Judaism

Where can I find information about Judaism?

Entry last updated: 2/12/21

Introduction

Judaism originated in the Middle East between 3000 and 4000 years ago, and is the oldest of the three main monotheistic religions (the other two are Christianity and Islam). Monotheistic religions are religions that believe there is only one God.

In Judaism, the most important religious text is the Torah. Jews worship in Synagogues, and spiritual leaders are called Rabbis. Because Jews believe that a Jew is someone who has a Jewish mother, Judaism is more than a religion, and many people identify as Jewish without being religious at all.

Beliefs and traditions

Today there are three main kinds of Judaism: Orthodox, Reform and Conservative Judaism. The holy language of Judaism is Hebrew. There are many Jewish holidays throughout the year such as Hanukkah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), and Yom Kippur (the day of Atonement). Have a look through these websites to find more information on Jewish beliefs.

Britannica School

Britannica School is part of EPIC. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. Britannica is a great database to use to start your research on the origins, beliefs and practices of Judaism.

  • Choose the Middle level.
  • Next, enter your keyword 'Judaism' into the search bar.
  • Select the article Judaism (religion).
  • If you would like more information, you can change the Article Reading Level at the top of the page. Level 1 will take you to Primary, and 3 will take you to Secondary.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

BBC Religions

This is a great resource for facts about different religions. Although this page has been archived and is no longer updated, the information that's there is reliable and easy to follow.

  • Select Judaism.
  • Expand the points to learn about Beliefs, Customs, History and more.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are. This website is run by BBC, a reliable British news agency. We can expect the information to be accurate even though it appears the page is no longer being updated.

FactMonster

FactMonster is an online encyclopedia and homework site. It has lots of basic facts and is a good starting point for all sorts of questions. If you scroll down to the bottom of the site, you will see it’s run by Pearson Education, a publisher of educational books.

  • Find the search box at the top of the page.
  • Enter your keywords eg 'Judaism'.
  • Select Judaism Primer.
  • This has lots of links to different articles about all aspects of Judaism including holidays, languages, people, historical documents, Zionism and much more.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Judaism around the world

The following sites include information about Judaism around the world and throughout history.

World Culture Encyclopedia

This site contains information on different countries and their cultures.

  • Search this site for 'Jews' to find lots of articles eg Jews of South America.
  • Or you could select an area of the world eg Europe or North America.
  • Then look through the links for articles about Jews eg Ashkenazic Jews or Hasidim.

This site does include bibliographies and author names. As we can't find out much about the company that owns this site, it's a good idea to compare it with other reliable sites.

World History (Gale In Context)

Another of the EPIC resources, World History in context offers you information about 5,000 years of world history, from ancient times right up to modern history.

  • Go to Browse Topics.
  • Find the topic Judaism.
  • This has a good Overview of Jewish history.
  • Results are grouped by type eg Reference, Biographies, and Magazines.
  • Look down the page for related content to find the topic Holocaust.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Global Issues (Gale In Context)

Global Issues is also from EPIC. It's a good database to use to get information about Judaism around the world. You can find viewpoints, reference articles, images, videos and primary sources.

  • To find information, use the keyword 'Judaism' to search the database.
  • Have a look at the filters along the top of the page, as well as down the right hand side eg select News at the top of the page, and then Publication Date on the right, to find news articles from a certain time period.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Judaism in New Zealand

There have been Jewish people in New Zealand from the beginnings of European settlement. Have a look at these websites to find out more.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. To find information about Jews in New Zealand, there are two pathways.

  • From the homepage, scroll down and find the section New Zealand Peoples.
  • Next select Peoples.
  • Then select Jews from the list of peoples.

Or:

  • from the homepage, go to the section Social Connections
  • then choose Religion and Diverse Religions, and
  • select Jews from the list of religions.

Temple Sinai

This is the website for the Wellington Progressive Jewish Congregation. It has information about the history of judaism in New Zealand.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Books

There have been lots of books written about Judaism. Check out your local public or school library to see what they have. Here are some titles we recommend:

SCIS no:1990929

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