The Judaism reference article from the Simple Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Judaism

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Judaism is a religion. People who believe in Judaism are called Jews. Jesus Christ was a Jew. Judaism is one of the oldest religions existing in the world today. It began in the Middle East in ancient times. Most of what we believe about the early life of the Jewish people comes from the stories in the Old Testament of the Bible.

The Old Testament says that Judaism began with a man named Abraham who lived in the city of Babylon. At this time, each city had its own god, but Abraham decided that there was really only one God, so he moved with his family away from Babylon and started a new religion.

According to the Old Testament, at one time, many Jewish people lived in Egypt as slaves. God told the Jewish leader Moses to help free them. God sent many terrible problems to the Egyptians to convince them to free the Jews. Finally, the Egyptians permitted the Jews to go, but them decided to send the Egyptian army after them. The Jews escaped when God made the waters of the Red Sea part for them. The waters then returned and drowned the Egyptian army. The Old Testament says that after this, Moses met with God on the mountain called Mount Sinai and received the Ten Commandments.

The Jews began a country called Israel. They fought many wars against other peoples in the area. Sometimes they were conquered by more powerful countries. Some Jewish people also lived in other countries. The main language of the Jews was Hebrew. Hebrew has continued to be the religion of the Jewish religion until today.

During the time of Jesus, Israel was ruled by the Roman Empire. During this time, the main language of Israel was Aramaic. The Jews did not like the Roman government, and frequently made trouble for the Romans. About forty years after the death of Jesus, the Romans destroyed Israel's main city, Jerusalem.

After this, the Jewish people did not have their own country for about 2,000 years. They lived in many other countries. Jews living in Spain and Portugal used the language Ladino (also called Judeo-Spanish). Jews living in Germany, Poland, and Russia used the language Yiddish.

The Jewish people have always believed that they have a special mission from God. They do things in their own special ways, such as having special rules about food and eating, not working on Saturday, keeping their own holidays, and not marrying people from other religions. Because of this, people in many different times and countries have thought that the Jews were strange, and maybe dangerous.

Many countries have made laws that the Jews could not work in some jobs or live in some places. Sometimes Jewish people were killed because of their religion.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazi government of Germany conquered most of Europe. They hated the Jews because they said that the Jews caused most of the problems in the world. The Nazi government killed millions of Jewish people.

After World War II, the country of Israel was re-created in the Middle East so that the Jewish people could have their own country. Many Arab and Muslim people who lived in this part of the world were angry because their land was given to another country. Some of these countries have made war against the country of Israel at different times.

In the world today, there is still not peace between Israel and its neighbors.

In the modern world, many people from Jewish families don't believe or practice the Jewish religion, but they are still often considered to be "Jews".

Many famous people have been Jewish or have come from Jewish families.

Some famous people from Jewish backgrounds are: