the Holocaust did not immediately affect Jewish denominations, its great loss of life caused a radical demographic shift, ultimately affecting the makeup of organized Judaism the way it is today. A Jewish day of mourning, Yom HaShoah, was inserted into the Jewish calendar, commemorating the Holocaust.

The present situation

In most western nations, such as the United States of America, Israel, Canada, United Kingdom and South Africa, a wide variety of Jewish practices exist, along with a growing plurality of secular and non-practicing Jews. For example, in the world's largest Jewish community, the United States, according to the 2001 National Jewish Population Survey (http://www.ujc.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=83784), 4.3 million out of 5.1 million Jews 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 synagogue.

Religious (and secular) Jewish movements in the USA and Canada perceive this as a crisis situation, and have grave concern over rising rates of intermarriage and assimilation in the Jewish community. Since American Jews are marrying at a later time in their life than they used to, and are having fewer children than they used, the birth rate for American Jews has dropped from over 2.0 down to 1.7 (the replacement rate is 2.1). (This is My Beloved, This is My Friend: A Rabbinic Letter on Intimate relations, p.27, Elliot N. Dorff, The Rabbinical Assembly, 1996). Intermarriage rates range from 40-50% in the US, and only about a third of children of intermarried couples are raised Jewish. 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 population masks the diversity of current Jewish religious practice, as well as growth trends among some communities, like haredi Jews.

In the last 50 years there has been a general increase in interest in religion among many segments of the Jewish population. All of the major Jewish denominations have experienced a resurgence in popularity, with increasing numbers of younger Jews participating in Jewish education, joining synagogues, and becoming (to varying degrees) more observant. Complementing the increased popularity of the major denominations has been a number of new approaches to Jewish worship, including feminist approaches to Judaism and Jewish renewal movements. There is a separate article on the Baal teshuva movement, the movement of Jews returning to observant Judaism. Though this gain has not offset the general demographic loss due to intermarriage and acculturation, many Jewish communities and movements are growing.

Judaism and other religions

Christianity and Judaism

There are a number of articles on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. These articles include:

  • Comparing and contrasting Judaism and Christianity
  • Judeo-Christian
  • Christianity and anti-Semitism
  • Jewish view of Jesus
  • Cultural and historical background of Jesus

Since the Holocaust, there has been much to note in the way of reconciliation between some Christians groups and the Jewish people; the article on Christian-Jewish reconciliation studies this issue.

Messianic Judaism (sometimes Hebrew Christianity) is the common designation for a number of Christian groups which include varying degrees of Jewish practice. These groups have attracted tens (and perhaps hundreds) of thousands of Jews and Christians to their ranks; members identify themselves as Jews. These groups are viewed highly negatively by all Jewish denominations, which typically see them as covert and deceptive attempts to convert Jews to Christianity, a view Messianic-Jewish groups strongly contest.

Some Jews have joined other faiths, such as Judeo-Paganism and neo-paganism. Some adherents to those movements identify themselves as Jews nonetheless.

Islam and Judaism

Main article: Islam and Judaism

Under Islamic rule, Judaism has been practiced for almost 1500 years and this has led to an interplay between the two religions which has been positive as well as negative at times. The period around 900 to 1200 in Moorish Spain came to be known as the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain.

The 20th century animosity of Muslim leaders towards the Zionism, the political movement of Jewish self-determination, has led to a renewed interest in the relationship between Judaism and Islam.

Other relevant material:

  • Similarities between the Bible and the Qur'an
  • Islam and anti-Semitism

This page about Judaism includes information from a Wikipedia article.
Additional articles about Judaism
News stories about Judaism
External links for Judaism
Videos for Judaism
Wikis about Judaism
Discussion Groups about Judaism
Blogs about Judaism
Images of Judaism

Other relevant material:. See also:Philadelphia in film and television. The 20th century animosity of Muslim leaders towards the Zionism, the political movement of Jewish self-determination, has led to a renewed interest in the relationship between Judaism and Islam. cities with teams from four major sports. The period around 900 to 1200 in Moorish Spain came to be known as the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. See also: U.S. Under Islamic rule, Judaism has been practiced for almost 1500 years and this has led to an interplay between the two religions which has been positive as well as negative at times. The Wachovia Spectrum is now home to the Flyers' top farm team, the Phantoms and the Major League Indoor soccer team, the Kixx.

Main article: Islam and Judaism. The Sixers and Flyers share the Wachovia Center with the Soul and Wings. Some adherents to those movements identify themselves as Jews nonetheless. "The Park," "The Zit," "The Vault" or in a Freudian error, "The Vet", from the Eagles' and Phillies' last home, Veterans Stadium). Some Jews have joined other faiths, such as Judeo-Paganism and neo-paganism. The Phillies now play in Citizens Bank Park (a.k.a. These groups are viewed highly negatively by all Jewish denominations, which typically see them as covert and deceptive attempts to convert Jews to Christianity, a view Messianic-Jewish groups strongly contest. The Eagles now play at Lincoln Financial Field (informally known as "The Linc").

These groups have attracted tens (and perhaps hundreds) of thousands of Jews and Christians to their ranks; members identify themselves as Jews. The Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and 76ers have each recently had a new stadium built for them. Messianic Judaism (sometimes Hebrew Christianity) is the common designation for a number of Christian groups which include varying degrees of Jewish practice. The city's original NFL team was the Frankford Yellow Jackets (Frankford being a section of the city located in the northeastern part of town); the club disbanded during the 1931 football season, then re-emerged under the same ownership two years later as the Philadelphia Eagles. Since the Holocaust, there has been much to note in the way of reconciliation between some Christians groups and the Jewish people; the article on Christian-Jewish reconciliation studies this issue. In the past Philadelphia has also been home to the Philadelphia Athletics (MLB, now the Oakland Athletics), and the Philadelphia Warriors (NBA, now the Golden State Warriors). These articles include:. The Philadelphia Barrage (Major League Lacrosse, lacrosse) plays at the stadium of Villanova University, which is located in Villanova.

There are a number of articles on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Some locals half-jokingly attribute this to the Curse of Billy Penn. Though this gain has not offset the general demographic loss due to intermarriage and acculturation, many Jewish communities and movements are growing. Of late Philadelphia teams have been performing well, but frequently missing championships by failing during the crucial stages. There is a separate article on the Baal teshuva movement, the movement of Jews returning to observant Judaism. Philadelphia sports fans have a reputation of being devoted to their teams in good times and bad. Complementing the increased popularity of the major denominations has been a number of new approaches to Jewish worship, including feminist approaches to Judaism and Jewish renewal movements. Philadelphia has a long and proud history of professional sports teams.

In the last 50 years there has been a general increase in interest in religion among many segments of the Jewish population. All of the major Jewish denominations have experienced a resurgence in popularity, with increasing numbers of younger Jews participating in Jewish education, joining synagogues, and becoming (to varying degrees) more observant. The Free Library of Philadelphia. This is indicative of the general population trends among the Jewish community in the Diaspora, but a focus on population masks the diversity of current Jewish religious practice, as well as growth trends among some communities, like haredi Jews. Colleges and universities near Philadelphia include. 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. All schools in the district are required to have a school uniform or a similar dress code. Intermarriage rates range from 40-50% in the US, and only about a third of children of intermarried couples are raised Jewish. All of Philadelphia is served by the School District of Philadelphia.

