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Judaism and the Roots of Western Reli - Coursework Example

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Judaism and the Roots of Western Reli

Their belief lies in the principles that goodness will be rewarded by the God and sins will be certainly punished in the Judgment after death. They also have a strong belief that God would send Messiah to the world by the End of Days to redeem his people to the Promised Land. There are also various religious practices and ethics followed by the Jews, based on their belief in one God. In addition, the laws in Torah, the Jewish bible, form the foundation for their religion based customs and practices. Their way of worship is traditional, three times a day, by reading the scriptures of Torah. According to their customs, Sabbath, the holy day of rest is observed on Saturday, as a reminder about God’s rest after creation. Also Jews are prohibited to do specific kinds of work on that day. Those prohibitory practices are clearly mentioned in their scriptures. The most common Jewish symbol is the ‘Star of David’ that is used to represent them in synagogues. Rise of Synagogues Synagogues, in the olden days, acted as a place for community gatherings on Sabbaths and festivals. Later, after the exile of large number of people from the holy land, the tradition of sacrifice ceased with the prayer being viewed as the means of worship. This established the development of synagogues as an institution where daily prayers, community meeting and religious studies were observed. Soon after the destruction of the Holy Temple, synagogues were given a significant importance as the central place of Jewish religious life, especially for their social and religion based practices. “After the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. the synagogue emerges as a well established institution and the center of the social and religious life of the people.” (Harris, 2010). Though the actual origins of synagogue are not clearly stated in the annals of history, scholars infer that might have got originated right from the olden days of Babylonian exile. However, there is a common misconception that synagogues started to emerge only after the destruction of their temple. This is indeed a wrong concept as synagogues always existed, even during the times of Temple. However, the key point is that the destruction of the Temple primarily led to the rise of synagogues as places of worship. Over the course of time, synagogues replaced the central sanctuary in Jerusalem holding the Ark with the Torah scrolls and the Ner Tamid, the everlasting flame. Comparison of Jewish traditions There exist three variants of Jewish traditions - Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed Jews, differing minimally and maximally by the customs and beliefs that they hold and practice. Orthodox Jews are those who attach the highest level of importance to the scriptures and the prayers, by strictly adhering to the Sabbath laws and traditional beliefs. Conservative Jews are slightly liberal in their belief of Judaism adapting it in line with their contemporary life, which is much contrary to the Orthodox Jewish beliefs which states that the customs and laws of Torah should not be altered or rejected, by any means. In the early 19th century, the Reformed Jewish traditions were formed in response to the Enlightenment in Germany, adopting Judaism as a religion rather than a race or culture. They rejected most or all of the rituals performed pertaining to Torah but much emphasized the ethical aspects of the religion. Unlike Conservative and Orthodox Jews, they hold a belief that Torah is merely a good ...Show more


Judaism Features of Judaism Judaism, the religion of the Jews, is considered as one of the oldest monotheistic religions, which held the roots for many other Western Religions. The most basic characteristic of Judaism is in their belief of one God, who created the universe and rules it…
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