Religion in Canada

Judaism in Canada

Judaism is a mono-theistic religion that is approximately four thousand years old. It is based on the teachings of the Hebrew Bible, which includes the Torah. The Hebrew Bible is also known as the Old Testament in Christianity. Central beliefs of Judaism include a belief in God, in the words of the prophets, that God gave the law to Moses, that a Messiah will be sent by God, and that there will be a resurrection of the good in the world to come.

About 200 years ago reforms began to take place in Judaism, creating several diverse branches. After the Holocaust, the state of Israel was created as a Jewish nation. Jewish life today has three centres: Israel , Russia , and North America .

In Judaism, there is no dogma or set of beliefs that everyone must accept. However, there are commonly held beliefs that help define the Jewish faith. In the 12th century, a Jewish scholar named Maimonides (also called Rambam) set out his 13 Principles of Faith, which are still widely accepted by Jews:

1. There is a God.
2. There is one God.
3. God has no physical body.
4. God is eternal.
5. Only God may be worshipped.
6. God communicates with humans through prophecy.
7. Moses was the greatest of the prophets.
8. The Torah came from God.
9. The Torah is the authentic word of God and may not be changed.
10. God is aware of all our deeds.
11. God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked.
12. The Messiah will come.
13. The dead will be resurrected.

In Canada , Jews celebrate the day of the Sabbath from sunset each Friday until sunset each Saturday. Further, various Holy days are also celebrated throughout the year, based on the lunar calendar, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Purim. Jews worship in synagogues (from the Greek synagein, "to bring together"). There is also a celebration when children celebrate a coming of age ceremony known as a bar mitzvah for boys or a bat mitzvah for girls.

Canadian Jews also adhere to various dietary restrictions. Traditional Jewish dietary practice involves eating food that is kosher, meaning it is prepared in a ritually correct manner, which different Jewish sects adhere to differing degrees. Further, consuming pork or shellfish is forbidden. In Canada, there are four major divisions of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist, combining for a total of approximately 329,995 Jews in Canada.

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