Judaism 101

Answering Frequently Asked Questions about Jews and Judaism in plain English for a quarter of a century

Judaism 101 or "Jew FAQ" is an online encyclopedia of Judaism, covering Jewish beliefs, people, places, things, language, scripture, holidays, practices and customs, written from a traditional perspective in conversational language you can understand.

Chanukah candlesChanukahsunset December 7, 2023 - nightfall December 15, 2023
Chanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights, a fun holiday celebrating our victory over Greeks who wanted us to give up our religion and the miracle of the Temple's remaining oil lasting for 8 days.
ChristmasWhat Do Jews Do on Christmas?Null
Christmas is not a Jewish holiday. So if Jews don't celebrate Christmas, what do we do on this day when most of the world closes down?
Hebrew Alphabet See illustrations of the letters and vowel points of the Hebrew alphabet in print, script and Rashi script. Learn the names and numerical values of the letters. Also discusses transliteration (writing Hebrew in English letters). Current Calendar
See the current Hebrew month and the upcoming two months with links to upcoming holidays and Torah readings.
Jewish Star What Do Jews Believe? Reviewing the 13 Principles of Faith that are widely-accepted as the core of Jewish belief. 613 Mitzvot (Commandments)
Judaism does not have 10 Commandments. It has 613 commandments that affect every aspect of our lives, the perfect religion for the obsessive-compulsive! This is a list of the 613 commandments based on the list by the medieval scholar Rambam (Maimonides).
What is Judaism?
Is it a religion? A race? An ethnic/cultural group? Or something more?

Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews
Ashkenazic and Sephardic are cultural subgroups of Judaism. Learn about the differences between Sephardic (Spanish/Middle Eastern) and Ashkenazic (German/Eastern European), and other cultural subgroups.
Jewish Calendar
Learn about the Jewish calendar, its background and history, the numbering of Jewish years, the months of the Jewish year and the days of the Jewish week.
Rabbis, Priests, and Other Religious Functionaries
A rabbi is not a Jewish priest. Learn about the role of rabbis, chazzans (cantors), gabbais, kohanim (priests), Levites, rebbes and tzaddiks in Jewish life.
The Shema is the oldest fixed daily prayer in Judaism, recited morning and night since ancient times. See the full text in Hebrew, English and transliterated Hebrew.

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