What is Judaism?
What is Judaism and who are we? Who are we and why are there so many prejudices against Jewish people, is it because we are different, maybe annoying, having a too busy behavoir ,too distant sometimes, or because of our customs and traditions, Judaism does not fit well into Western culture and does that makes it looks weird?! It can have many reasons, but of course it can also be the great unknown! My biggest reason besides my love for our faith and everything that goes with it, is the reason for this website, to give a complete picture as possible of who we are , what we do and why we do it. I personally think that we are peaceful people, but you can decide that for yourself how you feel about that!!
In my eyesbJudaism is very special, but how is it different from any other religion? First of all, it is of course the oldest religion with only one G'd, also the only religion that is also a nation at the same time, that is what makes it so special. Our G'd is the G'd of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and religious Jews believe in their words but also in the words of the prophet Moses. Within the faith there is not one movement but several in Chaddism the Talmud is an example of this, in which for example rabbis have different opinions in the movement and also about what is in the Tanakh or Torah, these discussions are described in the Talmud, mayself i believe that this allows us to learn much more from the work of HaShem. And if there is something we Jews all love thats our books en love to study everything! But what binds us most is our history, our traditions and the Mitzvot! The most famous of Jewish history is of course the exodus , where Moses leads the Jewish people out of Egpyt, and led them for 40 years through the desert to the promised land, modern-day Israel.
A tallit is a rectangular prayer rug with Tzitzit (fringes) on the quadrilaterals. The Torah commands the wearer to wear this outside the clothing, these Tzitzit reminds of the Mitzvot, Ultra Orthodox men always wear the Tallit. To wear a Tzitzit is to fulfill the Mitzvah by men, both in Ashkenazi and Serfardic congregations, where men and sometimes even boys also wear the tallit during prayer.
Tefilin or prayer belt are leather belts with boxes containing texts from the Torah. One box goes around the left arm, just below the shoulder at the height of the heart, after this the l'honiach (blessing) is pronounced, the other box goes on the forehead in the middle between the eyes. There should be nothing between the hand Tefilin and the body, so no rings are allowed, there should also be no pause between applying the arm and head Tefilin, The Tefilin is used on all working days, but not on Shabbat and holidays or on other days in between.
The Torah is a addition to the Tanakh, the Torah is a very important book, its also a holy book, just like the Tanakh and the Talmud is as holy and binding to the very religious Jews as the Torah, which is the first 5 books of the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) the Torah also includes the Mitzvot, there are a total of 613, of which 248 are postive commandments and 365 are negative commandments, Hasidic orthodox Jews observe the Mitzvot very strictly, the Liberals a little less strictly. Here are just a few that I personally find very important.
Knowing that G'd exists.
Don't believe in multiple gods.
Holy God's name.
Learn the Torah.
Hang the mezuzah on your door frame.
Pray to G'd.
Say blessings before the meal.
Don't be hateful.
Don't just watch when someone is in danger.
Don't marry a non-Jew.
Brit mila for the man.
Do not eat meat with milk.
Do not eat pork.
Someone has to do what he has said.
Four obligatory holidays.
Don't take revenge.
Honor your father and mother.
Purification of impurity by means of water from the Mikveh.
Give leftovers of the harvest to poor people.
Prayer belt and the memorial tassels.
Headwear women (married women) Men's headwear.
Mitzvot ~ Halachah and the Torah
So in the Torah there are a large number of laws and rules, for the religious Jews this is very important,the Mitzvot are commandments and Halachah are the laws, which we live by. We have the written Torah, this is called the "Torah Misinaj" and then there is the oral Torah and that is the "Shel Ba 'al Peh", especially the Hasidic Orthodox Jews believe in the oral Torah as HaShem gave this to Moshe (Moses)
Brooklyn ~ Boro Park Shul
The Synagogue ~ shul
The Synagogue or Shul as we call it is a place of worship, but also where you as a Jewish community come together. We come together to read from the Torah and Saturday to celebrate Shabbat, everything from the Torah and prayer is in Hebrew, not everyone masters this equally well and that is why it is nice that both the Torah and the prayer book are bilingual!!
Satmer Rabba Shlit at his Shul in Williamsburg, where thousands gather for the Hachnuses Sefer Torah
Hachnuses Sefer Torah ~ Is a ceremony where one or more Torah scolls installed in Shul or Yeshiva, with the inauguration of a new Torah or even a resorted Torah or even transfer of the Torah in its new sanctuary.
With a new Torah scroll there is the last letter to be written at the door to the donor of the scroll. The Torah scroll can now be carried inside into its new home, we celebrate this by singing and dancing and a prayer service before the Torah scroll is placed into the Torah ark.