What is Judaism?

Meaning of Judaism

The word Judaism is linked to the culture, religion and history of the Jewish people . Despite being one of the three oldest monotheistic religions (they believe in the existence of a single God) in the world, the Judaism religion has few believers. The beliefs of Judaism are rigorously based on the teachings of the Torah, which is made up of five books. The word Judaism comes from the Greek “Judaïsmos” essentially means “Judah”.

The word Judaism refers to the tradition, religion, and culture of the Jewish population. At the level of history, it was the first monotheistic religion of humanity (with more than three thousand years), along with Islam and Christianity are part of the religions created in the Middle East, called "religions of the book" or Abrahamic.

For what is Judaism, the Torah is the law , its creation is attributed to Moses and tells the beginning of the world, in addition to the revelation of the commandments. The word Torah encompasses all the books of the Hebrew Bible and the Israelites usually refer to it as the Tanach. Both the Tanakh and the Torah make up the Old Testament for Christians, because Judaism did not adopt as its own, the deuterocanonical books, nor the New Testament.

Jewish populations are scattered throughout various countries of the world because of the many circumstances that have happened and that forces them to walk from one place to another, this is known as the Jewish diaspora.

The largest Jewish population is located in Israel, a nation in which there are also a large number of Islamists and Christians. Other countries that follow, also with a considerable number of Jews, are the United States (with around 5,700,000 Jews), France (400,000), Canada (390,000), among others.

Judaism can be studied through the Bible and some other books, but there is also currently a web program called Open Judaism , where you can see and hear all the preaching that the rabbis provide through this medium.

The origin of Judaism

The origin of Judaism was in the Middle East. The year of the beginning of Judaism was in approximately 1350 . The Old Testament reviews the history of the Jews through different prophets. According to the Tanach, Judaism had been realized by the covenant that God had with Abraham.

However, from the beginning the Jewish populations, occurred as a result of their voluntary migrations and forced expulsions or exiles (diaspora), they have been in almost all parts of the world.

In premodern Hebrew the words religion and Judaism did not exist. The Jews spoke of the Torah (laws that God showed Israel), and in which they showed a vision of the world and a style of living (halacha), the path that the world should follow, customs, laws and practices Jewish.

The entire history of premodern Judaism made up a comprehensive culture system (and that traditional Judaism still makes up today), a comprehensive cultural method that completely covers the individual and social existence of individuals is a method of sanctification in the that everything is subject is the will of God, according to divine patterns on cosmic regulations and legality.

What is Judaism, Islam and Christianity, are the three great monotheistic religions, they have many characteristics in common. On the one hand, Christianity was born in Palestine within the Jewish people during the 1st century AD; on the other and from the beginning, Islam adopted part of its ideology from Judaism.

The holy book of Judaism

In most doctrines there is usually a book that reveals all the indigenous teachings or history of the origin of their beliefs, according to this, the holy book of Judaism has a special relevance for those who believe in it.

The main sacred book of Judaism is the Torah , which is made up of five texts from the Christian Bible, estimated to be of divine origin, and traditionally called the "written Torah."

Jews faithfully believe in the Old Testament , where all the accounts of God and his prophets are shown. For Judaism, the New Testament is a pagan creation so they downplay it.

Other books studied in Judaism are:

1. The Tanakh : it is a fragment of the Bible called by Christians as an old testament, it is composed of 39 texts, some of them are the neviim (book of the prophets), the ketuvim (the writings, literally), the mishna the which is the compilation of the exegesis and oral customs of the Torah, given according to the beliefs to Moses by Yahveh (who is the God of Judaism) on Mount Sinai, then they were transmitted orally from generation to generation, and collected to the end of the centuries by Rabbi Yehuda Hanasí, during the second century.

2. The Talmud or gemara : created by a huge corpus of comments and interpretations attributed to the Amorites, researchers who were in the second century, after the edition of the Mishnah. On the other hand, later exegesis, whose beginnings date back to the medieval age , are also known as Talmud .

