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  1. In Judaism, numbers play a special role, with several numbers considered significant for their symbolism: One – symbolic of unity, divinity and perfection of God Three – denotes completeness and stability Four – has significance in both esoteric and exoteric Jewish traditions

  2. given this general anti-iconic attitude, much of jewish artistic endeavour has been directed toward the creation of ceremonial objects: kiddush goblets, candlesticks and candelabra, spice boxes for the havdala ceremony at the end of the sabbath, ornamented containers for the mezuzah (a parchment on which is written the passages from deuteronomy …

  3. In any event, the history of Judaism can be divided into the following major periods: biblical Judaism ( c. 20th–4th century bce ), Hellenistic Judaism (4th century bce –2nd century ce ), Rabbinic Judaism (2nd–18th century ce ), and modern Judaism ( c. 1750 to the present). Salo Wittmayer Baron

  4. Fundamental to Judaism is the belief that the people of Israel are God’s chosen people, who must serve as a light for other nations. God made a covenant first with Abraham and then renewed it with Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. The worship of Yahweh (God) was centred in Jerusalem from the time of David.

    • Definitions
    • Who Is A Jew?
    • The Biblical Heritage
    • The Second Temple Period
    • The Destruction of The Temple and The Rise of Rabbinic Judaism
    • Medieval Judaism
    • Early Modern and Modern Judaism
    • Contemporary Judaism
    • See Also
    • Bibliography

    The term Judaism first appears in Hellenistic Jewish literature, most prominently 2 Maccabees (a narration of the Judean revolt against the Seleucid Greeks in the second century bce), where the word Ioudaïsmos seems to identify the ways and practices of the Jews in contradistinction with those of the "barbarians" (which in 2 Mc. 2:21 actually means...

    The Hebrew Bible most often uses the word Israel, Yisrael, in such formulas as Bene Yisrael, "the children of Israel," or ʿAm Yisrael, the people of Israel. This term for the Jewish people has persisted in legal and religious discourse. Individually a Jew is known in Hebrew as Yehudi, Jew, or Yisrael, "member of Israel," the latter used principally...

    While the religion of ancient Israel differed in many dramatic ways from the Judaism that emerged from the Hellenistic era onward, several of the central ideas that were to define Judaism as a religion in this earliest stage of Judaism originated in this period. Two of the most fundamental are the sacred history of the Jewish people and the idea of...

    The conquest of the Persian Empire, including the Land of Israel, by Alexander in 333 bce changed Judaism deeply and irrevocably. The Persians had been content to rely on local leaders and their cultures to preserve stability in the provinces they ruled. The Greeks on the other hand brought with them deep transformations in the nature of ancient so...

    Judaism as it is known in the early twenty-first century is largely a product of the first centuries after the destruction of the Temple in the Jewish revolt against Rome. It was following this event that many of the primary institutions, individual practices, values, and teleological underpinnings of classical Judaism were formed or refined. To be...

    If late antiquity represents a formative period for classical Judaism, the Middle Ages represents the period of its consolidation and expansion. It was in this period, beginning with the rise of Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries ce, that rabbinic Judaism spread through the influence of Talmudic academies and legal authorities to the Jewish ...

    It can be said that the changes to Judaism wrought by modernity were no less drastic than those wrought by the destruction of the Temple in the first century. By the twentieth century several conditions of Jewry were no longer valid. Jews were no longer living in autonomous communities governed by local Jewish leaders under the control of non-Jewis...

    In the early twenty-first century religious Judaism in North America has inherited the denominationalism of the past two centuries, but other social and religious trends have rendered the structure of the community more complex. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, groups of young Jews, many of whom had been raised in the Conservative and Reform yout...

    Amoraim; Ashkenazic Hasidism; Conservative Judaism; Covenant; Dead Sea Scrolls; Halakhah, article on History of Halakhah; Hasidism; Israelite Religion; Jewish People; Jewish Religious Year; Jewish Renewal Movement; Jewish Thought and Philosophy; Midrash and Aggadah; Mishnah and Tosefta; Oral Torah; Orthodox Judaism; Patriarchate; Pesher; Qabbalah; ...

    General works

    The best reference work for the study of Judaism is the Encyclopedia Judaica, 16 vols. (Jerusalem, 1971), although the earlier Jewish Encyclopedia, 12 vols. (1901–1906) is still of value. An excellent survey of the history of Judaism, balancing historical detail with religious ideas, is Robert Seltzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought. A briefer, up-to-date historical survey is Raymond P. Scheindlin, A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood (New York, 1998)....

    The biblical period

    The best introduction to biblical religion, especially as a background for understanding Judaism, is Jon D. Levenson's Sinai and Zion (New York, 1985). Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God (San Francisco, 1990; Dearborn, 2002) is also valuable. An important essay on the conception of God that underlies biblical ritual is Baruch A. Levine, "The Presence of God in Biblical Religion," in Jacob Neusner (ed.), Religions in Antiquity (Leiden, 1968), pp. 71–87. Susan Niditch, Ancient Israelite Re...

    The Second-Temple and Rabbinic periods

    Two valuable introductions to Judaism from the Persian period to the end of the talmudic period are Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition (Hoboken, 1991) and Martin S. Jaffee, Early Judaism (Upper Saddle River, N.J., 1997). Lawerence H. Schiffman's Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls (Philadelphia, 1994) is a comprehensive introduction to the literature of the Qumran community; John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination (New York, 1984; Grand Rapids, Mich., 1998) is an excellent descrip...

  5. the table blessings, kiddush (the “sanctification” of the sabbath and festivals), the erection of the booth ( sukka) for sukkoth (the feast of tabernacles), the seder (the festive passover meal) with its symbols and narration of the exodus, and the lighting of the lamps during the eight days of hanukkah (the feast of dedication) are all the …

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