Portal:Judaism

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Judaism (from the Greek Ioudaïsmos, derived from the Hebrew יהודה, Yehudah, "Judah") is the religion of the Jewish people, based on the principles and ethics embodied in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), as further explored and explained in the Talmud. Judaism is among the oldest religious traditions still practiced today and is considered one of the world's first monotheistic faiths. At the core of Judaism is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God, who created the universe and continues to govern it. In 2007, the world Jewish population was estimated to be 13.2 million people—41 percent in Israel and the other 59 percent in the diaspora. The traditional criterion for membership in Judaism or the Jewish people has been being born to a Jewish mother or taking the path of conversion.

Jewish tradition maintains that the history of Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham (c. 1800 BCE), the patriarch and progenitor of the Jewish people. According to the traditional Jewish belief, God also created another covenant with the Israelites (the ancestors of the Jewish people), and revealed his laws and commandments (Mitzvot) to them on Mount Sinai in the form of the Written Torah. Traditional Judaism also maintains that an Oral Torah was revealed at the same time and, after being passed down verbally for generations, was later transcribed in the Talmud. Laws, traditions, and learned Rabbis who interpret these texts and their numerous commentaries comprise the modern authority on Jewish tradition. While each Jew's level of observance varies greatly, the traditional practice of Judaism revolves around the study and observance of God's Mitzvot.

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A Kohen (plural: Kohanim) is a direct patrilineal descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses. In the times of the Temple, Kohanim performed nearly all of the services there, where they were divided into twenty-four family groups, and led by the Kohen Gadol. They also recite the Priestly Blessing to the congregation in synagogues. Kohanim receive twenty-four gifts, only a few of which apply today. They are given precedence in many matters, including the reading of the Torah. Kohanim are also subject to a few prohibitions, including marrying a divorcee and entering a cemetery. (Read more...)

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Simon Wiesenthal (1908–2005) was a Jewish-Austrian Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter. He studied architecture and was living in Lviv at the outbreak of World War II. After being forced to work as a slave labourer in various Nazi concentration camps during the war, Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down fugitive Nazi war criminals. In 1947 he co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, where he and others gathered information for war crime trials and helped refugees find lost relatives. He opened the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna in 1961. He helped in locating Adolf Eichmann and preparing a dossier on Franz Stangl.

In April 1970, when Bruno Kreisky became the Austrian chancellor, Wiesenthal told the press that four cabinet appointees had been members of the Nazi Party. Kreisky called Wiesenthal a "Jewish Nazi" and likened his organisation to the Mafia. He later accused him of collaborating with the Nazis. In 1986, Wiesenthal was involved in the case of Kurt Waldheim, whose Nazi past was revealed in the lead-up to the 1986 Austrian presidential elections, although Wiesenthal had previously cleared him of any wrongdoing.

With a reputation as a storyteller, Wiesenthal wrote several memoirs that contain tales that are only loosely based on actual events. He died in Vienna on 20 September 2005, and was buried in Herzliya. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles is named in his honor. (Read more...)

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A traditional Tallit draped over several Hebrew texts.

Credit: Mnavon (talk)

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Tetzaveh (תצווה)
Exodus 27:20–30:10
The Weekly Torah portion in synagogues on Shabbat, Saturday, 2 Adar, 5778—February 17, 2018
"I will sanctify the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve Me as priests." (Exodus 29:44.)
The High Priest wearing his breastplate
God instructed the Israelites to bring Moses clear olive oil, so that Aaron and his descendants as High Priest could kindle lamps regularly in the Tabernacle. God instructed Moses to make sacral vestments for Aaron: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a gold frontlet inscribed “Holy to the Lord,” a fringed tunic, a headdress, a sash, and linen breeches. God instructed Moses to place Urim and Thummim inside the breastpiece of decision.
a pomegranate
God instructed Moses to place pomegranates and gold bells around the robe’s hem, to make a sound when the High Priest entered and exited the sanctuary, so that he not die. God laid out a ordination ceremony for priests involving the sacrifice of a young bull, two rams, unleavened bread, unleavened cakes with oil mixed in, and unleavened wafers spread with oil. God instructed Moses to lead the bull to the front of the Tabernacle, let Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the bull’s head, slaughter the bull at the entrance of the Tent, and put some of the bull’s blood on the horns of the altar. God instructed Moses to take one of the rams, let Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the ram’s head, slaughter the ram, and put some of its blood and put on the ridge of Aaron’s right ear and on the ridges of his sons’ right ears, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. God promised to meet and speak with Moses and the Israelites there, to abide among the Israelites, and be their God. God instructed Moses to make an incense altar of acacia wood overlaid with gold — sometimes called the Golden Altar.
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Commentary from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University (Conservative)
Commentary from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Conservative)
Commentary by the Union for Reform Judaism (Reform)
Commentaries from Project Genesis (Orthodox)
Commentaries from Chabad.org (Orthodox)
Commentaries from Aish HaTorah (Orthodox)
Commentaries from the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (Reconstructionist)
Commentaries from My Jewish Learning (trans-denominational)

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