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5 Facts About Judaism
Posted In: Religion Articles  2/27/09
By: Yona Williams

With a history that traces back around 1300 BC, Judaism is the religion of the Hebrews, which progressively thrived after the destruction of the Second Temple (that took place in 70 AD) More than 14 million people follow the Judaic faith, believing in One God (Yahweh). Adherents strive to obey God's commandments and live an ethical life. In this article, you will learn  

1) The weekly day of rest that lasts shortly before the sun sets on Friday night to a little after the sun sets on Saturday night is meant to commemorate the day of rest that God had after six days of creation. Tradition sees the woman of a household welcoming the Shabbat at sundown with a lighting of two or more candles. A blessing is also recited. An evening meal is served with another blessing recited aloud over a cup of wine with a recited blessing over the bread following. Custom sees challah on the table, which are two braided loaves of bread. Certain activities are forbidden on the Sabbath. They may include using money, writing, and lighting a fire.

2) During the weeklong celebration called Passover, the eating of bread is replaced with matzo – a flatbread with a cracker-like consistency that is comprised of white plain flour and water.

3) Rosh Hashanah translates into the "Day of Remembrance," which is recognized as the Jewish New Year. The holiday signifies the start of the 10-day period of atonement that leads up to Yom Kippur. During this time, Jews make amends for the sins they have committed – regardless if they were on purpose or not. Some of the traditions associated with this holiday include the blowing of the ram's horn, eating honey and apples, as well as reciting blessings over symbolic foods – like the pomegranate.

4) One of the oldest cities in the world is also the holiest city for those of the Judaic faith. The history of Jerusalem is one that is traced back to the 4th millennium BCE. Since the 10th century BCE, the city has served as the spiritual heartbeat of the Jewish people. There is also a great deal of ancient Christian sites of interest, as well as a rather holy city for Muslims.

5) In the traditional sense, marriage is looked upon as the 'ideal state of personal existence.' A man or woman that does not marry their counterpart is often seen as 'incomplete' in the eyes of traditional Jews. When a Jewish wedding does take place, a wedding canopy known as a chuppah has become a traditional feature of this joyous occasion. Usually, a cloth or sheet is stretched across four poles and held or carried by ceremony attendants. The canopy represents the home that a couple will soon build together.


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