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About Judaism

Judaism is a monotheistic religion. Its tenets are based on Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, which has been interpreted anda explained in other texts such as the Talmud. Judaism is centered around the covenantal relationship God established with the Children of Israel.

Judaism is not a homogenous religion, and embraces a number of streams and views. Today, Rabbinic Judaism is the most numerous stream, and holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah Historically, this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the Sadducees and Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period; the Karaites and Sabbateans during the early and later medieval period; and among segments of the modern reform movements.

Liberal movements in modern times such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic. Today, the largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism (Haredi Judaism and Modern Orthodox Judaism), Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism. A major source of difference between these groups is their approach to Jewish law. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more "traditional" interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism.

A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews. Historically, special courts enforced Jewish law; today, these courts still exist but the practice of Judaism is mostly voluntary. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and rabbis and scholars who interpret them

Judaism claims a historical continuity spanning more than 3,000 years. Judaism has its roots as a structured religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Of the major world religions, Judaism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions. The Hebrews / Israelites were already referred to as "Jews" in later books of the Tanakh such as the Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title "Children of Israel". Judaism's texts, traditions and values strongly influenced later Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i Faith. Many aspects of Judaism have also directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law. 1*

E-texts Judaism

Beacons on the Talmud's Sea: Analyses of Passages From The Talmud And Issues In Halachah, Adapted From The Works of The Lubavitcher Rebbe by Menahem Mendel Schneerson

Introduction to Judaism (1961) by Lee A. Belford

The "Tzemach Tzedek" and the Haskalah Movement by Joseph Isaac Schneerson

Timeless Patterns in Time by Menahem Mendel Schneerson and Eliyahu Touger

Branches of the Chassidic Menorah: Biographical Stories by Joseph Isaac Schneerson volume 1: HTML at sichosinenglish.org and volume 2: HTML at sichosinenglish.org

Hebraic Literature: Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala, contrib. by Maurice H. Harris

Sepher Yetzirah, trans. by William Wynn Westcott

Legends of Babylon and Egypt in Relation to Hebrew Tradition by Leonard W. King

The Legends of the Jews (legends volumes only) by Walter Ginzberg, trans. by Henrietta Szold and Paul Radin, contrib. by Isaac Husik

Listening to Life's Messages by Menahem Mendel Schneerson and Dovid Shraga Polter

The Jews and the Mosaic Law by Isaac Leeser

Defiance and Devotion: Selected Chassidic Discourses Dating from the Arrest and Liberation of the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, in 1927 by Joseph Isaac Schneerson, ed. by Uri Kaploun, trans. by Eliyahu Touger

Catechism for Jewish Children by Isaac Leeser

The Judeo-Christian Tradition: A Guide for the Perplexed by Gary North

The Key of David by Warder Cresson

Their Hollow Inheritance: A Comprehensive Refutation of Christian Missionaries (third edition) by Michoel Drazin

Our Faith and Strength by Naftali Hoffner

Anticipating the Redemption by Menahem Mendel Schneerson

Attaining Sagacity: Reflections on Reaching the Age of Sixty by Menahem Mendel Schneerson, trans. by Eliyahu Touger

To Live and Live Again by Nissan Dovid Dubov

The Temple: Its Ministry and Services As They Were at the Time of Jesus Christ

Uncle Eli's Special for Kids Most Fun Under the Table Passover Haggadah (hypermedia edition) by Eliezer Segal

The Shabbat Primer: Getting Ready for Shabbat by Nechoma Greisman and Chana Ne'eman

With an Eye on Eternity: Incorporating the Ramchal's Classic "Essay on Fundamentals" by Yehudah Lebovits, Mordechai Rosen, and Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto

A Partner in the Dynamic of Creation: Womanhood in the Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson by Menahem Mendel Schneerson

Links in the Chassidic Legacy: Biographical Sketches that First Appeared in the Classic Columns of HaTamim, trans. by Shimon Neubort

A Prince in Prison: The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe's Account of His Incarceration in Stalinist Russia in 1927: An Extract from Likkutei Dibburim by Joseph Isaac Schneerson, trans. by Uri Kaploun

The Making of Chassidim: A Letter Written by the Previous Lubavitcher, Rebbe Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn by Joseph Isaac Schneerson, trans. by Shimon Neubort (HTML at sichosinenglish.org)

To Know and To Care: An Anthology of Chassidic Stories about the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson by Eliyahu Touger and Malka Touger

Rashi by Maurice Liber, trans. by Adele Szold

Tanakh The Jewish sacred text is the Tanakh, whose name is an acronym of Torah, Nebi'im and Ketuvim (Law, Prophets and Writings). It consists of the same books as the Christian Old Testament, although in a slightly different order and with other minor differences.