How is the God of Judaism

The god of Judaism is named Allah . However, according to Judaic customs, God made a pact with the Hebrews, being they the elected community that would go to enjoy the promised land, that pact was made with Abraham and his descendants, then it was strengthened with the manifestation of divine commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.

For the doctrine of Judaism, God is a creative and transcendent being , the beginning of everything known and outside the capacity of human wisdom. God manifests himself before man through different means, giving earthly existence the capacity for moral sense.

God, whose nature is goodness, who voluntarily gives up his power over the world, to give man a free will, so that he can demonstrate his level of maturity .

The Kabbalistic custom called tzimtzum (self-limitation) shows a God who is the creator of good and evil, who lets man choose his path, whether on one side or the other, although in essence it is up to man to take good. Judaism accepts the human inability to characterize and define God, so it uses a difficult symbolic and metaphorical language.

He comes in this way to list his attributes, which are worth as a guide and moral example. The two most significant are mercy and justice. Although God does have a name, normally used in biblical times. The name used is the tetragrammaton, which are the four letters that make up the name of God and that in the Hebrew language is respective to the consonants YHWH .

As time passed, it was thought that this name should not be vocalized, thus other nouns such as Adonai (my lord) were used.

What is a jew

The Jewish identity in the first place does not depend on the approval of religion or continuity of an established lifestyle is a matter of debate among philosophers, religious and Jewish sociologists about who is considered Jewish. In Jewish belief, there are three branches that constitute it and each one of them has its own interpretation of those who are recognized as Jews:

1. In the first instance, Orthodox Judaism justifies that Jewish law (halacha) requires that anyone who was born of a Jewish mother , or who has undergone a transformation process to convert to Judaism led by a rabbi, a Jewish population (the synagogue) and finished in front of an orthodox Jewish court (beit din), it will be Jewish by definition.

2. In the second instance, conservative Judaism protects the same points, but with the singularity that the approved transformation processes are those carried out by orthodoxy (the process cited above) or by the beit din of conservative Judaism.

3. Third and last, the Reformists think that any individual who was born of Jewish parents or has been transformed in front of an Orthodox , Conservative Jewish court or in front of a Reform rabbi is Jewish (it is important to note that every Reform rabbi possesses the freedom to make the decision when a follower becomes Jewish).

At this point it must be added that the American Reform rabbis stated that the children of Jewish parents can be esteemed as Jewish, only if they obtain any kind of Jewish education. This is because 57% of men make the decision to marry a pagan woman.

Consequently, being Jewish is a matter of biological descent or spiritual adoption , through becoming a follower, spiritually or biologically descendant of the patriarchs of Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob. According to halacha, a Jew can be Muslim or Christian without losing their own Jewish trait, but if they lose community and religious rights, such as the right to burial in a Jewish cemetery.

What does a jew believe in

The Jews mainly believe that there is only one God who can do everything, creator of everything that exists in the world, an incorporeal God (without a body), and that he should only be worshiped as the sole and absolute ruler of the universe.

In Judaism, there are five main forms in the world today. They are conservatives, orthodox, humanists, reformers, and reconstructionists. The requirements and beliefs in each differ drastically.

However, in all they reach the same conclusion, God communicates with the Jewish population through the prophets, that the first five texts of the Hebrew Bible were manifested by God to Moses. For Judaism, God visualizes the activities of man; It rewards people for their good deeds and punishes those who do wrong.

On the other hand, despite the fact that Christians base most of their faith, on the same Hebrew books as Jews, there is a huge difference in ideologies.

Usually, Jews first believe in 2 significant points which are behavior and actions; ideologies come from facts. This leads to problems with conservative Christians, since for them belief is the main thing, and facts are the result of faith.

In Judaic ideology they do not condone the concept of original sin given in Christianity (the belief that human beings have inherited sin from Adam and Eve, when they both disobeyed God's command in the Garden of Eden).

