Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
Rom. 10:1

Jewish Essence

  • Basic Jewish Beliefs

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    A Summary of Core Jewish Beliefs Today

    It is important to understand the foundation of what Jewish people believe today. There is no single answer. The term dogma, which is much better applied to Christianity, has little place within Judaism. In Judaism, the need for a profession of belief did not arise, and rabbis saw no necessity for drawing up concise formulas stressing Jewish beliefs and faith.

    Theologically speaking, it is understood that Jewish people are born into God’s covenant with the people of Israel in Genesis 12:1-3:

    The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'

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  • Jewish Identity

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    The Identity of Jewish People

    Frequently, as I have had the opportunity to minister in various congregations, I have asked people, ‘What do you think it means to be Jewish?’ People tell me that being Jewish is being part of the chosen people. Or it is a person who has the Jewish religion. Or it is a person who does not believe in Jesus. People also respond in other ways. Even Jewish people have difficulty defining ‘What does it mean to be Jewish?’

    In the field of Jewish evangelism, definitions and terminologies seem to facilitate an understanding of how we might effectively communicate the message of Messiah. Jewish people are referred to as: Jews, Jewish people, Hebrews, Israelites, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Chosen people. Some Christians even seek to boast that they have become the true Jews because of their circumcision of the heart through faith in Jesus.

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  • Jewish Writings

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    Important Writings for Religious Jewish People

    Torah

    For Orthodox and Conservative Jews today the centerpiece of Judaism is of course the Torah. The word Torah actually combines three different concepts or meanings. One understanding of the Torah is “the Jewish way of life.” All that we do and all that encompasses our life is found in what we call a “Torah way of life.”

    Another understanding of Torah is that it encompasses the first five books of the Bible, or the Pentateuch.

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  • The Jewish Calendar

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    Basic Jewish Teaching: The Calendar

    The Jewish calendar is really two calendars in one. The civil year and New Year begin in September, the month of Tishre. The religious year begins with the month of Nissan, March or April. The first month of the civil calendar falls on the seventh month of the religious calendar.

    The present Jewish calendar is lunisolar, the months being reckoned according to the moon and the years according to the sun. A month is the period of time between one conjunction of the moon with the sun and the next. The number of days in a year in this Jewish lunar calendar is shorter than the number of days in the solar calendar. The lunar year consists of twelve months, or 354 days, approximately 10 days, 21 hours shorter than the solar calendar.

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  • The Jewish Festivals

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    Important Jewish Festivals

    The cycle of Jewish festivals that govern religious life today are outlined in Leviticus 23. The first festival, held weekly, is given the highest place within Jewish life. It is known as Shabbat, the Sabbath. Leviticus 23:3 reads, “Six days shall work be done. But the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.”

    The Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and runs through sundown of the following day, a time when the family comes together. The Sabbath is a time of joy, change, rest and reflection. It is also a time of worship, studying the Scriptures, and reflecting upon God, our Creator. A festive occasion, the Sabbath is welcomed as a bride, or as the “Queen Sabbath.”

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  • Shabbat

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    The Significance of Shabbat

    Shabbat is a joyful day of rest. Shabbat is two commandments: to remember and to observe. Shabbat is observed from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday each week. Shabbat is a time to refrain from work, spend time with family and attend synagogue.

    For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested. -- Exodus 31:15-17

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  • Passover

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    Pesach (Passover)

    On the fourteenth day of the first month the Lord’s Passover is to be held. On the fifteenth day of this month there is to be a festival; for seven days eat bread made without yeast. -- Numbers 28:16 -17

    Passover is one of the major Jewish festivals which occurs on the 14th of Nissan in the Jewish calendar. It begins at sundown as the family traditionally gathers from far and wide to sit together in the home after weeks of preparation to clean and remove all leaven from the house.

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  • Shavuot

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    Shavuot Pentecost

    In the Bible, Shavuot is called the Festival of Weeks (Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10), the Festival of Reaping Ḥag haKatsir (Exodus 23:16), and Day of the First Fruits Yom ha-Bikkurim (Numbers 28:26).

    The Mishnah and Talmud refer to Shavuot as Atzeret, a solemn assembly, as it provides closure for the festival activities during and following the holiday of Passover. Since Shavuot occurs 50 days after Passover, Hellenistic Jews gave it the name Pentecost (πεντηκοστή, “fiftieth day”).

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  • Tisha B'Av

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    The History of Tisha B’Av

    According to our sages, many tragic events occurred to our ancestors on this day:

    1. The sin of the spies caused the Lord to decree that the Children of Israel who left Egypt would not be permitted to enter the land of Israel

    2. The first Temple was destroyed

    3. The second Temple was destroyed

    4. Betar, the last fortress to hold out against the Romans during the Bar Kochba revolt in the year 135, fell, sealing the fate of the Jewish people

    5. One year after the fall of Betar, the Temple area was plowed

    6. In 1492, King Ferdinand of Spain issued the expulsion decree, setting Tisha B’Av as the final date by which not a single Jew would be allowed to walk on Spanish soil

    7. World War I – which began the downward slide to the Holocaust – began on Tisha B’av

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  • High Holidays

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    The High Holidays: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

    Rosh Ha Shannah

    Rosh Ha Shannah (the head of the year) marks the beginning of the new calendar year on the 1st of Tishre in the Hebrew calendar; usually sometime in September of each year.

