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Upcoming day, World Day of Social Justice, 20 February. 2020 Theme: "Closing the Inequalities Gap to Achieve Social Justice!"

                                      

Inform       Today is Tuesday, February 18, 2020 and day 049 of the year.

Feb 06, 2020 at 09:53 AM

በአዲስ አበባ በኦርቶዶክስ አማኞችና በፀጥታ ኃይሎች ግጭት ሁለት ሰዉ ተገደለ

Informer : Askwala

በአዲስ አበባ ዉስጥ ቦሌ ክፍለ-ከተማ በልማዱ 22 ተብሎ በሚጠራዉ አካባቢ በኦርቶዶክስ ክርስቲያኖችና በፀጥታ አስከባሪዎች መካከል በተቀሰቀሰ ግጭት ሁለት ሰዎች መሞታቸዉና እና 17 መቁሰላቸዉን የዓይን ምስክሮች አስታወቁ።ግጭቱ የተነሳዉ አንዲት ቤተ-ክርስቲያንን «ሕገ-ወጥ» በማለት ከሌሌቱ 7 ሰዓት ግድም ለማፍረስ ወደ አካባቢዉ በተጓዘ የፀጥታ አስከባሪ ጓድና በአካባቢዉ በነበሩ ወጣቶች መካከል በተፈጠረ አተካራ ነዉ። በአካባቢው የነበረ አንድ የዐይን እማኝ እንደተናገረው «ፀጥታ አስከባሪዎቹ ቤተ-ክርስቲያኑን ለማፍረስ እንደመጡ ሲናገሩ፣ ወጣቶቹ እራሳቸዉን መቆጣጠር ተሳናቸዉ፤ ፀጥታ አስከባሪዎቹ አስለቃሽ ጢስ ተኮሱ።ወጣቶቹ ድንጋይ መወርወር ጀመሩ።ፀጥታ አስከባሪዎቹ ሽጉጥ ተኮሱ» እያለ ይተርካል። የአዲስ አበባ ምክትል ከንቲባ ታከለ ኡማ፣ ለግድያዉ ተጠያቂ የሆኑ ሰዎችን ለፍርድ ለማቅረብ ቃል ገብተዋል። 

Info source: ዶይቼ ቬለ


Jan 03, 2020 at 01:29 PM

Holy Night (ቅዱስ ምሽት)

Informer : Space

Depictions of the birth of Christ were popular themes in northern European painting from the 15th to the 17th centuries. These images became central to Christmas celebrations of the time. This painting, Holy Night, was created by Dutch painter Gerard David in the late 15th century.

ከክርስቶስ ልደት በፊት ከ 15 ኛው እስከ 17 ኛው ክፍለዘመን ድረስ በሰሜን አውሮፓ ሥዕሎች የክርስቶስ ልደት ሥዕሎች ታዋቂ ጭብጦች ነበሩ ፡፡ እነዚህ ምስሎች በወቅቱ የገና በዓል አከባበር ማዕከላዊ ሆነዋል ፡፡ ይህ ሥዕላዊ (ቅዱስ) ምሽት ፣ በ 15 ኛው ክፍለ ዘመን መገባደጃ ላይ በደች ሥዕላዊው ግራራርድ ዴቪድ የተፈጠረ ነው ፡፡ 

Info source: Microsoft Encarta


Jan 03, 2020 at 01:18 PM

Christmas

Informer : Space

Christmas, annual Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Most members of the Roman Catholic Church and followers of Protestantism celebrate Christmas on December 25, and many celebrate on the evening of December 24 as well. Members of most Orthodox Churches around the world also celebrate the holiday on December 25. Some Orthodox Christians in Russia, Ukraine, the Holy Land (the historic region of Palestine), and elsewhere celebrate Christmas on January 7 because they follow the Julian calendar. Members of the Armenian Church observe Christmas on January 6, following the unique custom of celebrating both the birth and baptism of Christ on the same day.

