Judaism is the Jewish religion. It is one of the oldest of the great world religions, and is the mother religion of both Christianity and Islam. Judaism was not founded by one towering personality, as were most other religions. Abraham and Moses are not regarded as founders. Abraham was the “father of the Hebrew people” and Moses was the “law-giver”. I had the chance to interview Gary Austein. This interview was done for me to know the idea or perspective of a believer regarding his faith in his religion and that concerns his spiritual life. During the interview I asked Gary Austein the important holidays and traditions of this religion.
He answered “The important holidays and tradition of Judaism are Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashana and the Passover. The holiest day in the Jewish calendar is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This day is set aside to repent for the sins of the previous year. It is a day when any adult who has been Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s (age 12-13) fasts and reflects on the past year and asks God for forgiveness. Rosh Hashana is the previous weeks and is the Jewish New Year. Passover is in the spring and it is a time when Jews cannot eat unleavened bread reflecting on the Israelites exodus from Egypt. ”
When I asked him on how Judaism has shaped his life? And I quote “Religion defines who I am as a person. I would say I am a Jew first and an American second, that is how important it is to me. My value and belief system is a product of my Jewish identity and upbringing. My adult life has brought my Judaism more into my life than ever as I now have a Jewish home, Jewish wife and child on the way. I also work at a Jewish Day School so I am always reminded of my Jewish identity as both my professional and personal life revolves around my religion. ” What are the challenges, if any, to practicing this particular religion?
Jews throughout the world are always a target of anti-Semitism. This is a fact that they accepted and so with other families. It is scary that millions upon millions of people have been murdered because of their belief in Judaism. Between the Holocausts, pogroms in Russia, and terrorist’s attacks, an astounding amount of Jews have died because of their belief. Society is not very conducive for an observant Jewish lifestyle; Jews are supposed to observe the Sabbath (Friday night to Saturday night) and are not supposed to drive, work, spend money, etc. A lot happens on the weekends so this is difficult.
Also if you keep Kosher (Jewish dietary restrictions) it is difficult to eat out as the vast majority of food and restaurants are not kosher. What are the false impression people have about Judaism? People have much false impression about Judaism. A lack of understanding and acceptance has led to misconceptions, not only of Judaism, but throughout the world. People need to always remind themselves that both Christianity and Islam were born from Judaism. Both religions accept the Torah (the Jewish Bible, also referred to at the Old Testament) as the word of God and credit Judaism for the birth of their respective religions.
If people are more aware of this people then maybe open to differences of people. Judaism has clung to a number of religious principles, how important are they to your belief and values? Judaism defines who a Jew is; they wear it as a badge of honor. For them it is amazing that time still honors traditions that are still practiced at present. Something like male circumcision is the oldest religious tradition in the world today. It is amazing that it has lasted for thousands of years. It shows the resiliency and the testament of the Jewish faith that they are able to continue throughout the generations.
What events and figures have shaped the faith of Judaism? Judaism has greatly shaped his life as a Jew. And it is through the people around that have helped him a lot in his Religious belief. His parents gave him his Jewish identity and the friends of his family have nurtured it. His best friend who is a rabbinical student has been very influential in shaping his Jewish identity. His marriage also shaped his Jewish identity as his wife converted to Judaism which has given him a newfound zeal and love for his religion.
His study of Holocaust has been a dramatic part of his Jewish identity. Finally his visits to Israel, the Jewish state has given him a unique pride in his homeland. There are many Jewish denominations. To want certain extent the philosophies of these movements have shaped the reaction to one another? He considers himself a Conservative Jew which is best classified as the middle of the road. For the most part, Jews of different backgrounds are fairly understanding and respectful of the traditions and practices of other sects of Judaism, with the exception of the ultra-Orthodox movement.
He believes that if you are a Jewish according to the laws and traditions of Moses then it does not matter how you practice as long as you believe it in your heart. However, he believes that there are certain misinterpretations some of the other sects have undertaken, but that is not something that he could be worried or be burden about. Judaism has been the common bond of the Jewish people. It is the foundation of their culture and the reason for the creation of Israel, the Jewish State. Israel is the most important tangible asset they have and something that must be protected at all costs.
Judaism is the reason the Jewish people have and are persecuted, yet is the belief and intangible asset that keeps them together as a people. According to Jewish tradition, the history of Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham. What is the Covenant? “The Covenant is the “agreement” between God and Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish people, that the Jews will be “the chosen people. ” This is a fact that is accepted by both Christians and Muslims alike. This covenant was symbolized by Abraham being circumcised and is something that is required for all Jewish males a week after they are born”.
Judaism is different from many religions, how does differ? He answered, “This is a common misconception. All three of the major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have more similarities than differences. Their major prophets are the same; their historical texts are born out of the Jewish Bible, and their belief in one all powerful, all knowing, and benevolent God is distinct commonalities. They all practice and worship God in different ways, but when it comes down to it, they were all born from Abraham and Sarah, meaning they are all brothers and sisters”.
The interview taught me the importance of having respect for other’s faith and beliefs. It is also important that any individual must know the values that the other people in the society portrays because that is how they were brought up with especially with regards to their religion. My experience during the interview was worth it, I learned a lot especially coming from a devoted person. What he shared to me were the same with the information’s in the textbook we used in the class.