Portal:Judaism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the Judaism Portal!

Star of David.svg

Judaism (from the Greek Ioudaïsmos, derived from the Hebrew יהודה, Yehudah, "Judah") is the religion of the Jewish people, based on the principles and ethics embodied in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), as further explored and explained in the Talmud. Judaism is among the oldest religious traditions still practiced today and is considered one of the world's first monotheistic faiths. At the core of Judaism is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God, who created the universe and continues to govern it. In 2007, the world Jewish population was estimated to be 13.2 million people—41 percent in Israel and the other 59 percent in the diaspora. The traditional criterion for membership in Judaism or the Jewish people has been being born to a Jewish mother or taking the path of conversion.

Jewish tradition maintains that the history of Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham (c. 1800 BCE), the patriarch and progenitor of the Jewish people. According to the traditional Jewish belief, God also created another covenant with the Israelites (the ancestors of the Jewish people), and revealed his laws and commandments (Mitzvot) to them on Mount Sinai in the form of the Written Torah. Traditional Judaism also maintains that an Oral Torah was revealed at the same time and, after being passed down verbally for generations, was later transcribed in the Talmud. Laws, traditions, and learned Rabbis who interpret these texts and their numerous commentaries comprise the modern authority on Jewish tradition. While each Jew's level of observance varies greatly, the traditional practice of Judaism revolves around the study and observance of God's Mitzvot.

More about Judaism...

Selected Article

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol is an Orthodox congregation that was, for over 120 years, located in a historic synagogue building at 60–64 Norfolk Street in Manhattan, New York, on the Lower East Side. It was the first Eastern European congregation founded in New York City and the oldest Orthodox Russian Jewish congregation in the United States. Founded in 1852 by Rabbi Abraham Ash as Beth Hamedrash, it split in 1859, with the rabbi and the bulk of the members renaming their congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol. Rabbi Jacob Joseph, the first and only Chief Rabbi of New York City, led the congregation from 1888 to 1902 . The congregation's building, a Gothic Revival structure built in 1850 and purchased in 1885, was one of the largest synagogues on the Lower East Side, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. In the late twentieth century the congregation dwindled and was unable to maintain the building, which had been damaged by storms. Despite funding and grants, the structure was critically endangered. As of 2008 the Lower East Side Conservancy was trying to raise an estimated $4.5 million for repairs, with the intent of converting it to an educational center. (Read more...)

Did You Know?

Did you know...

Jewish Orphanage of Berlin-Pankow

Related Categories

Featured Articles

Related Portals

History Article

Baith Israel sanctuary

Congregation Baith Israel Anshei Emes is an egalitarian Conservative synagogue located at 236 Kane Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, New York City. It is currently the oldest continuously operating synagogue in Brooklyn. Founded as Baith Israel in 1856, the congregation constructed the first synagogue on Long Island, and hired Rabbi Aaron Wise for his first rabbinical position in the United States. Early tensions between traditionalists and reformers led to the latter forming Congregation Beth Elohim, a Reform synagogue, in 1861. The synagogue nearly failed in the early 1900s, but the 1905 hiring of Israel Goldfarb as rabbi, the purchase of its current buildings, and the 1908 merger with Talmud Torah Anshei Emes, re-invigorated the congregation. The famous composer Aaron Copland celebrated his bar mitzvah there in 1913, and long-time Goldman Sachs head Sidney Weinberg was married there in 1920. Membership peaked in the 1920s, but with the onset of the Great Depression declined steadily, and by the 1970s the congregation could no longer afford to heat the sanctuary. Membership has recovered since that low point; the congregation renovated its school/community center in 2004, and in 2008 embarked on a million-dollar capital campaign to renovate the sanctuary. (Read more...)

Picture of the Week


MayimAchronimSet.jpg

A silver mayim aharonim set

Credit: Hadad Silver

In the News

Featured Quote

Do not pass up a single day without doing a mitzvah.

