ETHICS OF JUDAISM

Remember it, Test it!

Remember it, Test it!

  • Jewish ethical life is guided by the 613 commandments of the Mitzvoth contained in the Torah. Special weight is given to the Ten Commandments.
  • Mishpatim (judgments) and Chukim (statutes) guide believers through everyday life.

religious studies

  • The Jewish tradition emphasises the sanctity of life. Abortion is only permitted in special circumstances although Jewish belief does not accept that a foetus is a person. Contraception is generally accepted.
  • Euthanasia is not acceptable.
  • Some Jews, especially those with an Ashkenazi background, suffer from a genetic condition called Tay Sachs Disease so most Jews are in favour of genetic engineering.
  • Jewish beliefs about the afterlife include the idea that the End of Days will come after the Messiah, sent by God, has appeared on Earth.
  • Tzedakah is the concept of charity as defined in the Torah. This makes it a religious obligation to help poor people by giving 10 per cent of income.
  • Jewish teachings say that the use of violence and warfare can be justified in the case of self-defence if attempts at negotiation have failed.
  • The Talmud says that people must not cause suffering to any but Jews can kill animals to meet their needs for food and clothing. Hunting for sport is forbidden.
  • The State of Israel abolished the death penalty in 1954, except for people convicted of Nazi war crimes. One man has been executed, the Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann.
  • Jews believe that sex should be confined to marriage. No value is attached in the Jewish tradition to celibacy.
  • Conservative Jews consider homosexuality to be wrong, but many Progressive Jews do not share this view.

religious studies

  • Drinking wine in moderation is perfectly acceptable within Jewish teaching. Over-indulgence in alcohol and the use of illegal drugs is not.

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Test it!

1) What is the most important part of the Mitzvoth?
2) What are Mishpatim and Chukim?
3) When is abortion permissible?
4) What are Jewish views on contraception?
5) Why are Jews receptive to the idea of genetic engineering and artificial conception?
6) What is meant by the End of Days in the Jewish tradition?
7) What is Tzedakah?
8) In what circumstances do Jews believe it is permissible to wage war?
9) What does Jewish teaching say about the treatment of animals?
10) Describe the Jewish divorce procedure.

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Some top tips!

  1. Print out the Test It! Questions – it will allow you to replicate exam conditions and also allows you to give your eyes a rest from the computer screen whilst doing your crucial revision.
  2. Make a copy of the Remember It! Section and put in a place that you often look at. i.e. front of a journal, next to a mirror, on a kitchen cupboard door, etc. That way you can do some cheeky religious studies revision whilst doing those things you have to do!

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