Judaism: Practices

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  • Judaism: Practices
    • What is a synagogue?
      • a space where Jews meet (community - worship + social clubs)
      • Identified from the symbols on the building e.g. menorah or star of David
      • "house of prayer or study"
      • Orthodox = "shul" (school)
      • Reform = "temple"
    • interior features of a synagogue
      • the prayer hall
        • jews come together for communal worship and prayer
        • rectangular in shape, with seats on 3 sides facing inwards toward the bidmah
        • Might be decorated with patterns , symbols, scripture
          • Images of god not allowed - goes against commandment
      • The Ark
        • cabinet at the front  where Torah scrolls are kept (facing Jerusalem)
        • Two stone slabs with 10 commandments above it
        • holiest place in the synagogue
        • Reched ny climbing up steps = God is above ask and the torah is above humanity
      • Ner Tamid (ever-burning light)
        • Above ark
        • traditionally = oil lamp BUT now usually an electric light with emergency power source (power cut)
        • God's presence = never put out = (omnipresent)
        • Reminder that the menorah was lit every night in the temple in jerusalem
      • Bidmah = reading platform
        • Raised platform where the torah is read from in service
        • focal pint = see and hear the reader
    • Orthodox Judaism
      • Traditional branch
      • strictly follow the jewish law of the torah as it was given directly to moses by God
      • men and women should have different roles
      • all orthodox rabbis are male
    • Reform Judaism
      • progressive Judaism
      • importance of individual choice upon how to worship and practice faith  = torah is inspired by God, written by humans so can be adapted to modern life
      • Men and women undertake the same roles
      • Women  = rabbi + part of the minyan
    • public worship
      • led by a rabbi, cantor, or member of congregation
      • Orthodox services
        • daily services in hebrew
        • person leading has his back to the congregation, facing the ark
        • men + women sit separate
        • men always cover their heads by wearing a skill cap + women wear scarf = recognition = respect for god
        • singing = unaccompanied
      • Reform services
        • do not often hold daily services (focus on shabbat + festivals)
        • Service in hebrew and the country's own lang
        • Person leading faces the congregation
        • men + women sit together
        • Services are shorter
        • men + women wear skull cap
        • singing = accompanied by instruments
    • Tallit
      • a prayer shawl made of wool or silk with a long tassel attached to each corner
      • Jews are obeying Gods word whenever they wear it
      • Tassels represent mitzvot
    • Tefillin
      • A pair of small leather boxes with extracts of the torah + the shame
      • fastened to the centre of the forehead and the other in line with the heart
        • reminds that they should fully concentrate on God and prayers should come from the heart
    • Format of services
      • opening prayers = prayers + psalms that praise + thank God
      • Shema = recited + accompanied with blessings
      • Amidah (standing prayer) = central prayer + said whilst facing Jerusalem
        • 1st 3 blessings praise God + ask for mercy
        • Middle 13 blessings ask for God's help
        • final 3 blessings thank God + pray for peace, goodness, kindness + compassion
      • Final prayer (Aleinu prayer) = praise + thanks to God
    • Importance of prayer
      • communicate with God
      • communal prayer strengthens community
      • closer to God
      • strengthens knowledge of faith
    • Shabbat is...
      • a gift from God a day of rest = renewal
      • a day god commanded jews to celebrate "keep the sabbath holy"
      • celebrate Gods  creation
      • celebrate that God kept his covenant between him + Jews
      • worship god + enjoy family life
    • Shabbat in the synagogue
      • Friday evening = shabbat welcomed to the synagogue
      • service for children with stories, games + music
      • Main service on saturday morning = longer than weekly services (includes Torah, a sermon + prayers)
      • What happens:
        • 1. The congregation stands when the ark is opened = revealing scrolls. Reminder of how the jews stood at the bottom of Mount Sinai
        • 2. Torah is dressed with ornaments e.g. crown. Reminder of vestments worn by priests
        • 3. Torah read + paraded round the synagogue. Reminder of the march the wilderness with the 10 commandments
        • 4. As it passes, Jews touch it with their prayer book or prayer shall and then touch their lips. Reminder of "Gods words should be on their lips"
    • The bar or bat mitzvah are important because...
