Fast Facts on Judaism



Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Like other faiths, Judaism suffers from stereotypes, and like other religions, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. The information below is intended to help readers begin the process of learning the facts about Judaism, which will act as a foundation for more study.

Date founded
c. 2,500 BC

(See Judaism history and Judaism denominations)
Place founded
Mesopotamia

(See Judaism timeline and Judaism overview)
Founder
Abraham

(See Judaism beliefs and Jewish symbols)
Adherents
14 million

(See religion statistics)
Main location
Israel, Europe, and USA



Major sects
Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox
Sacred text
The Torah

Tanakh
with the Talmud
Original language
Hebrew

(See Hanukkah)
Spiritual leader
rabbi (rebbe in Hasidism)

(See Bar Mitzvah)
Place of worship
synagogue ("temple" in Reform Judaism)

(See Judaism denominations)
Day of worship
Saturday (Shabbat/Sabbath)
Theism
monotheism

(See Jewish beliefs)
Ultimate reality
One God (YHWH)

(See God in Judaism here)
Human nature
created good

(See human nature in Judaism)
Purpose of life
Obedience to God

(See the Messiah)
How to live
obey the law and atone for sin
Afterlife
views vary: Gan Eden, Gehinnom, nonexistence, or reincarnation

(See Jewish beliefs in the afterlife)
Major holidays
Rosh Hashanah: Jewish New Year (1 Tishri)

Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement
(10 Tishri)

Sukkot: Festival of Booths
(15 Tishri)

Hanukkah
(25 Kislev)

Tu B'Shevat
New Year for Trees (15 Shevat)

Purim
(15 Adar)

Pesach: Passover
(15 Nisan)

Also see: Jewish Calendar through 2016
Seven days of creation
Separation of light from darkness.
Separation of water above and waters below.
Separation of land from water.
Sun, moon, and stars.
Sea creatures and birds.
Land creatures and man.
God rested. {1}
Ten Commandments
Worship no other gods.
Do not worship idols.
Do not misuse the name of the Lord.
Keep the Sabbath holy.
Honor your father and mother.
Do not murder.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not steal.
Do not give false testimony
Do not covet. {2}
Twelve tribes of Israel
Reuben
Levi/Simeon
Judah
Issachar
Zebulun
Benjamin
Dan
Naphtali
Gad
Asher
Ephraim
Manassah {3}
13 Articles of Faith (click the link for more on the 13 articles)
God exists
God is one and unique
God is incorporeal
God is eternal
Prayer is to God only.
The prophets spoke truth.
Moses was the greatest of the prophets.
The Written and Oral Torah were given to Moses.
There will be no other Torah.
God knows the thoughts and deeds of men.
God will reward the good and punish the wicked.
The Messiah will come.
The dead will be resurrected. {4}
Books of Tanakh 
Torah (Law)
Bereisheet (Genesis)
Sh'mot (Exodus)
Vayikra (Leviticus)
BaMidbar (Numbers)
D'varim (Deuteronomy)
Nevi'im (Prophets)
Joshua
Judges
1,2 Samuel
1,2 Kings
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Ezekiel
Twelve Minor Prophets
Ketuvim (Writings)
Psalms
Proverbs
Job
Song of Songs
Ruth
Lamentations
Ecclesiastes
Esther
Daniel
Ezra/Nehemiah
Chronicles
Books of Mishnah
Zera'im (Seeds)
Berakhot
Peah
Demai
Kilayim
Shebiit
Terumot
Maaserot
Maaser
Sheni
Challah
Orlah
Bikkurim

Mo'ed (Festivals)
Shabbat
Erubin
Pesachim
Sheqalim
Yoma
Sukkah
Besah
Rosh Hashanah
Taanit
Megillah
Moed
Qatan
Hagigah

Nashim (Women)
Yebamot
Ketubot
Nedarim
Nazir
Sotah
Gittin
Qiddushin

Nezikin (Damages)
Baba
Qamma
Baba
Mesia
Baba
Batra
Sanhedrin
Makkot
Shabuot
Eduyyot
Avodah
Zarah
Pirke Avot
Horayot
Kodashim (Holy Things)
Zevachim
Menachot
Chullin
Bekhorot
Arakhin
Temurah
Keritot
Meilah
Tamid
Middot
Qinnim

Tohorot (Purities)
Kelim
Ohalot
Negaim
Parah
Tohorot
Miqvaot
Niddah
Makhshirin
Zabim
Tebul-Yom
Yadayim
Uqsin

References
  1. Genesis 1:3-2:2.
  2. Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
  3. Genesis 49.
  4. According to Maimonides.