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Judaism

Learn more about Judaism and Jews in the Holy Land

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  • Jewish Basic Concepts
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  • Jewish festivals
  • Jewish Life Cycle
Introduction: Who are the Jews?

Who exactly are the Jews? There are those (including many Jews themselves) who see them as a religion (like Christianity or Islam) while others see …

The Jewish Calendar – Introduction

Every human culture has particular ways of marking time, calendars and festivals—usually, both feasts and fasts. It is human to seek meaningful ways of marking …

Torah

While often mis-translated as “law” Torah means “teaching.”  Torah is used in the widest possible sense including teaching, wisdom, doctrine, heritage and tradition and can …

Mitzva

Mitzvot (pl.) are commandments.  The Talmud calculates that the number of mitzvot commanded by God in the Torah is 613.  These are divided into positive commandments (248 things …

Sages – Hazal

Hazal is an acronym for the Hebrew words Hakhameinu Zikhronam Livrakha (our sages of blessed memory) and refers primarily to the rabbis of the Talmudic …

Rabbi

The rabbi is the dominant clerical figure in Judaism.  The term Rav (heb: רב ) means master and is used in the sense of teacher.  …

Halakha

Halakha is Jewish law.  The word is derived from the Hebrew root .ה.ל.ך meaning “ to go” and it denotes law in the sense that this …

Shabbat_Candles
Shabbat

In the Hebrew language, six out of the seven days of the week do not have names. They are, rather, “the first day,” “the second day,” and so on, up to “the sixth day.” Only the seventh day has a name—Shabbat, the Sabbath. The root of Shabbat is resting, refraining from work. But the traditional Shabbat is much more than simply a day off.

Kashrut

Kashrut is the term for the Jewish dietary laws.  Torah law enumerated several basic prohibitions of certain food and these were further elaborated by the …

Synagogue

The synagogue (Bet Knesset) is the community’s home for public prayer and reading of the Torah.  It is the center of a religious community’s life …

Tzedaka

Tzedaka, which is often translated as “charity”, derives from the root צ,ד,ק which – as in Arabic – has the meaning “correct” or “just.” Since …

Teshuva

While the concept of original sin is not central to Judaism, the Torah recognized that people were created with bad urges (Gen. chaps. 6, 8).  …

Jerusalem

History While Jerusalem is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah it does appear often (over 600 times) in the Tanakh. Jewish tradition regards Mt. Moriah …

Eretz Israel

The term Eretz Yisrael Israel is the collective name of the Jewish people, descendants of the tribes established by the sons of Jacob, who was …

Messiah

The term Messiah (Heb: משיח) literally means the anointed one and originally signified one who was consecrated for a special task by means of anointing with …

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