      • when a jew is seen to become an adult
      • preparation brings jews closer to God + Community
      • jewish boy is allowed to become part of the minyan
      • expected to start to strictly follow jewish law = responsibility
    • Shabbat celebrations
      • lighting of candles
        • wife lights 2 candles, b4 sunset on friday
        • says a belling to ask god to bless the family
      • family shares special meal (friday evening)
        • parents bless children + recite Kiddish prayers whilst holding cup
        • bread is blessed + passes around
        • meal is long = relax + enjoy company
        • Religious stories told or songs sung
        • Ends with a prayer of thanksgiving for the food
      • saturday
        • Share another meal
        • family spend time together + study the torah
      • End of Shabbat = havdalah
        • preformed at home after the sun has set
        • blessing performed over wine, spices, and a candle with several wicks
        • the spices and candle soothe + light the house after shabbat
    • Worship at home
      • expected to pray 3 times a day - traditionally stand to pray
      • mezuzot - scroll verses in box on a doorpost that the jews touch as they pass = respect + obey jewish law
      • orthodox homes = layout of kitchen (kosher)
    • Sacred Writings
      • Tenakh = written law
        • the Jewish sacred scriptures (24 books)
        • 3 main parts: the Torah. the Nevi'im the Ketuvim
      • Talmud = the oral law
        • a commentary by early rabbis on the torah
        • how to interpret the torah and apply its laws to everyday life
        • Two main parts: the Mishnah + the Gemara
        • orthodox = torah + talmud are the source of all jewish laws
        • Reform = don't regard it with the same authority so don't study it as much
    • Ceremonies for newborn Jews
      • Naming Ceremony
        • Boys + girls in orthodox are blessed in the synagogue on the first shabbat after their birth
        • Father recites torah blessing = good health for wife + baby (a girls name would be announced now)
        • A boy will be named at his circumcision
        • Reform = both parents take part + may not take place at the first sabbath
        • introduces the baby to the community + God
      • Brit Milah
        • The ceremony happens when the boy is 8
        • 1. Baby put on empty chair (symbolises prophet Elijah)
        • 2. baby put on knee of the "companion of the child"
        • 3. baby's father blesses son
        • 4. A blessing is said over wine + the baby is named
        • 5. The baby is circumcised
        • 6. Festive meal to celebrate
        • binding of the covenant "sign of the covenant between me and you"
        • provides a life long reminder that they are gods chosen ppl
      • Redemption of the 1st born son
        • orthodox = give small amount of money 31 days after birth to "redeem" him from temple service
        • 5 silver coins are given to a kohen (decedents of priests)
        • comes from: " you shall have the first born of man redeemed"
    • Bar Mitzvah
      • first shabbat after 13th birthday, boy reads from the torah at a service in the synagogue (class to prepare for this)
      • the boy wears a tall it for the 1st time, leads part of the service e.g. says prayer + makes a short speech
      • The boy's father thanks God as he is now mature + responsible for his own actions
      • Boy receives gifts at party
    • Bat Mitzvah
      • Reform Jewish girls have a celebration (similar to bar mitzvah)
      • The girl reads from the torah, gives a speech + leads part of the service
      • celebratory meal
      • orthodox = mark bat mitzvah with a meal and gifts
    • Marriage: Betrothal
      • period of engagement (12 months) - only be broken by death or divorce
      • do not live together - prepare for the future
    • Mourning of the Dead
      • 1. make a small tear in clothes. Blessing saying they accept Gods decision to take a life
      • 2. buried 24hrs after death. Before death, the deceased soul is comforted. Close family are left to grieve without following jewish law
      • 3. (shiva) lasts for 7 days. Mourners do not work but stay at home and pray three times a day (Kaddish - prayer of peace). Do not wear makeup or shave
      • 4. for 30 days normal life resumes but mourners do not listen to music, go to parties, shave or cut hair (male mourners say kaddish daily)
      • 5. final period of mourning lasts 11 months. Do not attend parties. Children say kaddish for a parent who has died
      • 6. Formal mourning ends after a year. Children mark anniversary for parts death by lighting candle (burns for 24 hours)
    • Jewish funeral
      • 1. the body is washed + wrapped in cloth. Placed in a simple coffin as everyone is equal in death
      • 2. Funerals do not take place in synagogue as it is for the living
      • 3. The service includes prayers, scripture, + rabbi speech
      • 4. After, hands washed = leaving death behind
      • 5. jewish law: tombstones everyone is remembered
    • Dietary laws
      • found in Leviticus 11 + Deuteronomy 14
      • kosher = acceptable
      • trefah = unacceptable
      • orthodox = strict as God tests their obedience
      • Reform = outdated so it up to the individual
    • Sabbat Preparations
      • wine is on table + drank from kiddush cuo (symbolises joy)
      • at least 2 candles on table ('remember' + 'preserve' shabbat)
      • all work is prepared before Shabbat - to selcome Shabbat
      • 2 loaves of challah bread are put on table - represent food God provided for Jews in wilderness
    • importance of Synagogue
      • Education
        • have a library = improving understanding in faith and scripture
        • may provide classes in hebrew = help young learn lang used in Jewish prayer
        • helps to educate jews of all ages in their faith
      • Worship + Prayer
        • good to pray in a minyan ( 10 males)
        • provides place for communal prayer + worship
        • services regularly held
      • School Activities
        • provides a place to discuss matters that are important to the community
        • variety of activities for a range of ages
      • Charitable events
        • Jews donate their time + money
        • synagogues hold events + collect money

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