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Excerpted from Living Judaism by Rabbi Wayne Dosick. Copyright 1998 by Rabbi Wayne Dosick. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Religion developed out of the human need to seek answers to the mysteries of existence: to help people understand and somehow tame the mighty forces of the universe."

Rabbi Wayne Dosick, Living Judaism, Part 3

Here you will learn about Judaism's basic beliefs and practices-the ideas and the observances that shape and mold Jewish life and lifestyle.

Here you will learn how an age-old community in contemporary garb understands and follows God's mandate to make life personally satisfying and fulfilling, and undertakes God's mission to bring the world toward justice, righteousness, and peace.

Here you will celebrate the greatness and the grandeur of the Jewish experience: being a child of God-created with a spark of the Divine-seeing God's light in every encounter, reflecting God's light at every moment.

Here is Judaism.


Religion is a system of thought and belief operating not only from philosophical reason, but from intuition and faith. It acknowledges and celebrates the existence of the highest power, a Supreme Being (or Beings) who created, ordered, and controls the universe.

Religion developed out of the human need to seek answers to the mysteries of existence: to help people understand and somehow tame the mighty forces of the universe; to help people define their place and purpose, by putt putting them in touch with their primordial beginnings, by finding a connection to creation and the Creator.

Religion helps people to face the unknown, to find meaning and value in daily existence, to understand pain and suffering and evil, to live life and to confront death.

In ancient times, people sought to influence and control the diverse elements that affected their everyday lives. So they paid tribute to and prayerfully worshiped the sun, the moon, the mountain, the tree, the river, or the rain. They fashioned idols out of stone and precious metals, and imbued them with extraordinary powers. They offered sacrifices of animals, of grains, of first fruits, and of firstborn sons, in the hope that the forces to whom they ascribed divinity would deal kindly with them-giving them food to eat, water to drink, sun and rain in their seasons, protection from danger and harm. Each tribe, each locale, each household, had one or many gods, to whom awe-inspired homage was exaltingly and often lovingly proclaimed.

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