The official Christmas season, popularly known as either Christmastide or the Twelve Days of Christmas, extends from the anniversary of Christ’s birth on December 25 to the feast of Epiphany on January 6. On the Epiphany, some Catholics and Protestants celebrate the visit of the Magi while Orthodox Christians, who call the feast Theophany, celebrate the baptism of Christ.

The most important holiday on the Christian calendar is Easter, which commemorates the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. Nevertheless, many people, particularly in the United States and Canada, consider Christmas to be the most significant annual Christian event. In addition to being a religious holiday, Christmas is a widely observed secular festival. For most people who celebrate Christmas, the holiday season is characterized by gatherings among family and friends, feasting, and gift giving.

Christmas is based on the story of Jesus’ birth as described in the Gospel according to Matthew (see Matthew 1:18-2:12) and the Gospel according to Luke (see Luke 1:26-56). Roman Catholics first celebrated Christmas, then known as the Feast of the Nativity, as early as Ad 336. The word Christmas entered the English language sometime around 1050 as the Old English phrase Christes maesse, meaning “festival of Christ.” Scholars believe the frequently used shortened form of Christmas—Xmas—may have come into use in the 13th century. The X stands for the Greek letter chi, an abbreviation of Khristos (Christ), and also represents the cross on which Jesus was crucified. 

Info source: Microsoft Encarta


Nov 04, 2019 at 04:40 PM

View of Jerusalem

Informer : Space

View of Jerusalem:
The walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, seen here, were originally built by the Ottomans in the 16th century. Within the walls are Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sections.

Jerusalem (Hebrew Yerushalayim; Arabic Al Quds), city lying at the intersection of Israel and the West Bank, located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea, about 50 km (about 30 mi) southeast of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv-Yafo. Jerusalem is composed of two distinct sections: West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem. West Jerusalem, which is inhabited almost entirely by Jews, has been part of Israel since Israel was established in 1948. East Jerusalem, which has a large Palestinian Arab population and recently constructed Jewish areas, was held by Jordan between 1949 and the Six-Day War of 1967. During the war, East Jerusalem was captured by Israel, which has administered it since. Israel claims that Jerusalem is its capital, but Palestinians dispute the claim and the United Nations has not recognized it as such. Jews, Christians, and Muslims consider Jerusalem a holy city, and it contains sites sacred to all three religions.

Located on a cluster of hilltops and valleys, Jerusalem straddles Haray Yehuda, or the Judean Hills, which run north-south in Israel, dividing the coastal plain from the Great Rift Valley. Summers in Jerusalem are hot and dry, with cooler temperatures and rain in the winter. Snow falls infrequently. 

Info source: Microsoft Student With Encarta Premium


Sep 27, 2019 at 03:53 PM

Meskel

Informer : Hermella

Meskel (Ge\'ez: መስቀል, mäsqäl) is an annual religious holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox churches, which commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress Helena (Saint Helena) in the fourth century. Meskel occurs on the 17 Meskerem in the Ethiopian calendar (September 27, Gregorian calendar, or on 28 September in leap years).[1] "Meskel" (or "Meskal" or "Mesqel", there are various ways to transliterate from Ge\'ez to Latin script) is Ge\'ez for "cross".

The festival is known as Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in other Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant churches. The churches that follow the Gregorian calendar celebrate the feast yearly on September 14.

The feast is held in Meskel Square, named after the festival, in the capital city of Addis Ababa. Religious and civil leaders preside over the celebration, and public figures give speeches and reference biblical themes and stories. Many Ethiopians who live in cities return to their villages to celebrate the national event. When it gets darker, the Demera is burned 

Info source: Wikipedia


Apr 27, 2019 at 11:30 AM

Easter

Informer : Wegen Fantu

Image: The Resurrection of Christ
This painting by 15th-century Italian painter Piero della Francesca portrays Jesus Christ rising from the grave three days after his crucifixion. On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the miracle of the resurrection of Christ and his victory over death. Piero’s The Resurrection of Christ (1463) is in the Museo Civico in Borgo San Sepolcro, Italy.

Easter, annual festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the most important feast of the Christian year. Easter is a joyous occasion because on this day Christians celebrate Christ’s victory over death. To those who believe in Christ, Easter also symbolizes their own participation in his death and rebirth to a new life.
Easter is celebrated on a Sunday. In Western Christianity, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Thus, for Western churches the earliest possible date of Easter is March 22 and the latest possible date is April 25. In Eastern (Orthodox) Christianity, Easter is celebrated on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8, usually following the date of Western Easter by a week or more. In some years the dates of Western Easter and Orthodox Easter coincide.
Easter is celebrated on a Sunday. In Western Christianity, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Thus, for Western churches the earliest possible date of Easter is March 22 and the latest possible date is April 25. In Eastern (Orthodox) Christianity, Easter is celebrated on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8, usually following the date of Western Easter by a week or more. In some years the dates of Western Easter and Orthodox Easter coincide.

The Christian festival of Easter incorporates many pagan, or pre-Christian, traditions. The origin of its name is unknown. Scholars believe that it probably comes from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Germanic goddess of spring and fertility. This derivation was proposed in the 8th century by English scholar Saint Bede. Eastre’s festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox—the first day of spring. Traditions associated with her festival survive today in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored Easter eggs. Eggs were originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and were used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.
Such festivals, and the stories and legends that explain their origin, were common in ancient religions. A Greek legend tells of the return of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth, from the underworld to the light of day; her return symbolized to the ancient Greeks the resurrection of life in the spring after the desolation of winter. Many ancient peoples shared similar legends. Wiccans and other neopagans continue to hold festivals in celebration of the arrival of spring.
Scholars also emphasize the original relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, which celebrates the liberation of the Jews from bondage in Egypt. The early Christians, many of whom were of Jewish origin, were brought up in the Hebrew tradition and regarded Easter as a new feature of the Passover festival—a commemoration of the advent of the messiah as foretold by the prophets. The term paschal, meaning “of Easter,” is derived from the name of the Jewish festival, as are the names of Easter in some European languages. In Greek, Easter is called Pascha; in French, Pâques; in Spanish, Pascua; and in Italian, Pasqua. 

Info source: Microsoft ® Encarta


Apr 25, 2019 at 03:01 PM

Holy Week

Informer : Space

Holy Week, in the Christian liturgical year, the week immediately preceding Easter, beginning with Palm Sunday. Solemn rites are observed commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Special observances recalling the institution of the Eucharist are held on Maundy Thursday; Scripture readings, solemn prayers, and veneration of the cross recall the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday. Holy Saturday commemorates the burial of Christ; midnight vigil services inaugurate the Easter celebration of the resurrection. Holy Week is sometimes called the “Great Week” by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians because it commemorates the great deeds of God for humankind.

The above Image: Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala
During the week before Easter, Roman Catholics in the Guatemalan city of Antigua Guatemala commemorate the Passion of Jesus Christ with daily processions. Here, penitents carry an enormous float with a statue of Christ carrying the cross on top. 

Info source: Microsoft ® Encarta


Apr 25, 2019 at 02:54 PM

Good Friday

Informer : Wegen

Good Friday, Friday immediately preceding Easter, celebrated by Christians as the anniversary of Christ\'s crucifixion. The name Good Friday is generally believed to be a corruption of God\'s Friday. Since the time of the early church, the day has been dedicated to penance, fasting, and prayer.

In the Roman Catholic church, the Good Friday liturgy is composed of three distinct parts: readings and prayers, including the reading of the Passion according to St. John; the veneration of the cross; and a general communion service (formerly called the Mass of the Presanctified), involving the reception of preconsecrated hosts by the priest and faithful.