(This is My Beloved, This is My Friend: A Rabbinic Letter on Intimate relations, p.27, Elliot N. Dorff, The Rabbinical Assembly, 1996). WPLY 100.3FM had formerly been a purely Philadelphia-based alternative rock station, but its format was changed to hip hop in early 2005. Since American Jews are marrying at a later time in their life than they used to, and are having fewer children than they used, the birth rate for American Jews has dropped from over 2.0 down to 1.7 (the replacement rate is 2.1). In 2005, Philadelphia became the largest city in the United States without a modern rock-format radio station, in part because of the difficulty such a station has in gaining market share from WMMR and WYSP. Religious (and secular) Jewish movements in the USA and Canada perceive this as a crisis situation, and have grave concern over rising rates of intermarriage and assimilation in the Jewish community. Philadelphia is home to some of the country's most prominent radio stations, including two of the nation's leading rock stations, WMMR at 93.3FM and WYSP at 94.1FM. Both stations have been breakthrough stations for many contemporary rock bands, and both are widely known in the rock music community for their influence in impacting the country's rock music trends. Of that population of connected Jews, 80% participated in some sort of Jewish religious observance, but only 48% belonged to a synagogue. Famed comedian Bill Cosby was born and raised in Philadelphia.

For example, in the world's largest Jewish community, the United States, according to the 2001 National Jewish Population Survey (http://www.ujc.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=83784), 4.3 million out of 5.1 million Jews had some sort of connection to the religion. Its cultural diversity is reflected in the music and musicians that have come from or through Philadelphia: the R&B styles of Jill Scott and Patti LaBelle, the jazz of Grover Washington Jr., Stan Getz, and Sun Ra, the rock of Pink, the rap of Will Smith, and the opera of Marian Anderson. In most western nations, such as the United States of America, Israel, Canada, United Kingdom and South Africa, a wide variety of Jewish practices exist, along with a growing plurality of secular and non-practicing Jews. Philadelphia has been home to many people of note, the most famous of whom is probably Ben Franklin, who along with the others in the Continental Congresses helped shape the city along with the country and the world. A Jewish day of mourning, Yom HaShoah, was inserted into the Jewish calendar, commemorating the Holocaust. For a list of famous past and present resident of Philadelphia, see: List of people from Philadelphia. While the Holocaust did not immediately affect Jewish denominations, its great loss of life caused a radical demographic shift, ultimately affecting the makeup of organized Judaism the way it is today. The "Italian Market" section of South Philadelphia is home to an increasing number of Vietnamese residents.

A number of smaller groups came into being as well. Philadelphia has a large Italian American population along with Irish-Americans, Asian-Americans, African Americans, and growing numbers of Hispanic residents and émigrés from Russia and Asian countries. The thrust and counter-thrust between supporters of Haskalah and more traditional Jewish concepts eventually led to the formation of a number of different branches of Judaism: Haskalah supporters founded Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism, while traditionalists founded many forms of Orthodox Judaism, and Jews seeking a balance between the two sides founded Conservative Judaism. Distinctive Philadelphian dishes include:. It placed an emphasis on integration with secular society and a pursuit of non-religious knowledge. The following railroads, almost all radiating from downtown, were built in the mid-19th century:. A parallel Jewish movement, Haskalah or the "Jewish Enlightenment," began, especially in Central Europe, in response to both the Enlightenment and these new freedoms. Philadelphia was an early railroad hub.

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. Other planned freeways have been cancelled, such as an Interstate 695 running southwest from downtown and a freeway upgrade of Roosevelt Boulevard. In the late 18th century CE Europe was swept by a group of intellectual, social and political movements known as the Enlightenment. Shortly after it was completed, though, it became one of the busiest corridors in the region. Main article: Haskalah. The construction of 476 between 76 and 95 took much longer than expected due to community opposition and stubborn landowners. Since then all the sects of Hasidic Judaism have been subsumed into mainstream Orthodox Judaism, particularly Haredi Judaism. The stretch of 476 between 95 and the toll portion of 476 (running North from the Mid-County Interchange at Plymouth Meeting) is referred to locally as "The Blue Route," because regional planners drew a blue line right through Montgomery and Delaware Counties to suggest where a road ought to be built.

Some of the reasons for the rejection of Hasidic Judaism were the overwhelming exuberance of Hasidic worship; their untraditional ascriptions of infallibility and alleged miracle-working to their leaders, and the concern that it might become a messianic sect. Opened in the early 1990s, the Northeast Extension (276 & 476) connects highways south of Philly International Airport to ones north of the city. "opponents"). The Tacony-Palmyra Bridge connects PA 73 with NJ 73, and is maintained by the Burlington County Bridge Commission. European Jews who rejected the Hasidic movement were dubbed by the Hasidim as mitnagdim, (lit. The Delaware River Port Authority operates three bridges in Philadelphia over the Delaware River to New Jersey: the Walt Whitman Bridge (I-76), the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (I-676 and US 30), and the Betsy Ross Bridge (NJ 90). Early on, there was a serious schism between the Hasidic and non-Hasidic Jews. Plans to extend the highway west into the suburbs were killed by community opposition.

Waves of Jewish immigration in the 1880s carried it to the United States. The Woodhaven Expressway (PA 63), serving the neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, runs between Interstate 95 and Roosevelt Boulevard (US 1). Hasidic Judaism eventually became the way of life for many Jews in Europe. In recent years, it has become a traffic bottleneck and includes the #2 and #3 worst intersections in the country about a mile from each other, according to a study by State Farm Insurance. His disciples attracted many followers; they themselves established numerous Hasidic sects across Europe. The boulevard was built for the Lincoln Highway as part of the City Beautiful movement. Hasidic Judaism was founded by Israel ben Eliezer (1700-1760), also known as the Ba'al Shem Tov (or Besht). Roosevelt Boulevard and the Roosevelt Expressway (US 1) connects Northeast Philadelphia with Center City.

Main article: Hasidic Judaism. A link between I-95 and I-76, it runs beneath street level through Center City, and connects to the Ben Franklin Bridge at its east end. This split is cultural, and is not based on any doctrinal dispute, although the distance did result in minor differences in practice and prayers. Interstate 676, the Vine Street Expressway, was completed in 1991 after years of planning. Over time Jews developed into distinct ethnic groups — amongst others, the Ashkenazi Jews (of Central and Eastern Europe with Russia); the Sephardi Jews (of Spain, Portugal and North Africa) and the Yemenite Jews, from the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. It meets the Pennsylvania Turnpike at King of Prussia and provides access to Harrisburg and points west. Rabbinical and Karaite Jews each hold that the others are Jews, but that the other faith is erroneous. The city is also served by Interstate 76 (the Schuylkill Expressway), which runs along the Schuylkill River.

Karaites exist in small numbers today, mostly living in Israel. Interstate 95 runs through the city along the Delaware River, providing transportation from Florida to Maine. They soon developed oral traditions of their own which differed from the Rabbinic traditions, and eventually formed the Karaite sect. Philadelphia International Airport provides domestic and international scheduled air service, while Northeast Philadelphia Airport serves general and corporate aviation. These included the Isunians, the Yudganites, the Malikites, and others. Two airports, Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport, reside within the city limits (Philadelphia International also lies in the city limits of Tinicum Township, Delaware County). Some Jews in the 8th and 9th centuries adopted the Sadducees' rejection of the oral law of the Pharisees/Rabbis recorded in the Mishnah (and developed by later Rabbis in the two Talmuds), intending to rely only upon the Tanakh. PATCO provides subway service to Camden, Collingswood, Haddonfield, Cherry Hill, Ashland, and Lindenwold, New Jersey, from stations on Locust Street between 16th and 15th, 13th and 12th, and 10th and 9th Streets, and on Market Street at 8th Street.

