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Introduction

Judaism and the Jewish People


A Torah scroll...



A page from the
Babylonian Talmud...



The Haggadah of Pessach...



Because of the
Second Commandment...

THE JEWISH PEOPLE descend from nomadic tribes in the Middle East. In the 13th century BCE they establish towns and villages in the present-day area of Israel. Jewish kingdoms and states are centered around Jerusalem, the site of the Temple. Judaism, the religion that evolves in this period, demands ethical behavior, individual responsibility, tolerance and social justice.

Jews believe in a single god, prohibit human sacrifice and practice communal worship. Many of the teachings of Judaism enter into Christianity and Islam and influence other religions and cultures. Judaism does not encourage conversions but has always accepted converts from other religions.

In the Diaspora, the two thousand years of Jewish life in dispersion, Judaism develops into many different trends: mystical movements like the Kabbalah that search for hidden meanings and mysteries in the Biblical texts; pietistic movements like Hassidism that hold simple faith and intensity of religious experience higher than scholarship; and rationalistic schools of theology that explain the scriptures by the logic of reason and history. (CONT)
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