Category:Working Within the Jewish Tradition

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Interior of the Neolog or Reform Judaism Synagogue in Pest, Hungary

Judaism is the religion, philosophy, and way of life of the Jews, a group of Semitic people with historical origins in the Middle East. The common characteristics of the Jewish religious tradition, divinatory traditions and magical traditions are the veneration of the deity JHVH, also known as Yahweh or Jehovah and the use of several books of scriptures known as the Tanakh or Jewish Bible.

The early history and practices of Judaism are documented in the Tanakh and its later beliefs are discussed in non-scriptural texts such as the Talmud and Midrash, a collection of commentaries on the Bible composed by prominent Jewish rabbis.


The Varieties of Judaism

The New Synagogue in Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan
The Jubilee Synagogue in Prague, Czech Republic
A traditional Pesach or Passover seder plate filled with the foods eaten in this family dinner ritual
A traditional Jewish wedding held outdoors under the chuppah, a canopy that symbolizes the newly married couple's first home
Sukkot is a harvest festival traditionally held in a sukkah, a temporary structure erected on four poles under a canopy of seasonal fruits and vegetables; this is a Samaritan Sukkah
Judaism is a nature-based religion, so in urban areas the traditional sukkot booth may be erected on fire escapes or hung outside a window
The Book of Psalms is one of Judaism's greatest contributions to African American conjure and hoodoo

Judaism has a historical continuity spanning more than 3,000 years. It is one of the oldest monotheistic religions, and the oldest to survive into the present day. The Hebrews or Israelites were already referred to as "Jews" in later books of the Tanakh, such as the Book of Esther, in which the term Jews replaces the title "Children of Israel."

Judaism's texts, traditions and values strongly influenced later religions, including Christianity, Islam, and the Baha'i Faith. Many aspects of Judaism have also directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law.

Modern Judaism comprises a number of denominations, among them Rabbanic or Rabbinic (divided into Orthodox, Reform, Liberal, Hassidic, and Conservative), Samaritan, Karaite, Humanistic, and Ethical Culture. There are also Secular Jews who, while not participating in an organized denomination themselves, are still considered Jewish by members of some of the formally recognized denominations.

Because Jews are Semitic, antipathy toward Jewish people and opposition to Judaism as a religious tradition are referred to collectively as "antisemitism."

Scriptural Differences

The Samaritans believe only in the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures or Tanakh -- namely, the Torah as written by Moses -- and their version of the Torah differs in minor ways from that of the Karaites and the Rabbinites.

The Karaites and Rabbinites believe in the entire Hebrew Scriptures or Tanakh, but they differ greatly from one another in other beliefs.

The Karaites maintain that only the Written Torah was revealed to Moses and that the Rabbinic or Oral teachings are essentially human and not God-given doctrine.

A central tenet of Rabbinic religious Judaism is the belief that God revealed His laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. Teachers of these two forms of Torah are called rabbis. Interpretations of Scripture, the mutability of custom, limitations on who can become a rabbi, and the degree of veneration due to a rabbi are among the points of belief that separate the various Rabbinite denominations, such as Orthodox, Reform, Liberal, Hassidic, and Conservative, from one another.

Secular Jews tend to consider the Tanakh a document of historical and cultural significance, but do not feel it imperative to accept it is as anything more than a guideline for life.

Animal Sacrifice

Most Jewish denominations abide by ancient religious traditions called halakah and kashrut which govern which species of animals are "clean" or approved to eat, the proper methods of animal slaughter, and how foods may be combined when served. These concepts grew out of ancient rules that specified which animals were proper to sacrifice. For instance, pigs and shellfish, no matter if they were to be ritually slaughtered, can never be considered clean because they consume offal or feed in potentially polluted waters.

In addition to the selection of clean species to eat, of healthy animals within those species, and the medthod of ritual slaughter, the dietay laws also encompass culinary customs, such as the proscription against cooking the flesh of an animal in the milk of its mother (or, by extension, mingling milk and meat in one dish, or even at one meal). Abiding by the complex rules of kashrut is called "keeping kosher."

Not all Jews keep kosher, and if they do, they may do so in varying ways. For instance, some maintain two entirely different sets of dinnerware and cooking vessels for "milk" and "meat," while others simply don't mix the two on one plate or at one meal. Furthermore, most do not define "meat" as strictly as a biologist would; for example, since fish do not lactate, it is impossible to cook a fish "in the milk of its mother," and thus pickled herring in cream sauce can be kosher. Many Reform Jews keep "more or less kosher" in the home or eat "kosher style" when dining out, but will accept non-kosher food when visiting the homes of non-Jewish friends, as a gesture of social fellowship. Most Secular Jews do not keep kosher.

