Judaism

Judaism is the ancient monotheistic religion of the Jewish people, based on the revelation of God to Abraham (about 1800 BCE), Moses (about 1200 BCE) and later prophets, and through the history of the Jewish people recorded in the Jewish scriptures. God chose Israel to be a "light to the Gentiles (non-Jews)", and gave them detailed instructions how to live in the Torah, the first section of the scriptures. However their continual falling short of the faithful living required of them led to the Jewish nation suffering invasion, destruction, exile and occupation. During this period, the Nation of Israel worshipped God in a permanent temple or a movable tabernacle, with an emphasis on animal sacrifice for atonement for sins and the singing of Psalms.

Following completion of the scriptures in the last few centuries BCE, further Jewish traditions were gathered together in other writings, and Judaism took on new forms as the temple was destroyed (meaning the sacrifical system has not been possible for almost 2000 years) and the Jewish people were scattered. Jewish religious life centred on keeping the law, observing the Sabbath (the seventh day of the week when no work was to be done), a number of annual festivals and meetings in synagogues.

The Jewish nation of Isreal was re-established in 1948 as a homeland for Jews after the horrors of World War 2 and the Holocaust. However many Jews today, often as a result of the Holocaust, no longer hold to their faith, although many retain Jewish culture.