Introduction, Judaism

Judaism

 

Difference in Belief

It is important to recognise that there are many different beliefs in the Jewish tradition, and these beliefs impact the way these individuals live. Below is a video of Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers – a guest speaker on OneSpirit’s Ministry training – discussing the different forms of Judaism in the context of the UK.

 

 

 

 

Opening Reflection

What does ‘identity’ mean to you?

How are our identities formed?

Do we have any control over shaping our own identities?

Jewish Scriptures

Jewish Scriptures

 

 

You can listen to a recitation of the Shema here:

 

 

 

 

 

Scripture

 

 

 

This video discusses how the scriptures have informed Jewish life today, including the different beliefs within Judaism about the sacred texts. This video has a number of different Rabbis, including Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers.

 

 

 

Reflection

As some Jewish traditions begin their day with the Shema, expressing their faith and love in G-d, to deepen your own spiritual practice you may wish to practice gratitude.

What are you thankful for and how does it impact your life?

Mitzvot

Mitzvot

Mitzvot means commandments, there are 613 mitzvot in the Torah, and for some Jewish traditions these mitzvot come directly from G-d and should all be obeyed. Mitzvot refers to commandments and mitzvah refers to a single commandment.

 

 

You may be familiar with some of these mitzvot in the form of the Ten Commandments. These commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai, which can be read in the Torah in the book of Exodus. These mitzvot offer guidance on the rules Jewish people should follow, offering guidance on how to live.

 

FoB Research task photoResearch

Spend some time researching some of the 613 mitzvot.

What might following these look like in the modern world?

You can use this link here to guide you: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-613-mitzvot-commandments

 


Bar / Bat Mitzvah 

A Bar and Bat Mitzvah is a rite of passage for Jewish children, and marks the stage in their life when they transition into adulthood in the eyes of Jewish Law. With this comes the responsibility for living their life according to the Torah, and keeping their mitzvot.

 

In some Jewish traditions, only boys will have a Bar Mitzvah, however in many reform traditions both boys and girls take part in this rite of passage.

 

Reflection

In our Spiritual Development and Interfaith Ministry Training, we go deeper into the transitions between childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

What does ‘adulthood’ mean for you?

Do you mark particular age transitions in your own like?

 

 

 

Watch the video below, where Ethan prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, and his family talk about the importance of this event.

 

 

 

Reflection

What does the word ‘Law’ bring up for you?

Do you believe ‘goodness’ can be defined?

What guides you in your own life?

Shekhinah

Shekhinah – Divine Presence

 

Shekhinah refers to divine presence, the presence of G-d in the world today.

 

 

Traditionally, it is thought there are three ways to experience Shekhinah:

 

 

However, some Jewish traditions believe the Shekhinah can be experienced in many different ways.

 

 

Visit the link here to read more about the divine feminine within Judaism: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-divine-feminine-in-kabbalah-an-example-of-jewish-renewal/

 

The Western Wall is a site of great significance in Jewish tradition as it is one of the remaining wall of the Temple that was destroyed. Whilst this holy site has many visitors, it is also a site of controversy within Judaism. Women are not able to wear prayer shawls (Tallit), pray or read aloud from the Torah. Women of the Wall are a group of women from different Jewish paths that have come together to challenge this. You can read more about them at the link here: https://www.womenofthewall.org.il/

 

In the video below, OneSpirit tutor Annie discusses the root of the Shekhinah, the feminine divine and how the Shekhinah is embraced through different traditions. Annie is a core OneSpirit tutor who leads on the delivery of our two year Ministry Training.

 

Divine Presence on Earth

For some Jewish individuals, they believe the divine presence can be experienced through knowing the earth. Images of the divine can be seen through nature, with the belief that all beings are connected to earth, and one cannot exist with the other.

Watch the video below, where Jill Hammer explores Earth-centred Jewish Ritual:

 

 

 

This video explores rekindling the connection of the earth to the creator, and experiencing Shekhinah through the earth:

 

 

To deepen your exploration of Earth-based Judaism, you may wish to visit this website here:

https://www.telshemesh.org/

 

 

Reflection

What does the word ‘divine’ bring up for you?

Have you encountered the idea of the feminine divine before? What images come to mind for you here?

Here at OneSpirit, we remind ourselves of the divine within, what does this mean to you?

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Yom Kippur is an important Jewish festival that takes place in September or October time. In 2022, Yom Kippur begins on 4th October and ends of 5th October. Yom Kippur is a day of atonement.