Characteristics of Judaism

There are many characteristics of Judaism, but the following main ones:

  • In Judaism they think that there is only one God with whom they make a pact.
  • In oral or traditional Jewish laws, exegesis of the commandments of the Torah is called halacha .
  • Because of all the good that God has done for the Jewish community, they keep his commandments and seek holiness in every aspect of their lives.
  • The spiritual leaders in Judaism are called rabbis.
  • Jews worship God in so-called synagogues.
  • The most significant text for the Jews is the Bible, also called by them as Tanakh .
  • It is a monotheistic method.
  • Israelite monotheism is one of the most relevant and mysterious characteristics of Judaism of this religion, since all the peoples around it (Indo-European and Semites) were polytheists. The deity among the Israelites lies in the belief of a unique God, it is indisputable that Yahweh is the unique God of all peoples and men.
  • Other characteristics of Judaism or foundations of this religion, is that the life of Judaism is governed by a calendar that is based on the mixture of the solar year and the lunar monthly cycle , whose roots transcend biblical times, and that is why they are guided to carry out their festivities and rites of doctrine to the present day.
  • Another point that should be highlighted is the most respected Jewish celebration called Shabbat , which they consider completely sacred and which is only surpassed, in sumptuousness, only by the day of forgiveness (Yom Kippur), curiously also called "Saturdays of Saturdays" .

Judaism beliefs

Judaism is a monotheistic doctrine, based on the belief of a single God, intangible (cannot be felt), omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time) and transcendent (not restricted by time). He directed the world, created it, and wisely channeled its destinies. Its existence is revealed through creation.

Judaism clothe a religion, a nation, a people. From birth to death, the Jew is guided by monotheistic religious foundations , the ethical and behavioral aspect, which encompass all contexts of life.

The beliefs of Judaism are those that are described by the Old Testament of the Bible. It specifies the approach to the commandments, worship and the Hebrew society itself, under the strict command of their God, where the ten Commandments make up the ethical code of the Jewish community.

According to these beliefs, the Israeli community is determined not only by the place of their birth but also by their affection for the true faith , who would be the chosen of God, who offered them the promised land for their flourishing.

Symbols of Judaism

The symbols used in Judaism are diverse, among the most renowned the following:

The menorah

In Hebrew it is an oil lamp or candelabrum with seven arms , it is the oldest symbol of Judaism and one of the elements used for its rituals; it represents the burning trees that Moses envisioned on Mount Sinai. It is one of the symbols that appear on the coat of arms of the state of Israel.

The Jai

The name of this symbol is a Hebrew word that means "to live ." It is customary to use it as a decoration in jewelry for pendants or medals. It has great symbolic value in Judaism since, as a religion, they focus a lot on life.


It is a small cap used to partially cover the upper part of the head, which is traditionally worn by Jewish men.

The star of david

This is also known as the shield of David or seal of Solomon. It is a very representative symbol of Judaism, because this star is also used as a national symbol, stamped on the state flag. The Star of David is composed of two superimposed equilateral triangles, creating the six-pointed star , it was used to differentiate the towns and districts preserved for the Jews after the Middle Ages.

History of Judaism

The origin of Judaism dates back to Noah's ark and his arrival at Mount Ararat , where the descendants of Noah, Ham, Shem and Jasef began the Semitic, Japhethite and Camitic peoples throughout the world.

Later, Abraham, a distant relative of Noah received a sign from God, where he gave the order to leave his town Ur, located near the Euphrates River, to go to Canaan, the territory that was promised to him and his family. Likewise, Abraham had to fulfill his promise to God that every male should be circumcised.

Abraham is considered the first Hebrew, he was a wandering shepherd with his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. All three symbolize the direct line of creation of the Hebrew people. On the other hand, Jacob received the name Israel from God.

Israel had twelve sons who made up the twelve Hebrew tribes: Naphtali, Asher, Zebulun, Manasseh, Ephraim, Gad, Issachar, Benjamin, Dan, Judah, Simeon and Reuben . Those who in a time of famine had to move to the lands of Goshen, which was ruled by the Pharaoh of Egypt who later converted them into slaves.