Christianity survived, but by breaking with Judaism and becoming a separate religion; the Pharisees survived but in the form of Rabbinic Judaism (today, known simply as "Judaism"). Amtrak's 30th Street Station is a major railroad facility which offers access to Amtrak, SEPTA, and NJ Transit rail lines. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE., these sects vanished. Philadelphia lies directly on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. Around the first century CE there were several small Jewish sects: the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes, and Christians. Philadelphia is served by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA. SEPTA runs buses, trains, subways, trolleys, and trackless trolleys around Philadelphia and into the suburbs. No new books were added to the Jewish Bible after the Roman period, instead major efforts went into interpreting and developing Jewish law. Out of the total population, 31.3% of those under the age of 18 and 16.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews, Jewish worship stopped being centrally organized around the Temple, and instead was rebuilt around rabbis who acted as teachers and leaders of individual communities. 22.9% of the population and 18.4% of families are below the poverty line. Following a second revolt, Jews were not allowed to enter the city of Jerusalem and most Jewish worship was forbidden by Rome. The per capita income for the city is $16,509. After a Jewish revolt against Roman rule in 66 CE, the Romans all but destroyed Jerusalem; only a single "Western Wall" of the Second Temple remained. Males have a median income of $34,199 versus $28,477 for females. A new Second Temple was constructed, and old religious practices were resumed. The median income for a household in the city is $30,746, and the median income for a family is $37,036.

The Judean elite was exiled to Babylonia, but later at least a part of them returned to their homeland after the subsequent conquest of Babylonia by the Persians seventy years later, a period known as the Babylonian Captivity. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 81.8 males. The Kingdom of Judah continued as an independent state until it was conquered by a Babylonian army in the early 6th century BCE, destroying the First Temple that was at the centre of ancient Jewish worship. For every 100 females there are 86.8 males. The Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrian ruler Shalmaneser V in the 8th century BCE and spread all over the Assyrian empire, where they were assimilated into other cultures and become known as the Ten Lost Tribes. The median age is 34 years. After Solomon's reign the nation split into two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Israel (in the north) and the Kingdom of Judah (in the south). In the city the population is spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who are 65 years of age or older.

A kingdom was established under Saul and continued under King David and Solomon with its capital in Jerusalem. The average household size is 2.48 and the average family size is 3.22. After the Exodus from Egypt, the Jews came to Canaan, and settled the land. 33.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. Jews trace their religious lineage to the biblical patriarch Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Of the 590,071 households, 27.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.1% are married couples living together, 22.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 40.3% are non-families. Jewish history is an extensive topic, this section will cover the elements of Jewish history of most importance to the Jewish religion and the development of Jewish denominations. The ethnic makeup of the city is 43.2% Black, 13.6% Irish, 9.2% Italian, 8.1% German, 6.4% Puerto Rican, and 4.3% Polish.

Main article: Jewish history. 8.50% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. However, in most Orthodox synagogues these positions are filled by laypeople. The racial makeup of the city is 45.02% White, 43.22% African American, 0.27% Native American, 4.46% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.77% from other races, and 2.21% from two or more races. Since the Enlightenment large synagogues have often adopted the practice of hiring rabbis and hazzans to act as shatz and baal koreh, and this is still typically the case in most Conservative and Reform congretations. There are 661,958 housing units at an average density of 1,891.9/km² (4,900.1/mi²). The three preceding positions are usually voluntary and considered an honor. The population density is 4,337.3/km² (11,233.6/mi²).

Many congregations, especially larger ones, also rely on a:. As of the census2 of 2000, there are 1,517,550 people, 590,071 households, and 352,272 families residing in the city. The same person is often qualified to fill more than one role, and often does. For a more extensive list of Philadelphia neighborhoods, see List of Philadelphia neighborhoods. Note that these roles are not mutually exclusive. These include Andorra, Roxborough, Northern Liberties, Old City, Bustleton, Oxford Circle, Somerton, Manayunk, Center City, Queen Village, Kensington, Frankford, University City, Strawberry Mansion, Chestnut Hill, Fishtown, Port Richmond, Germantown, Mount Airy, Wynnefield, Chinatown, Fox Chase, South Philly, Society Hill, the Museum District and many others. Jewish prayer services do involve two specified roles, which are often, but not always, filled by a Rabbi and/or Hazzan in many congregations:. Many of these neighborhoods coincide with the borough and townships that made up Philadelphia County before their absorbtion by the city.

The most common professional clergy in a synogogue are:. Like every big city, Philadelphia has many neighborhoods, each of which has its own identity. Some activities -- reading the 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 presense of ten adults (Orthodox Jews and some Conservative Jews require ten adult men; some Conservative Jews and Reform Jews include women in the minyan). Bodies of water include the Schuylkill River, Cobbs Creek, Wissahickon Creek, and Pennypack Creek. A Jew can fulfil most requirements for prayer by himself. The total area is 5.29% water. From the times of the Mishna and Talmud to the present, Judaism has required specialists or authorities for the practice of very few rituals or ceremonies. 349.9 km² (135.1 mi²) of it is land and 19.6 km² (7.6 mi²) of it is water.

The priesthood is an inherited position, and although priests no longer have clerical duties, they are still honored in many Jewish communities. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 369.4 km² (142.6 mi²). Technically, the last time Judaism had a clergy was prior to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., when priests attended to the Temple and sacrifices. Philadelphia is located at 39°59'53" North, 75°8'41" West (39.998012, -75.144793)1. Judaism does not have a clergy, in the sense of full-time specialists required for religious services. The city is also a national center of law due to the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious law school. Life-cycle events occur throughout a Jew's life that bind him/her to the entire community. Because of the large presence of the federal government, the city has a large contingent of law firms including the head quarters of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP-- a world-wide firm and federal contractor.

The laws of niddah dictate that sexual intercourse cannot take place while the woman is having a menstrual flow, and she has to count seven "clean" days and immerse in a mikvah (ritual bath). The east-coast operations of the United States Mint are based near the historic district, and the Federal Reserve Bank's Philadelphia division is based there as well. tzeniut, modesty in dress) are perceived, especially by Orthodox Jews, as vital factors in Jewish life. The Federal government plays a large role in Philadelphia as well. The laws of niddah ("menstruant", often referred to euphemistically as "family purity") and various other laws regulating the interaction between men and women (e.g. The list of major companies in Philadelphia includes Aramark, GlaxoSmithKline, Sunoco, Comcast, and Pep Boys. Main article: Niddah. Philadelphia has its own stock exchange.

Reform and Reconstructionist Jews do not keep kosher, Orthodox Jews and some Conservative Jews do keep kosher, to varying degrees of strictness. Philadelphia's economy is heavily based upon manufacturing, refining, food, and financial services. From the context of the laws in the book of Leviticus, the purpose of kashrut is related to ritual purity and holiness. Judges for all of the above courts are elected at large. Food in accord with Jewish law is termed kosher, and food not in accord with Jewish law is termed treifah or treif. Also, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sit in Philadelphia several times a year. The laws of kashrut ("keeping kosher") are the Jewish dietary laws. Pennsylvania's three appellate courts also sit in Philadelphia. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which is the court of last resort in the state, regularly hears arguments in Philadelphia City Hall.

Main article: Kashrut. Traffic Court is a court of special jurisdiction which hears violations of traffic laws. During the course of a year, the full Torah is read, and the cycle begins again every autumn during Simhat Torah (“rejoicing in the Torah”). The Philadelphia Municipal Court handles matters of limited jurisdiction as well as landlord-tenant disputes, appeals from traffic court, conducts preliminary examinations for felony-level offenses, and the like. The core of festival and Sabbath prayer services is the public reading of the Torah, along with connected readings from the other books of the Jewish Bible, called Haftarah. It is funded and operated largely by City resources and employees. There are many minor holidays as well, including Purim, which celebrates the events told in the Biblical book of Esther, and Chanukkah, which is not established in the Bible but which celebrates the successful rebellion by the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire. The Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, also known as the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, is the trial court of general jurisdiction for Philadelphia.

