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Modern Judaism

Judaism is one of the world’s great religions, one of three Abrahamic religions (Christianity and Islam being the other two). Judaism traces its history back more than three thousand years, and is traditionally held to be the expression of the Covenant forged between Yahweh (God) and Abraham. Modern JudaismAt the center of Judaism is the Torah, also known as the Pentateuch or the first five books of the Bible. The Torah is part of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and is also supplemented by the Midrash and Talmud, other important texts.

Modern Judaism is comprised of three major groups: Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism. Adherents of Orthodox Judaism believe that they are following the traditional ethics and practice of Judaism, dating back to Moses. The majority of Jews killed during the Holocaust were Orthodox. Conservative Judaism is a modern school of thought that emerged in the 19th century and a major strain of Judaism in the United States. Reform Judaism, in contrast to Conservative, attempts to blend Judaism with modern, Western society.

Judaism has a number of religious holidays that celebrate both historical events and the Jews’ covenant with God. Perhaps the best known is Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Other holidays include Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Purim. There are more than 14 million Jews around the world, most living in either Israel or the United States.

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