    The Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

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  • Sukkot

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    Sukkot: The Feast of Tabernacles

    On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the Lord. -- Leviticus 23:34

    Sukkot is the remembrance of wandering in the dessert; also a harvest festival. Sukkot is observed by building and “dwelling” in a booth; waving branches and a fruit during services. The festival lasts 7 days.

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  • Simchat Torah

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    The Significance of Simchat Torah

    The culmination of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret. Final Parsha (selection of text) from Deuteronomy is read in synagogue. Everyone called to the Torah reading. Conclusion of the annual Torah reading cycle. This occurs on 22nd (outside of Israel 23rd) day of Tishrei and involves celebration and dancing in the synagogue as all the Torah scrolls are carried around in seven circuits (hakafot). Simchat Torah is related to the culmination of Sukkot (The Feast of the Tabernacles).

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  • Modern Traditions and Customs

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    Modern Jewish Traditions and Customs

    Synagogue

    Synagogue, community, home and family have brought about many traditions and customs, which play important roles in Jewish people’s lives today. Everything in the synagogue, the center of worship, focuses on the place of the Torah and of the scriptures, which are front and center in worship, literally and figuratively. The scrolls that contain the words of the Torah are kept in an ark, a closet, behind closed doors and are surrounded by symbols that cause man to reflect on the place of the Scriptures in the life of men.

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  • Pirkei Avoth

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    Pirke Avoth: The Ethics of the Fathers

    Pirkei Avoth, (the Ethics of the Fathers) is a compilation of maxims assembled to enable the reader to glean the over-arching themes of sages of old.

    This is the primary ethical tractate of the Talmud which, instead of expounding on a portion of the Torah, focuses on how we, as Jews, ought to conduct ourselves in various facets of daily life.

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  • Brit Milah and Pidyon Ha Ben

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    The Brit Milah (Yiddish: Bris)

    One of life’s great joys is the birth of a new child into a young family. It is no different for a Jewish family, too. Yet when the child born is male and a first-born, certain traditional responsibilities fall on the parents to fulfil God’s laws.

    On the eight day, the baby is to be presented for Brith Milah – circumcision of the foreskin of the penis. Why? Because God said so!

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  • The Mourner's Kaddish

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    Prayer- Mourner’s Kaddish

    About the Mourner’s Kaddish

    The Kaddish is a prayer praising God and expressing a yearning for the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. It is recited at funerals and by mourners. Sons are required to say Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a parent.

    The word Kaddish means sanctification, and the prayer is a sanctification of God’s name. Kaddish is only said with a minyan (prayer quorum of ten men), following a psalm or prayer that has been said in the presence of a minyan, since the essence of the Kaddish is public sanctification.

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  • Orthodox Judaism

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    A Diversity of Belief Systems

    One cannot understand Jewish people today by studying only the Old Testament. Jewish people identify with different religious groups, writings, teaching and theology from a multitude of sources. The Jewish religious calendar and festivals, attitudes toward Jesus, traditions, concepts of family, and varying concerns comprise a multi-faceted Jewish milieu.

    What Jewish people believe can cover an encyclopedia’s worth of information. We will present a basic overview of the highlights to help Christians better understand Jewish beliefs.

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  • Conservative Judaism

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    A Diversity of Belief Systems

    One cannot understand Jewish people today by studying only the Old Testament. Jewish people identify with different religious groups, writings, teaching and theology from a multitude of sources. The Jewish religious calendar and festivals, attitudes toward Jesus, traditions, concepts of family, and varying concerns comprise a multi-faceted Jewish milieu.

    What Jewish people believe can cover an encyclopedia’s worth of information. We will present a basic overview of the highlights to help Christians better understand Jewish beliefs.

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  • Reform Judaism

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    A Diversity of Belief Systems

    One cannot understand Jewish people today by studying only the Old Testament. Jewish people identify with different religious groups, writings, teaching and theology from a multitude of sources. The Jewish religious calendar and festivals, attitudes toward Jesus, traditions, concepts of family, and varying concerns comprise a multi-faceted Jewish milieu.

    What Jewish people believe can cover an encyclopedia’s worth of information. We will present a basic overview of the highlights to help Christians better understand Jewish beliefs.

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  • Reconstructionism

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    A Diversity of Belief Systems

    One cannot understand Jewish people today by studying only the Old Testament. Jewish people identify with different religious groups, writings, teaching and theology from a multitude of sources. The Jewish religious calendar and festivals, attitudes toward Jesus, traditions, concepts of family, and varying concerns comprise a multi-faceted Jewish milieu.

    What Jewish people believe can cover an encyclopedia’s worth of information. We will present a basic overview of the highlights to help Christians better understand Jewish beliefs.

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  • Jewish Humor

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    the Tradition of Jewish Humor

    Jewish humor has a long tradition in Judaism dating back to the Torah and the Midrash from the ancient mid-east. Today it refers to the more recent stream of verbal, self-deprecating and often anecdotal humor originating in Eastern Europe and which took root in the United States over the last hundred years. Beginning with vaudeville, and continuing through radio, stand-up comedy, film, and television, a disproportionately high percentage of American and Russian comedians have been Jewish.

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