What does a Jew Believe in?

Core Jewish Beliefs
Judaism originated in Israel around 4000 years ago. Both Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Islam, draw on Judaism.

Judaism does not have set doctrines or creeds, but is a religion that follows Torah, guidance from God found especially in Scripture. Jews live in a Covenant with God, not for their own sake but for the sake of the whole world.

The great Jewish scholar Hillel (70 BCE-CE 10) was asked to summarize the essence of Judaism. He put it like this:

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: this is the whole of Jewish Law; the rest is mere commentary"

God and the Messiah
Jews believe there is only one God. God created the universe, and continues to keep it going. God has always existed, and always will. God cannot be seen or touched.

God can however, be known through worship, and one can get closer to God through study and through mystical practices. God chose the Jewish people as his own special people, to be an example to all human beings.

God gave Torah to the Jews as a guide to the obedient and holy life he wanted them to live.

"The Messiah", who is a person specially anointed by God (i.e. specially commissioned), will one day come to the world. The arrival of the Messiah will bring an era of peace

Listen here: Questions of Faith
Find out What Jews believe about the nature of God, human suffering, redemption, and God's purpose for non-Jews. This program was first broadcast in 1991.

Torah and Talmud
The Torah and the Talmud are the word of God. Studying the Torah and the Talmud is an essential part of getting close to God. Jews accept and obey the Torah, not for their own advantage, but to do what God has ordered and to be his people. They do this for the sake of the whole world.

Listen here: Living by the Book
Jews believe that God chose the Jews for a special task and that they willingly accepted it. What are their special tasks, laws and practices, and what spiritual significance do they have? This programme was first broadcast in 1991.

  Jews believe:
  • Humans are made in the image of God
  • Human beings should try to seek holiness in every part and activity of life
  • Jews believe that obeying the "law" is doing God's will, and showing respect and love for God
  • This is why observant Jews will follow certain practices without needing any extra-religious reason to obey the rules. An example of this would be obedience to Jewish dietary laws.

All Jews have a strong attachment to Israel, the land God promised to Abraham and to the holy city of Jerusalem.

Listen here: Patterns of Worship
How the cycle of Festivals and the patterns of worship that make up Jewish religious observance bring the Jewish people into relationship with the divine. This program was first broadcast in 1991.

From the website of the British BBC. Copyright British Broadcasting Company

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