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My Jewish World View

Debbie Young-Somers's picture

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My Jewish World View

Judaism is a religion which traces its’ roots to the ancient Middle East, and which has developed and grown for millennia. Judaism as we know it today doesn’t necessarily look like the Judaism of 2000 years ago, let alone 3000 years ago, but it has its’ roots in all that has come before it.


Not all Jews subscribe to the religious views of Judaism, but would still call themselves Jews, because being Jewish is also about being part of a community and a sense of people with a common history.  There are also different communities within Judaism and I’m going to generally outline some of their defining points, but don’t forget, there are also Humanist Jews and even Bu-Jews (Buddhist Jews!)


This is an over simplification, but I am going to talk about Progressive Judaism and Orthodox Judaism, though neither of these contains just one group with one way of thinking. Before the enlightenment there would have also been different groups of Jews, but they were differentiated by where they lived. The enlightenment and emancipation of the Jews in Europe led to Reform movements developing, and then you can begin to talk about ‘orthodox’ and ‘progressive’ Jews. Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah was given to Moses at Mount Sinai and that the Torah is therefore God’s words. They also believe the ‘oral’ law (later texts) to be God’s words, although there is a difference in authority between the two. Progressive Jews generally believe that while the Torah contains great truths and perhaps divine inspiration, it is a human document created by our ancestors and therefore has human error. The way that these groups understand law is central to their worldview, and affects how they interact and engage with the modern world and the challenges it poses.


However, generally Judaism places great emphasis, whatever movement one is in, on social justice, ethical living, and creating the best world possible for all. Community is incredibly important to many, and culture is a big part of this, but Jews will all feel differently about these issues.

The best way I can sum up Judaism is an old saying: if you have 3 Jews, you’ll have 5 opinions!

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A nice short review

For people who are intrested in the basic terms and defenition of Judaism. If I may add another stream of Judaism there is a small group which is called "Karaite Judaism" or Karaism - This group consist of jews who only believe in the written bible and not on other writings or the oral law. Judaica

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