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Talk to me about Judaism

(38 Posts)
UmbongoUnchained Sat 19-Mar-16 20:28:23

I feel really drawn to Judaism and I can't really explain what it is and why. I'd love to go to a synagogue one day and listen but don't know if I would be welcomed?
I'd just love to know more about the community, the religion itself, what would be expected of me if it was something I wished to pursue really.

NiceAcorns Wed 23-Mar-16 09:04:46

I am interested in this too; I hope someone knowledgeable comes along!

specialsubject Wed 23-Mar-16 13:42:32

having gone in the other direction...

if it is the UK, Judaism comes in 3 main flavours: Orthodox, Reform and Liberal. There are also the more extreme ends such as Chasidic community and I doubt they will want to know you. Orthodox Judaism follows the rules most strictly, the services are entirely in Hebrew and be aware that Saturday morning lasts 3 hours.

general rules are: Fri eve to Sat eve is a day of rest, that means very little is allowed. Dietary rules: mainly affecting meat, eat nothing without cloven hooves and only bits of that, fish only with fins and scales. Don't mix meat and milk.

Jews range from secular Jews (ancestry only) to the full wig for women and two kitchens, and all points in between.

Judaism doesn't proselytise and it is quite hard to get in. There are ways to convert fully, (I take it you aren't male???) and it can be done.

suggestion? Find a nearby Liberal or Reform community, get in touch, ask to come to a service. You'll probably be most welcome. One thing to be aware of; after the service, do not hang around in a group - Jews disperse rapidly. It has always been so. Also don't be surprised at seeing some of the larger members of the community standing outside in hi-viz, for the same reason.

samG76 Wed 23-Mar-16 15:00:34

Most middle of the road orthodox communities (known in London as"United Synagogue", because they are perpetually fighting each other) would be happy to show you around, but bearing in mind the security situation it would be sensible to call earlier in the week to say you are coming. While the services are quite long (rarely 3 hours) you can get up and go for a break, and then come back.

And there will almost always be a kiddush, ie snacks and drinks after the service. If you're lucky it'll be lavish with nice whisky, if not, maybe just crackers, cake and juice. The not hanging about bit is outside, not inside.

specialsubject Wed 23-Mar-16 15:39:35

known in London as"United Synagogue", because they are perpetually fighting each other

(spills tea giggling). Love it! And thanks for clarifications.

if you are going to the Orthodox service, expect women and men to be seated separately, and women play no part. When the chattering gets too loud the rabbi will thump his desk to say 'keep it down'.

I never went to the full 3 hours, heavy childhood delaying tactics knowing that we had to stay to the end whatever. But at the time the service did start at 10 and finish at 1. is also a good start for community news and views, and the Jewish perspective.

aginghippy Wed 23-Mar-16 16:05:33

I go to a Liberal synagogue an you would be very welcome to come to one of our services on a Saturday morning.

Another aspect is the cycle of Jewish festivals throughout the year. We have a lot of festivals grin. For example, tomorrow is Purim, where we read the Book of Esther and have a party to celebrate. At the end of April we have Passover, where we have the Seder, a big ritual meal where we tell the story of being freed from slavery.

aginghippy Wed 23-Mar-16 16:07:24

This is what the Liberal Judaism website says about conversion, for those who are wondering.

Bolognese Thu 24-Mar-16 20:39:18

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Bolognese Thu 24-Mar-16 20:41:51

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lisalisa Thu 24-Mar-16 20:45:35

I am an Orthodox Jew. Ask away .....

rewardformissingmojo Thu 24-Mar-16 20:50:51

As a newish Christian, please may I hijack the thread to ask about messianic Judaism? I heard the phrase recently, and was wondering what it meant...

Bolognese Thu 24-Mar-16 21:00:18

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Bolognese Thu 24-Mar-16 21:03:29

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hmcAsWas Thu 24-Mar-16 21:07:14

I didn't think any form of Judaism celebrates Christmas or Easter?