From the 16th century on, the Good Friday service took place in the morning; in 1955 Pope Pius XII decreed that it be held in the afternoon or evening. As a result, such traditional afternoon devotions as the Tre Ore (Italian, “three hours”), consisting of sermons, meditations, and prayers centering on the three-hour agony of Christ on the cross, were almost entirely discontinued in the Roman Catholic church.

In most of Europe, in South America, in the United Kingdom and many parts of the Commonwealth, and in several states of the U.S., Good Friday is a legal holiday. 

Info source: Microsoft ® Encarta


Apr 01, 2019 at 02:12 PM

Islam

Informer : Wegen

Islam, one of the three major world religions, along with Judaism and Christianity, that profess monotheism, or the belief in a single God.

In the Arabic language, the word Islam means “surrender” or “submission”—submission to the will of God. A follower of Islam is called a Muslim, which in Arabic means “one who surrenders to God.” The Arabic name for God, Allah, refers to the God worshiped by Jews and Christians. Islam’s central teaching is that there is only one all-powerful, all-knowing God, and this God created the universe. This rigorous monotheism, as well as the Islamic teaching that all Muslims are equal before God, provides the basis for a collective sense of loyalty to God that transcends class, race, nationality, and even differences in religious practice. Thus, all Muslims belong to one community, the umma, irrespective of their ethnic or national background.

Within two centuries after its rise in the 7th century, Islam spread from its original home in Arabia into Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain to the west, and into Persia, India, and, by the end of the 10th century, beyond to the east. In the following centuries, Islam also spread into Anatolia and the Balkans to the north, and sub-Saharan Africa to the south. The Muslim community comprises about 1 billion followers on all five continents, and Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. The most populous Muslim country is Indonesia, followed by Pakistan and Bangladesh. Beyond the Middle East, large numbers of Muslims live in India, Nigeria, the former republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and China.
One of the reasons for the growth of the Muslim community has been its openness to new members. Children born to Muslim parents are automatically considered Muslim. At any time, a non-Muslim can convert to Islam by declaring himself or herself to be a Muslim. A person’s declaration of faith is sufficient evidence of conversion to Islam and need not be confirmed by others or by religious authorities.

The above photo:
The Qur’an
The inscription on buildings of verses from the Qur’an symbolizes the living presence of the holy book in Islamic society. This tower with decorative Qur’anic inscriptions is in Delhi, India.
Img source: Microsoft ® Encarta Encyclopedia Gillian Darley/Edifice/Corbis



 

Info source: Microsoft ® Encarta


Mar 31, 2019 at 01:16 PM

Judaism

Informer : Wegen Fantu

Photo 1. Passover Meal
A Yemenite family gathers in Israel for the Seder meal to celebrate the Jewish festival of Passover. The foods shown in the foreground symbolize some aspect of the ordeal of the Israelites during their enslavement in Egypt. These symbolic foods include unleavened bread (matzoh), bitter herbs, and a lamb shank.
img source: Encarta Encyclopedia, Richard Nowitz/Corbis

Judaism, religious culture of the Jews (also known as the people of Israel); one of the world’s oldest continuing religious traditions.
The terms Judaism and religion do not exist in premodern Hebrew. The Jews spoke of Torah, God’s revealed instruction to Israel, which mandated both a worldview and a way of life—Halakhah. Halakhah derives from the Hebrew word “to go” and has come to mean the “way” or “path.” It encompasses Jewish law, custom, and practice. Premodern Judaism, in all its historical forms, thus constituted (and traditional Judaism today constitutes) an integrated cultural system encompassing the totality of individual and communal existence. It is a system of sanctification in which all is to be subsumed under God’s rule—that is, under divinely revealed models of cosmic order and lawfulness. Christianity originated as one among several competing Jewish ideologies in 1st-century Palestine, and Islam drew in part on Jewish sources at the outset. Because most Jews, from the 7th century on, have lived within the cultural sphere of either Christianity or Islam, these religions have had an impact on the subsequent history of Judaism.
Judaism originated in the land of Israel (also known as Palestine) in the Middle East. Subsequently, Jewish communities have existed at one time or another in almost all parts of the world, a result of both voluntary migrations of Jews and forced exile or expulsions (see Diaspora). According to the American Jewish Yearbook, the total world Jewish population in the year 2000 was estimated at 13.2 million, of whom 5.7 million lived in the United States, 4.8 million in Israel, 530,000 in France, and 438,000 in the former Soviet Union. These are the four largest centers of Jewish settlement. Other significant Jewish communities are found in Canada (360,000), Great Britain (276,000), Argentina (200,000), and South Africa (80,000).

