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Judaism Report

27 Feb 2017Other Essays

Introduction of the Religion

If we talk about Judaism, we come to remember the different struggles of the Jewish people that were written in the bible. History would tell us that subsequent to their freedom from Egyptian captivity through the leadership of Moses, the Jewish people roamed around the wilderness for a period of 40 years prior to their entrance to the Promised Land. These people may have encountered different enemies, but they were able to keep a unified state focused in Jerusalem (Wenner, 2001, p. 1). However, this state did not last for so long as invaders came, thereby suppressing the Jewish religion. But, the rebellious tactics led by Judas Maccabaeus was successful leading to the independence of the Jewish state (Wenner, 2001, p. 1).

The Diaspora happened wherein Jewish people migrated to the Mediterranean countries as well some areas in Southwest Asia due to another groups of invaders. Until such time that some of the Jewish people survived the Holocaust, they were able to seek refuge in the United States. In the year 1948, independence was granted to the state of Israel (Wenner, 2001, p. 1). As such, the Jewish people continued to exist and enriched their race, religion and culture. The strength of Judaism proved to be evident even up to the present.

Judaism is a monotheistic religion, the belief of which expounded that the world was made by a lone, all-powerful divinity, and that everything in this world were moulded to have meaning and purpose as part of a divine order (Wenner, 2001, p. 1). In other words, the Jewish people believed in the existence of one God who is all-knowing. The teachings of Judaism mentioned that the will of God for human behaviour was shown to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai (Wenner, 2001, p. 1). The Ten Commandments played a very important role in Judaism as it was believed to be given as a gift from God to the people.In addition to that, there are five basic beliefs and guiding principles that the religion Judaism had shown and these are 13 Articles of Faith, God, The Messiah and Human Nature. The 13 Articles of Faith serves as a summary of core and basic Jewish beliefs (“Jewish Beliefs”). For the Jews, the ultimate truth is that there is a single all-knowing God. With respect to their belief of the Messiah, the Jews also take part of the hope that there will be a future hero who will rescue the righteous people, judge the wicked, and bring peace for the world to savour (“Jewish Beliefs”). They also believed that God formed man having two yods or two impulses of man, the yetzer tov and the yetzer ra (“Jewish Beliefs”).

There are three branches of Judaism which signifies the lifestyle and beliefs of the Jews. These branches of the said religion are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform (Wenner, 2001, p. 1). The Orthodox branch is composed of the traditionalists who practiced almost all of the traditional food and ritual laws of Judaism (Wenner, 2001, p. 1). The Conservative branch do not support the relevance of a Jewish political state, but place more importance on the historic and religious elements of Judaism (Wenner, 2001, p. 1). In doctrinal setting, the Conservative branch is positioned somewhere between Orthodox and Reform. The Reform branch, on the other hand is the liberal clout of Judaism which is culture and race oriented with poor agreement on doctrinal or spiritual conviction (Wenner, 2001, p. 1). But despite the presence of these branches, Judaism is still considered as one of the most influential religious belief on earth.

Name, Location and Review of the Site

New York is one of the places wherein the Jews seek refuge with during the time which they experienced myriad trials and persecutions. It is not denied that many of the Jews living in that state still practice Judaism as a religion. In order to present a valuable and informative interview, the said activity was done in the lower east side area of South Bronyx, New York City. Throughout the time of mass Jewish immigration to America the Lower East Side presented warmth, jobs, commerce and political contacts, asset possibilities, schools and settlement houses (Brown, 2008, p. 1. Every one aided the Jewish settler to incorporate and to obtain necessary skills; he could then assist his newly-adopted state to develop and flourish (Brown, 2008, p. 1).

Interview Summary

The interview of one of the Jewish people who lived in lower east side area in South Bronyx, New York is very successful and informative. The practice of Judaism as a religion proved to be interesting and influential despite its difference with other well-known religions. The gist of the interview falls on the basic statement of faith of Judaism which served as a creed for the Jews. The interviewee is a father of three children and is already 50 years old. He and his wife remained in Bronyx, New York of which their parents first settled when Jewish mass immigration to America during and after the World War II arose. Since their three children are already married and settled in the nearby areas, he managed to proper in the business which he participated and lived within his means. The practice of Judaism was his main concern that was also passed to his children. He was chosen to correspond with the interview since he was known to be a devoted Jewish who practiced Judaism religiously no matter what.

When the interviewer asked the fifty-year old Jewish father about the belief of God, it answered that there is only one Creator that will make all things and serve as the guide of everything. There is one interesting message that the interviewee mentioned which is about the belief that there is a single God and no other. Meaning, the belief of other image of God or idolatry is false. The interviewee is trying to say that paying homage and worshipping to other images of God is not the proper in Judaism.

The interviewee was asked on the form of God and to its image and the answer is that God has not any form whatsoever and that it is not a body. The interviewer also said that God is the first and the last when asked about the over-power of the same being. The existence of God is also free from all forms of destruction and it cannot be corrupted by any means. A question on the allowance of praying to other images of God like saints and paying homage to religious leaders, the interviewee mentioned that it is not proper to pray to any other being except God. Prayer is vital to the Jews as it gives them strength to their belief in the religion. It was giving testimony to the statement of faith that it is proper and right to say prayers to God. Prayers are also the building links from a Jewish to God who practices Judaism in this earth. Since the interview is serious, spiritual matters are being emphasized by the interviewee who testified that Judaism is a religion that God is not in unity into any other beings.

The interviewer also asked about the beliefs of the Jews on the messages of prophets. The interviewee mentioned that his faith is perfect that the labours of the prophets in the vineyard are true and it is for the benefit of men and in the service of God. The interviewee even mentioned that Moses is the chief of all prophets both of those who served prior and after him, and that his endeavours are true and valuable for mankind.

