Judaism is one of the old religions from which religions like Christianity emerged from. Between 1900-1700 BCE, it was Abraham, widely known as a man of faith, who made covenant with God thus turning out to be a patriarch. Similarly, Moses is strongly linked with the advent of Judaism following his call to deliver Israelites of Egypt. So in the process, people developed knowledge and faith in one superior God. Judaism is mainly based in the Near East. In 70A.D, the Jerusalem church was demolished thus leading to the spreading of the Jews and their Judaism religion in various regions within the East. Tracing it from Biblical times, Judaism was considered to comprise of twelve tribes. These were Benjamin, Reuben, Dan, Naftali, Manasseh, Simeon, Issachar, Gad, Judah, Ephraim, Zebulun and Asher. Similarly, the term Jew was derived from Judah's kingdom comprising Judah's and Benjamin's tribes.
This paper will discuss Judaism religion in considering its beliefs, practices, sects, challenges, influences, people and languages. The findings will then be compared with Muslim religion. It will achieve this through intensive and extensive research in both primary and secondary data sources.
Having created the rapport needed with Deacon Kenneth Peterson, my interviewee, the interview basically covered the following: What are the important holidays and traditions of this religion? How has religion shaped your life? What challenges commonly experienced in Judaism? What can you say on different types of Jewish people? How often do you worship? What are the recognized rituals you practice in Judaism? What are some of dietary restrictions in Judaism? Is there a preferred language of your religion? What is the purpose of a bar mitzvah? Did you have a bar mitzvah? Tell me some of the prejudices attributed to your Jewish religion? What are some of most misconceptions about Judaism?
According to Brill (2011), Judaism religion is considered as monotheistic. This is because it recognizes the worship of only one God. In return, people in this faith are expected to obey the Ten Commandments given to Moses during their exodus from captives. This is just the same as Muslims who believe in Worshipping of one God. According to Brill (2011), the Jewish perceive God as loving, majestic and passionately willing to intervene in divine power whenever there is a need. The Jewish, in their Judaism faith, believes in Tanakh, also known as the Hebrew's bible: the Old Testament which has the history of the Jewish, creation, patriarchs and matriarchs. It is also faithfully and ethically accepted that the Ten Commandments outlined in this divine book through Moses are God's ideas (Brill 2011). In addition, the Jewish believe in other scriptures like Torah, Gemara, Talmud, Nevi'im, Mishnah's and Ketuvim which is like a collection of historical and sociological information (Brill 2011). In comparison with Muslim religion, they also believe in one God to be worshipped and God's prophets.
There are some major beliefs in Judaism. To begin with, the Jewish believe that just as it was introduced through Abraham and Moses' experience with God, there is one God to be worshipped and every believer has personal relationship with him (Orthodox Judaism, 1962). Secondly, God is perceived as their exclusive authority and that life is a holy gift from Him. Thirdly, the Torah, revealed through Moses, forms their ultimate guide to proper living with strong preference given to community worships (Conservative Judaism, 1962). Similarly, Muslims believe in Mohamed as the originator of the religion and recognizes Taurat which contains some of the Moses' laws.
On the other hand, Judaism is found to exist in three main sects. These are Orthodox, Reform and Conservative Judaism (Brill 2011). In orthodox tradition, the historic faith is founded upon the old customs. In this regard, most of their way of life is dominated with traditional practices which are recognized as the ultimate will of God and are never argued nor revised. Therefore it implies that this tradition of Judaism does not tolerate social changes as part of life. In Reform Judaism, perceived to emerge in the 19th century, just came to modernize the faith of original Judaism. As much as it embraces traditional Jewish facts and teachings, it also considers the modern ways of life. In this sense, it does not strictly stick to the regular rituals as practiced by other sects of this religion (Brill 2011). In so doing, it balances both the traditional Judaism and modern social facts. However, due to dissatisfaction arising from both the Orthodox and Reform Judaism, there came into existence the Conservative Judaism (Brill 2011). In this sect, the Jews believe strongly in the traditional Jews practices as well as allow the incorporation of social realities in faith. In Muslim, the various sects may be perceived as approaches. Here, the main sects are Sunnis, Sufism, Ahmadiyya and Shi'a.
According to Brill (2011) , some of the most recognized holy days identified in Judaism are generally Sabbath, Passover, Sukkot (Festival of Light), Lag B'Omer (After Passover), Shavout, Tishah B'Av , Simchat Torah (Rejoice on Torah), Hanukah, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust day), Yom HaZikaron (Israeli remembrance day), Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence day), Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Days of Awe). Similarly, Muslims also have some celebration holidays like Ramadhan, Eid-ul fitr, Dhul hajj and Mawlid- al Nabi with a common similarity with Judaism coming in the celebration of the religion's New Year. Unlike in Muslim religion, no Jewish is expected to work during such festivals. These holy holidays, just like in Muslim religion, normally help them to remember and practice their traditions, feel that they are part of the sacred community and remember some of the important events in the Judaism religion (Brill 2011).
Basically, the Jews people fall in two major types, which are Ashkenazim and Germanics (Conservative Judaism, 1962). However due to conversion into this Judaism religion, various types of Jews' people are currently existing in different regions thus bringing different types of smaller types of people which include but not limited to Indian Jews, Romaniotes, Teimanin, Oman, African Jews and Kaifeng Jews among others (Brill, 2011). Similarly, Islam has spread to various people within Asia, Europe, Africa, America and Germany among others. Due to such diverse types of people in Judaism faith, there had been evolution of languages depending on the location. In this respect, the two widely developed languages in Judaism were Yiddish and Ladino. However, languages like Judaeo-Malayalan, Judaeo-Arabic, gruzinic, Krymchak and Judaeo-barber are almost extinct in use. Nowadays Judaism generally embraces the use of English, Hebrews, Russian, French and Spanish languages. This fact still holds in Islam.
One of the ceremonies in Judaism is bar Mitzvah. During this religious ceremony, a Jewish is recognized as a grown up and fully responsible for any decisions and actions. It is expected that this ceremony reinforces the Jewish belief in their religion. In the old times, it was just a ceremony. However, in the modern Jewish, bar Mitzvah is followed by a celebration of its kind depending of the Judaism sect, during which various gifts are given to the bar Mitzvah. As a matter of fact, the compulsory Bar mitzvah in Judaism has some general practices regardless of the sect. According to Orthodox Judaism (1962), a bar Mitzvah should lead specific service or prayers during either the Sabbath or weekday religious services. Secondly, he is supposed to read and traditionally chant the weekly potion of Torah and Haftarah during either the Sabbath or the normal weekly services. He is also expected to read the Torah and Haftarah as well as provide speech about them. Finally he would conduct charity project which would enable him collect donations from various believers for purposes of affording his chosen material (Conservative Judaism, 1962).