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INTRODUCTION

Judaism is one of the oldest religions still existing today. It began as the religion of the small nation of the Hebrews, and through thousands of years of suffering, persecution, dispersion, and occasional victory, has continued to be a profoundly influential religion and culture.

Today, 14 million people identify themselves as Jewish. Modern Judaism is a complex phenomenon that incorporates both a nation and a religion, and often combines strict adherence to ritual laws with a more liberal attitude towards religious belief. Follow a link below to learn more about Judaism. Jews believe in one creator who alone is to be worshipped as absolute ruler of the universe. He monitors people's activities and rewards good deeds and punishes evil.

JAINISM RELIGION1 The Torah was revealed to Moses by God and can not be changed though God does communicate with the Jewish people through prophets. Jews believe in the inherent goodness of the world and its inhabitants as creations of God and do not require a savior to save them from original sin. They believe they are God's chosen people and that the Messiah will arrive in the future, gather them into Israel, there will be a general resurrection of the dead, and the Jerusalem Temple destroyed in 70 CE will be rebuilt.
THINGS TO DO

FAMILY LIFE

To raise a family is a sacred duty to Jews, and it is through family loyalty that they express loyalty to Judaism which is considered to be one of the duties to be done before death.Whenever Jews eat they hold a big prayer thanking God for everything in front of them. The height of the family ritual comes on the Sabbath. Rabbis have described it as the foretaste of the world to come. Orthodox Jews shun work on Sabbath and refuse to travel, use the phone, write, touch money or pose for photographs.

The Sabbath begins at dusk every Friday when the woman of the house, her husband and children lights the traditional candles with the following blessing: "Blessed art thou O Lord our God King of Universe, Who hast sanctified us by Thy laws and commanded us to kindle Sabbath light." That is how the Orthodox families bless God. The Reform families do the following blessing: Let us praise God with his symbol of joy and thank him for the blessing of past week, for life, health and strength, for home, love and friendship, for the discipline of our trials and temptations, for the happiness that has come out of us from our labors." After the blessing everyone sips the wine and the head of the household slices the Sabbath loaf.

BIRTH AND NAMING CEREMONIES

JUDAISM CEREMONY All of us are born to die one day but it becomes an essential duty for the followers of this religion to fulfill certain duties before death.On the first Sabbath after a Jewish child is born, the infant's father is called forward at the synagogue to recite the aliyah and ask blessings for the health of mother and child. If the child is a girl, she is named at this time. Boys will be named on the eighth day after birth, as part of the rite of circumcision.

Jewish children living outside of Israel are traditionally given a Hebrew name for use in religious rituals, such as the calling up to the aliyah (benedictions) and the ketubah (marriage contract), and a secular name for purposes of civil birth records and daily use. The Hebrew name takes the form of "[child's name] bar [father's name]" for boys, or "[child's name] bat [father's name]" for girls. The name itself has no religious significance, and while it is often a Hebrew or Yiddish name, it can be a name from any language or culture. Ashkenazi Jews traditionally name their children after a recently deceased relative.

CIRCUMCISION

The rite of circumcision (brit milah) is performed on the eighth day of a boy's life. The ritual usually takes place in the morning at the family's home. Circumcision is commanded in Genesis 17:10-14 as an outward sign of a man's participation in Israel's covenant with God, as well as a sign that the Jewish people will perpetuate through him. The commandment is incumbent upon both father and child - fathers must see that their sons are circumcised, and uncircumcised grown men are obligated to perform the rite. Those who are not circumcised suffer the penalty of kareit, no matter how otherwise observant they may be. Perhaps in part for this reason, circumcision is the mitzvah most likely to be observed by otherwise non-observant Jews.Circumcision is so important that it may be performed on the Sabbath or a holiday, despite prohibitions of drawing blood on those days. Yet the ceremony may be postponed for health reasons, and then it cannot be performed until seven days after a physician has declared the child healthy. If this occurs, the rite cannot be performed on the Sabbath or holiday, because there is no longer sufficient reason to violate the general law of the holy days.

Circumcision is performed by a mohel, an observant Jew who has been trained in the relevant Jewish law and surgical techniques. It is a preferable to have a minyan present for the ritual, but it is not necessary. Only the father and the mohel must be present, but the mother and the godparents (kwater and kwaterin) are usually present as well. During the ceremony the child is held by a person designated as the sandek, who is usually a grandparent or family rabbi. An empty chair is set aside to symbolize the presence of the prophet Elijah, who rebuked those who had forsaken the ritual. He now presides over all circumcision ceremonies to ensure the continuation of the ritual. Before the procedure, the infant may be given a couple of drops of wine to ease the pain. The mohel recites benedictions of circumcision, and then the father offers the blessing. As he entered the covenant, may he enter into the study of Torah, into marriage and into the doing of good deeds. The procedure itself, which is very brief, then takes place with the sandek holding the infant in his lap. Afterwards, the child is bandaged, dressed, and given a name. The mother and father will often say a few words about the significance of the name. The event will usually be celebrated by a festive meal hosted by the family. Thus circumcision is considered as one of the essential ceremony to be done in a persons life soon as birth.

