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For nearly four millennia Judaism was essentially a unified religious system based on shared traditions. Despite the emergence of various sub-groups through the centuries such as the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Karaites, Shabbateans and Hasadim, Jewry was united in the belief in a providential God who had chosen the Jews as his special people and given them a code of law. In the modern period, however, the Jewish religion has fragmented into a series of separate denominations with competing ideologies and theological views. Despite the creation of the State of Israel, the Jewish people are deeply divided concerning the most fundamental issues of belief and practice.
Judaism Today gives an account of the nature of traditional Judaism, provides an introduction to the various divisions that currently exist in the Jewish world, and identifies and discusses contemporary issues with which the Jewish faith engages in the twenty-first century. This refreshing new approach focuses on how Judaism is actually perceived and practised by Jews themselves and the problems currently facing Jews worldwide.
Introduction: The Historical Background 1
1 The Basics 19
2 The Enlightenment and Modern Jewish Life 42
3 The Holocaust and the State of Israel 61
4 Modern Jewish Movements 88
5 Modern Challenges to Judaism 110
6 The Future of Judaism 134
Appendix: Jews Worldwide 161
Select Readings 175