As mentioned above the three main patriarchs of the Jewish people are: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which are considered the parents of the people of Israel. But really the founder of Judaism is Moses who was the one who received the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) on Mount Sinai, after the ten commandments were revealed to all the people of Israel.

Jews in Mexico

The history of the Jews in Mexico began in 1519 with the arrival of the converts , also called crypto-Jews, who were later forced to become Catholics, these being one of the targets of the inquisition.

During the colonial era, a number of Jews arrived in Mexico from Spain, the political situation of that time managed to give free transit of crypto-Jewish merchants from Spain and Portugal to various areas of Latin America. After the dominance of the Catholic Church in Mexico ended, the liberal amendments approved the entry of Jewish immigrants to the country, which came from different parts of Europe.

Most of the Jewish population in Mexico are descendants of immigrants, according to statistics, there are more than 70,000 individuals who practice Judaism.

In Mexico City, the Jewish population is established in the Colonia Hipódromo Condesa, Lomas de Chapultepec, Polanco and Santa Fe, at least a dozen schools and a few synagogues are in the city.

The issue of Mexican Jews is a current phenomenon, so their identity is going through cultural contexts from their land of origin.

Branches of Judaism

The branches or types of Judaism that exist are:


Orthodox Judaism strictly adheres to religious laws (halacha) and requires a single central leadership, so they accept a certain limit of variation. It is precisely a conservative response to the reformism that originated in the 19th century.


She is of Ashkenazi (Eastern or Central European) descent, with a progressive and less religious outlook. They defend individual independence in the interpretation of religious doctrines.


Also called traditionalists. It is the result of the mix between Orthodox and Reform Jews. They apply more modern interpretations of Jewish law, accepting the Jewish people as a nation.


It is the progressive and more slowly individualized Jewish movement and also the one that has the least official followers. It was created in 1968 in the United States of America by Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan and Ira Eisenstein, it was ideologically founded between the years 1920 and 1940. It is present mainly in the the United States and, a little, in Canada.

Karaite Judaism

The Karaites are a group of Jewish dogmatists, distinguished by recognizing the Tanakh as the only religious power for purposes of halacha and its theology. It is distinguished from Rabbinic Judaism by the main style of Judaism worldwide, which contemplates the oral Torah, summarized in the Talmud and other subsequent works, such as arbitrary translations on the Torah.

Hasidic Judaism

The jadisismo is a mystical and orthodox religious tendency within the Jewish religion, forming part of the group called garden . This kind of Judaism is fragmented into various groups led by a rabbi, who is called "love."

Rabbinic Judaism

It is the main style of Judaism since the 6th century, as a consequence of the codification of the Babylonian Talmud. In the beginning, it originated from the Pharisees and their ideologies. But then the rabbinical foundations were based on the ideology that on Mount Sinai, Moses had received the Torah already written by God.

Frequently Asked Questions about Judaism

What is Judaism about?

It is the religion and culture of the Jewish population, it represents the existence of a single God and it is one of the oldest religions of the same. Its rules are quite strict, they do not admit certain things of modernism, among them, the belief of other deities, freedom of dress, etc.

How did Judaism originate?

It took place in the Middle East in 1350 and its entire history is based on the Old Testament, a book in which all the stories of the Jewish people are told, including the covenant that God made with Abraham, as well as the history of creation. of the 10 commandments.

How many followers does Judaism have?

The number always varies annually. In Mexico there are around 70,000 people who practice this religion and in the middle of 2018, there were around 18 million people who profess this ancient religion. It is possible that, by 2020, there are between 18 and 19 million Jews worldwide.

What is called Orthodox Judaism?

It is the one through which the laws of that religion are applied and accepted, which are known as halacha. It has a single central address and is considered the most archaic of the branches of Judaism.

Who do they worship in Judaism?

Jews worship only God. In that religion there are no virgins, there are no other saints, there is no one more powerful than God, who created everything that exists and who rewards the righteous.
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