Jewish services take place in so-called synagogues. Synagogues existed in places with a Jewish population as early as the 6th century BC. When the temple still existed as the central sanctuary in Jerusalem. The word “synagogue” comes from the Greek and means “assembly”. In order to be able to hold a divine service in accordance with the Halacha, at least 10 Jews who are adult according to religious law must be present. According to the Orthodox view, however, only men are counted in order to determine whether the minimum number has been reached.
Living with 613 do’s and don’ts
According to foodanddrinkjournal.com, one of the most important obligations of the Torah is the command to circumcise newborn males on their foreskin on the eighth day after birth. The circumcision is carried out as a religious family celebration in the synagogue by a specially trained mohel. Circumcision confirms the covenant with God symbolically and visibly.
A Jewish boy at the age of 13, a Jewish girl at the age of 12, reaches the age of majority in the religious sense, the so-called religious maturity. The beginning of religious maturity is celebrated in the synagogue with a special celebration. This celebration is called Bar Mitzvah (“Son of Duty”) or Bat Mitzvah (“Daughter of Duty”), because from now on the adolescents should obey all do’s and don’ts (Mitzvot).
In everyday life, special attention is paid to the religious dietary laws (kashrut). The Torah contains extensive provisions on which foods are allowed and which are not. It also depends on the type of preparation and the combination of ingredients.
The meat of ruminants with completely split hooves, such as cattle, sheep or goats, is considered to be ” kosher ” (suitable for consumption). Poultry such as chicken or goose can also be eaten. The prerequisite is that the animals are slaughtered in accordance with religious regulations. The consumption of blood is strictly forbidden according to Jewish belief. That is why the meat is washed and salted several times in water before preparation in order to remove even the smallest of blood residues. All fish with fins and scales are allowed as food.
“Trefe” (unfit for consumption) is the meat of pigs, horses, donkeys or rabbits. The same goes for birds of prey or ostrich meat. So-called seafood such as mussels, water snails, prawns, crabs, squid or lobsters are also “meet”.
The Torah says not to boil the kid in its mother’s milk. Therefore, meat and dairy products must not be consumed together or in direct succession. A cheeseburger is no more kosher than a salami pizza. Jews who follow the dietary rules usually also use different dishes for milky and meaty foods in the kitchen. In addition, the food is stored in separate refrigerators.
Compliance with religious duties is visible in a variety of ways in everyday life. For example, “Hear Israel” commands that the words of prayer be written on the doorposts of the house. That is why a capsule, the mezuzah, is attached to the door frame. It contains a handwritten parchment with the corresponding lines of prayer.
Likewise, in “Hear Israel” there is the determination to tie the words as symbols on the hand and between the eyes and to wear visible threads on the four corners of the robe. For this reason, Jewish men wear a leather phylacteries on one arm and around their head for morning prayers (shacharit) on weekdays. A capsule is attached to this so-called tefillin. Inside there are parchment scrolls with Torah passages over the phylacteries. In addition, a square prayer shawl is worn during morning prayers during the week, on the Sabbath and other holidays. The corners of this so-called tallit are provided with braided pavement threads (zizijot).
A smaller form of the prayer shawl is worn by Orthodox Jews like a camisole throughout the day. The threads are always visible. Male Jews also cover the back of their heads with what is known as a kippah when praying, studying religious scriptures or in the synagogue. The kippah is a mostly circular skull cap made of fabric or leather. Wearing the kippah is part of a religious custom that only developed in later times and is not one of the commandments of the Torah.
A well-known Jewish symbol is the seven-armed candlestick (menorah). It is already described in detail in the Torah and has adorned the official coat of arms of the State of Israel since 1948. The six-pointed star (Star of David) did not develop into a symbol often used in Judaism until the 18th century.