Judaism, which began in 2000 B.C.E., is a monotheistic faith, meaning that Jews believe there is only One God. Often this God is beyond our ability to comprehend, but God is nevertheless present in our everyday lives. Each individual’s relationship with God is unique and personal.
Judaism teaches that every person (Jewish and non-Jewish) was created “in the image of God.” For this reason every person is equally important and has an infinite potential to do good in the world. People have the freewill to make choices in their lives and each of us is responsible for the consequences of those choices.
The Torah is Judaism’s most important text. It contains the first five books of the Bible. The Hebrew Bible also contains the work of the prophets and other writings commonly referred to by Christians as the Old Testament. In addition, Judaism has an oral tradition of commentary and interpretation of Biblical texts which has been written down in the Talmud.
Jews believe in an obligation to give charity and to do good works. This is known as “Tikkun Olam” or repairing the world.
There is a story in the Talmud that during the first century B.C.E. a great rabbi named Hillel was asked to sum up Judaism while standing on one foot. He replied: “Certainly! What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the Torah. The rest is commentary, now go and study.” (Talmud Shabbat 31A.)