Torah Although the word "Torah" is sometimes used to refer to the entire Tanakh or even the whole body of Jewish writings, it technically means the first five books of the Tanakh. These books are also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch.

Talmud: The Oral Torah Another important Jewish text is the Talmud, a collection of rabbinical writings that interpret, explain and apply the Torah scriptures. The Talmud was written between the second and fifth century CE, but Orthodox Jews believe it was revealed to Moses along with the Torah and preseved orally until it was written down. The Talmud is thus known as the "Oral Torah," with the first five books of the Tanakh designated the "Written Torah."

Midrash A third group of Jewish literature is the Midrash, which is a large body of rabbinical material derived primary from sermons (the Hebrew word for "sermon" is d'rash). The primary collections of Midrash were compiled between the fourth and sixth centuries, but the midrashic form continues to the present day.

Responsa A further set of Jewish writings is the responsa, a vast collection (thousands of volumes) of answers to specific questions on Jewish law. If the Talmud is a law book, the responsa are case law.

Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). The Tanakh is the Hebrew Bible, the quintessential sacred text. The first five books of this comprise the Torah (or Pentateuch), the core sacred writings of the ancient Jews, traditionally written by Moses under divine inspiration. .

The Babylonian Talmud. Translated by M.L. Rodkinson [1918]. A massive ten volume abridgement of the Talmud, the Jewish compendium of law and tradition, the only extensive public domain translation. Presented for the first time anywhere on the Internet at sacred-texts.com. .

Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna. by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall [1843]. One of the first English translations of a substantial portion of the Mishna, the treasure-house of Jewish law and tradition. .

The Wisdom of the Talmud. by Ben Zion Bokser [1951]. A great introduction to the Talmud for contemporary readers. .

The Talmud. by Joseph Barclay [1878]. Seventeen representative tracts from the Talmud. .

The Talmud: Selections. by H. Polano [1876]. A Talmud miscellany. .

The Babylonian Talmud in Selection. by Leo Auerbach [1944]. An original mid-20th century translation of selections from the Talmud. .

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth). tr. by Charles Taylor [1897]. A beautiful extract from the Talmud, which has been used as liturgy. Devoted to ethics with some mystical touches, the Pirqe Aboth is distinguished for its transparency and simplicity. This was one of the first English translations in modern times of any portion of the Talmud. .

Hebraic Literature. Edited by Maurice Harris [1901]. Extracts from the Talmud, Midrash and Kabbalah. .

The Wisdom of Israel. by Edwin Collins [1910]. A short look at Jewish wisdom literature from the Talmud and Midrash. .

Tractate Sanhedrin, Mishnah and Tosefta. by Herbert Danby [1919]. A key portion of the Mishna dealing with crime and punishment. .

Tractate Berakoth. by A. Lukyn Williams [1921]. The Mishna about prayer. . Haggada.

Legends of the Jews. by Louis Ginzberg [1909].. A huge collection of traditional stories which have grown up around the Bible narrative. . . Kabbalah.

The Kabbalah Unveiled. S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Translator. [1912]. An extensive introduction to the Kabbalah. Includes translations of three texts from branch of the Kabbalah known as the Zohar: The Book of Concealed Mystery, The Greater Holy Assembly, and The Lesser Holy Assembly. .

Sepher Yezirah. translated by Isidor Kalisch [1877]. Includes English translation and pointed Hebrew for this key text of the Kabbalah. .

Kabbalah - Sepher Yetzirah. W.W. Westcot tr. [1887] 26,374 bytes .

The Zohar: Bereshith to Lekh Lekha. by Nurho de Manhar (pseud.) [1900-14]. The Zohar is a Kabbalistic commentary on the Hebrew Bible. This is the only extensive English translation of a portion of the Zohar currently in the public domain. Covers Adam to Abraham. .

Jewish Mysticism. by J. Abelson [1913]. The Kabbalah in the context of the history of Jewish Mysticism. .

The Kabbalah, or the Religious Philosophy of the Hebrews. by Adolphe Franck [1926]. Did the Kabbalah originate from Zoroastrianism? .

