Introduction to Judaism
The history of Judaism dates back over 5000 years to the Bible. In a somewhat dramatic moment, Abraham, at the age of 99 entered into a covenant with God and became Jewish after circumcising himself - he was chosen as the first Jew because of his righteousness and so began the religion and its many customs, traditions and laws. Years later came Moses, who was given the opportunity by God to receive his commandments. While most people remember the Ten Commandments, Moses actually received 613 on Mount Sinai. These commandments shape the Jewish faith today.
Jews believe that there is only one God, and that the Bible, known as the Tanakh, consists only of the Old Testament. Of that the first five books - known as the Five Books of Moses, or the Torah, are the most important.
Today there are approximately 12 million Jews in the world, and around 300,000 living in the UK. Other countries with a large Jewish population naturally include Israel, as well as the USA and Canada, France, Belgium, Holland, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Australia.