They are also pilgramage holidays, for which the Children of Israel would journey to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to God in His Temple. Verna. They are also timed to coincide with important agricultural seasons. The current council president is Anna C. Three holidays celebrate revelation by commemorating different events in the passage of the Children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to their return to the land of Canaan. Philadelphia has seven council members at large, and ten council members from districts. Some holidays are also linked to the agricultural cycle. The legislative branch of Philadelphia is the Philadelphia City Council.

The Jewish holy days celebrate central themes in the relationship between God and the world, such as creation, revelation, and redemption. See also: List of mayors of Philadelphia. Main article: Jewish holidays. He was re-elected by a larger majority in 2003. Some consider it the most important Jewish holiday. The incumbent is former Philadelphia City Council President John Street (D), who was first elected in 1999. It plays an important role in Jewish practice and is the subject of a large body of religious law. The city is headed by an elected mayor who is limited to two consecutive four-year terms, but can run for the position again after an intervening term.

Shabbat, the weekly day of rest lasting from Friday night to Saturday night, celebrates God's creation as a day of rest that commemorates God's day of rest upon the completion of creation. From a governmental perspective, Philadelphia County is a legal nullity, as all county functions were assumed by the city in 1952, which has been coterminous with the county since 1854. Main article: Shabbat. Prior to that, the city of Philadelphia consisted only of those areas between South Street, Vine Street, the Delaware River, and the Schuylkill River. The Jewish approach to prayer differs slightly between the various branches of Judaism, although all use the same set of prayers and texts, the frequency of prayer, the number of prayers recited at various religious events, and whether one prays in a particular liturgical language or the vernacular differs from denomination to denomination, with Conservative and Orthodox congregations using more traditional services, while Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues are more likely to incorporate translations, contemporary writings, and abbreviated services. The city limits have been coterminous with Philadelphia County since 1854. Phylacteries or tefillin, boxes containing the portions of the Torah mandating them, are also worn by religious Jews during weekday morning services. The term "Downtown" refers to South Philadelphia.

A kippah or yarmulke (skullcap) is a head covering worn during prayer by most Jews, and at all times by more orthodox Jews — especially Ashkenazim. The Central Business District is known as Center City, and is the third largest of its kind in America. The tallit is a Jewish prayer shawl. David Rittenhouse was a clockmaker and friend of the American Revolution. There are a number of common Jewish religious objects used in prayer. William Rittenhouse's original paper mill site is known as Rittenhousetown, and is a delightful rural setting in Fairmount Park. There are also prayers and benedictions recited throughout the day, such as those before eating or drinking. Rittenhouse Square is named after David Rittenhouse, a descendent of the first paper-maker in Philadelphia, the German immigrant William Rittenhouse.

Most of the prayers in a traditional Jewish service can be said in solitary prayer, but Kaddish and Kedusha require a group of ten adult men (or men and women in some branches of Judaism) called a minyan (prayer quorum). Since the completion of One Liberty Place, no Philadelphia sporting team has won a world championship event in its discipline, a phenomenon locally - and increasingly nationally - known as the "Curse of Billy Penn." There is also a Masonic Temple located only across the street from the City Hall, a legacy of the Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence, many of whom were Freemasons. Another key prayer in many services is the declaration of faith, the Shema which is recited at shacharit and maariv. One Liberty Place is the tallest building not only in Philadelphia but in the entire state of Pennsylvania, however in 2005 construction began on the Comcast Center which, when completed in 2007, will be 30 feet taller than One Liberty Place. All services include a number of benedictions called the Amidah or the Shemonah Esrei ("eighteen"), which on weekdays consists of nineteen blessings (one was added in the time of the Mishna, but the name remains). Since then, seven other skyscrapers have been completed exceeding the statue, including One Liberty Place's little sister, Two Liberty Place. There are three main daily prayer services, named Shacharit, Mincha (literally: flour-offering) and Maariv or Arvit. However in March of 1987, One Liberty Place broke the gentlemen's agreement not to exceed the height of the statue of William Penn on the top of the City Hall.

Main article: Jewish services. City Hall is the tallest masonry building in the world; and through the late 1980s, City Hall used to be locally known as the tallest building in Philadelphia. The main article Jewish views of religious pluralism describes how Judaism views other religions; it also describes how members of each of the Jewish religious denomination view the other denominations. Both are the same distance south of City Hall. Some European Karaites do not see themselves as part of the Jewish community, while most do. The eastern edge of Rittenhouse Square is on 18th St., four blocks west of City Hall, while the western edge of Washington Square is between 7th and 8th, about six and a half blocks east of City Hall. The Karaites, or "Scripturalists," accept only the Hebrew bible and what they view as the Peshat/"Plain or Simple Meaning";, and do not accept non-biblical writings as authoritative. He also planned five public parks, one at the intersection of High and Broad Streets in the very center of the city (now occupied by the City Hall) and four others (now called Washington Square, Rittenhouse Square, Logan Square and Franklin Square) surrounding it.

The followers of Karaism believe they are the remnants of the non-Rabbinic Jewish sects of the Second Temple period, such as the Saducees, though others contend they are a sect started in the 8th and 9th centuries. The east-west streets, many of them named for trees, e.g., Chestnut, Walnut, Locust, and Spruce (These are laid out in increasing Hardness from the Soft-wood Pine in the South to the Hard-wood Chestnut in the North) parallel the main thoroughfare named High Street by Penn, but called Market Street since at least the early 18th century (six blocks south of the latter is South Street, noted in recent decades for its raucous night life and the subject of the 1963 hit single by The Orlons of the same name). Unlike the above denominations, which were ideological reactions that resulted from the exposure of traditional rabbinic Judaism to the radical changes of modern times, Karaite Judaism did not begin as a modern Jewish movement. The numbered streets then resume, continuing in the original plan to 28th at the Schuylkill River. The third group is the largest, and has been the most politically active since the early 1990s. The north-south streets are numbered sequentially from Front (instead of First), along the Delaware River, to 13th, followed by the main north-south thoroughfare, Broad Street (instead of 14th). 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 origin; (2) Hasidic haredim of Ashkenazic origin; and (3) Sephardic haredim. Penn's surveyor, Thomas Holme, laid out the city in a strict grid, with all streets running either north-south or east-west.

The former term includes what is called "Religious Zionism" or the "National Religious" community, as well as what has become known over the past decade or so as haredi-leumi (nationalist haredi), which combines a largely haredi lifestyle with nationist ideology. In 1926, the city held the Sesquicentennial Exposition, but Philadelphia was not the central focus of the Bicentennial observances that took place nationwide in the United States in 1976 (New York City held this distinction, as thousands of "tall ships" gathered in New York Harbor on July 4, 1976, the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence). What would be called "Orthodox" in the diaspora includes what is commonly called dati (religious) or haredi (ultra-Orthodox) in Israel. Memorial Hall and the expansive mall in front of it are remnants of this fair. Various ways of measuring this percentage, each with its pros and cons, include the proportion of religiously observant Knesset members, the proportion of Jewish children enrolled in religious schools, and statistical studies on "identity". In 1876 Philadelphia hosted the World's Fair known as the Centennial Exposition. The "Orthodox" spectrum in Israel is a far greater percentage of the Jewish population in Israel than in the diaspora, though how much greater is hotly debated. The Pennsylvania Railroad, once America's largest railroad by revenue and traffic volume and at one time the largest public corporation in the world, was headquartered on Broad Street, as was its merger successor, the Penn Central.