The Cabala. by Bernhard Pick [1913]. A short critical introduction to the Kabbalah. . Midrash.

Tales and Maxims from the Midrash. by Samuel Rapaport [1907]. A popular Midrash compilation. This is the (unattributed) source for the next two entries' Midrash extracts. This book has the references for each of the passages quoted lacking in the texts below, which makes it the best source if you wish to quote some of this material. .

The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, Vol. IV: Medieval Hebrew. [1917]. Some sizeable extracts from the Midrash, medieval collections of Jewish Biblical lore and legend. .

Midrash Tanhuma. 60,529 bytes. . Haggadah.

The Union Haggadah. ed. by The Central Conference of American Rabbis, illus. Isidore Lipton [1923]. A guide to the celebration of Passover. .

Haggada For Pesach According To Chabad-Lubavitch Custom 66,858 bytes . Prayer Books (Siddur).

The Standard Prayer Book by Simeon Singer [1915]. Complete English translation of a Jewish Prayer Book, or Siddur, including prayers, holidays, ceremonies, and important texts. . Other texts from late Antiquity and Middle Ages.

The Works of Flavius Josephus. by Josephus, tr. by William Whiston [1737]. Josephus was a Jewish historian, soldier and scholar who lived in the first century [37-100 C.E.]. His works are primary historical sources of information about the doomed Jewish revolt of 66-9 C.E. .

The Kitab al Khazari. of Judah Hallevi, translated by Hartwig Hirschfeld [1905]. A classic of Medieval Jewish philosophy, set in a legendary (but historical) central Asian kingdom. .

The Guide for the Perplexed. by Moses Maimonides, M. Freidländer, tr. (2nd Ed.) [1904]. Maimonides' masterful summation of theology, natural philosophy and divine law. .

Selected Religious Poems of Solomon ibn Gabirol. by Solomon ibn Gabirol, tr. by Israel Zangwill [1923]. A key medieval Jewish Spanish poet and philosopher's devotional poetry, some of which was adopted into liturgy. .

The Fountain of Life. by Solomon ibn Gabirol, tr. by Harry E. Wedeck [1962]. An extract from the Jewish writer Solomon ibn Gabirol's philosophical treatise on the First Cause, misattributed for centuries to an Islamic or Christian author named Avicebron. .

Original Hebrew of a Portion of Ecclesiasticus. by A.E. Cowley and A. Neubauer [1897]. Includes the Alphabet of Ben Sira. . Modern.

The Duties of the Heart. by Rabbi Bachye, tr. by Edwin Collins [1909]. A 12th Century Spanish Rabbi's systematic treatment of Ethics as a universal. .

Ancient Jewish Proverbs. by Abraham Cohen [1911]. A treasury of Jewish proverbs from the Mishna and Talmud. .

Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion. by Joshua Trachtenberg [1939]. A comprehensive study of medieval Jewish folk magic, a primary source of modern ceremonial magic. .

A Rabbi's Impressions of the Oberammergau Passion Play. by Joseph Krauskopf [1901]. A Rabbi examines the tangled narrative of the Crucifixion, and the roots of anti-Semitism in the early Church. .

Folk-lore of the Holy Land; Moslem, Christian and Jewish. by J. E. Hanauer [1907]. Moslem, Christian and Jewish tales from old Palestine. .

Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends by "Aunt Naomi" (Gertrude Landa) [1919]. A well-told collection of Midrash and Talmudic lore for children. .

The Great March. by Rose G. Lurie [1931]. A wonderful children's book of post-biblical Jewish stories, with great illustrations, that adults can learn a thing or two from. .

The Golden Mountain. by Meyer Levin [1932]. Magical realist Hassidic tales, lovingly retold by a master storyteller. .

Reform Judaism - 1885 Pittsburgh Conference 4,588 bytes .

Articles of Faith from the Jewish Encyclopedia 29,628 bytes .

The Columbus Platform: The Guiding Principles Of Reform Judaism [1937] 8,706 bytes .

Reform Judaism - A Centenary Perspective 11,054 bytes .

Maimonides: Ani Maamin - I believe... 34,307 bytes .

Solomon Schechter - Studies in Judaism - The Dogmas of Judaism 64,107 bytes .

The Thirteen Wants by Mordecai M. Kaplan 2,127 bytes .

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