Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement

A Partnership between the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion,
Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation, & USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture

Religious Observances



Jewish Religious Observances
  • Overview of Jewish Practices This article outlines the concept of holiness and commandments in Jewish tradition
  • Prayer For religious Jews, prayer is an obligation, fulfilled several times daily by reciting a prescribed liturgy containing praise of God, requests, and expressions of appreciation. The texts and practices of prayer, while broadly common to all Jewish communities, vary according to local customs, ethnic origins, and ideologies
  • Holidays Jewish holidays run the emotional gamut and call for celebration, introspection, and even mourning
  • Conversion Though Judaism does not proselytize, it does welcome serious converts. The process of conversion depends on the overseeing rabbi, but generally includes a great deal of learning, culminating with an appearance before a Jewish court, the taking of a Hebrew name, circumcision for men, and a dunk in the ritual bath
  • Circumcision Male converts to Judaism are traditionally required to undergo circumcision or, if already circumcised, a ritual removal of a single drop of blood
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah Originally bar mitzvah meant simply "coming of age." The ceremony developed much later
  • Wedding Jewish marriage is integral to God's plan of ongoing creation, which began with the creation of the first human couple, Adam and Eve. Marriage not only provides individual companionship, but it ensures the physical and spiritual survival of humanity by creating communities that reflect divine law
  • Death and Mourning Judaism does not shy away from close encounters with death, but frames them ritually. Much attention is paid to treating the dead (and even a dead body) with respect (k’vod ha-met) and to comforting mourners (nichum aveilim)

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