The term "Orthodox" (Ortodoxi) is unpopular in Israeli discourse (among both "secular" and "religious" alike). Nevertheless, the spectrum covered by "Orthodox" in the diaspora exists in Israel, again with some important variations. An early railroad center, Philadelphia was the original home of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, the world's largest builder of steam locomotives (which relocated to nearby Eddystone, Pennsylvania). They often overlap, and they cover an extremely wide range in terms of ideology and religious observance. Philadelphia served as the temporary capital for a decade, until 1800, when the Capitol building in the new Federal city of Washington, DC was opened. There is a great deal of ambiguity in the ways "secular" and "traditional" are used in Israel. In exchange for locating a permanent capital on the banks of the Potomac River, the congressmen agreed to support Hamilton's financial proposals. This term, as commonly used, has nothing to do with the official Masorti (Conservative) movement. In 1790, the seat of the United States Government was moved from Federal Hall in New York to Congress Hall in Philadelphia as the result of a compromise between a number of Southern congressmen and United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.

Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa). For a time in the 18th century, Philadelphia was the largest city in the Americas north of Mexico City, and was the fourth largest city under Crown rule (after London, Bristol, and Dublin). The term "traditional" (masorti) is most common among Israeli families of "eastern" origin (i.e. The Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were signed in the city's Independence Hall. 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). Philadelphia was a major center of the independence movement during the American Revolutionary War. "Secular," or non-observant, Judaism is more popular 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. Penn also required lots of alleyways and open spaces in hopes of controlling fires and disease (which were then common problems in London).

Most Jewish Israelis classify themselves as "secular" (hiloni), "traditional" (masorti), or Haredi. This was intended to allow the city's population to leave the city easily. Even though all of these denominations exist in Israel, Israelis tend to classify Jewish identity in ways that are different than diaspora Jewry. During early immigration by Quakers and others, when immigrants purchased land in the city, they also received farm land outside of the city. Any Jew who keeps at least those laws would be considered observant and religious). Penn hoped that the city, as the capital of his new colony founded on principles of freedom and religious tolerance, would be a model of this philosophy. According to most Orthodox Jews, Jewish people who do not keep the laws of Shabbat and Yom Tov (the holidays), Kashrut, and family purity are considered non-religious. The city's name means "city of brotherly love" in ancient Greek.

Many religious Jews do not look at one's denomination as a valid way of designating Jews; instead they view Jews by the level of their religious observance. Philadelphia is a planned city founded and developed by William Penn, a Quaker. It would not be unusual for a Conservative Jew to attend either an Orthodox or Reform synagogue, for example. In 1700, the group built the Gloria Dei Church, also known as Old Swedes. Unlike Christian denominations, these doctrinal differences have not fundamentally split Jewish denominations, which continue to overlap on many issues. A congregation was formed in 1646 on Tinicum Island by Swedish missionary Johannes Campanius. Over the past two centuries the Jewish community has divided into a number of Jewish denominations; each has a different understanding of what principles of belief a Jew should hold, and how one should live as a Jew. In 1669, Swedish colonists became the first Europeans to settle the area (see New Sweden), calling it Wicoca.

Main article: Jewish denominations. Before Europeans arrived, the Delaware (Lenape) Indian town of Shackamaxon was located where Philadelphia now stands. Major changes occurred in response to the enlightenment (late 1700s to early 1800s) leading to the post-Enlightenment Jewish philosophers, and then modern Jewish philosophers such as Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Will Herberg, Emmanuel Levinas, Richard Rubenstein, Emil Fackenheim, and Joseph Soloveitchik. At that time, it eclipsed Boston and New York City in political and social importance, with Benjamin Franklin playing an extraordinary role in Philadelphia's rise.
. Major Jewish philosophers include Solomon ibn Gabirol, Saadia Gaon, Maimonides and Gersonides. During part of the 18th century, the city was the second capital and then-most populous city of the United States. Early Jewish philosophy was influenced by the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle and Islamic philosophy. It has played a critical role in American history and the birth of American independence and democracy.

Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Main article: Jewish philosophy. Philadelphia is the central city for the Delaware Valley metropolitan area. The question is far from settled and occasionally resurfaces in Israeli politics. The Philadelphia metropolitan area is the fourth largest nationally, with some 5.7 million people. The question of what determines Jewish identity was given new impetus when, in the 1950s, David ben Gurion requested opinions on mihu Yehudi ("who is a Jew") from Jewish religious authorities and intellectuals worldwide. However, later estimates showed that Philadelphia's population loss and Phoenix's population growth had both slowed, leaving the rankings unchanged for the present.

In the past, family and friends were said to often formally mourn for the person, though this is rarely done today. A July 1, 2002 census estimate showed the population dropping modestly to 1,492,231, with Phoenix, Arizona surpassing the city proper as the 5th largest city in the United States. However, in the latter case, the person loses standing as a member of the Jewish community and becomes known as an apostate. Philadelphia (sometimes referred to as "Philly" or "the City of Brotherly Love") is the fifth most populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, occupying all of Philadelphia County.6 As of the 2000 census, the population was 1,517,550. A Jew who ceases to practice Judaism is still considered a Jew, as is a Jew who does not accept Jewish principles of faith and becomes an agnostic or an atheist; so too with a Jew who converts to another religion. Indoor soccer: Philadelphia Kixx (Major Indoor Soccer League). (Recently, the American Reform and Reconstructionist movements have included those born of Jewish fathers and gentile mothers, if the children are raised practicing Judaism only.) All mainstream forms of Judaism today are open to sincere converts. Indoor lacrosse: Philadelphia Wings (National Lacrosse League).

According to Jewish law, someone is considered to be a Jew if he or she was born of a Jewish mother or converted in accord with Jewish Law. Arena football: Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football League). Main article: Who is a Jew. hockey: Philadelphia Flyers (National Hockey League), Philadelphia Phantoms (American Hockey League). The literature of questions to rabbis, and their considered answers, is referred to as responsa (in Hebrew, '"Sheelot U-Teshuvot".) Over time, as practices develop, codes of Jewish law are written that are based on the responsa; the most important code, the Shulkhan Arukh, largely determines Jewish religious practice up till today. Basketball: Philadelphia 76ers (National Basketball Association). The Halakha has developed slowly, through a precedent-based system. Baseball: Philadelphia Phillies (Major League Baseball).

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. football: Philadelphia Eagles (National Football League). These have been expounded by commentaries of various Torah scholars during the ages. Delaware County Community College, Marple Township. Over the next four centuries this law underwent discussion and debate in both of the world's major Jewish communities (in Israel and Babylon), and the commentaries on the Mishnah from each of these communities eventually came to be edited together into compilations known as the two Talmuds. West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester. By time of Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi (200 CE), after the destruction of Jerusalem, much of this material was edited together into the Mishnah. University of Delaware, located just outside Pennsylvania in Newark, Delaware.

This parallel set of material was originally transmitted orally, and came to be known as "the oral law". Widener University, Chester. oral, sources. Swarthmore College, Swarthmore. To justify this viewpoint, Jews point to the text of the Torah, where many words are left undefined, and many procedures mentioned without explanation or instructions; this, they argue, means that the reader is assumed to be familiar with the details from other, i.e. Villanova University, Villanova. Rabbinic Judaism has always held that the books of the Tanakh (called the written law) have always been transmitted in parallel with an oral tradition. Neumann College, Aston.

These oral traditions originated in the Pharisee sect of ancient Judaism, and were latter recorded in written form and expanded upon by the Rabbis. Haverford College, Haverford. the Sadducees, the Karaites), most Jews believed in what they call the oral law. Rosemont College, Bryn Mawr. While there have been Jewish groups which claimed to be based on the written text of the Torah alone (e.g. Davids. Many laws were only applicable when the Temple in Jerusalem existed, and fewer than 300 of these commandments are still applicable today. Eastern University, located in St.

