For Jews, the menorah, the seven-branched candelabrum, is a symbol of the temple, God’s presence and eternal life.
Judaism is one of the five great world religions (along with Christianity
). It came into being in about 2000 BC. Over 14 million people worldwide belong to Judaism. Judaism is the oldest of the world religions that worship only one God (the so-called monotheistic religions). Christianity and Islam have developed from it. Its most important texts are the Tanakh (the Old Testament) and the Talmud (the collection of laws and religious traditions). The Jews believe in a God whom they call Yahweh. He is worshipped as the creator of the world. The Jews’ place of worship is called a synagogue.
According to religious tradition, a Jew is someone with a Jewish mother. But it is also possible to convert to Judaism. For devout Jews, it is important to keep the religious laws. These include respecting the Sabbath, which begins on Friday evening and lasts until Saturday evening. The Jews also have their own calendar and holidays.
During their long history, Jews have often been persecuted and driven out. Since the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 BC, they have lived scattered throughout the world in the Diaspora. In the Nazi era, Jews in Germany and in European countries occupied by the Germans were persecuted; six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. After the Second World War
, the state of Israel was established as a Jewish state. Today, around half of all Jews live there. There are more than 100,000 Jews living in Germany again today.
Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid