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Jewish Terms & Concepts
Altar: Topic Page
Table or platform for the performance of religious sacrifice. In its simplest form the altar is a small pile, with a square or circular surface, made of stone or wood.
Angel: Topic Page
Bodiless, immortal spirit, limited in knowledge and power, accepted in the traditional belief of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and other religions.
Atonement: Topic Page
The reconciliation, or "at-one-ment," of sinful humanity with God. In Judaism both the Bible and rabbinical thought reflect the belief that God's chosen people must be pure to remain in communion with God. The Bible prescribed Temple sacrifice for the removal of sin and uncleanliness.
Bar mitzvah: Topic Page
In Judaism, initiation of a boy, which takes place at the age of 13, into the adult Jewish community.
Covenant: Topic Page
Agreement entered into voluntarily by two or more parties to do or refrain from doing certain acts. In the Bible and in theology the covenant is the agreement or engagement of God with man as revealed in the Scriptures.
Fasting: Topic Page
The practice of voluntarily going without food. It can be undertaken as a religious observance, a sign of mourning, a political protest (hunger strike), or for slimming purposes.
Prophet: Topic Page
A religious leader and spokesperson, particularly used in the Bible. The prophets emitted messages from the divine through inspired speech, the interpretation of omens and dreams, and the casting of lots and divination.
Jewish Terms & Concepts
Apocalypse: Topic Page
A Christian or Jewish text which claims to contain a disclosure or revelation of hidden things or of the future, made by God to a chosen prophet, and often describing the end of the world and the Last Judgement.
Circumcision: Topic Page
Operation to remove the foreskin covering the glans of the penis. It dates back to prehistoric times and was widespread throughout the Middle East as a religious rite before it was introduced among the Hebrews, presumably by Abraham. It is performed by Jews on the eighth day after the birth of the male child, unless postponed for reasons of health.
Kosher: Topic Page
Conforming to religious law with regard to the preparation and consumption of food; in Judaism, conforming to the food laws of the Torah and the Mishnah.
Prayer: Topic Page
Address to divine power, ranging from a ritual formula to attain a desired end, to selfless communication in meditation.
Religion: Topic Page
A system of thought, feeling, and action that is shared by a group and that gives the members an object of devotion; a code of behavior by which individuals may judge the personal and social consequences of their actions; and a frame of reference by which individuals may relate to their group and their universe.
Sacrifice: Topic Page
A type of religious offering, or gift to a superior or supreme being, in which the offering is consecrated through its destruction.
Sin: Topic Page
Transgression of the will of God or the gods, as revealed in the moral code laid down by a particular religion.
Ten commandments: Topic Page
In the Old Testament, the laws given by God to the Hebrew leader Moses on Mount Sinai, engraved on two tablets of stone.
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