A. Monotheism

As a rich and complex religious tradition, Judaism has never been monolithic. Its various historical forms nonetheless have shared certain characteristic features. The most essential of these is a radical monotheism, that is, the belief that a single, transcendent God created the universe and continues providentially to govern it. Undergirding this monotheism is the teleological conviction that the world is both intelligible and purposive, because a single divine intelligence stands behind it. Nothing that humanity experiences is capricious; everything ultimately has meaning.
From ancient through medieval times, various forms of Judaism have acknowledged the role of other heavenly beings, such as angels, and have warned against various forces of a demonic nature. But these forces have always been regarded as the creations of God, subordinate to the divine will, and ultimately irrelevant to the primary mission of the Jewish people, which is to acknowledge the unity of God and to serve God in the world.

B. Revelation

The mind of God is manifest to the traditional Jew in both the natural order, through creation, and the social-historical order, through revelation. The same God who created the world revealed himself to the people, Israel, at Mount Sinai. The content of that revelation is the Torah (“revealed instruction”), God’s will for humankind expressed in commandments (mizvoth) by which individuals are to regulate their lives in interacting with one another and with God. By living in accordance with God’s laws and submitting to the divine will, humanity can become a harmonious part of the cosmos. It is primarily as a community bound together in obedience to God’s Torah that the Jews view their role in the larger human community. By testifying to the unity of God and the centrality of the divine will as revealed in the Torah, they seek to draw the attention of all humanity to the unique God of all creation.

C. Covenant:

Although all forms of Judaism have been rooted in the Hebrew Bible (referred to by Jews as the Tanach, an acronym for its three sections: Torah, the Pentateuch; Nebiim, the prophetic literature; and Ketubim, the other writings), it would be an error to think of Judaism as simply the “religion of the Old Testament.” Contemporary Judaism is ultimately derived from the rabbinic movement of the first centuries of the Christian era in Palestine and Babylonia and is therefore called rabbinic Judaism.
Rabbi, in Aramaic and Hebrew, means “my teacher.” The rabbis, Jewish sages adept in studying the Scriptures and their own traditions, maintained that God had revealed to Moses on Sinai a twofold Torah. In addition to the written Torah (Scripture), God revealed an oral Torah, faithfully transmitted by word of mouth in an unbroken chain from master to disciple, and preserved now among the rabbis themselves. For the rabbis, the oral Torah was encapsulated in the Mishnah (“that which is learned or memorized”), the earliest document of rabbinic literature, edited in Palestine at the turn of the 3rd century. Subsequent rabbinic study of the Mishnah in Palestine and Babylonia generated two Talmuds (“that which is studied”; also called Gemera, an Aramaic term with the same meaning; see Talmud), wide-ranging commentaries on the Mishnah. The Babylonian Talmud, edited about the 6th century, became the foundation document of rabbinic Judaism.
Early rabbinic writings also include exegetical and homiletical commentaries on Scripture (the Midrashim; see Midrash) and several Aramaic translations of the Pentateuch and other scriptural books (the see Targums). Medieval rabbinic writings include codifications of talmudic law, the most authoritative of which is the 16th-century Shulhan Arukh (Set Table) by Joseph ben Ephraim Caro. In Judaism, the study of Torah refers to the study of all this literature, not simply of the Pentateuch (“the Torah,” in the narrow sense).