Some of these laws are directed only to men or to women, some only to the ancient priestly groups, the Kohanim and Leviyim (members of the tribe of Levi), some only to those who practice farming within the land of Israel. Bryn Mawr College, located in Bryn Mawr. According to rabbinic tradition there are 613 commandments in the Torah. Arcadia University, located in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The basis of Jewish law and tradition ("halakha") is the Torah (the five books of Moses). Manor College, located in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Main article: Halakha. Bryn Athyn College of the New Church, located in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.

Related Topics. Temple University's Tyler School of Art, located in Elkin's Park, Pennsylvania. For more detail, see Rabbinic literature. Temple University, located in Ambler, Pennsylvania. The following is a basic, structured list of the central works of Jewish practice and thought. Pennsylvania State University, located in Abington, Pennsylvania and Media, Pennsylvania. Jews are often called the "people of the book," and Judaism has an age-old intellectual tradition focusing on text-based Torah study. Montgomery County Community College, located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

Generally, however, the thirteen principles of faith expressed by Maimonides are considered authorative descriptions of Jewish beliefs:. University of Pennsylvania. A comparison of them demonstrates a wide array of tolerance for varying theological perspectives. University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Over the centuries, a number of clear formulations of Jewish principles of faith have appeared; most of them have much in common, yet they differ in certain details. University of the Arts. the Divine origin of the Torah) are considered important enough that public rebellion against them can put one in the category of "apikoros" (heretic). Thomas Jefferson University.

Despite the above, in Orthodox Judaism some principles (e.g. Temple University. For example, the ancient historian Josephus emphasized practices and traditions rather than beliefs when he describes the characteristics of an apostate (a Jew who does not follow traditional customs) and the requirements for conversion to Judaism (circumcision, and adherence to traditional customs). Saint Joseph's University. This approach to religious doctrine dates back at least two thousand years. Philadelphia University. With no central agreed-upon authority, no one formulation of Jewish principles of faith could take precedent over any other. Philadelphia Community College.

While individual Jewish rabbis, or sometimes entire groups, at times agreed upon a firm dogma, other rabbis and groups disagreed. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. It is difficult to generalize about Jewish theology because Judaism is non-creedal; that is, there is no agreed-upon dogma (set of orthodox beliefs) that most Jews believed were required of Jews. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. While Judaism has always affirmed a number of Jewish principles of faith, it has never developed a fully binding "catechism". La Salle University. Main article: Jewish principles of faith. Holy Family University.

Modern scholars also suggest that the Torah consists of a variety of inconsistent texts that were edited together in a way that calls attention to divergent accounts (see Documentary hypothesis). Drexel University. This relationship is generally portrayed as contentious, as Jews struggle between their faith in God and their attraction for other gods, and as some Jews (most notably and directly, Abraham, Jacob -- later known as Israel—and Moses) struggle with God. Curtis Institute of Music. 350 BCE). Chestnut Hill College. The subject of the Hebrew Bible is an account of the Israelites' (also called Hebrews) relationship with God as reflected in their history from the beginning of time until the building of the Second Temple (approx. The Art Institute of Philadelphia.

The result is a set of beliefs and practices concerning both identity, ethics, one's relation to nature, and one's relation to God, that privilege "difference" -— the difference between Jews and non-Jews; the differences between locally variable ways of practicing Judaism; a close attention to different meanings of words when interpreting texts; attempts to encode different points of view within texts, and a relative indifference to creed and dogma. The Resturant School. Jews began to grapple with the tension between the particularism of their claim that only Jews were required to obey the Torah, and the universalism of their claim that the Torah contained universal truths. Moore College of Art. This attitude may reflect growing Gentile interest in Judaism (some Greeks and Romans considered the Jews a most "philosophical" people because of their belief in a God that cannot be represented visually), and growing Jewish interest in Greek philosophy, which sought to establish universal truths. Masterman high school. But by the Hellenic period most Jews had come to believe that their God was the only God (and thus, the God of everyone), and that the record of His revelation (the Torah) contained within it universal truths. Central High School.

However, they viewed their God as the Creator and the one that mankind was morally bound to worship alone. Philadelphia Auto Show. Although monotheism is fundamental to Rabbinic Judaism, according to many critical Bible scholars the Torah often implies that the early Israelites accepted the existence of other gods. Philadelphia Flower Show. However as the persecutions of the Jews increased and the details were in danger of being forgotten, rabbinic tradition holds that these oral laws were recorded in the Mishnah, and the Talmud, as well as other holy books. The Wing Bowl, a chicken wing eating competition. The details and interpretation of the law, which are called the Oral Torah or oral law were originally unwritten. Patrick's Day Parade.

Together with the books of the prophets is called the Written Torah. Philadelphia St. The Torah given on Mount Sinai was summarized in the five books of Moses. The Greek Picnic, a reunion and celebration of African-American college fraternities. This is the state in which it is to remain until a descendant of David arises to restore the glory of Israel (the current existence of the Islamic Dome of the Rock is not relevent to the Rabbinical view.). The Mummers Parade, held every New Year's Day on Broad Street. The Second Temple stood for 420 years after which it was destroyed by the Roman general (later emperor) Titus. For a traditional Philadelphia cheesesteak - Tony Luke's, Pat's Steaks, Geno's Steaks or Jim's Steaks (though cheesteaks can be found at most any corner pizza shop).

After seventy years the Jews were allowed back into Israel under the leadership of Ezra, and the temple was rebuilt, as recorded in the Book of Ezra and the Book of Nehemiah. South Street. These events are recored in the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Jeremiah. SEPTA Museum. However, as in the north, idolatry increased to the point that God allowed Babylonia to conquer it, destroy the temple which had stood for 410 years and exile its people to Babylonia, with the promise that they would be redeemed after seventy years. Rittenhouse Square. The southern kingdom of Judah, whose capital was Jerusalem, home of the Temple, remained under the rulership of the house of David. Reading Terminal Market.

Israel had a number of kings, but after a few hundred years God allowed Assyria to conquer Israel and exile its people because of the rampant idolatry in the kingdom. Philadelphia Zoo. After Solomon's death, the kingdom was split into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Penn's Landing. This era is described in the Books of Kings. One Liberty Place. As a result, it was David's son Solomon who built the first permanent temple according to God's will, in Jerusalem. LOVE Park.

David himself was not allowed to build the temple because he had been involved in many wars, making it inappropriate for him to build a temple representing peace. Italian market. As a reward for his actions, God promised David that he would allow his son to build the temple and the throne would never depart from his children. Gloria Dei National Historic Site, built in 1700, it is the oldest church in the state. Once David was established as king, he told the prophet Nathan that he would like to build a permanent temple. Fairmount Park. When the people pressured Saul into going against a command conveyed to him by Samuel, God told Samuel to appoint David in his stead. Elfreth's Alley.

God knew this was not best for the Jews, but acceded to this request and had Samuel appoint Saul, a great but very humble man, to be their king. Eastern State Penitentiary. The people of Israel then told Samuel the prophet that they had reached the point where they needed a permanent king like other nations had, and described in the Books of Samuel. Philadelphia City Hall. As time went on, the spiritual level of the nation declined to the point that God allowed the Philistines to capture the tabernacle in Shiloh. Betsy Ross House. This is described in the Book of Joshua and the Book of Judges. 30th Street Station.

Once the Jews had settled in the land of Israel, the tabernacle was planted in the city of Shiloh for over 300 years during which time God provided great men, and occasionally women, to rally the nation against attacking enemies, some of which were sent by God as a punishment for the sins of the people. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. They first officiated in the tabernacle (a portable house of worship), and later their descendants were in charge of worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. Rosenbach Foundation & Rosenbach Museum. God set the descendants of Aaron, Moses' brother, to be a priestly class within the Israelite community. Rodin Museum (largest collection of Auguste Rodin's works outside France). After the Exodus from Egypt, God led them to Mount Sinai and gave them the Torah, and eventually brought them to the land of Israel. Please Touch Museum.