The Ten Commandments was believed to be the only law given by God to the Jews as a gift and it can never be changed. The interviewee reiterated the same belief of Judaism that the Mosaic Law will be considered as the only laws for the people to follow. It was also emphasized by the interviewee that God is aware of all the thoughts and feelings of every man and that he knows the intent of their hearts. The will of God is inculcated in the hearts of the people and the latter obeys to his commandments. It can be observed that Judaism practice more closeness to God and tried hard to keep the sanctity of the Ten Commandments.

The practice of Judaism is also imbued with the need to do good deeds. The interviewee explained that if a person performs righteous acts and remain faithful in following the commandments of God, he could be given reward as a result of those righteous actions. The concept of punishment is also injected by the interviewee explaining that God punishes those people who try to disobey his commandments. Transgressions or sins are being accounted to the person who committed said wrongdoings and must be responsible of the same. In addition, the Jews also believed of the Messiah who will be responsible for facilitating the judgment against the wicked and justice for the righteous. Every Jew promised that the waiting of the Messiah could be long but it could be done. Waiting for the coming of the Messiah is a hope for the interviewee and he is willing to do so. Lastly, the interviewee who practiced Judaism also believed in the teaching that there will be resurrection of those who died during the projected time that pleases God. This belief was promised to the Jews such that they continue living righteously on earth and continuously chose to do good things despite the persecution and trials that they encountered and will encounter in the future.

Comparing and Contrasting with another Religion

Christianity and Judaism are both monotheistic since these religions only believed in one God. The two religions also happened and developed historically in Jerusalem were the ancient Jews lived and where Jesus Christ also dwells so long time ago. Essentially, there are no official doctrinal writings and requirement of membership in Judaism while Christians’ membership is tracked from time to time in its official list of members. In Christianity, a person is not considered Christian if it did not embrace all the teachings of the religion, whereas people are considered a Jew despite the fact that it only followed a portion of the statement of beliefs in Judaism. A person is also considered a Jew even if it does not believe in all the Ten Commandments’ rules.

Being righteous is the basic and primary way of observing the religion of Judaism. Compared to Christianity, there are other requirements other than being good and righteous in the society. One notable difference of the two religions is that for Judaism, it is commonly described as a culture or racial identification rather than a religion while Christianity pertains directly to a person who believes in Jesus Christ. Thus, there are many people who are considered Jews but do not practice Judaism as a religion. In other words, while Christians are purely followers of Christ, not all Jews practice Judaism or have interest with the religion. Hence, Christians are stricter of their religion in terms of attendance, membership and adherence to the religion compared to Judaism that does not require its followers to fully practice the faith. There is much more freedom in Judaism compared to Christianity as spiritual beliefs and exercises.

The belief of fulfilling God’s commandments is common to both Judaism and Christianity as religions (“Judaism vs. Christianity”). The basis of both faiths is obedience in God and that being righteous means following commandments. Given that the completion of God’s will is a responsibility of a Jewish or Christian individual, both religions fall into the rule-deontological type (“Judaism vs. Christianity”). Hence, obeying God’s holy laws is the unique similarity of Christianity and Judaism.

In Judaism, God and the Jewish people maintained a spiritual agreement that there should be obedience of the will of God in order to maintain the status of the people as chosen individuals. There is a corresponding reward and punishment that God will give to the people of which he only knows based on the requirement of obedience. Besides, the Ten Commandments are also followed because it has high moral standard aside from the fact that the Jews are loyal to God. It could be noticed that all the rules in the Ten Commandments like avoiding murder and stealing are associated with high moral characteristics. On the other hand, the practice of Christianity has emphasis on the love of God as a reason of obeying him and not on loyalty and moral sense. Love of God is very strong in the Christian such that accepting him as part of one’s life and being a member to the religious group is essential to show that love. The manifestation of being a Christian is the fact that God loves the people in return and that he was merciful to his people (“Judaism vs. Christianity”). There is also a requirement for Christians to love all people and forgive the shortcomings of other people.

Moreover, Judaism is not concerned with the listing of its members or the requirement of membership while Christianity always considers the increase of its followers as a successful indoctrination of the people. Thus, Christianity as a religion is more organized compared to Judaism.

Conclusion

Judaism and Christianity are both famous as religious beliefs. While Christianity can be considered as more organized than Judaism, there is a corresponding reason why it happened. Judaism is more associated with culture and race and the Jews who do not completely follow the tradition of the religion are still considered as part of Judaism. On the other hand, Christianity cannot be associated with race or culture as it was identified purely on the belief of Jesus Christ.

In addition, both religions believe in being righteous and obedience to the holy laws of God. Both religions also acknowledge that God will punish the wicked and reward the righteous people. While Jesus Christ was considered as the Saviour of the whole world, the Messiah is also the hero of the Jews as it is a future figure that will judge the wicked and reward the righteous ones. The basis of the faith of the people who practiced Judaism is loyalty to God while for Christians, obedience to God is founded on love and reverence to him. Although mercy is taught in both religions, it is in Christianity that it was emphasized that the concept of forgiving one’s enemies is deeply instilled as a teaching. Finally, there may be differences of both religions but the truth that both influences so may people remains intact.

References

  • 123 Help Me Website. (2007). Judaism vs. Christianity. Retrieved October 27, 2008, from http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=32783.
  • Brown, J. M. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. (2008). From The Shtetl to the Tenement: The East European Jews and America, A Social History 1850-1925. Retrieved October 27, 2008,
  • Religion Facts. (2008). Jewish Beliefs. 
  • Wenner, S. MNSU. (2001). History of Judaism.
  • Wenner, S. MNSU. (2001). History of Judaism. Retrieved October 27, 2008.

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