By: Kelly Cox, Cassandra Hood, & Natalia Muro
Course Instructor: Heather Hooks
Date: December 10, 2009
Throughout the semester, much was learned about the many aspects that make up a culture and the importance and significance of each one of them. One of the major components that make up a culture are the values that it posses. Values are the learned behaviors forwhat is considered right and wrong so values are often referred to as the basic moral standards that make up a certain culture. However, values are not only made up of moral standards they can often also include beliefs, customs, and traditions. Like every culture the Jewish culture has many values by which they live their lives by. In fact, the Jewish culture is very rich in cultural values formuch of their life revolves around the values that make up their religion. Jews are very devoted to their religion and as a result they are also very devoted to the values and traditions that make up their cultural environment. The Jewish culture is so devoted to their religion that they are one of the few cultures that live in modern day America that still conserve much of their values, religiouspractices, and ideals from centuries ago.
Jews perceive themselves not as individuals, but as a community of people chosen to be responsible to God. They are required to commit to universal values. Judaism emphasizes the care of humans, animals, and the environment among all people. Jews look to the ethical law of the Torah to guide their relationships. The law requires them to love theirneighbors as they would love themselves. Within the Torah, the Ten Commandments are a list of laws established by God to guide relationships with others (World Religions, sixth edition, pg. 270).
When it comes to religion, every religious Jew believes that the Lord is his God, and that he should love the Lord with all of his heart and soul. He believes that the Lord is Holy, and higher thanall others. God establishes peace on earth, and is the source of forgiveness and redeeming love. The universe is subordinate to God and dependent on him; it is always less than God and other than God. Everything in the universe is good, and it is made for humans to enjoy it with gratitude during a long life (World Religions, sixth edition, pgs. 266-268).
Practicing Jews participate innumerous rituals and celebrate special holidays. The Sabbath is observed each week, beginning with sundown on Friday. The Jewish New Year begins in the fall. Rosh Hashanah, New Year's Day, is a celebration of God's creation of the world. It is the beginning of the Days of Awe, ten days in which Jews concentrate on prayer, contemplation, and self-searching. Yom Kippur, the tenth day of the Days of Awe,is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Jews fast for 24 hours and spend much time praying in the synagogue. Hanukkah is a celebration of the rededication of the Jewish temple in 164 B.C.E. (World Religions, sixth edition, pg.271).
Although there are many special holidays in the Jewish calendar, Passover is considered to be the most important. On this day, the Jewish families prepare aspecial meal that is a replica of the meal that the Hebrews ate when the Angel of the Lord passed over the homes of the Hebrews and killed the firstborn of the Egyptian who had enslaved them. It marks the beginning of their way to freedom under the leadership of the Lord and Moses. The Passover meal consists of unleavened bread that is eaten after sundown. Family and guests gather around a table,where there is a chair for each person. There is also an empty chair, a place setting, and a cup of wine for Elijah, the prophet who will return to announce the arrival of the Messiah. The meal consists of symbolic foods that represent enslavement and freedom (World Religions, sixth edition, pgs 271-272).
Traditions in the Jewish culture are very important because they mark people's sense...