Impact of Judaism

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Studying religions can be an intriguing experience, especially if one comes across the similarities and dissent each one presents to the other. Whether a person considers him or herself to be religious or not, or whether he or she thinks that religion has played an influential part in history, it is a fact that humans have used religion for various reasons. Be it for prayer, rituals, influence, or for wars, religion has played a very important part in our existence. On a more serious note, religion has been used to define human existence and after. Judaism, followed by Jews the world over, has been disintegrating in certain countries where Jews live because of various reasons.

History of the Survival of Judaism

It was Abraham who founded Judaism in 1812 BCE and it was he who gave rise to a nation of Hebrews. It is believed that God appeared before Abraham and gave him the Promised Land; the Land of Israel, from where Abraham’s descendants are supposed to have created the nation that the world is modelled under. Judaism is practiced by Jews, and a look at their history shows that they have never been able to live in peace.

In Shakespeare’s time for example, English law prohibited Jews from living in England and those who did were sent out of the country. This view is vindicated by Shakespeare in his play, ‘The Merchant of Venice,’ where; Shakespeare’s Shylock is a moneylender. There was widespread persecution of Jews in England, and there was a time when Jews had to wear strips of yellow cloth for identification. Such was the state of abuse of Jews that they were taxed heavily, and stopped from mixing with Christians. In 1290, King Edward banished all Jews from England except for those who either converted to Christianity or enjoyed the special protection for services they provided (Shakespeare, 2005).

Centuries later, hundreds of thousands of Jews were mercilessly executed by the Nazi Germans under Adolf Hitler. Today, Arab nations continue to call Israel as an occupied and disputed territory.

Judaism and its Impact on Contemporary Society

If the question of whether such a community that was on the run for so long can impact the world through their religion, it wouldn’t take long to understand that the western civilization was born in the Middle East with the Jews at its crossroads. Today, with the whole world shifting its focus on the mid-east, Israel has become the fulcrum of interest. It is Israel; the land of Judaism, which can provide the United States and its allies the cushion to engage fundamentalism that is rising from that part of the globe. One mustn’t forget that prominent personalities like Moses, Jesus, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein were all Jews and they all played highly influential roles in impacting the world, and as long as Israel remains, it will have an impact on world affairs. While the fact that under American Judaism, Jews only make up roughly 2 percent of the total U.S. population because of inter-caste marriages (Kulman, 2002), the Jews in Germany have re-defined their relationship with modern society as German Jews in order to “blend with civil society, preserve Judaism and make it fit for a modern and changing world” (Wilhelm, 2012). The Judaic notion of authority is based on not just the need for moral justification of authority, but also the related principle of rational argument. They believe that the nature of reality, the philosophical and metaphysical foundations, is given in the notion of God (Roshwald, 1978). While this view seems to be diminishing with time, hope remains in the name of Israel.

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