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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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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  • Q: What are the basics of the Torah?

    A: The basic laws of the Torah are broken into 10 chapters of six positive and four negative commandments. Some of the six positive commandments include recognizing God, not questioning his existence and unifying God. Some of the four negative commandments are to not desecrate God's name or destroy things that have God's name written on them.
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  • Q: What are some interesting facts about the Prophet Malachi?

    A: The name Malachi refers to a messenger; the Book of Malachi is titled "ykalm" in Hebrew, which means "Messenger of Yahweh" or "My Messenger." Malachi likely lived between 568 and 433 B.C. Nothing is known about Malachi's life except for his prophecies, which appear in the Book of Malachi. The Book of Malachi reminds people that Yahweh tries to help them, and that he honors their faithfulness and holds them accountable for their wrongdoings.
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  • Where are the names for the 12 tribes of Israel located in the Bible?

    Q: Where are the names for the 12 tribes of Israel located in the Bible?

    A: The names of the 12 tribes of Israel in the Bible begin with Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Reuben and Simeon. Other tribes of Israel were Gad, Benjamin, Dan, Asher and Naphtali, plus the half-tribes of Ep;hraim and Manassah. These tribes divided the land of Canaan for their inheritance.
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  • Q: What is the history of challah bread?

    A: The word "challah" is found in the Bible, and it refers to the showbreads that were displayed in the temple sanctuary and eventually eaten by priests. Around the 15th Century, Ashkenazic Jews in eastern Europe developed challah as it is known today.
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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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  • Q: What are some features of a Jewish calendar?

    A: The Jewish calendar combines both lunar and solar cycles. The calendar is of no fixed length and has different starting points for different purposes. Jews use the calendar to determine holiday dates and appropriate timing for public reading Torah portions and daily psalms.
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  • Q: Where can you find Yizkor prayers in English?

    A: Translations of Yizkor prayers, the prayers for the deceased, into English are found at sites including Chabad.org, MyKaddish.com and OU.org. These sites also give information about the reasons for the prayer and how it is recited and honored.
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  • Who was the founder of Judaism?

    Q: Who was the founder of Judaism?

    A: Judaism does not have a specific founder, but rather it has major prophets that are considered the fathers of Judaism. Some of these prophets are Moses, Abraham and Noah.
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  • Q: Why is the Star of David so important?

    A: The Star of David is a symbol that represents the Jewish faith in the same way a cross is a symbol for Christianity. The symbol gained importance mostly during modern times, and it is now widely seen as a symbol of Judiasm.
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  • Q: Who is the leader of Judaism?

    A: As a whole, Judaism does not have a single leader, but instead, each congregation is led by a rabbi and each branch of Judaism has a leadership council. Some countries have chief rabbis that oversee other rabbis.
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  • Q: Why is the Torah important?

    A: The Torah is important because it contains written and oral laws central to the religion of Judaism. The Torah, also called the Jewish bible, contains the Laws of Moses that outline actions and codes of conduct expected of practitioners of the Jewish faith. These laws are said to have derived from God who set forth moral standards directing Jews how to live.
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