God sent the patriarch Jacob and his children to Egypt; after they eventually became enslaved, God sent Moses to redeem the Israelites from slavery. Philadelphia Museum of Art. As a result, God promised he would have children. His first child was Ishmael and then he had Isaac, who God said would carry on his work and inherit the Land of Israel (then called Canaan) after having been exiled and redeemed. National Constitution Center. According to Orthodox Judaism and most religious Jews, the Biblical patriarch Abraham was the first Jew. Rabbinic literature records that he was the first to reject idolatry and preach monotheism. Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (museum of medical and pathological oddities and curiosities). It has traditionally maintained that this is how the individual would merit rewards in the afterlife, called gan eden (Hebrew: "Garden of Eden") or olam haba ("World to Come"). Liberty Bell & Independence Hall.

As a matter of practical worship (in comparison to other religions) Judaism seeks to elevate everyday life to the level of the ancient temples' worship by worshipping God through the spectrum of daily activites and actions. Franklin Institute. The Children of Israel similarly had a Temple in Jerusalem, priests, and made sacrifices -— but these were not the sole means of worshiping God. Fort Mifflin. Other religions at the time were characterized by temples in which priests would worship their gods through sacrifice. Fairmount Waterworks and its interpretive center. The Hebrew Bible) specifies a number of laws, known as the 613 mitzvot, to be followed by the Children of Israel. Edgar Allan Poe House.

Second, the Torah (i.e. Barnes Foundation. The significance of this idea lies in that Judaism holds that an omniscient and omnipotent God created humankind as recorded in the Book of Genesis, in the Creation according to Genesis starting with the very first verse of Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." While in polytheistic religions, the gods are limited by the preoccupation of personal desires irrelevant to humankind, by limited powers, and by the interference of other powers, in Judaism, God is unlimited and fully available to care for Creation. Atwater-Kent Municipal Museum. The Jewish understanding of this is that:. Unlike soft pretzels of other cities, which are the same shape as hard pretzels, Philadelphia soft pretzels have a long, thin block-like shape. I am God your Lord, a God who demands exclusive worship" [1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments#Exodus_20.2FDeuteronomy_5). Soft pretzel -- thick, doughy pretzels, generally salted, often served with mustard.

Do not represent [such] gods by any carved statue or picture of anything in the heaven above, on the earth below, or in the water below the land. Do not bow down to [such gods] or worship them. Polish ice -- A much looser, creamier form of Italian Ice, usually coming only in chocolate and vanilla. Do not have any other gods before Me. Irish ice -- Irish ice is a creamier, thicker form of water ice. This notion is derived directly from the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) where God makes it part of the Ten Commandments: "...I am the Lord your God. Italian ice (Water Ice)-- a frozen dessert, similar to a slushie except stiffer. The first characteristic is monotheism. Scrapple -- corn meal mush cooked up with every part (scrap) of the pig from the Pennsylvania Dutch country of Lancaster County.

According to both traditional Jews and critical historical scholars, a number of qualities distinguish Judaism from the other religions that existed when it first emerged. Hoagies -- a sandwich made with cold cuts on an Italian roll, a localised variant of the submarine sandwich. Thus, Daniel 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.". Cheesesteaks, a kind of humble culinary masterpiece, made of cheese (usually either Cheez Wiz(tm), provolone or American) and slices of fried ribeye steak on a hoagie (Italian) roll, sometimes combined with onions or mushrooms - recent innovations include a chicken and a vegetarian variant. During this time, Jews have experienced slavery, anarchic self-government, theocratic self-government, conquest, occupation, and exile; they have been in contact, and have been influenced by ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenic cultures, as well as modern movements such as the Enlightenment and the rise of nationalism. 1854: West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad[11] (http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his480/notes/rr-1.htm). This is because Jews understand Judaism in terms of its 4,000-year history. 1850: relocation of Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad (later Pennsylvania Railroad main line)[10] (http://www.railsandtrails.com/PRR/BOD1948/history.html).

Judaism does not easily fit into common Western categories, such as religion, race, ethnicity, or culture. 1839: Camden and Woodbury Railroad[9] (http://www.earlpleasants.com/search_1.asp). For all of these reasons, Judaism has been a major force in shaping the world. 1837: Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad[8] (http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/Corphist/pb_w.html). The tenets and history of Judaism are the major part of the foundation of other Abrahamic religions religions, including Christianity and Islam. 1835?: Philadelphia and Reading Railroad[7] (http://www.ushistory.org/philadelphia/special/railroad.htm). It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. 1835: Southwark Railroad (only in downtown)[6] (http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/Corphist/pb_w.html).

Judaism is the religious culture of the Jewish people. 1834: Camden and Amboy Railroad[5] (http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/Corphist/urrnj.html). Islam and anti-Semitism. 1834: Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad[4] (http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~wdstock/railroad.htm). Similarities between the Bible and the Qur'an. 1834: Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad (later Pennsylvania Railroad main line)[3] (http://www.columbiahistoric.com/RAILROAD.HTM). Cultural and historical background of Jesus. 1834: Delaware and Schuylkill Railroad (only in downtown)[2] (http://www.ushistory.org/philadelphia/special/railroad.htm).

Jewish view of Jesus. 1832: Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad[1] (http://www.ushistory.org/philadelphia/special/railroad.htm). Christianity and anti-Semitism. Judeo-Christian. Comparing and contrasting Judaism and Christianity.

Either an expert in the laws of kashrut, or (generally) under the supervision of a rabbi who is expert in those laws. Mashgiach over kosher products - supervises merchants and manufacturers of kosher food to ensure that the food is kosher. Mashgiach of a yeshiva - expert in mussar (ethics). Oversees the emotional and spiritual welfare of the students in a yeshiva, and gives lectures on mussar. Somebody who is an expert in delving into the depths of the Talmud, and lectures the highest class in a Yeshiva.

Rosh yeshivah - head of a yeshiva. Sofer (scribe) - Torah scrolls, tefillin (phylacteries), mezuzahs (scrolls put on doorposts), and gittin (bills of divorce) must be written by a sofer who is an expert in the laws of writing. In order for meat to be kosher, it must be slaughtered by a shochet who is expert in the laws and has received training from another shochet, as well as having regular contact with a rabbi and revising the relevant guidelines on a regular basis. Shochet (ritual slaughterer) - slaughters all kosher meat.

An expert in the laws of circumcision who has received training from a qualified mohel. Mohel - performs the brit milah (circumcision). A dayan always requires semicha. Dayan (judge) - expert in Jewish law who sits on a beth din (rabbinical court) for either monetary matters or for overseeing the giving of a bill of divorce.

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 requirements for acting as baal koreh are the same as those for the shatz. Baal koreh (master of the reading) reads the weekly Torah portion. Any adult capable of speaking Hebrew clearly may act as shatz (Orthodox Jews and some Conservative Jews allow only men to act as shatz; some Conservative Jews and Reform Jews allow women to act as shatz as well).

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. When a shatz recites a prayer on behalf of the congregation, he is not acting as an intermediary but rather as a facilitator. 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. A congregation does not need to have a dedicated hazzan.

Chosen for a good voice, knowledge of traditional tunes, understanding of the meaning of the prayers and sincerity in reciting them. Hazzan (cantor) - a trained vocalist who acts as shatz. Hassidic Rebbe - Rabbi who is the head of a Hassidic dynasty. Some congregations have a Rabbi but also allow members of the congregation to act as shatz or baal koreh (see below).

    .

    A congregation does not necessarily require a Rabbi. Orthodox Judaism requires semicha (Rabbinical ordination). Rabbi of a congregation - Jewish scholar who is charged with answering the legal questions of a congregation. Today, a Levite is called up second to the reading of the Torah.

