Judaism For Kids
Many people are Jewish, and practice Judaism. There’s a good chance you know someone who is Jewish. People who follow Judaism have some different beliefs and rules than other religions and cultures.
Judaism is a monotheistic religion, meaning Jews believe in one God. They believe God is just and merciful, and watches over each and every one of us.
Judaism teaches that all people were made in God’s image, and thus were created equally. It also teaches that God gave us all free will. We are free to make our own decisions, good or bad, but that we will be responsible for those actions.
The Jews follow the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. These are the same Ten Commandments followed by Christians. The main book of Judaism is the Torah. The Torah holds the important teachings of this religion, such as how a good person should act and think, and how to view life and death. It teaches how to treat the people around you, whether they be family, friends, or strangers.
Jews believe that every day is important, and that each day they should strive to be kind to their fellow man. They look for every opportunity to do good works and see the good in people. They believe that happiness should be sought and blessings should be counted even in the hardest times.
If you go to a Jewish friend’s house, don’t expect to see any ham or bacon. Judaism prohibits it’s followers from eating pork and shellfish. They also have to get meat that has been prepared in a certain way. This meat, and other specially prepared foods are called “kosher.”
Their religion is similar to other major religions is some ways, but they also have many beliefs that differ. Jews believe that God will send a messiah, but they do not believe that Jesus was the messiah. They believe Jesus was a Jewish teacher, but not the literal son-of-God. Jews believe that the messiah will be a person descended from the line of King David (not a God) who will lead the world to unity and peace.
Jews believe in the “Promised Land.” They believe that God made a covenant (promise) to Abraham that Israel would be the land of the Jews forever. When the Jewish people were not in Israel, they wanted to return to it. Not all Jews live in Israel, and many do not want to live there, but Israel still holds a significant role in their religion and culture.
Like some other religions, Judaism does teach that the soul of a person lives on after death. A good, God-following person will enter the Kingdom of Heaven and live eternally.
Jews have special rituals and holidays, just like any religion. When a child turns thirteen, they get a Bar Mitzvah (Bat Mitzvah for girls). This ceremony celebrates the child becoming an adult. Jews celebrate the new year in the fall, with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This time is for looking back over the previous year and looking forward to the new one. It is also for fasting and praying. Many of you have probably heard of Hanukkah, because it falls near the Christmas holidays. Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight nights, and children are often given gifts.
There are many special things about Judaism. Next time you see a friend or neighbour who is Jewish, you can ask them about their beliefs if you want to know more!
This is an original news article © The Kids Window
One in a series of articles about Religion written for children.