Jewish Jerusalem

Jewish Jerusalem unique connection

For thousands of years a unique group of people have lived in Jerusalem. Jewish beliefs have encouraged a special love for this city. This is the place where the first temple of Judaism was built. The Jewish people are tied to Jerusalem and the land of Israel by a remarkable history. Throughout their history the Jewish people endured persecution, exile and great hardship.

Jewish Jerusalem by Mi. Ma ©
Because of this they spread out across the world seeking a home. But wherever they stayed they carried their religion with them. Jewish people lived in communities. Where they put down roots they built a synagogue and usually lived within walking distance to the synagogue. This meant they all lived nearby and remained a close community.

The Patriarch

People frequently want to know what Judaism is. The origin of the Jewish people started as a family that grew into tribes and eventually they were called a nation. The patriarch of the Jews was a man called Abram (who became Abraham). He married Sarai (who became Sarah). They lived about four thousand years ago in the area that is today Iraq.

Abraham led his family away from the belief of polytheism. Because of his enlightenment he had to take his family and leave his homeland. As they wandered like nomads the family of Abraham multiplied. Abraham and Sarah had a son Isaac. Before that Abraham had a son Ishmael with Hagar, his concubine. Abraham circumcised Ishmael when the boy was thirteen and Isaac when he was seven days old.

The Sacred Book

The Torah is the holy book of the Jews. This book is the history of the Jewish people. It is also a record of the bloodlines of the tribes of Israel. The Torah tells of the strengths and weaknesses of the Jewish people. This book is the written record of the relationship between the Jews and God. In the Torah there is also a list of 613 instructions on how to live. Every Jew is obligated to keep the appropriate laws. Some of the laws are for men or women only. Some are for certain life situations: what not to eat, marriage and death. (Click here to learn more about Jewish Food and Jewish Restaurants in Jerusalem)

Moses and the Stone Tablets

The Torah also contains the Ten Commandments. The Jewish people had been led into slavery in the land of Egypt. Moses (or Moshe in Hebrew) had been raised as an Egyptian prince. But he left his life of riches and led the Jewish people out of Egypt and out of slavery. At Mount Sinai God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. This is also the foundation of Christianity and Islam. Moses is a famous prophet.

The Jews carried the stone tablets with them wherever they went. They built an Ark to house the tablets. This is where the Divine Presence rested. The Ark of the Covenant could not be handled by mortal man. After many, many years the temple was built around the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem. Jewish religion is the carrying out of Torah instructions. This was a chamber for the Ark of the Covenant. Only the high priest was allowed to enter once a year after strict ritual purification.

Jerusalem Day – Western Wall by Ron Cantrell ©

Jewish Jerusalem and Modern Judaism

Solomon’s Temple was destroyed in Jerusalem. Jewish religion only has the remains of a retaining wall known as the Western Wall . Jews pray fervently for the rebuilding of the Temple. Prayers and blessings have taken the place of sacrifice in modern Judaism. Every synagogue has an Ark that houses Torah Scrolls. A scribe writes the Torah by hand on animal hide. This process is done according to strict rules. This makes the scrolls kosher. Kosher means ritually clean. The Torah Scrolls are beautifully decorated and a source of pride and joy.
Until about one hundred years ago the only form of Judaism was Orthodox. But today there is throughout the world and Jerusalem, Jewish religion: Orthodox , Conservative and Reform.

The main difference between these form of Judaism is that Conservative and Reform is not as rigid as Orthodox. There is a sect of Judaism called Hassidic that is ultra-Orthodox. It can be seen there is a well recorded history of Jewish Jerusalem.

The Jewish people have relied on each other and their faith to survive for thousands of years. Some would say they are still very much a family. One thing is for sure Jewish Jerusalem has an important rule in binding the Jewish nation for generations.

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