Nature and Deity
One God (whose name must not be pronounced) has created all things and,
through his special covenant with the Jews, has guided human life and
Understanding of Beginnings
God is the creator and the Book of Genesis says he created in six days and
rested on the seventh. God will end creation in his own time.
Conception of Time
Time is linear. A "Chosen One of God" will come when either the world has
become a better place or when it has reached the point of greatest trouble.
The coming of this Messiah will herald an era of world peace.
Mortality (and Afterlife)
There is one life only. Most religious Jews believe the individual awaits the
Day of Judgment when God will raise all to life and judgment. Some,
however, believe that the soul is judged immediately after death.
The Hebrew Bible has three parts: The Torah (Five Books of Moses), the
Prophets and the Writings such as Esther and the Psalms. The Torah
contains laws, doctrine and guidance on way of life, as well as accounts of
the early history of the Jewish people and their relationship with God.
Prophets and Founders
Through the covenant with Abraham (considered the patriarch) and his
descendants, God chose the Jews as his special people. This covenant was
reaffirmed and consolidated with Moses, when God gave Moses the Law by
which the Israelites were to live.
Rites of Birth and Death
Baby boys are circumcised eight days after birth. The names of girls are
announced in the synagogue on the first Sabbath after birth. Burial takes
place within 24 hours of death and cremation is very rare. The family is in full
mourning for seven days and, for eleven months, the special prayer Kadish
is said every day.
Festivals and Calendar Events
Passover or Pesach celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt (the
seder meal in the home is observed); Shavuot marks the giving of the Law
to Moses; Rosh Hashanah is the New Year festival, and Yom Kippur, the
day of repentance, Chanukah (Hanukkah) celebrates the survival of the
Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism