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Chapter 3 (Jewish Traditions).docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Perley

RLGA02 CHAPTER 3JEWISH TRADITIONS o Judaism is a historical religion as it was founded more than 3200 years ago at Mount Sinai when a divine revelation was delivered through Moses to the people of Israel o The covenant with God that was sealed at Mount Sinai established a set of moral and ritual obligations that continue to govern Judaism todayA RITUAL INITIATIONo Those obligations are reaffirmed every Saturday in the rituals that mark the coming of age of 13 year oldso The BarBat Mitzvahsondaughter of the commandment title given to a 13 year old when they are initiated into an adult ritual responsibilitiesreflects features that Jews consider most significanto Saturday for Jews is the day of rest called the SabbathThe seventh day of the week observed by Jews since ancient times as a day of rest from ordinary activitywhich is a day for prayer and public assembly in the SynagogueThe local place of assembly for congregational worship which became central to the tradition after the destruction of the Jerusalem Templeo The teenagers read two selections from the Hebrew Bible1 One from Pentateuchthe first five books of the Hebrew Bible ascribed by tradition to Moses but regarded by modern scholars as the product of several centuries of later literacy activitywhich makes up the first section of the Bible 2 One is from the second section called the Prophets The third section is called the Writingso The ceremony signifies the arrival of the age of ritual and moral responsibility and may be counted towards the MinyanThe quorum of ten required for a prayer service in the synagogueand may be called to read aloud from the sacred scripture and recite the blessingso TorahA word meaning teaching or instruction applied most specifically to the Law of Moses but may also refer to the entire scriptureCan include both the entire Hebrew Bible and all the commentaries The Torah that is proclaimed in synagogues is written in ancient Hebrew by hand on a scroll that is treated with respectIn order to read from it the person must have learned both the ancient script in which the text is written and the traditional melodies to which the words are chantedo The congregation at the Bar Mitzvah notes that the only way in which Jews are different from anyone else is that they have been given the special responsibility of studying and keeping the TorahRLGA02 o The coming of age ceremony differ between congregations as some area done in local language rather than in Hebrew some require candidates to learn the Hebrew chants and some allow girls to be called to the Toraho After the ceremony the persons family usually holds a lunch or dinner for relatives and friends which may be simple or grando The ritual used to be simply between the rabbi and the youngster and could be conducted on any day when the Torah is normally read in the synagogue Monday Thursday and Saturday but it is now almost always part of Sabbath service and the whole congregation takes part in itDEFINING JUDAISMo Judaism gave rise to Christianity and Islam and Judaism is the smallest of the 3 but it was them who monotheism originatedo Judaism is often considered an ethnic religion because it is far more commonly inherited than chosen many identify themselves as Jews but dont take part in religious traditions o The population of Jews now is one third less than what it was in 1939 where 6 million were killed because of the HolocaustBurnt offering or burnt sacrifice one of the ancient sacrifices mandated in the Hebrew Bible Recently been applied to the persecution and murder of 6 million European Jews by the Nazis before and during Second World War o In the US and Canada there are three major groupings of Judaism which reflect different ritual practice rather than belief and doctrine whereas in Christianity differences in belief and doctrine used to be the defining issues separating one denomination from anothero The three groups are 1 Reform 2 Conservative 3 Orthodox o The exact divisions depend on the history of Judaism in each specific country o Jews believe that God expects all humans to follow the same fundamental moral code which was revealed in a covenant given to Noaho Hews understand themselves to be bound by a subsequent covenant delivered through prophet Moses at Mount SinaiGod took the Israelite people out of Egypt claiming them as his people and the promise was confirmed at Mount Sinai where the Hebrews Israelites were commanded to follow special rules that set them apart from other peopleo Jews think of themselves as Gods special people they have been save from slavery and elected to fulfill a special responsibility to serve as Gods priests in the world
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