Reflecting back on this semester I can truly say that I have enjoyed coming to class every day. At the start of the semester, I wasn’t too sure if I would be interested in this class religion is not a topic I think about every day. Once we had started with covered information my interest started to grow.
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Every day we would uncover a different aspect in a religion. Conversations we had in the class had me questioning my perspective on the world. I now have a more open mind about religion. The study of religion I chose for my project is Judaism. Fun fact, there are about fourteen million people who study this religion in the world. Judaism was started in the Middle East by Abraham, who was given the name father of the Jewish. He has about sacrificed his only son Jacob to god and in reward, God said his descendants would be protected as long as they continued to show faith in him and live a life that was healthy. Moses was a savior to the descendants. Following the guidelines, God had sent him, he took the people out of Egypt, where they were enslaved and brought them to the promised land Canaan. Today this is known as Israel is the birthplace of Judaism and Jews. Abraham teachings were that there is a belief in one God (monotheism). By Abraham taught his belief, many worshiped multiple gods. Teaching in the people that God wants all people to have forgiveness.
There is no set of formal beliefs in Judaism, they believe in more of actions over than beliefs. A sacred text called a Tanak that holds: written pieces back from 100 BCE, poems and Nevi’im (prophets) find in the Torah. However, they must follow God’s laws which govern daily life live by the words founded in the Torah. The word Torah law or teaching is the first five chapters of a Hebrew Bible. Different denominations of Judaism have different views on the Torah. One branch Orthodox Jews believe to obey the Torah every day without any question. Conservative/Reform Jews believed the practice should be reconstrued to today’s modern life. Reform Jews also allow everyone to sit together, men and women, and both Hebrew and the local language are spoken in services. One important holiday in Judaism is Passover. This is a time where a celebration is taken to place to remind Jew they have left slavery when Moses lead them out of Egypt. Another holiday is Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Jewish New Year is celebrated over two days. The most sacred day is Yom Kippur in the Jewish c community. A ten-day period is happening between the end of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in this time period you’re asking God for forgiveness of sins. There is a fasting that has taken place for twenty-four hours. Last holiday on the list is Chanukah or Hanukkah (festival of lights) is eight days of lighting a menorah a symbol of god’s peace. Remembering a victory over the armies in Syria to restore a temple in Jerusalem. Before this assignment, the only other time I have stepped into a temple was for a Bat and Bar Mitzvah. This sacred ritual is when a young girl turning the age of twelve and boy age are entering adulthood going through the lessons taught in the Torah. Where they are reading a section of the Torah and prophets during a service for the first time. This time I wasn’t going for that reason. However, when I was attending the service a girl was receiving her Bat Mitzvah. I thought it was interesting on how well she knew her Torah section. Each of her family member who was there got up and read a prayer for the little girl. There are different kinds of services depending on the denomination you practice. Shabbat is a common service that is observed by any denomination. This is a weekly holiday that is in celebration throughout the whole year. It’s a day of worship the god to take time on past week has brought us. No work is performed and refraining from technology, so not acceptable so many Jews will walk to and from the temple. Thanking God for all he has granted us each day is a day of rest services are usually held on Friday night or Sunday.
I attended a Saturday Shabbat at Temple Emanu-El in Closter, New Jersey a Conservative synagogue. Shabbat is not only a worship that is done in a temple but can be worshiped in our own home. A prayer from the Torah and is followed by a feast. The rabbi started off the service with the greeting Shabbat Shalom translate to the phrase welcome as in hello or saying good day goodbye. Then the serviced was started off with a prayer. Inside a temple, there are lots of prayers and stories from the Torah are discussed on this day. Any other information a rabbi wants to share with the congregation. A Rabbi in Christianity is like the pastor, he leads the service. He announced when to stand, when to be sited, and when to bow, which was very helpful to me. Another person who leads in prayer is a cantor, during prayers you will only hear his voice. While the rest of us will follow along and say the prayer for ourselves quietly. There is a moment of silence to reflect on the week that has to happen then interrupted with another prayer. Inside a temple, Men wear a Yarmulkes or head coverings as a sign of respect to God. If this object falls, it’s a sign of disrespect and men will kiss it before placing back on the head. Young teens, men and some women will wear a Talliltot also known as a prayer shall. I noticed the Star of David (Jewish Star) is a big symbol in Judaism. This figured symbolizes God oversees everything in all of all six directions. I got the opportunity to talk to Rabbi David Seth Kirshner. In our discussion, I find out the Rabbi wishes the bible and the Torah was more modernized. There is valid information that the passages mean, but it does not pertain to today’s society.
In Judaism, there are certain religious customs that affect daily lives. A major fact that impacts life is that most Jews are kosher. Meaning they do not eat any type of meat and if they chose to do so it has to be cooked and killed in a special way. Strictly eating kosher makes it a changeling, when they go to a lot of choices, are of limited. The faith, Judaism teaches that only one God is worship. He gives us free will to choose what we do with our lives. The rabbi also shared with me that Judaism teaches that a true human has both good and bad traits. No matter who you are but if you obey God’s followings, he will see the best in each person. Their view of the nature of the world is the same way people are looking at. The world is getting into bad situations and good, but God will see the good in both situations. Once our time is up here on the earth Judaism believes in moving on to the higher place. The rabbi didn’t call this heaven, he refers to it as the afterlife, but I believe that was what he was referring to. He did say everyone does have a chance to go to this afterlife, but their fate is in their own hands. When one has exited the world, Jews have about a weeklong mourning period called Shiva honoring and me. Listening to the rabbi speak, I see how similar the religions, Christianity the faith I practice and Judaism.
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