Portal:Judaism

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Judaism (Hebrew: יַהֲדוּת‎ Yahădūt) is an Abrahamic, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Modern Judaism evolved from Yahwism, the religion of ancient Israel and Judah, by the late 6th century BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Israelites, their ancestors. It encompasses a wide body of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization.

The Torah, as it is commonly understood by Jews, is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh. The Tanakh is also known to secular scholars of religion as the Hebrew Bible, and to Christians as the "Old Testament". The Torah's supplemental oral tradition is represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. The Hebrew word torah can mean "teaching", "law", or "instruction", although "Torah" can also be used as a general term that refers to any Jewish text that expands or elaborates on the original Five Books of Moses. Representing the core of the Jewish spiritual and religious tradition, the Torah is a term and a set of teachings that are explicitly self-positioned as encompassing at least seventy, and potentially infinite, facets and interpretations. Judaism's texts, traditions, and values strongly influenced later Abrahamic religions, including Christianity and Islam. Hebraism, like Hellenism, played a seminal role in the formation of Western civilization through its impact as a core background element of Early Christianity. (Full article...)

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Jewish holidays include both Biblical and Rabbinic observances. Biblical days include the weekly Shabbat, considered the most important such day. There are the Three Pilgrimage Festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Shemini Atzeret. The High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are times of repentance and prayer. Rosh Chodesh, the first day of each month, has some significance as well. Rabbinic enactments include Hanukkah and Purim, both celebrating religious and military victories. (Read more...)

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The History of the Jews in Puerto Rico began in the 15th century with the arrival of the anusim (conversos) who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. The Jews did not flourish in Puerto Rico because of the Spanish Inquisition, although many migrated to mountainous parts of the island and continued to self-identify as Jews. It would be hundreds of years before an open Jewish community would be established on the island. Very few American Jews settled in Puerto Rico after the island was ceded by Spain to the United States in 1898.

The first large group of Jews to settle in Puerto Rico were European refugees fleeing German-occupied Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. The second influx of Jews to the island came in the 1950s, when thousands of Cuban Jews fled after Fidel Castro came to power, the majority immigrating to Miami, Florida, with a sizable portion choosing to establish themselves on the neighboring island because of the cultural and historic ties between the two islands.

Puerto Rican Jews have made many contributions in multiple fields, including business and commerce, education, and entertainment. Puerto Rico has the largest and richest Jewish community in the Caribbean, with over 3,000 Jewish inhabitants. It is also the only Caribbean island in which all three major Jewish denominationsOrthodox, Conservative, and Reform—are represented. (Read more...)

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The Kol Nidrei prayer in a machzor from the 1270s

Credit: Bet Hasfarim Haleumi

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