Thursday, September 23, 2010

Religions of the World: Judaism

In the video Religions of the World: Judaism, the main focus of the video is Judaic traditions. Though Judaism is its own religion it takes on many different forms and even different beliefs on life, however, these different communities, as brought out in the video, are dependent on one another. This video gives a full history lesson on the Jews and their texts, freedom, and central idea of living.

The Jews, as seen in history, were a minority group that had struggled to gain independency from others. People such as the Persians, Greeks, and the Syrians had all taken turns in ruling over the Jews. After the Romans conquered Judah the rebel of 70 CE broke out marking the final end of Jewish dependency. The Jews place of worship, the temple, was there sanctuary until it was destroyed, but later a second temple was built and it too was destroyed. The Jews knew they could not collect together as one so instead of one place of worship, they made several called synagogues. Traditionally Jewish men came to the synagogues to worship three times a day. They would collect in groups of three to create a minion and pray for God to help “us” because the community depends on one another. The Jews not only believed the most sacred center is a synagogue, but also the home.

Family is very important to the Jews, which is probably why the communities find dependency in one another. Children are thought to be the most precious gifts and it was considered a curse if a woman could not provide a child for her husband. In which case, bigamy was then permitted. As a child reaches the age of 13 for boys and 12 for girls, they have ceremonies called bar mitzvahs or bat mitzvahs to show the child has matured into an adult. At these ceremonies the child reads from the Torah which is a well-known text used by the Jews.

The Jews use a bible containing three different parts. First, are the first five books of the bible, the Pentateuch or the Torah, second are the Prophets and third is the Hagiographa. It is through these books and the Torah where the Jews find their holidays. The first mentioned is the Passover which lasts for a week and one must eat is unleavened bread. Fifty days after the Passover is the Feast of Weeks then came the Feast of tabernacles where the people would lay in booths constructed in something like a garden. There is also Porim which celebrates the emancipation of the Jews. The most widely- known of all of the Jewish celebrations is Hanukkah which is the only holiday not based on the Hebrew Scriptures. However, these celebrations all link to one thing that the Jews did not even gain back until 1948, freedom.


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