Facts about Judaism

Here are some facts about Judaism. Write a post about this ancient religion in your blog.

  • 3,500 years old
  • Founded by Abraham and Moses
  • Jewish people are specially chosen by God.
  • Followers worship in synagogues; their spiritual leaders are called rabbis.
  • Has twelve million followers, most of whom are in Israel and the United States.
  • Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in an attempt to wipe out Judaism.

Jewish History: Part 1

The history of the Jews goes back thousands of years. Below are some important events in the years before the Common Era (B.C.E.). Use your knowledge of Judaism and the history of the region to determine their correct order. Number them 1-10, with 1 as the earliest event.

a. Cyrus, king of Persia, allows the Jews to return to Judah.
b. The kingdom of Israel splits in two. The northern kingdom continues to be called Israel. The southern kingdom is called Judah.
c. Abraham, to whom the Jews trace their ancestry, is told to leave Mesopotamia and settle in Canaan, which is now Israel.
d. When King Antiochus tries to force Jews to worship idols, a group of rebels overthrows the king.
e. The kingdom of Israel is founded.
f. Judah comes under the control of Alexander the Great.
g. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and receives the laws of God.
h. The Babylonians conquer the southern kingdom of Judah.
i. Persia conquers Babylonia.
j. The Assyrians conquer the northern kingdom of Israel.

The Idol Seller

Abraham was a founder of Judaism. He was born around 1800 B.C.E. in the city of Ur. His father, Terah, made idols for people to worship. Abraham did not believe in idols; he believed in one god.

One day, Abraham was left to mind his father’s store of idols. He smashed all the idols except one, then put the hammer in that idol’s hands.

When Terah returned and saw the broken idols, he was furious. He shouted to Abraham, “What have you done?? Why did you smash my idols?” Abraham replied that the idols had gotten into a fight, and the idol with the hammer had broken the other ones. Terah said, “What nonsense! I made these idols – they have no life or power, they can’t do anything! You must have broken them!”

This answer gave Abraham the perfect argument to use with his father. What do you think Abraham said next?

The Empty Palace

Abraham was the first prophet of Judaism. According to the Midrash, a book of Jewish stories and aphorisms, Abraham was walking near the city of Ur when he saw an empty palace. For a moment he thought that the palace appeared before him like an illusion. Then he realized, of course, it was probably built by someone. In order for a palace to exist it must have been built. Likewise, Abraham reasoned that the world itself was made by something. This “something” is called God.

Do you think things can exist without having a beginning?

The First Covenant

Abraham was the first prophet of Judaism. According to the Book of Genesis in the Bible, when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and made a covenant, or agreement, with him.

God asked Abraham to do certain things. In return, he promised to take special care of Abraham’s descendants and to give them the land of Israel.

Abraham is sometimes called the patriarch of the Jewish people. A patriarch is a father or founder. In what way was Abraham the patriarch of Judaism?