 

Yom Kippur occurs ten days after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New year. Watch the video below by Actor and neuroscientist, Mayim Bialik, discussing what happens on Rosh Hashanah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch the video below to see how the Jewish community across London prepared for Rosh Hashanah during September 2020:

 

 

The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe, and is a time to ask those you may have hurt for forgiveness, forgive those that may have hurt you, and in turn ask G-d for forgiveness.

 

During Yom Kippur, or day of atonement, some Jews may choose to fast for 25 hours and spend the day at the Synagogue with their Jewish community. For many, this is a spiritually uplifting time. It is a time dedicated to the reconciliation with others, with themselves and with G-d.

 

 

 

You can read more about this story at the link here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/yom-kippur-history-traditions

 

 

Reflection

What feelings does the word ‘atonement’ bring up for you?

What does the word ‘forgiveness’ mean to you?

How is forgiveness relevant in your own spiritual life?

Shabbat

Shabbat

 

The Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest, and observing the Shabbat is a mitzvah (commandment) and is found within the 10 commandments.

 

‘Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy’
(Exodus, 20:8, NRSV).

 

Shabbat begins just before nightfall on a Friday and lasts for 25 hours. Shabbat is observed as a way to mark belief in the story of Creation, and to rest on the seventh day just as G-d did. This highlights the Jewish theology of Imitatio Dei, or the imitation of G-d. Imitatio Dei is the belief that as the book of Genesis explains humans to be made in the image of G-d, humans are to imitate G-d. This does not mean humans should impersonate G-d. Imitatio Dei means humans should behave like G-d by imitating the actions of G-d, such as being all loving. As such, resting on the Sabbath is a way to imitate the actions of G-d.

 

 

 

The Covenant 

‘Remember you were a salve in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day’ 
(Deuteronomy, 5:15, NRSV)

 

The book of Exodus, chapters 1-18 detail the story of the Israelites and Moses in Egypt before Moses has an encounter with G-d on Mount Sinai and is given the commandments. The first part of Exodus tells the story of how the Israelites were enslaved by the Pharaoh, or King of Egypt, and were brutally beaten into forced labour. You may be familiar with the story of the birth of Moses, and how, in order to save his life, his mother placed him in a basket on the river. Watch the video below which outlines this first part of the book of Exodus:

 


Exodus therefore tells the story of the covenant made between G-d and the Israelites. A covenant is an agreement or promise made between G-d and, and in this case, the Israelites. A covenant was made between G-d and Abraham in the book of Genesis whereby G-d promised to look after Abraham’s people. Freeing the salves from Egypt is thought of as G-d holding up this promise. Therefore, G-d made a renewed covenant with Moses on Mount Sinai, where Moses promised to uphold the commandments and the Torah that were given to him.

 

Exodus chapter 31, verses 12-17 detail the law of the Sabbath.

 

‘Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant’ 
(Exodus, 31:16, NRSV)

 

Observing the sabbath, therefore, is also a reminder of the covenant made between G-d and the Israelites.

You can read more about the importance of the sabbath at the link here: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/shabbat-themes-and-theology/
 
 
 

The Shabbat

How the Shabbat is observed depends on many different things, such as which denomination of Judaism an individual belongs to and where in the world they live; with some countries, such as Israel, being easier to observe the shabbat than in the UK for example. There are a number of rules outlined to be followed during Shabbat, but of course, if and how these are followed differs for each individual family.

 

 

FoB Research task photo

Research

Research some of the laws that might be observed on shabbat. How might these be observed differently for different Jewish traditions?

 

 

 

Typically on Shabbat, a family will come together to welcome the Shabbat and eat a meal together. Usually, this food is prepared in advance as once Shabbat begins, some families will observe the rules of not cooking. Two candles are placed on the table to represent the two commandments Moses received from G-d to remember and observe the sabbath day. A challah loaf is also placed on the table, symbolising the food G-d gave to the Israelites as they wondered through the desert. The two candles will be lit and a blessing recited to welcome the shabbat. After sunset on Saturday evening, Havdalah marks the end of shabbat, and G-d is thanked for all that has been provided.

 

 

Reflection

Do you observe a period of rest in the week in your own life? If you do, why is this important to you?

How might rest and reflection support a connection, either with yourself, others, or the divine?

Jewish Life

Jewish Life

Below are a selection of videos you may like to watch that explores Jewish life throughout the UK.

The video below is the first part of a series exploring Jewish life across the UK. This first episode, visits different families in Manchester to explore how they express their Jewish life.

 

 

This second video is about a Jewish family from Cambridge, who opened their home to a Syrian refugee.

