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The Jewish Faith, 5777 year old and counting

Judaism began with Abraham, who had felt uneasy about all the pagan gods and who decided to leave home and follow the call of one true god. The story of his leaving is contained in the Book of Genesis where god says, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and got to the land I will show you." Abraham's grandson Jacob (God named Israel) had twelve sons whose families became the twelve tribes of Israel. Later they became slaves to the Egyptians. Moses, who was to later receive God's Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, eventually led them out of Egypt. After wandering for 40 years in the desert, they were to the "Promised Land" of Canaan - not by Moses, however, as he had died, but by Joshua. They grew in strength as God had promised and after being ruled by leaders known as Judges, looked for a king to govern them.
They were ruled by a succession of kings. David was the first. His son Solomon built the Temple at Jerusalem, when he died there was a split in two between two rebellions. Jeroboam and ten of the twelve tribes established the Kingdom of Israel, and Rehoboam founded Judah.

The Kingdom of Judah (Judaism takes its name from) outlived that of Israel. Judah was overrun by the Babylonians who destroyed the Temple. Fifty years later the Babylonians themselves were captured by the Persians, who gave permission for the Jews to return home. Some did so and they began to rebuild the Temple. Others stayed in Babylon until the reign of Ezra and Nehemiah, until they returned and put the law of the Torah and worship of God at the centre of their religious and political lives.

The country came under roman control and the Jews were unable to handle not being able to worship their God and so mounted a rebellion. The Romans had already destroyed the temple and killed many of the inhabitants.

The dispersal of the Jews outside Israel produced to two distinct regions: the Sephardi Jews of Spain and the Mediterranean who spoke in a mixture of old Spanish and Hebrew known as Ladino, and the Ashkenazi Jews who settled in central Europe and Germany and spoke in a mixture of German and Hebrew dialect known as Yiddish.

According to the Biblical account, early Judaism is a story of promises, faith, devotion, persecution and wandering. God's early promises to the Jews formed the lasting core of their religion. There unwavering faith in God's plan for them and devotion to his Law held the Jews together through times, of peace, war, slavery and suffering.
Above text from Jews.net

Basics of The Jewish Faith

The spiritual world of the Jew contains a global and detailed system of theories and wisdom for all areas of life and views of life. Within this system, over which many books were written, there are thirteen basic teachings, which are obligatory for each Jew.

  1. To believe and know: There is a perfect being, the creator, praised is his name, the master of the world. HE is the origin of all existence. Everything that exists, depends on HIM. HE however is fully independent.
  2. G'd is an absolute and complete unit, one and only.
  3. G'd is not material and not body. Not subjected to the laws of nature and not to be assumed with human senses.
  4. HE was before anything has been. HE is and in eternity will be.
  5. Only may to G'd be served. HIS commandments, laws and will are to be kept. No other existences (e.g. angels and other natural forces) may be adored, they all were created by G'd.
  6. G'd reveals HIS desires by very special humans, in different manner and for different purposes.
  7. Mose's prophecy was the highest form of prophecy. It was exceeded by no other prophets and none equaled it.
  8. The entire Torah, which was given to the people of Israel by Moses, was given to Moses by G'd. It is the true and only Torah.
  9. This Torah is eternal. It will be never modified and never replaced by another law.
  10. G'd's knowledge is absolute and all universal. No existence is hidden from HIM, as HE sees past, present and future. G'd foresees all causes and consequences.
  11. G'd controlles and monitors the world, recompences humans for good acts and punishes for bad acts. The main rewards are kept hidden for the times of the world to come.
  12. At the end of all days G'd will send us our Mashiah, from the house of David. He will be a perfect king in a perfect world, and the world will be saved by him.
  13. G'd will wake up the dead ones. That means absolute rahamim and justice, which will wipe away all tears. HE will again structure everything that was destroyed and this resurrection and restructuring will be the end of the presence of death.

Jews and Buddhism: Belief Amended, Faith Revealed, made its debut at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in 1999. It is a timely new work about the spiritual and historical confluence between Buddhism and Judaism. Writers, scholars, and even the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion (who practiced Buddhist meditation) remark upon the striking resonance between the two ancient traditions. Allen Ginsberg, who helped to popularize Buddhism in America, plays a central role. Narrated by Sharon Stone (41 min.) (IMDB)


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