D. Prayers and Services

According to the rules codified in the Talmud and the medieval law codes, Jews must offer communal prayers three times a day: in the morning (shaharith), afternoon (minhah), and evening (maarib). The times of prayer are deemed to correspond to the times when sacrifices were offered in the Jerusalem Temple. In this and other ways, rabbinic Judaism metaphorically carries forward the structure of the destroyed Temple cult. A company of ten men forms a congregation, or quorum (minyan), for prayer. If a community is unable to summon a minyan, individuals are still obliged to offer these prayers. But the service is somewhat abbreviated.
The single required component of all Jewish worship services is a series of benedictions called the Tefillah (“prayer”); it is also known as the Amidah, or “standing” prayer, because it is recited standing, and the Shemoneh Esreh, because it originally contained 18 benedictions. On weekdays it is now composed of 19 benedictions, including 13 petitions for welfare and messianic restoration. On see Sabbaths and festivals, these petitions are replaced by occasional prayers. A second major rubric is the recitation of the Shema in the morning and evening. All services conclude with two messianic prayers, the first called Alenu, the second an Aramaic doxology called the Kaddish.
As a sign of devotion to God, the observant adult male Jew during weekday morning prayers wears both a fringed prayer shawl (tallith; the fringes are called zizith) and phylacteries (prayer boxes, called tefillin). Both customs are derived from the scriptural passages that are recited as the Shema, as is a third, the placing of a mezuzah (prayer box) on the doorpost of one’s house, a further reminder that God is everywhere. As a gesture of respect to God, the head is covered during prayer, either with a hat or a skullcap (kippah; Yiddish yarmulke). Pious Jews wear a head covering at all times, recognizing God’s constant presence.

E. Torah

The study of Torah, the revealed will of God, also is considered an act of worship in rabbinic Judaism. Passages from Scripture, Mishnah, and Talmud are recited during daily morning services. On Monday and Thursday mornings, a handwritten parchment scroll of the Torah (that is, the Pentateuch) is removed from the ark at the front of the synagogue and read, with cantillation (chanting), before the congregation. The major liturgical Torah readings take place on Sabbath and festival mornings. In the course of a year, the entire Torah will be read on Sabbaths. The annual cycle begins again every autumn at a celebration called Simhath Torah (“rejoicing in the Torah”), which falls at the end of the Sukkot festival. Torah readings for the festivals deal with the themes and observances of the day. Thematically appropriate readings from the Prophets (Haftarah, meaning “conclusion”) accompany the Torah readings on Sabbaths and festivals. The public reading of Scripture thus constitutes a significant part of synagogue worship. In fact, this appears originally to have been the primary function of the synagogue as an institution.

F. The Sabbath

The Jewish liturgical calendar carries forward the divisions of time prescribed in the Torah and observed in the Temple cult. Every seventh day is the Sabbath, when no work is performed. By this abstention, the Jew returns the world to its owner, that is, God, acknowledging that humans extract its produce only on sufferance. The two versions of the biblical Ten Commandments explain the necessity for Sabbath rest in complementary ways. In Exodus 20:8-11 the Sabbath is described as a reenactment of God’s rest from the six days of creation. In Deuteronomy 5:12-15 the Sabbath rest is explained as a commemoration of the liberation from Egyptian enslavement. In either explanation the Sabbath has come to be the most distinctive holy day of Judaism. It is spent in prayer, study, rest, and family feasting (see Kiddush). An additional (musaf) service is recited in the synagogue on Sabbaths and festivals, corresponding to the additional sacrifice that is offered in the Temple on these days.

