There is one Universal God, he has revealed himself through the Prophets (Abraham & Moses) and God has chosen them to be his people. God has given the Torah to the Jews as a means of showing in practice what an obedient and holy life is like.
Jews look forward to God’s Kingdom being established on earth, which has traditionally been connected with the coming of the Messiah.
Obeying the law – Torah is doing God’s will and showing respect and love for God. The interpretation and application of what is required is found in the Talmud which is organised into two parts and is an integral part of the life and beliefs of Jews:
The Mishnah comprising 6 Sedarim or orders:
Zera’im – contains prayers and agricultural laws
Mo’ed – Matters concerned with
Shabbat and festivals
Nashim – Marital and divorce laws
Nezikin – Civil and criminal law
Kodashim – Laws of sacrifice and
Tohorot – Laws on personal and
The Gemara comments on and discusses the Mishnah.
Legal material in the Talmud is known as Halakhah, whilst non-legal material is called Aggadah. The study of the Torah and Talmud is an essential part of getting closer to God.
OTHER TRADITIONS OF JUDAISM
All male Jewish babies are circumcised (rites of passage) which signifies the covenant between God and the Jewish people and was first undertaken by Abraham.
At the age of 13 Jewish boys have a Barmitzvah which is a ceremony in which the boy becomes a full member of the community. In modern times this has been paralleled with a Batmitzvah for the girls (though this is not traditional and is not a requirement).
To remind Jews of the importance of the Torah, Jewish homes have on their doorframes (normally the front door) a Mezuzah – a parchment scroll in a small box which contains the first paragraphs of the Shema (basic prayer of Jewish belief).
Jews have strict dietary requirements as to what types of foods are kosher (permitted).
The thirteen articles of faith (additional information to be added soon).