portrays the Jews as a people who have been chosen by God.
However, for believing Jews, this is not an expression of superiority
and arrogance but an expression of a particular obligation: an
obligation to Gods covenant, Gods commandments, Gods
teaching in Hebrew, the Torah.
does not mean that all the commandments of the Jewish sacred law
were given from the very beginning. And of course there were also
elementary commandments of humanity among the peoples outside
new was that the commandments of humanity were now put under the
authority of one and the same God.
was there the general statement, You shall not kill, lie,
steal, commit adultery. Now we hear, I am the Lord
your God, you shall not kill, lie, steal, commit adultery.
At a very
early stage, these commandments were summarized, the most important
of them in the Ten Words, the Decalogue. They were also
taken over by the Christians. There are parallels to them in the
left: Jewish everyday life in New York; A Jewish family in Nazi
the basis of a common fundamental ethic of the three prophetic
religions. Grounded in belief in the one God, these Ten Words,
or Ten Commandments, of Israel form the great legacy of the Jews
grounded in belief in the One God, who liberated the people of
Israel from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses,
through whom the Israelites on Mount Sinai received Gods
teaching, the Torah.
Bible the earliest parts of which go back to the tenth
century BC is called Tanak after the initial consonants
of its three main divisions (Torah = instruction, Nebiim
= Prophets, Ketubim = Writings). Christians generally call
it the Old Testament as opposed to the New Testament.
A rich body
of religious writing developed among rabbinic scholars from the
second century CE onwards, including the Talmud.
there are about 14 million Jews; the main currents are Orthodox,
Conservative, Reform and Liberal. The majority live in Israel
and in North America. About 6 million European Jews were killed
by the German Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler in the Holocaust (1933
left: Orthodox Jews before the Western Wall in Jerusalem