September 2, 2012
Judaism is one of the oldest religions in existence and has been around even longer than Christianity although Christianity is considered as a branch of from Judaism after Jesus' death and the resurrection Christians believe in. There are some similarities between the two, but there are also many interesting differences. I will be discussing the history of Judaism, reviewing information from a synagogue visit called Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village, CA along with an interview with a member from the synagogue Melanie Fine, and finally looking similarities and differences between Judaism and Christianity. During my research for this paper, along with the assignments in class, I have found Judaism that there was much about Judaism I did not know and many misconceptions I have had. I have learned a lot not only from this assignment but from the class in general.
Judaism is based from many centuries of tradition and does not have an actual leader who makes decisions on how things are to be run nor does anyone decide if there are changes should be made. It is considered both a religious and ethnic group, which can be confusing for people who do not know very much about Judaism. Judaism was named as an ethnicity in the 1980s by the United States Supreme Court so they could be covered in the anti-discrimination laws that would protect them. Over the years the Jewish people have had many challenges and have been persecuted in many different ways. I often feel they are a minority group which has suffered the most and they are still being persecuted today in some countries.
Judaism began in the Middle East; or more specifically it began in Israel, in the nomadic tribes about 3500 years ago. According to the sacred text of the Old Testament, Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son which he was ready and willing to do because he was loyal to God. Although Abraham did not actually have to sacrifice his son, his willingness to do so demonstrated his love and devotion to God. Even though Judaism does not have a founder or leader, this act was the start of Abraham becoming a great leader and the father of the Jewish people. Abraham is known as the first in the line of Judaism to worship God in the Jewish tradition. According to the sacred text, the covenant God made with Abraham God made promises to Abraham which required nothing from him in return. According to scripture, God promised land, to make a great nation from Abraham's decedents, and blessings and redemption.
Judaism is a monotheistic religion, a religion that has the belief there is only one God. Judaism is more a religion of works rather than faith. They believe in following the word of God and His commandments. Those who follow the Jewish religion believe the commandments God gave are required to be followed even today, where Christianity believes they are to use them as a guide but they are not a requirement.