Bolognese Thu 24-Mar-16 21:20:24

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hmcAsWas Thu 24-Mar-16 21:21:30

Sorry Bolognese, I think the OP is after a serious discussion

SpookyRachel Thu 24-Mar-16 21:32:55

Bolognese, what are you trying to contribute to this thread?

Bolognese Thu 24-Mar-16 21:35:39

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UmbongoUnchained Fri 25-Mar-16 03:55:48

Enjoy your time off from school bolognase

Thankyou to everyone else! I'm a bit nervous but I think I will consider calling my local synagogue and asking if I can come along one Saturday. My mums friend is Jewish, I might see if I can have a little look at her Tora. I can't really explain it I just feel really drawn to this religion.

specialsubject Fri 25-Mar-16 12:13:50

as noted I am no longer involved (not sure I ever was) but if it makes you happy/comforted/feeling like belonging then why not?

the dietary laws did make sense living in a hot country without refrigeration, so there is some logic in that. Possibly why Muslims also don't eat pork. The rest - each to their own!

the idea of a special Judaism that doesn't do xmas and easter is hilariously ignorant. As noted, these are CHRISTIAN festivals so no kind of Judaism (or any other religion!) celebrates them!

EssentialHummus Fri 25-Mar-16 12:32:02

Hey, OP - another not very religious Jew here saying go for it, dive in. I don't attend synagogue much, but found the Liberal synagogues very welcoming. As I have a non-Jewish partner I liked their ethos and inclusivity. There is probably a bit more security at synagogues than you might be used to other places of worship, but that's par for the course unfortunately and not a reason for concern.

If you are anywhere near London the JW3 Centre (a play on NW3, the postcode of nearby posh Hampstead) usually hosts plenty of Jewish talks, events and film screenings.

Bolognese - my first ever kosher biscuit

hmcAsWas Fri 25-Mar-16 14:34:04

I've been studying religion with the Open University - thus far Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and now just Sikhism to go. It's been fascinating - I particularly enjoyed looking at the points of difference and the points of commonality between the first three, and although I am agnostic, I have developed a healthy respect for all the religions that I have read about

OutwiththeOutCrowd Fri 25-Mar-16 19:17:59

I spent a happy year lodging with a Jewish family. My memories are of wide-ranging discussions at the dinner table and of gefilte fish made by the grandmother who was a refugee from Nazi Germany. They weren’t particularly a religious family but culturally it was very much a Jewish home.

For me, one very positive feature of Judaism is that it encourages questioning. Israel means ‘He who struggles with God’– an interesting counterpoint to Islam, which means ‘submission (to God)’.

So if you are more of a grappler than an accepter when it comes to life, the universe and everything, perhaps Judaism is the religion for you!

My DS has just finished doing a ’world tour’ of the major religions just mentioned in the previous post. (Not going into it all as deeply as hmcAsWas though – my DS is only 13.) He decided that Judaism was the religion that ‘made the most sense’. I only recently discovered that he has been choosing to go to the Jewish assemblies at his school. He tells me the talks are more interesting – and funnier – than those given in the secular assemblies he started off going to.

VulcanWoman Fri 25-Mar-16 19:36:47

This is probably a very ignorant statement I'm going to make, apologise if it offends. I have the impression that Judaism would be a difficult religion to join and be excepted in for an outsider, am I totally wrong here.

EssentialHummus Fri 25-Mar-16 20:22:32

Vulcan - yep. Jews don't proselytize, and most branches actively discourage conversion. (I'm not sure why. Because Judaism requires birth to a Jewish mother and they're worried about that? Dunno.) They also discourage "marrying out" (of the faith). I think liberal tenets of Judaism go some way towards rectifying the balance though.

It leads to odd situations - I can eat bacon sarnies and avoid the synagogue but still be more "Jewish" than my trying-to-convert friend who reads the bible daily, dresses modestly and otherwise observes strict religious laws. Not easy to understand.

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