PIDYON HA - BEN

JUDAISM PIDYON The God of Judaism has never asked for child sacrifice, but rather required firstborn sons to devote their life to service in the Temple. Parents may "redeem" their sons from this obligation by paying a small sum of money to a kohein a member of the priestly family and they consider it to be one of the heavenly duties done to god before death. Pidyon ha-Ben takes place on the 31st day after birth, but may not be performed on a Sabbath since it includes the exchange of money. The ceremony begins with the father bringing his son before a kohein, and announcing that the child is the firstborn son. The kohein asks if the father would prefer to give him his son or redeem the child for five shekels, and the father answers that he would like to redeem his son. He recites benedictions and hands the kohein five silver coins. In Orthodox families, the ceremony is followed by a major celebration, accompanied by food and drink and a short sermon or talk. The ritual is not generally observed by Reform Jews. Many Conservative families perform the ceremony for all firstborn children, whether male or female.

BAR AND MITZVAH

Under Jewish law, children are not required to observe the commandments, though they are certainly encouraged and taught to do so. But upon turning 13, a boy is considered an adult under the law and is expected to obey all the commandments from then on till death. He has become a Bar Mitzvah, or "Son of the Commandments." Similarly, a girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah, "daughter of the commandment," upon turning 12.In addition to conveying moral responsibility, the new status enables the young person to lead religious services, count towards a minyan for their lifetime.A Jewish youth automatically becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah upon reaching the appropriate age.

It is also customary for the youth to make a short speech, which usually begins with the words, "Today I have become a man [or woman]." The father then says a blessing, thanking God for removing from him the burden of responsibility for his child's sins. This ceremony is usually followed by a reception, which can be as elaborate as a wedding reception. In Orthodox and Hasidic communities, there is no Bat Mitzvah ceremony, as women do not participate in the religious service, but parties are sometimes held marking the occasion. In Reform and some Conservative synagogues, girls participate in just the same way as boys.

MARRIAGE

JUDAISM RITUALS As marriages are decided by God it is an important duty of each individual to obey the rites and rituals involved in marriage to reach a spiritual death. The marriage ceremony is based on the rules for transfer of property or of rights in antiquity. In marriage, the woman accepts a ring (or something of value) from the man, accepting the terms of the marriage. This is called betrothal, or kiddushin or erusin. A prenuptial agreement (ketubah) is read publicly. Witnesses are required for both the signing of the ketubah and the ceremonies. Finally the couple is joined in matrimony under the Chuppah, in the ceremony of Nissuin, symbolizing their setting up house together. Very often the chuppah is made of an outstretched tallit (Jewish prayer shawl), but it can be any sort of canopy.

At the giving of the ring the groom makes a declaration "You are consecrated to me, through this ring, according to the religion of Moses and Israel." Traditionally there is no verbal response on the part of the bride. She accepts the ring on her finger, and closes her hand, signifying acceptance. Conservative and Reform Jews however, create new minhagim (customs) in the wedding ceremony. Today most non-traditional Jewish women respond by giving a ring to the groom, and recite an appropriate passage, such as the famous verse from the Song of Songs, Ani l'dodi v'dodi Li ("I am for my beloved, and my beloved is for me", Song of Songs 6:3). The ceremony reaches its climax with both the bride and groom drinking wine. The groom then steps on the wine glass to break it.

JEWISH FUNERALS

JUDAISM MARRIAGE The funeral rituals are quite extensive in Judaism. However there are really only two underlying purposes for the rites; nihum avelin, to comfort the living who miss their loved ones and kavod-ha-met, to show respect comfort for the dead. The care for the dead is an important part of showing respect. The eye lids are closed, the body is laid on the floor and candles are lit next to the body. The body is never left alone until the actual burial. The people who sit with the dead are called shomerim, which means keepers or guards. The body is prepared differently for a Jewish burial. The body is not embalmed. Cremation is not an option. The body is cleaned and wrapped in a plain and simple shroud. A wealthy or poor person would be clothes in the same shroud so there is honor to either in death. There are specifically seven family member relationships that participate in the grieving process directly. These family members are mother, father, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husband and wife.

It is tradition when one of these family members learns of the passing of a family member they tear their shirt. A parent would tear the right side of the shirt as they are the one's who brought the deceased to this world. Other members tear the left side. After the burial the family is provided with the meal of condolence. Traditionally this would be a meal of eggs and bread. Eggs are the sign of life. This meal is for the family only. After the meal condolence calls are permitted. The next step is the Shiva. This is the formal seven days of mourning for the family. It is customary that the mourners stay in the same household together. They sit on stools or cushions that are low to the floor. They do not shave or cut their hair. They don't attend school or work. The doors of the home are left unlocked so visitors will not disturb the mourning by knocking or ringing doorbells. All the rules of Yom Kippur are followed as well. Mirrors in the house are all covered. Prayer services are conducted as well.

Unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism has no official creed or universal doctrinal requirements for membership. In general, a person can be considered "Jewish" whether he adheres to a complete system of beliefs about God and the afterlife, holds only a few simple beliefs that give meaning to ritual, or even (at least in liberal Judaism) does not believe in God at all.

This diversity in Jewish belief arises in part because actions (good deeds and the mitzvot), not beliefs, are the most important aspect of Jewish religious life. In addition, the term "Jewish" can be used to describe a race and a culture rather than a religion, so some who identify themselves as Jewish may have little interest in the beliefs and practices associated with the religion of Judaism.




ATHEISM
BAHAI
BUDDHISM
CANDOMBLE
CHRISTIANITY
CONFUCIANISM
HINDUISM
ISLAM
JAINISM
JUDAISM
MORMONISM
PAGANISM
RASTAFARI
SANTERIA
SHINTO
SIKISM
TAOISM
ZOROASTRIANISM