Q:

Where did Judaism originate?

A:

Judaism began in a region known as Canaan, which is located in territories belonging to Palestine and Israel. The location of Canaan is unknown as the name of the territory tended to move with the Jewish people, yet it is generally the region between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. The name refers to the area where the Hebrew people lived. At times it refers to all of the Egyptian Empire.

Judaism traces its history to the covenant between God and Abraham, occurring more than 4,000 years ago. Other key characters in the history include Isaac, Jacob and Moses. God gives Moses the Law or the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. The Torah, or first five books of the Jewish Bible, serves as the grounds for social, ethical and religious laws.

Judaism exists in several forms, including orthodox, conservative, reform, and reconstructionist groups. These groups differ in their understanding and application of the Torah. Such groups range from conservative to liberal, yet remain bound together through the law and their relationship with God as a holy people. After the destruction of the Temple in 70 B.C., the Jews worship in the synagogue. Rabbis are their leaders. The groups emphasize practice more than beliefs.

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