Intro to Judaism- 2 09/16/2013
Observe the mitzvah (mitzvot)—positive, negative
Time bound (shaking the lulav), Not time bound (tzedakah—charity)
Jewish law and practice are very gendered
Standards: women are normally not required to observe positive time-bound
If you have a bunch of kids running around, it doesn’t really make sense to have to run
to synagogue day and night.
Who is a Jew/why we study Judaism
Key terms and concepts
Object of study
Jewish identities: legal, religious belief/adherence, cultural, political/national
Biblical period and Temple-based Israelite religion vs. rabbinic Judaism
Sacred history vs. academic study of history
Sacred history starts at creation, and ends at the end of time
god is active during this history
Torah talks about the time between creation and Rabbinic Talking about the growth of the nation: success and failure, god’s expectations, etc.
Names for Jews (Segal book).
Hebrew (biblical: Abraham, esp. era of Patriarchs until conquest of Promised
Land/entrance into Promised Land)
Israelites (Bible: Jacob, Northern tribes, most common Jewish term)
Jews (Bible: Judah son of Jacob, Southern Judean tribe that survived Babylonian
captivity, Roman, Persian, Greek and common modern term, modern Hebrew: Yehudit-
Semites (Bible: middle-easterners are Shemites, Modern: language family, anti-
Semitism as a word used only since 1879)
Differences between the Temple and Synagogues
Priests vs. Rabbis
…of Jewish identity
you can tell if a Jewish man is a Jewish man by dropping his pants (Holocaust).
Lineage: son of Abraham, daughter of Sarah Born of a Jewish mother… what happens with converts
Hebrew name—become daughter of Sarah (instead of the Hebrew name of actual
mother—because she’s not Jewish).
…of the Jewish people
arises in contact with other religious groups
ethnicity—people who share a history, come from the same area, share culture.
Not something you can convert to
This gets complicated—you can convert to Judaism
Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews
Christian control/Back and forth between Muslim and Christian control
Ashkenazic: highly influenced by Polish, Russian, German culture
Not only ethnically different, also hallakhically different (esp. food).
the Chosen People
family Jewish identity?
Defined by who?
Changing definition over time
How have Jews historically denoted their identity?
Social, ethnic, political vs. beliefs and values
Meaning of identity changes
No way to impose modern views of identity on the Hebrew Bible (different reality)
“A worldview, a way of