Gospel Living

Let’s learn about Judaism!

01/23/24 | 1 min read
Part of a series celebrating interfaith relationships.

Judaism can refer to a religion that a person practices, or it can mean an ethnicity that someone was born into. So a person could be Jewish by heritage but practice another religion. Or someone could be born into another culture but convert to Judaism as a religion later in life.

Those who practice Judaism believe that thinking about scriptures and seeking answers is important. They cherish the Old Testament as scripture—especially the first five books, which they call the Torah.

Jewish leaders are usually called rabbis, and lead worship services in buildings called synagogues. In Judaism, Sabbath day begins at sunset on Friday and ends Saturday night.

Some who practice Judaism are more relaxed with customs and rules, while others are more strict. The most strict group is called orthodox. Some of these rules are about clothing and food. Most men wear a kippah, which is a small round cap that covers their head. Many Jewish people eat only kosher food, which keeps meat and dairy separate and does not include shellfish or pork.

While most who practice Judaism do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, they continue to look forward to the coming of a Messiah on earth.

If you have any Jewish friends, you could ask them if they are planning on celebrating their 13th birthday with a bat mitzvah (for girls) or a bar mitzvah (for boys).

You could also ask them what holy days they celebrate. Hannukah, or the Festival of Lights, happens around the same time as Christmas. Other festivals include Rosh Hashana (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Pesach (Passover).

Most importantly, we can treat those of other faiths with respect and encourage our community to do the same. Here’s a story about members of the Church in Australia who made new friends by visiting a synagogue. Our prophet today, President Russell M. Nelson, has taught that being “tolerant of neighbors with differences they hold sacred” is important.1

Tomorrow we’ll be learning about Islam, so stay tuned!

To Think About

What do we seem to have in common with our Jewish friends? What different things do we believe?

1. From “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” Apr. 1994 general conference.
Learn more about Judaism here.