Judaism 101. Where to Start There are over eighty web pages on this site, comprising over 300 pages of text, a virtual book of information on Judaism.
That's a lot of information! Where should you start? That depends on what you're looking for: Just browsing? If you're not sure what you're looking for, and you just want to see what's available on this site, look through the Table of Contents. Looking for something specific? If you are looking for something specific, I have a Search Engine for this site. Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced? Judaism 101 was originally created as an introduction to Judaism for people with little or no knowledge. Want to see what's new? If you've been here before and just want to see what's new on the site, try the What's Nu? Hebrew Alphabet. The Hebrew and Yiddish languages use a different alphabet than English.
The picture below illustrates the Hebrew alphabet, in Hebrew alphabetical order. Note that Hebrew is written from right to left, rather than left to right as in English, so Alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and Tav is the last. The Hebrew alphabet is often called the "alefbet," because of its first two letters. Letters of the Alefbet Table 1: The Hebrew Alphabet If this sounds like Greek to you, you're not far off! The "Kh" and the "Ch" are pronounced as in German or Scottish, a throat clearing noise, not as the "ch" in "chair. " Note that there are two versions of some letters. See and hear the letters in a quick reading of the letters or a more in-depth introduction!
Vowels and Points Like most early Semitic alphabetic writing systems, the alefbet has no vowels. Table 2: Vowel Points Most nikkud are used to indicate vowels. Vowel points are shown in blue. Table 3: Other Nikkud Illustration 1: Pointed Text. Shabbat. For six days you may perform melachah, but the seventh day is a complete Sabbath, holy to the L-RD ... it is an eternal sign that in six days, the L-RD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.
-Exodus 31:15-17 The Nature of Shabbat The Sabbath (or Shabbat, as it is called in Hebrew) is one of the best known and least understood of all Jewish observances. People who do not observe Shabbat think of it as a day filled with stifling restrictions, or as a day of prayer like the Christian Sabbath. But to those who observe Shabbat, it is a precious gift from G-d, a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when we can set aside all of our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to higher pursuits. Shabbat is the most important ritual observance in Judaism. Shabbat is primarily a day of rest and spiritual enrichment. Shabbat is not specifically a day of prayer. Zakhor: To Remember What does the Exodus have to do with resting on the seventh day?