Judaism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Judaism: Basic Terms and Concepts
Judaism has been correctly depicted as a religion, a race, a culture, and a nation. To be a member of the Jewish people, a person needs either to have been born to a Jewish mother or to have converted to the Jewish faith by one of the generally acknowledged movements within Judaism.
1.  Far more than just a person with the gift of prophecy, a ‘prophet’ is fundamentally a “spokesman for God, a person chosen by God to speak to people on God's behalf and convey a message or teaching. Prophets were role models of holiness, scholarship and closeness to God. They set the standards for the entire community” (“Prophet,” n.d.).
2. Moses is another great figure in Judaism. In Hebrew, he is called ‘Moshe Rabbenu’ (‘Moses our teacher’).
3. Concerning Jewish poetry, a Jewish liturgical poem, customarily designated to be sung, chanted, or recited during religious services, is called ‘piyyut’ or ‘piyut’ (plural ‘piyyutim’ or ‘piyutim’). Piyyutim are usually written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and most follow certain poetic scheme, like an acrostic following the order of the Hebrew alphabet or spelling out the name of the author. Piyyutim are said to have been written since Temple times.
4. Mishnah is the first major work of Rabbinic literature.
5. The so-called ‘Ten Commandments’ refer to the first ten of the 613 commandments given by God to the Israelites. These form the basis of Jewish morality, conduct, and social and religious responsibilities. These commandments are stated in order twice in the Torah, once each in Exodus and Deuteronomy.
6. The God of the Israelites revealed His name to Moses as four Hebrew consonants called the ‘tetragrammaton.’ The four Hebrew consonants is transliterated as ‘YHWH’ and commonly pronounced as ‘Yahweh.’
7. ‘Orthodox Judaism’ refers to the approach to religious Judaism which is distinguished by its keeping of the traditional forms of worship in the Hebrew language, and of the traditional observances as recommended by the Torah. In Orthodox synagogues, men and women sit separately, and women do not participate in some of the rituals. 
8. By faith, Abraham unquestionably agreed to a pact with God, which formed the foundation of the ‘b'rit’ (covenant) between God and Abraham's descendants. This ‘b'rit’ is central to Judaism.
9. Talmud (literally, “study”) is the generic term for the documents that comment and expand upon the Mishnah. It is “the comprehensive written version of the Jewish oral law and the subsequent commentaries on it. It originates from the 2nd century CE (“Talmud,” n.d.).
10. ‘Conservative Judaism,’ on the other hand, adopts the practice of traditional Judaism while espousing some modernity. Developed during the twentieth century in the United States, it comes midway between Orthodoxy and Reform,
11. ‘Anti-Semitism’ refers to hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious or racial group. It is the hostile belief or behavior toward Jews just because they are Jewish.
12. In holocaust, Jews were systematically murdered in the deadliest genocide in history. The persecution and genocide were executed in stages, concluding in what Nazis termed the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (‘die Endlösung der Judenfrage’), an agenda to exterminate Jews in Europe:
13. ‘Zionism’ is also referred to as the Jewish national liberation movement campaigning for the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, Zionism has included the movement for the development of the State of Israel and the security of the Jewish nation in Israel through support for the Israel Defense Forces (“Zionism,” n.d.).
14.  In the ‘Fiddler in the Roof,’ we can see the traditional Jewish dress. The men wear hats to cover their heads as according to their tradition, they must not forget that they are less than God above. They also wear striped undergarments with fringes on them, as commanded in Numbers 15:37-38. They also do not shave the hair on their face that they have beards and moustaches, as ordered in Leviticus 19:27. Moreover, the married women cover their heads too, as according to their tradition, women’s hair should not be seen in public.
15. Abraham (‘Avraham’) is considered in this religion as the first Jew, the founder of Judaism, the physical and spiritual ancestor of the Jewish people, and one of the three Patriarchs (‘Avot’) of Judaism.
16. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses died within sight of the Promised Land that God had promised them. The escape of the Hebrews from Egypt is commemorated by Jews every year in the festival of Passover.
17. ‘Judaism 101,’ an online encyclopedia of Judaism, admits that the word ‘Torah’ is a “tricky one” as it can mean various things in different contexts. It can be used to refer to three (3) different but interrelated meanings.
18. Reform Judaism accepts the Torah as God inspired, a living document that enables Jews to confront the timeless and timely challenges of everyday lives. It believes that Judaism must change and adapt to the needs of the day to survive. 
19. The Pharaoh decreed all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed in order to lessen the population of the Israelites. Moses’ Hebrew mother, Jochebed, secretly hid him.
20. ‘Navi,’ the Hebrew word for a prophet, comes from ‘niv sefatayim’ meaning “fruit of the lips,” which emphasizes the prophet’s role as a speaker ... continue reading.




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