Baal Shem Tov

WikiProjects

Things You Can Do

Weekly Torah Portion

Matot (מטות)
Numbers 30:2–32:42
The Weekly Torah portion in synagogues on Shabbat, Saturday, 21 Tamuz, 5774; July 19, 2014
“If a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips.” (Numbers 30:3.)
the hills of Gilead (current day Jal'ad, Jordan)

Moses told the heads of the Israelite tribes God’s commands about vows. If a man made a vow to God, he was to carry out all that he promised. If a girl living in her father’s household made a vow to God or assumed an obligation, and her father learned of it and did not object, her vow would stand. But if her father objected on the day that he learned of it, her vow would not stand, and God would forgive her. If she married while her vow was still in force, and her husband learned of it and did not object on the day that he found out, her vow would stand. But if her husband objected on the day that he learned of it, her vow would not stand, and God would forgive her. The vow of a widow or divorced woman was binding. If a married woman made a vow and her husband learned of it and did not object, then her vow would stand. But if her husband objected on the day that he learned of it, her vow would not stand, and God would forgive her. If her husband annulled one of her vows after the day that he learned of it, he would bear her guilt.

God directed Moses to attack the Midianites, after which he would die. At Moses’ direction, a thousand men from each tribe, with Phinehas son of Eleazar serving as priest on the campaign with the sacred utensils and trumpets, attacked Midian and slew every man, including five kings of Midian and the prophet Balaam. The Israelites burned the Midianite towns, took the Midianite women and children captive, seized all their beasts and wealth as booty, and brought the captives and spoil to Moses, Eleazar, and the Israelite community at the steppes of Moab. Moses became angry with the army’s commanders for sparing the women, as they were the ones who, at Balaam’s bidding, had induced the Israelites to trespass against God in the sin of Peor. Moses then told the Israelites to kill every boy and every woman who had had sexual relations, but to spare the virgin girls.

Moses directed the troops to stay outside the camp for 7 days after that, directed everyone of them who had touched a corpse to cleanse himself on the third and seventh days, and directed them to cleanse everything made of cloth, hide, or wood. Eleazar told the troops to take any article that could withstand firegold, silver, copper, iron, tin, and lead — and pass them through fire to clean them, and to cleanse everything with water of lustration. Eleazar directed that on the seventh day they should wash their clothes and be clean, and thereafter be free to enter the camp.

God told Moses to work with Eleazar and the family heads to inventory and divide the booty equally between the combatants and the rest of the community. God told them to exact a levy for God of one item in 500 of the warriors’ captive persons and animals to be given to Eleazar, and one in every 50 of the other Israelites’ captive persons and animals to be given to the Levites. The total booty came to 675,000 sheep, 72,000 head of cattle, 61,000 asses, and 32,000 virgin women, which Moses and Eleazar divided as God had commanded.

The commanders of the troops told Moses that they had checked the warriors, and not one was missing, so they brought as an offering to God the gold that they came upon — armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and pendants — to make expiation for their persons before God. Moses and Eleazar accepted from them 16,750 shekels of gold, but the warriors in the ranks kept their booty for themselves.

The Reubenites and the Gadites, who owned much cattle, noted that the lands of Jazer and Gilead on the east side of the Jordan River suited cattle, and they approached Moses, Eleazar, and the chieftains and asked that those lands be given to them as a holding. Moses asked them if the rest of the Israelites were to go to war while they stayed on the east bank, and would that not undermine the enthusiasm of the rest of the Israelites for crossing into the Promised Land. Moses likened their position to that of the scouts who surveyed the land and then turned the minds of the Israelites against invading, thus incensing God and causing God to swear that none of the adult Israelites (except Caleb and Joshua) would see the land. They replied that they would build their sheepfolds and towns east of the Jordan and leave their children there, but then serve as shock-troops in the van of the Israelites until the land was conquered and not seek a share of the land west of the Jordan. Moses then said that if they would do this, and every shock-fighter among them crossed the Jordan, then they would be clear before God and Israel, and this land would be their holding. But Moses continued, if they did not do as they promised, they would have sinned against God.

Moses instructed Eleazar, Joshua, and the family heads of the Israelite tribes to carry out the agreement. So Moses assigned the Gadites, the Reubenites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh lands on the east side of the Jordan.


Hebrew and English Text
Hear the parshah chanted
Commentary from Conservative Judaism by the Jewish Theological Seminary
Commentary from Conservative Judaism by the American Jewish University
Commentary from Reform Judaism
Commentaries from Orthodox Judaism by Project Genesis
Commentaries from Orthodox Judaism by Chabad.org
Commentaries from Aish.com
Commentaries from Reconstructionist Judaism

Topics

Wikimedia Portals