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RLGA02H3 (39)
Chapter 3

RELIGION: Chapter 3 txtbook notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Perley

Chapter 3 Jewish Traditions A Ritual InitiationBar Mitzvah Son of Commandments title given to a 13 year old boy when he is initiated into adult ritual responsibilitiesSaturday for Jews is day of rest called Sabbath o Day for prayer and public assembly in the synagogue Jewish house for worship and community meetingAt Bar Mitzvah teenager reads 2 selections in Hebrew bible Pentateuch 5 books of Moses first part of bible and the ProphetsIdea that adulthood begins at 13 based on ancient concept of legal majority nothing to do with attaining adult status in modern world o Ceremony signifies age of ritual and moral responsibility Young persons presence may be counted towards the minyan The quorum of ten necessary to begin and group prayer and may to called to re aloud from the sacred scripture and recite the blessings that are part of every synagogue serviceScripture from which Bar Mitzvah reads in public for first time is the Torah o Torah can include both entire Hebrew bible and all commentaries in it but here refers to 5 books of Moses o Torah in synagogues is written in ancient Hebrew transcribed by hand onto a scrollo To read candidates had to learn ancient script and how to chant itBlessings recited by teenager express values of community Bar gives thanks for scripture that served as guide to people of IsraelCongregation notes Jews have only one difference Have been given special responsibility of studying and keeping TorahComingof age may differ in each congregation o Some conduct service in their local language o May insist candidate prepare by studying Hebrew and learning traditional chants o May include essay writing social action and good works o May offer similar ceremonies to femalesFamily holds luncheon or dinner after Bar Mitzvah o May be as fancy as a wedding receptionLate eighteenth century Jews achieved legal rights gain an affluence and take part in the intellectual life of European societies Defining JudaismJudaism the smallest out of three traditions Christianity and IslamTradition is more commonly inherited than chosen Judaism considered ethnic religionMany Jews say yes to ethnic identity but no to religiono See themselves as members of the community food artistic traditions etcJews number just under 14 million worldwide o Half in Israel World population of Jews in early twentyfirst century is almost onethird smaller than it was in 1939 o 1945 roughly 6 million European Jews had been put to death by the Nazis Known as the HolocaustHalf of all Jews are unaffiliated with any synagogueIn USA and Canada three major groupings Reform Conservative and OrthodoxJew believe that God expects all human beings to follow same fundamental moral code revealed in a covenant given to Noah after primeval flood and is accessible to the entire human race though reasonJew understand themselves to be bound by subsequent covenant delivered through the prophet Moses at Mount Sinai o God took Israelite people out of Egypt and claimed them as his people o Responded that the Lord would be their god o Promise was confirmed at Mount Sinai where Hebrews were commanded to follow a number of special rules that set them apart from othersJews think of themselves as Gods people Think they have been saved from slavery and elected to fulfill a special responsibility to serve as Gods priests in the world Origins The Biblical PeriodLiberal wing of Judaism accepts modern historical principles and reserves the right to question the historical accuracy of the biblical text Distinguishing between myth legend and historyEarliest known references to Israel in secular historical records date from thirteenth century BCE Creation in GenesisFirst 11 chapters describe the primeval history of the universeIn chapter 1 God creates heaven and earthBefore creation everything was chaotic and primal waters covered the earthGod dived light from the darkness and created different things on each of the first six days o Creation of humanity female and malesSeventh day God rested setting pattern of a weekly Sabbath Text describes the order of time as proceeding from evening to morning Jews celebrate the Sabbath starting at sundown on Friday night and ending at sundown on SaturdayChapter 2 God causes a mist to rise from the ground out of which vegetation sproutsCreates the primal man Adam and plants a garden in Eden where he places the man before creating the animals and the woman EveModern biblical scholars take a different view of these textual inconsistencies o See them as clues to the composition of the text
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