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Judaism

Judaism

Judaism is a monotheisticreligion of the Jews. It is based on the belief of the mission of theJews, by virtue of the covenant which God made with them, as thechosen people. The sign of it was supposed to be the circumcision ofIsaac, son of Abraham. To this day, it remains an injunction for malefollowers. The basis of religion is God’s written law -theDecalogue. It was given to the Jews, through Moses, on Mount Sinai.It is called the Torah or Pentateuch of Moses. The other Holy Book ofJudaism is Talmud - oral law, containing the Rabbinic interpretationof the Torah. Both texts are the essence of religion and identity.The holy place of Judaism was the Temple of Jerusalem. Built by KingSolomon in the 10th century BC, it was destroyed in the 6th centuryBC by the Babylonians, who took the nation into captivity (so-calledBabylonian exile). After the fall of Babylon, the Jews returned toJerusalem and rebuilt the Temple (so-called the second Temple). Itsurvived until the invasion of the Romans in 70. Only a fragment ofthe wall of the temple buildings (the Wailing Wall) survived and nowis a place of worship. The destruction of the second temple resultedin the dispersion of the Jews, so-called diaspora. Judaism is notuniform, many currents have developed within. Basic ones are:Orthodox Judaism, conservative Judaism and reform Judaism. To Poland,the Jews arrived in the 12th-13th century, mainly from the Germanareas. They found favourable conditions for development and security,provided to them by privileges. Over the centuries, they have becomethe largest group, apart from the Christians, in the Kingdom ofPoland, 1/3 of all the European Jews lived there. In the territory ofPoland and the present-day Ukraine, Hasidism was born, a religiousmovement based on the mystical devotion. It was headed by theTzadiks. The Hasides lived in small towns, where ohels – graves ofthe Tzadiks have been maintained until today (e.g. Leżajsk, Bobowa).The Hasides from all over the world go on pilgrimages there. DuringWorld War II, the majority of the Jewish community was exterminated.According to various estimates, from 10 thousand to 100 thousandfollowers of Judaism live currently in Poland. They are gathered inlarge cities, inter alia, Warsaw, Krakow, Łódź. The rhythm of thelife of the Jews is designated by the ritual calendar. The festivalsare divided into two categories: commanded by the Torah andestablished to commemorate the events of the nation’s history. Thefirst covers the pilgrimage festivals: Passover (remembrance of theliberation from slavery in Egypt and the birth of the nation as afree nation), Shavuot (festival of giving the Torah), Sukkot(associated with 40 years of travel to the Promised Land); weeklySabbath (remembrance of God’s rest after the creation of the world)and festivals: Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (the day ofatonement). The second category covers Hanukkah, (festival of themiracle of the oil multiplication in the temple after an uprising ofthe Maccabees) and Purim (festival of the fate associated with savingthe Jewish nation in Persian Susa, also known as the Jewishcarnival). The main event for Jewish community in Małopolska regionis the Festival of Jewish Culture. It takes place in the end of Junein Kazimierz, former Jewish district of Kraków.The Jewish Center inOświęcim carries on the educational project "Oszpicin”. In the  neighbouring Chrzanów the Days of Jewish Culture areorganized every year in February In Eastern Małopolska (Tarnów,Dąbrowa Tarnowska, Bobowa)every year in June "GalicjanerSztetl" is organized. This is the Commemoration Day of GalicianJews.

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