In addition to traditions concerning ritual animal slaughter for food, there is also the matter of animal sacrifice, especially the sacrifice of a lamb at the holiday of Passover (Pesach).

The Samaritans bring the Passover sacrifice to Mt. Gerizim every year.

The Karaites do not currently bring sacrifices because they do not have the ashes of the Red Heifer to purify themselves.

Rabbinites have not brought animal sacrifices since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Roman Empire in the first century BCE, but they do celebrate Passover in their homes, eating a leg of lamb and commemorating their escape from slavery in Egypt. Vegetarian and Vegan Rabbinic Jews substitute a whole vegetable (often a beet) for the Paschal lamb.

Theistic Beliefs

Samaritans, Karaites, and most (but not all) Rabbinic Jews -- including Orthodox, Reform, Liberal, Hassidic, and Conservative adherents -- tend to abide by a set of theistic beliefs that place JHVH, also known as Yahweh, Hashem, or G-d, at the center of worship.

Jewish cosmology also describes other spiritual beings, most notable the angels and archangels who serve as messengers between God and humankind.

Not all Jews are theistic, however. In modern times, movements such as Humanistic Judaism and Ethical Culture are deeply and fervently Jewish in terms of their beliefs, practices, and customs, but are essentially non-theistic in terms of their religious outlook.

Secular Jews are, by definition, non-theistic, and may even be atheistic or anti-theistic.

Jewish Spiritual Figures

For more information, see Jewish Spiritual Figures

For more information, see Prophets and Prophecy

Judaism has a long written history of powerful spiritual figures and well-regarded prophets, and miracle workers, many of them described in the Bible and in the books of the kabbalah and Jewish grimoires. In addition, the blessings of revered rabbis or teachers are also sought out, and their aid is petitioned in times of need, especially by practitioners of Jewish and Yiddish Folk Magic.

Jewish Magical Traditions

For more information, see Jewish Folk Magic

For more information, see the Kabbalah and the Jewish Grimoire Tradition

Practitioners who help clients within the Jewish tradition of spiritual work may prescribe to their clients the recitation of passages from The Book of Psalms and they may call for aid from powerful Jewish spiritual figures, such as Elijah, King Solomon or Queen Esther. They may also prescribe remedies from the traditions of Jewish and Yiddish Folk Magic, such as praying from the Psalms, the use of amulets and talismans like the Solomonic or Mosaic Seals or mezuzahs, and the making of Jewish bowl spells.

Another form of Jewish magic, related to, but distinct from, domestic folk magic, is the performance of spell-casting as it developed within the haggadic or folkloric portions of the Midrash Bible commentaries and in the literary books of the mystical Kabbalah and the Jewish grimoire tradition.

Judaism and Hoodoo

Judaism and its magical practices form a distinct current in hoodoo folk magic. A major theme in traditional Southern conjure and hoodoo is the use of the Bible, especially the Psalms, in prayer and altar work. Spirit workers who work within either the Christian or Jewish traditions prescribe various Biblical verses for different conditions. In fact the use of the Bible may be seen as a fundamental aspect of hoodoo even for some who come from different spiritual backgrounds than the Christian or Jewish traditions.

Through the urbanization of hoodoo and the influence of spiritual supply shops, various Jewish magical practices were adopted into hoodoo during the 20th century. These include the use of bowl spells, praying the Psalms, and the use of talismans like Solomonic or Mosaic Seals or the use of mezuzahs.

Hoodoo doctors who may serve Jewish clientele will often prescribe spells and prayers that employ the secrets of the Psalms, will make oil preparations directly from the Bible, assist clients through appeal to powerful Jewish Spiritual Figures, and use other traditional forms of Jewish folk magic that have been adopted into hoodoo.

See Also


AIRR Readers & Rootworkers Who Perform This Work for Clients

The Association of Independent Readers & Rootworkers (AIRR) is here to help you find gifted, sincere, and honest spiritual guidance, successful counseling, and professional magical spell casting and ritual conjuration. Every independent member of AIRR has been certified for psychic ability, magical skill, and ethical reliability. Every AIRR psychic, reader, seer, diviner, scryer, root doctor, and spiritual practitioner has completed a year-long program of training in conjure, hoodoo, witchcraft, rootwork, making mojo hands, and casting powerful magick spells. All of our psychics have served the public professionally for a minimum of two years -- and in many cases, significantly longer. Certified AIRR Readers & Rootworkers who will perform this type of work to help you find love, money, protection, and luck are listed below.

Pages in category "Working Within the Jewish Tradition"

The following 10 pages are in this category, out of 10 total.









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