Judaism

The Jewish religion offers as many questions as it does answers, a world of mystery and variety.

Judaism is the world’s oldest monotheistic religion. According to the Bible, Abraham and Sarah were the first to recognize God, and they are considered the ancestors of all Jews today.

Some people think that Judaism is a culture, like being Irish or Indian. Others view it as a religion. Still others say that being Jewish is a nationality, and that the Jewish homeland is the Land of Israel. The truth is, being Jewish encompasses all these things — and a whole lot more. The entire span of Jewish life and knowledge is nearly impossible to define…yet exciting to explore.

What do Jews believe?

Different groups of Jews believe different things. Judaism has three main denominations — Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform — though many other subgroups and philosophies exist within and beyond these (including Reconstructionism, Hasidim, Jewish Renewal, and others). To some extent, all these groups regard the Torah — the Five Books of Moses — as the central book of Judaism. Some Jews value its stories. Others derive their beliefs and their customs and traditions from the Torah’s laws.

What do Jews do?

Judaism has many practices and ethical teachings. Almost all Jews celebrate some form of Jewish holidays, from attending a Passover seder to lighting the candles on Hanukkah. Some Jews keep kosher, and only eat certain foods, or foods prepared in certain ways. Many Jews celebrate Shabbat every Friday night and Saturday, and will attend synagogue and listen to the Torah being read, a different portion each week.

Discover More

Converting to Judaism: How to Get Started

How to find an introductory Judaism class.

Orthodox Judaism

An introduction to the roots and wings of Judaism's most traditional branch.

Judaism and LGBTQ Issues: An Overview

Attitudes have shifted dramatically in recent decades, with sharp differences between the Orthodox and liberal movements.

Modern Israel at a Glance

An overview of the Jewish state and its many accomplishments and challenges.

How to Say the Shehechiyanu Blessing

This blessing is traditionally recited upon doing something for the first time.

Simple Spatchcocked Chicken and Roasted Root Vegetables

Spatchcock is a method of splitting (butterflying) a chicken.

Roasted Potatoes for Shabbat

A Friday night staple.

Jewish Jokes

Great traditional Jewish jokes.