G. Festivals

The Jewish year includes five major festivals and two minor ones. Three of the major festivals originally were agricultural and are tied to the seasons in the land of Israel. Pesach (Passover), the spring festival, marks the beginning of the barley harvest, and Shabuoth (Weeks or Pentecost) marks its conclusion 50 days later. Sukkot (Tabernacles) celebrates the autumn harvest and is preceded by a 10-day period of communal purification. From an early date, these festivals came to be associated with formative events in Israel’s historical memory. Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. Shabuoth is identified as the time of the giving of the Torah on Sinai. It is marked by the solemn reading of the Ten Commandments in the synagogue. Sukkot is still observed primarily as a harvest festival, but the harvest booths in which Jews eat during the festival’s seven days also are identified with the booths in which the Israelites dwelt on their journey to the Promised Land. The ten-day penitential period before Sukkot is inaugurated by Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, and concludes with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. According to tradition, the world is judged each New Year and the decree sealed on the Day of Atonement. A ram’s horn (shofar) is blown on the New Year to call the people to repentance. The Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish year, is spent in fasting, prayer, and confession. Its liturgy begins with the plaintive chanting of the Kol Nidre formula and includes a remembrance of the day’s rites (avodah) in the Temple.
The two minor festivals, Hanukkah and Purim, are later in origin than the five Pentateuchally prescribed festivals. Hanukkah (Dedication) commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian king Antiochus IV in 165 bc and the ensuing rededication of the Second Temple. Purim (Lots) celebrates the tale of Persian Jewry’s deliverance by see Esther and Mordecai. It occurs a month before Passover and is marked by the festive reading in the synagogue of the Scroll of Esther (megillah). Four fast days, commemorating events in the siege and destruction of the two Temples in 586 bc and ad 70, complete the liturgical year. The most important of these is Tishah b’Ab, or the Ninth of Ab, observed as the day on which both Temples were destroyed.

H. Special Occasions:

Significant events in the life cycle of the Jew also are observed in the community. At the age of eight days, a male child is publicly initiated into the covenant of Abraham through circumcision (berith milah). Boys reach legal maturity at the age of 13, when they assume responsibility for observing all the commandments (bar mitzvah) and are called for the first time to read from the Torah in synagogue. Girls reach maturity at 12 years of age and, in modern Liberal synagogues, also read from the Torah (bat mitzvah). In the 19th century, the modernizing Reform movement instituted the practice of confirmation for both young men and women of secondary school age. The ceremony is held on Shabuoth and signifies acceptance of the faith revealed at Sinai. The next turning point in a Jew’s life is marriage (kiddushin, “sanctification”). Even at the hour of greatest personal joy, Jews recall the sorrows of their people. The seven wedding benedictions include petitionary prayers for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the return of the Jewish people to Zion. Also, at the Jewish funeral the hope for resurrection of the deceased is included in a prayer for the redemption of the Jewish people as a whole. The pious Jewish male is buried in his tallith.

I. Dietary Laws

Since ancient times, Jews have been known among non-Jewish observers through their distinctive dietary observances. Many of these dietary laws relate to the ancient Temple cult. One’s table at home is deemed analogous to the table of the Lord that once existed in the Jerusalem Temple. Certain animals, considered unclean (see Genesis 7:2-3), could not be used in sacrificial service at the altar. Therefore, they are not to be eaten even in secular settings (see Deuteronomy 14:3-21). Into this category fall pigs, donkeys, camels, and other animals. The Bible also prohibits eating fish without fins or scales and other creatures deemed to violate in some way certain norms. Edible domestic animals—those that have split hooves and chew their cuds—must be properly slaughtered (kāshēr, or “fit”) and the blood fully drained before the meat can be eaten (see Genesis 9:5). In a most radical interpretation of the biblical prohibition against boiling calves and other young animals in their mothers’ milk, rabbinic halakhah prohibits the consumption of foods containing a mixture of milk and meat. See Kosher.