    Levi (Levite) - Patrilineal descendant of Levi the son of Jacob. 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. In the Temple, the kohanim were charged with performing the sacrifices. Kohen (priest) - patrilineal descendant of Aaron, brother of Moses.

    The first stage is called the Shiv'ah (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. Shiv'ah (mourning) - Judaism has a multi-staged mourning practice. Marriage. Bar mitzvah and Bat mitzvah - Celebrating a child's reaching the age of majority, becoming responsible from now on for themselves as an adult for living a Jewish life and following halakha.

    Brit milah - Welcoming male babies into the covenant through the rite of circumcision. Many consider this the most important Jewish holiday. Yom Kippur, or The Day of Atonement, also called "the Sabbath of Sabbaths," is a holiday centered on redemption; a day of atonement and fasting for sins committed during the previous year. It is also a holiday of redemption, as it marks the beginning of the atonement period that ends ten days later with Yom Kippur.

    Called the Jewish New Year because it celebrates the day that the world was created, and marks the advance in the calendar from one year to the next, although it occurs in the seventh month, Tishri. Rosh Hashanah, also Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). It coincides with the fruit harvest, and marks the end of the agricultural cycle. It is celebrated through the construction of temporary booths that represent the temporary shelters of the Children of Israel during their wandering.

    Sukkot, or The Festival of booths or the Festival of the ingathering commemorates the wandering of the Children of Israel through the desert. Shavuot or Pentacost or Feast of Weeks celebrates Moses' giving of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, and marks the transition from the barley harvest to the wheat harvest. Pesach occurs on the 15th of Nissan; Nissan is the first month of the Jewish calendar, because it was in this month that the Children of Israel left Egypt. It is the only holiday that centers on home-service, the Seder.

    Pesach or Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, and coincides with the barley harvest. Reconstructionist Judaism started as a stream of philosophy by a rabbi within Conservative Judaism, and later became an independent movement emphasizing reinterpreting Judaism for modern times. Conservative scholars emphasize their identification with the Amoraim, the sages of the Talmud, who embraced open debates over interpretations (and reinterpretations) of Jewish law. Conservative Judaism formed in the United States in the late 1800s through the fusion of two distinct groups: former Reform Jews who were alienated by that movement's emphatic rejection of Jewish law, and former Orthodox Jews who had rejected belief in the "oral law" (which claims continuity between God's revelation at Sinai and Jewish law as codified in the Shulkhan Arukh) in favor of the critical study of Jewish texts and history. Conservative Jews emphasize that Jews constitute a nation as well as a religion.

    "Masorti" is its official title in the State of Israel as well, although most Israelis use the word in a more general sense (see below). Outside of the USA it is known as Masorti (Hebrew for "Traditional") Judaism. Conservative Judaism. Today, many Reform congregations have returned to Hebrew prayers and encourage some degree of legal observance.

    Reform Judaism developed a prayer service in the vernacular and emphasized decorum during services. Reform Judaism initially defined Judaism as a religion, rather than as a race or culture; rejected the ritual prescriptions and proscriptions of the Torah; and emphasized the ethical call of the Prophets. as Liberal Judaism) originally formed in Germany in response to the Enlightenment. Reform Judaism (outside of the USA also known as Progressive Judaism, and in the U.K.

    Most of Orthodox Judaism holds to one particular form of Jewish theology, based on Maimonides' 13 principles of Jewish faith. Hasidic Judaism is a sub-set of Haredi Judaism. Orthodox Judaism consists of Modern Orthodox Judaism and Haredi Judaism. Orthodox Jews generally consider a 16th century CE law code, the Shulkhan Arukh, to be the definitive codification of Jewish law, and assert a continuity between pre-Enlightenment Judaism and modern-day Orthodox Judaism.

    Orthodox Judaism holds that the Torah was written by God and dictated to Moses, and that the laws within it are binding and unchanging. List of Jewish Prayers and Blessings. Torah databases (electronic versions of the Traditional Jewish Bookshelf). Piyyut (Classical Jewish poetry).

    The Siddur and Jewish liturgy. Jewish ethics and the Mussar Movement. Hasidic works. Kabbalah.

    Jewish philosophy. Jewish Thought and Ethics

      . The Responsa literature. Other books on Jewish Law and Custom.

      The Shulhan Arukh and its commentaries. The Tur and its commentaries. The Mishneh Torah and its commentaries. The Major Codes of Jewish Law and Custom

        .

        Halakhic literature

          . Aggadic Midrash. Halakhic Midrash. Midrashic Literature:
            .

            The Babylonian Talmud and its commentaries. The Jerusalem Talmud and its commentaries. The Talmud:

              . The Tosefta and the minor tractates.

              The Mishnah and its commentaries. Works of the Talmudic Era (classic rabbinic literature)

                . Jewish Biblical exegesis (also see Midrash below). Targum.

                Mesorah. The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and Jewish bible study, which include:

                  . A more detailed discussion of the Jewish view of sin is available in the entry on sin. In Judaism, sin is more considered in terms of a wrongful action, contravening divine commandment to live a holy life, than wrongful thought.

                  It covers wrongdoings by which a person has fallen short of divine wishes in his daily life, and thus there is always a "way back" to God. Atonement is deemed only meaningful if accompanied by sincere decision to cease unacceptable actions, and then only if appropriate amends to others are honestly undertaken. The liturgy of the Days of Awe (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) states that prayer, repentance and tzedakah (dutiful giving of charity) atone for sin. People can atone for sins through words and deeds, and without intermediaries.

                  Thus, human beings have free will and can choose the path in life that they will take. People are born with a yetzer ha'tov, a tendency to do good, and with a yetzer ha'ra, a tendency to do bad. The soul is pure at birth. There will be a moshiach (Jewish Messiah), or perhaps a messianic era.

                  The messianic age. God chose the Jewish people to be in a unique covenant with God; see Jews as a chosen people. God will reward those who observe His commandments, and punish those who violate them. The Torah (five books of Moses) is the primary text of Judaism.

                  Moses was the chief of all prophets. The words of the prophets are true. Different understandings of this subject exist among Jews. How Revelation works, and what precisely one means when one says that a book is "divine", has always been a matter of some dispute.

                  The Hebrew Bible, and much of the beliefs described in the Mishnah and Talmud, are held to be the product of divine Revelation. Any belief that an intermediary between man and God could be used, whether necessary or even optional, has traditionally been considered heretical. To God alone may one offer prayer. All statements in the Hebrew Bible and in rabbinic literature which use anthropomorphism are held to be linguistic conceits or metaphors, as it would otherwise be impossible to talk about God.

                  God is non-physical, non-corporeal, and eternal. See the entry on Names of God in Judaism. The different names of God are ways to express different aspects of God's presence in the world. God is all powerful (omnipotent), as well as all knowing (omniscient).

                  The idea of God as a duality or trinity is heretical for Jews to hold; it is considered akin to polytheism. God is one - Judaism is based on strict unitarian monotheism, the belief in one God, the eternal creator of the universe and the source of morality. One must not bow down to or serve any being or object but God. [2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments#Jewish_interpretation). To deny the uniqueness of God, is to deny all that is written in the Torah. It is also a prohibition against making or possessing objects that one or other may bow down to or serve such as crucifixes, and any forms of paintings or artistic representations of God.

                  This prohibits belief in or worship of any additional deities, gods, spirits or incarnations. "You shall have no other gods besides Me...Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above..." One is required to believe in God and God alone. To turn from these beliefs is to deny God and the essence of Judaism. This is the foundation of Judaism.

                  "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt..." The belief in the existence of God, that God exists for all time, that God is the sole creator of all that exists, that God determines the course of events in this world.

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