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How would someone describe Judaism?

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accge | Valedictorian

Posted June 12, 2013 at 3:55 PM via iOS

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How would someone describe Judaism?

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kipling2448 | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 12, 2013 at 4:20 PM (Answer #1)

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The oldest of the three major monotheistic religions (along with Christianity and Islam), Judaism is based upon the the word of God as handed down to the Prophet Moses.  The first five books of the Bible are called the Five Books of Moses, and comprise the text of the Holy Scripture in the Torah, or scrolls.  The Five Books of Moses were, according to Judaism, written by Moses and dictated by God.  Jews believe that there is one God, and that he created the Universe and all that live within.  

Main religious practices associated with Judaism include circumcision of male infants, observance of the Sabbath, prohibition on consumption of pork and shellfish as spelled out in the Five Books of Moses, observance of what are called the "High Holy Days," the period of Atonement that begins with Rosh Hashanah -- the beginning of the Hebrew New Year -- and ends with Yom Kipput, the Day of Atonement, when Jews fast from sundown to sundown.  Judaism is based upon a covenant between Jews and God on how to act, in exchange for which they are promised a certain section of territory in what we call today "the Middle East."  Jews believe in heaven, and the concept of a soul separate from the physical body, but these are not emphasized in the Five Books of Moses.  It is Ecclesiastes that the concept of an afterlife is most prominent:

"The dust will return to the ground as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."[Ecclesiastes 12:17]

Because of the importance of the Five Books of Moses -- the first five books of the Bible -- to Judaism, and because those books focus overwhelmingly on how to live one's life, there is minimal emphasis in Judaism on death and the afterlife.  Jews are expected to live virtuous lives to give back to society.  

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