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     Judaism is the religious culture of the Jewish people. It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. The tenets and history of Judaism are the major part of the foundation of other Abrahamic religions, including Christianity and Islam.


     Over at least the last two thousand years, Judaism has not been monolithic in practice, and has not had any centralized authority or binding dogma. Despite this, Judaism in all its variations has remained tightly bound to a number of religious principles, the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, transcendent God that created the universe, and continues to be involved in its governance. According to Jewish thought, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Jewish people, and revealed his laws and commandments to them in the form of the Torah. Jewish practice is devoted to the study and observance of these laws and commandments, as they are interpreted according to various ancient and modern authorities.


     Judaism does not easily fit into conventional western categories, such as religion, ethnicity, or culture, in part because of its 4,000-year history. During this time, Jews have experienced slavery, anarchic self-government, theocratic self-government, conquest, occupation, and exile; they have been in contact with, and influenced by ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenic cultures, as well as modern movements such as the Enlightenment (see Haskalah) and the rise of nationalism.


     Orthodox Jews claim that it is expressed directly in Torah (the Hebrew Bible), where God incorporates it into the Ten Commandments. The significance of the idea is that an omniscient and omnipotent God created humankind as recorded in the Book of Genesis.


     The Torah specifies a number of laws, known as the 613 mitzvoth, to be followed by the Children of Israel. Other religions at the time were characterized by temples in which priests would worship their gods through sacrifice. The Children of Israel similarly had a Temple in Jerusalem, a caste of priests, and made sacrifices - but these were not the sole means of worshiping God.


     As a matter of practical worship (in comparison to other religions) Judaism seeks to elevate everyday life to the level of the ancient Temple's worship by worshipping God through the spectrum of daily activities and actions. It has traditionally maintained that this is how the individual would merit rewards in the afterlife, called gan eden (Hebrew: "Garden of Eden") orolam haba ("World to Come"), though Judaism does not have a single concept of the afterlife, nor is the afterlife the focus of Jewish practice.