You can read more about this story at the link here: https://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2018/1/5a58c12f4/jewish-family-finds-syrian-muslim-perfect-guest.html

 

 

Finally, this video was created by Tom Brada, A Jewish journalist for the BBC. The first half of 2021 saw a record spike in anti-semitism in the UK, Tom creates this film to see what’s going on.

Mitzvot

Mitzvot

Mitzvot means commandments, there are 613 mitzvot in the Torah, and for some Jewish traditions these mitzvot come directly from G-d and should all be obeyed. Mitzvot refers to commandments and mitzvah refers to a single commandment.

 

 

You may be familiar with some of these mitzvot in the form of the Ten Commandments. These commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai, which can be read in the Torah in the book of Exodus. These mitzvot offer guidance on the rules Jewish people should follow, offering guidance on how to live.

 

FoB Research task photoResearch

Spend some time researching some of the 613 mitzvot.

What might following these look like in the modern world?

You can use this link here to guide you: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-613-mitzvot-commandments

 


Bar / Bat Mitzvah 

A Bar and Bat Mitzvah is a rite of passage for Jewish children, and marks the stage in their life when they transition into adulthood in the eyes of Jewish Law. With this comes the responsibility for living their life according to the Torah, and keeping their mitzvot.

 

In some Jewish traditions, only boys will have a Bar Mitzvah, however in many reform traditions both boys and girls take part in this rite of passage.

 

Reflection

In our Spiritual Development and Interfaith Ministry Training, we go deeper into the transitions between childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

What does ‘adulthood’ mean for you?

Do you mark particular age transitions in your own like?

 

 

 

Watch the video below, where Ethan prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, and his family talk about the importance of this event.

 

 

 

Reflection

What does the word ‘Law’ bring up for you?

Do you believe ‘goodness’ can be defined?

What guides you in your own life?

Shekhinah

Shekhinah – Divine Presence

 

Shekhinah refers to divine presence, the presence of G-d in the world today.

 

 

Traditionally, it is thought there are three ways to experience Shekhinah:

 

 

However, some Jewish traditions believe the Shekhinah can be experienced in many different ways.

 

 

Visit the link here to read more about the divine feminine within Judaism: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-divine-feminine-in-kabbalah-an-example-of-jewish-renewal/

 

The Western Wall is a site of great significance in Jewish tradition as it is one of the remaining wall of the Temple that was destroyed. Whilst this holy site has many visitors, it is also a site of controversy within Judaism. Women are not able to wear prayer shawls (Tallit), pray or read aloud from the Torah. Women of the Wall are a group of women from different Jewish paths that have come together to challenge this. You can read more about them at the link here: https://www.womenofthewall.org.il/

 

In the video below, OneSpirit tutor Annie discusses the root of the Shekhinah, the feminine divine and how the Shekhinah is embraced through different traditions. Annie is a core OneSpirit tutor who leads on the delivery of our two year Ministry Training.

 

Divine Presence on Earth

For some Jewish individuals, they believe the divine presence can be experienced through knowing the earth. Images of the divine can be seen through nature, with the belief that all beings are connected to earth, and one cannot exist with the other.

Watch the video below, where Jill Hammer explores Earth-centred Jewish Ritual:

 

 

 

This video explores rekindling the connection of the earth to the creator, and experiencing Shekhinah through the earth:

 

 

To deepen your exploration of Earth-based Judaism, you may wish to visit this website here:

https://www.telshemesh.org/

 

 

Reflection

What does the word ‘divine’ bring up for you?

Have you encountered the idea of the feminine divine before? What images come to mind for you here?

Here at OneSpirit, we remind ourselves of the divine within, what does this mean to you?

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Yom Kippur is an important Jewish festival that takes place in September or October time. In 2022, Yom Kippur begins on 4th October and ends of 5th October. Yom Kippur is a day of atonement.

 

Yom Kippur occurs ten days after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New year. Watch the video below by Actor and neuroscientist, Mayim Bialik, discussing what happens on Rosh Hashanah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch the video below to see how the Jewish community across London prepared for Rosh Hashanah during September 2020:

 

 

The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe, and is a time to ask those you may have hurt for forgiveness, forgive those that may have hurt you, and in turn ask G-d for forgiveness.

 

During Yom Kippur, or day of atonement, some Jews may choose to fast for 25 hours and spend the day at the Synagogue with their Jewish community. For many, this is a spiritually uplifting time. It is a time dedicated to the reconciliation with others, with themselves and with G-d.

 

 

 

You can read more about this story at the link here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/yom-kippur-history-traditions

 

 

Reflection

What feelings does the word ‘atonement’ bring up for you?

What does the word ‘forgiveness’ mean to you?

How is forgiveness relevant in your own spiritual life?