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Latest Questions

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I am a Christian. Jesus was a Jew. Why don’t Christians celebrate the same holy days and customs as Jesus held sacred? Why do Christians neglect to acknowledge the origin of the few we do celebrate?

Shereen Hunte

Answer written on 12th March 2021 by Shereen Hunte

Hi there,

Thank you for your question. Jewish people only read the Hebrew Bible and, although there are references to the Messiah, there are no particular references to Jesus. Many Jewish people may believe that Jesus was a real historical figure,  but not the son of G-d or Messiah.

We would recommend that you look into the Council of Christians and Jews page: https://ccj.org.uk. They have great content and events regarding the relationship between Christians and Jews.

 

What is the connections between Mitzvots and life

Shereen Hunte

Answer written on 24th February 2021 by Shereen Hunte

Hi,

Thank you for submitting your question to the Jewish Museum Learning Team.

According to Judaism, there ar 613 mitzvot. ‘Mitzvot’ literally translates to ‘commandments’, but is commonly used to refer to general ‘good deeds’. The mitzvot, in the traditional sense, have been given to the Jewish people to help them live a good life.

In the Orthodox community, many people will live their lives in accordance to the mitzvot and try to observe these commandments as much as possible. This means, for example, many Orthodox Jews will obervantly adhere to the Food Laws (e.g. not eating pork or shellfish) , Shabbat Laws (e.g. not using electricity on Shabbat) and the other laws of the Torah. Not all 613 of the mitzvot are easy to adhere to today, however, as some are more specifically linked to the times of the Torah – for example, some laws are about agriculture, farming and land.

In the Reform community, many people will be inspired by the mitzvot in their daily lives but may interpret these laws to compliment their lives in modern day society, as opposed to sticking to the traditional interpretation from the Torah and Talmud.

Why not listen to our podcasts interviewing an Orthodox Rabbi and Liberal Rabbi, to see their understanding of the mitzvot.

Hope this helps!

What do they celebrate Do you have food Restrictions? How many prophets do they Believe in?

Shereen Hunte

Answer written on 15th February 2021 by Shereen Hunte

Hi there,

Thank you for your questions

Celebrations

Jewish people celebrate many special festivals throughout the year. One of the next festivals many Jewish people will celebrate is Passover (in Hebrew: Pesach). Passover takes place between March and April. This is a very important festival that celebrates and remembers the freedom of the Jewish people. During Passover, many people will remember the story of the Exodus (when Moses, with G-d’s help, freed the Israelites from Egypt), they will eat symbolic foods and say important prayers. This is one of many festivals in Judaism.

Food Restrictions

There are food restrictions that many Jewish people adhere to. There are many food laws in the Torah (the Jewish peoples’ holy scroll) that dictate what you should and should not eat. We call these laws the Kashrut Laws. More commonly, however, people will refer to the adherence of these laws as ‘keeping kosher.’ An example of one of these laws from the Torah is:

“These you may eat of all that live in water you may eat anything that has fins and scales. But you may not eat anything that has no fins and scales.” (Deut.14:9)

This is often interpreted to mean that you can eat fish, but should not eat shellfish.

Not all Jewish people follow these laws now, but many do.

Prophets and Prophetesses

The Talmud tells us that there were 48 prophets and seven prophetesses including Moses, Abraham and Miriam.

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what is judasim

Shereen Hunte

Answer written on 15th February 2021 by Shereen Hunte

Hi there!

Thank you for your question.

Judaism is a monotheistic religion (that means, a religion that believes in one G-d) that dates back over 4,000 years ago. It is believed that this religion was born in the Middle East but now, there are Jewish people all around the world!

Judaism is one of many Abrahamic religions. Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are religions that believe Abraham, and the stories surrounding him, are very important.

Judaism is a religion that celebrates many different festivals, most of which are rooted in the Torah (the Jewish people’s holy scroll – and first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible!) Some Jewish Festivals include Passover, Rosh Hashannah, and Yom Kippur. In Judaism, many people also practice Shabbat – the Jewish day of rest which happens every Friday evening to Saturday evening.

There are many different Jewish communities and synagogues including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Liberal.

Check out our website and Learning Portal to find out more about Judaism.

Do the Jews have any holy music? celebration, mourning e.t.c

Shereen Hunte

Answer written on 15th February 2021 by Shereen Hunte

Hi there,

Thank you for submitting your question.

Music plays an interesting role in Judaism.  In many ways, Jewish worship is very much intertwined with music. Often, prayer is chanted and sung by the congregation. In many synagogues, there is a cantor/chazan. The cantor is someone who leads the chanting in worship services at the synagogue. Typically, the cantor is musically trained and ordained. In some synagogues, you will find a choir too.

In Reform and Liberal Synagogues, singing is, at times, accompanied with instruments. However, in the Orthodox community, the playing of instruments in the synagogue is discouraged on Shabbat and other festivals.

There are many specific songs sung and prayers/dedications chanted during special Jewish Festivals. Some of them include:

Maoz Tzur – sung on Hanukkah

Kol Nidre – chanted on Yom Kippur

What spices would be in the spice box? Thank you

Shereen Hunte

Answer written on 26th January 2021 by Shereen Hunte

Thank you for submitting the below question on the Jewish Museum’s Learning Page.

Every spice box will be different depending on the family. Traditionally, many families would put sweet-smelling spices like cloves, cinnamon, or nutmeg. Others may put a pleasant-smelling fruit peel or plant.

You can find out more about the spice box and Havdalah ceremony on Shabbat our website.

 

I believe my Grandfather was a Jewish orphan in London in the early 1900's He was Askenazi jewish from Russia or the Ukraine . I am trying to trace his history. Do you have any idea where to start ?, thanks in advance Stephen

Shereen Hunte

Answer written on 27th April 2020 by Shereen Hunte

Thank you for your question. We would recommend you looking on the Jewish Genealogical Society’s Website: https://www.jgsgb.org.uk

They have many resources which may aid your quest. Once you have more solid information, we do offer slots to view our museum collection and look into specific objects (post-quarantine, that is).

We hope this helps!

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what are some of the factors that make a Jewish child an adult, other than age and spiritual maturity?

Shereen Hunte

Answer written on 27th April 2020 by Shereen Hunte

Really good question!

Spiritual maturity and age are two of the key factors in a child becoming an adult in Judaism.

In Orthodox Judaism, boys are considered spiritually mature after their Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13. In Reform Judaism, girls can also have a Coming of Age Ceremony called a Bat Mitzvah, at the age of 12. Bar/Bat Mitzvah means Son/Daughter of the Commandments and after this has taken place, it is then the person’s responsibility to try to uphold the commandments themselves – no longer should they have to solely rely on adults to follow the commandments. Once they become ‘adults’ in this religious sense, they are able to wear the tallit, lay tefillin and are encouraged to base their actions on rationale, rather than child-ish impulse.

You can find out more about the Bar/Bat Mitzvah on our website here.

Is shalom the same in Aramaic?

Answer written on 18th February 2020 by

The word shalom is not the same in Aramaic, but rather the word to mean peace in Aramaic is Shlama. Both Shalom and Shlama mean peace and these words have derivatives of them and can have a variety of meanings depending on context and use in phrases.

Shalom literally means peace, but can also be used to mean harmony, wholeness and completeness. However, Shalom is also commonly used as a greeting which can mean both “hello” and “goodbye” and can also be a common name for children, in particular boys.

In Aramaic the similar greeting of peace is Shlama which translates as peace be with you.

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