J. The Rabbinic Tradition

Although all forms of Judaism have been rooted in the Hebrew Bible (referred to by Jews as the Tanach, an acronym for its three sections: Torah, the Pentateuch; Nebiim, the prophetic literature; and Ketubim, the other writings), it would be an error to think of Judaism as simply the “religion of the Old Testament.” Contemporary Judaism is ultimately derived from the rabbinic movement of the first centuries of the Christian era in Palestine and Babylonia and is therefore called rabbinic Judaism.
Rabbi, in Aramaic and Hebrew, means “my teacher.” The rabbis, Jewish sages adept in studying the Scriptures and their own traditions, maintained that God had revealed to Moses on Sinai a twofold Torah. In addition to the written Torah (Scripture), God revealed an oral Torah, faithfully transmitted by word of mouth in an unbroken chain from master to disciple, and preserved now among the rabbis themselves. For the rabbis, the oral Torah was encapsulated in the Mishnah (“that which is learned or memorized”), the earliest document of rabbinic literature, edited in Palestine at the turn of the 3rd century. Subsequent rabbinic study of the Mishnah in Palestine and Babylonia generated two Talmuds (“that which is studied”; also called Gemera, an Aramaic term with the same meaning; see Talmud), wide-ranging commentaries on the Mishnah. The Babylonian Talmud, edited about the 6th century, became the foundation document of rabbinic Judaism.
Early rabbinic writings also include exegetical and homiletical commentaries on Scripture (the Midrashim; see Midrash) and several Aramaic translations of the Pentateuch and other scriptural books (the see Targums). Medieval rabbinic writings include codifications of talmudic law, the most authoritative of which is the 16th-century Shulhan Arukh (Set Table) by Joseph ben Ephraim Caro. In Judaism, the study of Torah refers to the study of all this literature, not simply of the Pentateuch (“the Torah,” in the narrow sense).



 

Info source: Microsoft student Microsoft ® Encarta


Mar 31, 2019 at 11:54 AM

Rastafarianism

Informer : Wegen

Rastafarianism, a religious and cultural movement that originated in Jamaica around 1930. The movement was named after Tafari Makonnen, which was the original name of Haile Selassie I, a prince who in 1930 was crowned emperor of Ethiopia. Ras means “Lord” in the Amharic language. Selassie’s other titles included King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
The central doctrine of Rastafarianism, also known as Rasta, is that Haile Selassie is the God of the black race. This belief continued to be held even after his death in 1975. The Ras Tafari movement is thought to be a strand of the “Back to Africa” movement created by Jamaican leader Marcus Garvey after he moved to the United States and settled in New York City in 1916. Garvey preached black pride and black emancipation, and advocated a return of black Americans to Africa, their ancestral homeland, and particularly to Liberia and Sierra Leone. According to a widely believed report, Garvey told his followers in Jamaica, at his departure for the United States, “Look to Africa where a Black King shall be crowned; he shall be your redeemer.” After the coronation of Haile Selassie, many Garveyites began to search the Bible for confirmation of the prophecy. The confirmation was found in Revelation 19:16, which reads: “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” With these events the Rastafarian movement was born.
Rastafarianism is a millenarian movement emphasizing the belief that, through the power of a supernatural being, oppressed people will miraculously be led from oppression to a new heaven on Earth where all problems will be solved in peace. To believers, Haile Selassie I is the God with supreme powers; through him they look for an immediate return to Ethiopia—the promised land—and the biblical name for Africa. Rastafarians have developed an elaborate ritual system using marijuana (ganja) as a sacrament, as Christians use bread and wine. They have adopted the law of the biblical Nazarites, which prohibits the cutting of their hair. As a result, many wear their hair in long, matted locks known as dreadlocks. Rastafarians sometimes wear knitted caps of red, gold, green, and black—the colors of the Ethiopian flag, which have symbolic significance for members of the movement. They also observe Hebrew dietary laws, abstaining from certain items in their diet, and eating only those foods considered pure and untainted.

 

Info source: Microsoft student Microsoft ® Encarta


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