Judaism in Brief


Video from HarvardX

An introduction to the teachings and history of Judaism from Harvard University.


  • Judaism originated in the Middle East over 3500 years ago

  • Judaism was founded by Moses, although Jews trace their history back to Abraham.

  • Jews believe that there is only one God with whom they have a covenant.

  • In exchange for all the good that God has done for the Jewish people, Jewish people keep God’s laws and try to bring holiness into every aspect of their lives.

  • Judaism has a rich history of religious text, but the central and most important religious document is the Torah.

  • Jewish traditional or oral law, the interpretation of the laws of the Torah, is called halakhah.

  • Spiritual leaders are called Rabbis.

  • Jews worship in Synagogues.

  • 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in an attempt to wipe out Judaism.

There are many people who identify themselves as Jewish without necessarily believing in, or observing, any Jewish law. From BBC Judaism at a Glance.