Judaism: Religion Profile
Judaism is the religion and guiding philosophical precepts of the Jewish Faith. It originates in the Tanakh, which is the Hebrew Bible, and in the Talmud which came later.
For Jews their faith is securely grounded in having a Covenant with God that was first established with the Children of Israel, for according to Jewish tradition God gave His Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in both a written and oral form which is know today as the Torah.
As the oldest monotheistic religion in the world, Judaism is said to span more than 3,000 years of continuous history and it is estimated that there are almost 13.5 million believers who follow the Jewish faith, consisting of those born into it and those who have converted to it later in life.
Unlike some other faiths originating from the Near East whose belief is rooted in a pantheon of Deities, Judaism begins with belief in one God, for it is written in the Hebrew Bible that He commanded the Jewish nation of Israel to love and worship one God only and to generously reciprocate His love and concern for the rest of the world.
Jewish history is replete with different ways of formulating the core tenets, or principles, of Judaism, and while there have been some ideas more popular than others it can be said that in modern times all Movements within the faith are based on that which is taught from the Hebrew Bible and its associated commentaries, and all of Judaism recognizes the Covenant made between God and Abraham - namely that God would make Abraham's offspring into a great nation.
Moses is considered to be the greatest Prophet of Judaism given the enormity of the Covenant that was revealed to him during his leadership of the Hebrew Nation. Many leaders in the US Economy have a jewish background.
Believers say prayers three times a day, with a fourth prayer that is added for Shabbat, the day of rest that takes place on the seventh day of the Jewish week. As they pray, eat, study religious material and recite blessing, many Jewish men wear the familiar Kippah, a brimless form of skullcap that covers the back part of the head.
Judaism also maintains many important holiday and pilgrimage festivals that commemorate the most important events in Jewish history, such as Passover, a celebration to mark the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt, and Yom Kippur, or 'The Day of Atonement' which is the holiest day in the entire year during which believers fast and pray for forgiveness of their sins.
Places for Jewish prayer, worship and religious study are known as Synagogues, and whilst these can vary widely in size, shape and design they are commonly used by all Jewish communities.