Jews believe that God is One and that He is the Creator for the world who cares for all His creation. They believe their special relationship with God is expressed in the 613 Mitzvot (laws). Jews also believe that God’s special relationship with all humanity is expressed through obedience to the seven Noachide laws.
The Torah, which was revealed by God to Moses on Mt Sinai, is the central core foundation to Jewish life. The Torah sets out practical rules and guidance (including the Ten Commandments) for all aspects of daily individual, family and community life. Together with the Oral Law, set out in the Talmud, and described in Halakhah, the Torah remains the basis of belief. The written Torah forms the First Five books of the Tenakh (Old Testament. The New Testament is not part of Jewish religious teaching).
The Jewish people are very family-orientated, and this is reflected both in the celebration of weekly Shabbat, festivals throughout the year and a proud tradition of caring institutions. Shabbat and festival are celebrated both in the home and in the synagogue.
Much of Jewish history is connected with the struggle for Israel and identity as a people. The Tenakh describes this early history from the Creation. It contains key events such as the Exodus (the escape from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses), the building of a portable sanctuary in the desert, and the establishment of the Temple of Jerusalem. The Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE, and the Jews were exiled to Babylonia. Re-settlement and the rebuilding of the Temple commenced about 70 years later.
In 70 CE the Romans destroyed the second Temple, and over many centuries the Jews were dispersed throughout the world, Since 1948, the foundation of the State of Israel has provided a beacon of hope for a people nearly destroyed by the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany. The Holocaust and the systematic murder of 6,000,000 Jewish men, women and children is a permanent reminder of the evils of racism.
There is a resurgence of Jewish life and culture in many parts of the world. The future of Judaism will be ensured through the Jewish family, education and Torah study, thus enhancing Jewish continuity.