Judaism Beliefs and Practices


Beliefs, Teachings and Practices

Key Words

Tenakh – main sacred Jewish text.

Talmud – collection of teachings and record of originally spoken discussions between Torah scholars.

Orthodox Jews – believe that the Torah and Talmud are of divine origin.

Progressive Jews – believe that the Torah and Talmud are people’s interpretation of God’s word. There are two main movements of Progressive Jews:

  • Reform Judaism – a mix of new and old traditions.
  • Liberal Judaism – similar to Reform Judaism but more radical.

Shekhinah – is God’s presence on earth.

Covenant – a formal agreement between two or more people.

Mitzvot – Jewish laws.

Pikuach nefesh – the principle of saving a life, even it it means breaking mitzvot.

Tzedakah – the practice of giving 10% of your weath to charity.

Messiah – an inspirational leader.

Synagogue – a Jewish place of worship. They all have the following features:

  • Aron Hakodesh (the Ark) – a large cupboard on the wall facing Jerusalem.
  • Sefer Torah (Scroll of the Torah) – a parechment scroll kept inside the ark.
  • Ner Tamid (Perpetual Light) – a light above the ark which never goes out.
  • Bimah or Almemar – raised platform with a reading desk.



Links for Learning

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Bitesize: Key beliefs
Bitesize: Covenant and mitzvot
Bitesize: Practices

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