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Religion 101

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Judaism Archives

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Six)

posted by Reed Hall

Specifically Christian newcomers to the study of Judaism frequently puzzle over  why — as they themselves often put it — Jews “don’t believe in Jesus.” The reality is simply that the entire Jewish concept of who and what a Messiah […]

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On Teaching About Judaism (Part Five)

posted by Reed Hall

Aside from the several other frequent areas of confusion which sometimes puzzle newcomers to the study of Judaism (areas which I’ve been discussing in my last several blog entries), there is yet another hazy area that is often uniquely puzzling […]

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On Teaching About Judaism (Part Four)

posted by Reed Hall

As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about many of the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real […]

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real knowledge of […]

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

As I observed in my previous blog entry, a rather sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, when we take up the study of the […]

On Teaching About Judaism (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

One might expect that many if not most Americans would have at least a passing familiarity with the basics of Judaism. After all, about 80% or so of the American public self-identifies as Christian, and Christianity and Judaism are inextricably […]

Shavuot 2013

posted by Reed Hall

At sunset yesterday (Tuesday, May 14), Jews worldwide began the Jewish holiday festival of Shavuot (pronounced “shav-oo-OT”), otherwise known as the Feast of Weeks. Shavout is traditionally both an agricultural harvest festival (originally dating back to when the first fruits […]

Yom HaShoah 2013

posted by Reed Hall

At sunset today (Sunday, April 7), Jews worldwide will begin observing Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. A relatively recent modern addition to the Jewish calendar (having been established in 1953), this is a solemn memorial day commemorating the approximately […]

Passover (Pesach) 2013

posted by Reed Hall

At sunset today (Monday, March 25), Jews worldwide will begin observing the eight-day festival known in Hebrew as Pesach, and in English as Passover. Why at sunset? Because Judaism traditionally reckons a “day” as beginning not at 12:00 midnight, nor […]

Purim 2013

posted by Reed Hall

At sunset yesterday (February 23, 2013), Jews worldwide began observing one of Judaism’s most joyous and celebratory annual holidays (or “holy days”): Purim, or the Feast of Lots. Purim runs throughout the following day (today), before concluding at nightfall this evening (February 24). I’ve […]

On Teaching About Indigenous Religions (Part Five)

posted by Reed Hall

Finally, what about something like religious sacrificial offerings? The practice is common enough among indigenous religions; but what role, if any, might such a practice play within major religions of the modern Western world, like Judaism or Christianity? Well, the […]

On Teaching About Indigenous Religions (Part Four)

posted by Reed Hall

So, what about such matters as religious taboos, or religious sacrificial offerings? What role, if any, might such things play within major contemporary religions of the modern Western world — like, say, Judaism or Christianity? In our own contemporary culture, […]

On Teaching About Indigenous Religions (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog entry, we looked at some of the similarities and parallels that seem to exist between the shamans of many indigenous religions, and the prophets, priests, and faith-healers of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. But what about some […]

On Teaching About Indigenous Religions (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

Many of the students in my community college world religions courses (who may be completely new to the academic study of religion) often find some of the seeming similarities and peculiar parallels that exist between indigenous religions on the one […]

Hanukkah 2012

posted by Reed Hall

The eight-day Jewish holiday known as Hanukkah (or Chanukah) began this year at sunset on Saturday, December 8, and will end at sunset on Sunday, December 16. Like all Jewish holidays (literally “holy days”), Hanukkah begins and ends at sundown. […]

Sukkot 2012

posted by Reed Hall

Today (October 1, 2012), Jews worldwide are observing the first day of a joyous, seven-day-long holiday (a holy week, actually, rather than a literal “holy day”) known as Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles (or the Festival of Booths). For the first two […]

Jewish Demographics & “Denominations” (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

In my last blog entry, I presented some statistics and some graphic “pie charts” to illustrate (for the benefit of those for whom religious demographics may be unfamiliar territory) the actual size of both the total world Jewish population, as […]

Jewish Demographics & “Denominations” (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

In several of my most recent blog posts, I’ve been talking about Judaism — the High Holy Days in general, and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in particular. But many people who are new (or relatively new) to the study […]

Yom Kippur 2012

posted by Reed Hall

Tonight (September 25, 2012), Jews worldwide will begin observing Judaism’s most sacred holiday of the year: Yom Kippur, otherwise known as the Day of Atonement. Coming ten days after Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), on the tenth day of the month of […]

Rosh Hashanah 2012

posted by Reed Hall

For many people, and in many societies, the start of a new year is a festive, joyous occasion. But most of us regard New Year’s Day (January 1) as a purely secular holiday, with little or no real religious meaning. […]

Jewish Holidays and the High Holy Days

posted by Reed Hall

All religions have their holidays (literally “holy days”) — certain special days of the year which are set aside and elevated as being especially sacred or holy. Judaism itself celebrates about ten major and many more minor holidays throughout the […]

Ten Surprising Similarities Between Judaism & Islam (Part Five)

posted by Reed Hall

Concluding my five-part overview of ten striking similarities and prominent parallels between Judaism and Islam, which some who are unfamiliar with either faith might find rather surprising: 9.  Jews and Muslims both observe religiously mandated dietary rules and regulations.   […]

Ten Surprising Similarities Between Judaism & Islam (Part Four)

posted by Reed Hall

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, a recent Pew Forum survey finds that 78.4% of the U.S. population self-identifies as Christian — clearly an overwhelming majority. By contrast, Jews account for only 1.7% and Muslims a mere 0.6% of […]

Ten Surprising Similarities Between Judaism & Islam (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

According to a recent Pew Forum survey, 78.4% of the U.S. population self-identifies as Christian — clearly an overwhelming majority. By contrast, Jews account for only 1.7% and Muslims a mere 0.6% of the population. Overwhelming majorities (of whatever sort) […]

Ten Surprising Similarities Between Judaism & Islam (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

The U.S. population is overwhelmingly a Christian population (78% according to a recent Pew Forum survey), which of course means that all other religions also present within the U.S. are, by definition, “minority religions” (no matter how large they might […]

Ten Surprising Similarities Between Judaism & Islam (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog entries, I addressed poll results indicating that a surprisingly large percentage of Americans are unaware of the fact that Judaism is older than both Christianity and Islam, and are also unable to identify which Islamic countries […]

Previous Posts

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Six)
Specifically Christian newcomers to the study of Judaism frequently puzzle over  why -- as they themselves often put it -- Jews "don't believe in Jesus." The reality is simply that the entire Jewish concept of who and what a Messiah actually ...

posted 4:45:00pm Jun. 29, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Five)
Aside from the several other frequent areas of confusion which sometimes puzzle newcomers to the study of Judaism (areas which I've been discussing in my last several blog entries), there is yet another hazy area that is often uniquely puzzling ...

posted 10:01:32pm Jun. 27, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Four)
As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about many of the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real ...

posted 9:16:07pm Jun. 25, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Three)
As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real knowledge ...

posted 6:27:16pm Jun. 22, 2013 | read full post »

Midsummer (Litha)/Yule 2013
Tomorrow (Friday, June 21, 2013) is the date of the summer solstice within the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, by contrast, tomorrow will be the date of the winter solstice. Solstices have long been observed as important ...

posted 5:05:38pm Jun. 20, 2013 | read full post »

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