Judaism

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The primary holy book of the Jewish faith is known as the Torah, which comprises the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; these are also the first five books of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, although "Old Testament" is not a term that followers of the Jewish faith typically apply to the Torah. The Torah can also be known as the Pentateuch, and it is accompanied by holy texts such as the Talmud, an authoritative book of biblical interpretations and Jewish oral traditions. According to Jewish religious tradition, God gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.

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  • What are characteristics of Judaism?

    Q: What are characteristics of Judaism?

    A: Judaism is a monotheistic faith, which means members believe in only one god. Judaism teaches that all humans were created in the image of God and that God intends to send a person to remedy the ills of the world. The Torah is the reference text of Judaism.
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  • What are Jewish people not allowed to eat?

    Q: What are Jewish people not allowed to eat?

    A: Some foods that Jews are forbidden to eat include pig products, such as pork, bacon and ham, seafood that has neither fins nor scales, such as lobster, crab or scallops, and anything that flies in swarms, such as insects. The Jewish dietary laws are called kashrut.
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  • Is swordfish kosher?

    Q: Is swordfish kosher?

    A: A swordfish is not considered kosher food. The Torah says a fish must have fins and scales to be kosher. Only fish that have visible scales that can be easily removed are considered kosher, and swordfish do not meet this requirement.
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  • Why is the Western Wall important to the Jews?

    Q: Why is the Western Wall important to the Jews?

    A: The Western Wall is important to modern Jews because it is the only remaining relic of the Second Temple, which was a sacred center of the Jewish religion in ancient times. The building was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
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  • What is the holy book of Judaism?

    Q: What is the holy book of Judaism?

    A: The primary holy book of the Jewish faith is known as the Torah, which comprises the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; these are also the first five books of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, although "Old Testament" is not a term that followers of the Jewish faith typically apply to the Torah. The Torah can also be known as the Pentateuch, and it is accompanied by holy texts such as the Talmud, an authoritative book of biblical interpretations and Jewish oral traditions. According to Jewish religious tradition, God gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.
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  • Whom do the Jewish people worship?

    Q: Whom do the Jewish people worship?

    A: The Jewish people worship YHWH, the sacred name of God as revealed to the prophet Moses in the Torah. It is a combination of the past, present and future tense of the word "howa," which means "to be." The proper pronunciation, as agreed by most scholars, is "Yahweh."
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  • What does an anointing oil recipe contain?

    Q: What does an anointing oil recipe contain?

    A: One recipe for anointing oil combines ingredients referenced in Exodus of the Bible and includes quantities of olive oil, sugar, salt, allspice seeds, cloves and cinnamon sticks. An optional mixture combines frankincense, myrrh and pine oils of balsam. A citrus-based spiritually uplifting anointing oil is made from combining the oils of lemon, lime, sweet orange, dark myrrh and frankincense.
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  • What are rituals and practices of Judaism?

    Q: What are rituals and practices of Judaism?

    A: The Jewish religion has many rituals and practices that begin at birth for boys and girls, with baby-naming ceremonies for girls and Brit Milahs for boys. Following initiation into the Jewish religion at birth, Jewish boys and girls then celebrate the passage into adulthood with Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Later, marriages and divorces involve religious rituals to keep with centuries-old traditions.
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  • Why do mosques have domes?

    Q: Why do mosques have domes?

    A: Although most mosques feature domes, the dome is purely a decorative and traditional architectural structure with no symbolic or other spiritual meaning, according to About.com. Other mosque parts, such as the minaret, have more spiritual significance.
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  • What does Shabba mean?

    Q: What does Shabba mean?

    A: Shabba is a term that is used as a nickname of sorts for the concept behind Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest in which an observant Jew cannot work. On Shabbat, the day of rest, Jewish people do more than just sleep in late as they have time to set aside to appreciate the wonders of the world and reflect on their path with God.
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  • Q: What is the Hanukkah Menorah prayer?

    A: The Hanukkah Menorah prayer is recited each night of Hanukkah but prior to lighting the Hanukkah candles of the night. It contains three sections, the last of which is only recited on the first night of Hannukah. This section is called the "Shehecheyanu."
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  • Q: Are the Koch brothers Jewish?

    A: The Koch brothers are not Jewish. They are descended from William Ingraham Kip, a Protestant missionary who traveled to California in 1853 and was elected California's first Episcopal bishop in 1856.
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  • What are some Hebrew names for God?

    Q: What are some Hebrew names for God?

    A: There are many different Hebrew names for God, but the most common are "Yahweh," "Elohim" and "Adonai." Each has a slightly different meaning, but all are used to refer to God.
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  • What do Jewish people believe in?

    Q: What do Jewish people believe in?

    A: Jewish people hold the belief that God is one and unique and that they should direct prayers to Him alone. Other outstanding characteristics of the Jewish faith include the strict following of the Torah. Jewish people also believe that the Messiah will come and that God will resurrect the dead.
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  • Q: Where can you find a list of Jewish terminology?

    A: People can find lists of Jewish terminology at Jewfaq.org and DailyWritingTips.com. Jewfaq.org includes a list that defines Hebrew, Yiddish and other Jewish terms. The website also offers the pronunciation for most terms, along with a general pronunciation guide. DailyWritingTips.com offers the resource "The Yiddish Handbook: 40 Words You Should Know."
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  • Q: What is the Year of Jubilee?

    A: The Year of Jubilee was a time of rest and renewal of the land for the Jewish people in biblical times. Occurring every 50 years, families were required to return to their homeland, forgive debts and leave the land fallow.
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  • Q: What are some Jewish names for God?

    A: Some Jewish names for God are El Shaddai and El Elyon. Additional Jewish names for God are Yahweh and Jehovah, both meaning that God is absolutely powerful and the all-knowing ruler.
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  • Q: What is a general description of the Hebrew calendar system?

    A: The Hebrew calendar is a lunar-based system, although the solar cycle does have an effect on the calendar in certain years. Like the Gregorian calendar, the Hebrew calendar usually consists of 12 months and seven-day weeks.
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  • Q: What are the names of the 12 tribes of Israel?

    A: The names of the 12 tribes of Israel are Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim and Manasseh. These are the names of the sons and grandsons of Jacob, from which biblical tradition holds the 12 tribes descend, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
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  • Q: Why do Jewish women shave their heads?

    A: Not all Jewish women shave their heads, but the Hasidic Jewish women shave their heads once they are married because hair is considered to be equivalent to nudity, and it is a sin not to shave for those women in the Hasidic Jewish tradition. Hasidism means "pious ones" in the Hebrew religion, and Hasidic Jews are a specific movement that is a part of the Orthodox Judaic religion.
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  • Q: Is Christmas mentioned in the Hebrew calendar?

    A: Christmas is not mentioned in the Hebrew calendar. Christmas is a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar year. The Hebrew calendar lists important dates and holidays to the Jewish people, and follows a lunar calendar cycle.
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