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.

yellow star on black backgroundFast of Tammuzsunrise to nightfall 23 July 2024
The 17th of Tammuz begins at sunset on July 22. This is the date when the walls of Jerusalem were breached, another major event leading up to the destruction of the First Temple. A minor fast is observed from sunrise to nightfall on July 23 in memory of it.
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.
Shema
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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