You may be wondering, whether as a Jew or a gentile, what are the facts about Jewish culture? Jewish culture is vibrant and complicated, with a basis in what is called tikkun olam — healing the world. Jewish culture is about family, community, and helping others. World of Belz can help us take a look at what the truth is about Jewish culture, as a light among organizations of faith.
Torah and Talmud
Jewish people follow the commandments and mitzvot set in the Torah and the Talmud, that tells us how to lead a Jewish life properly. Torah is the most vital text for Jewish life. It is the Jewish obligation to spread the light of the Torah to everyone around them. Talmud is a long series of interpretations of the Torah by esteemed Rabbis for centuries.
The Jewish nation perseveres because of dedicated study of the Torah. The Torah includes the five books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These five books contain crucial lessons for Jews to understand themselves and their relationship with HaShem. Jews are commanded by G-d to pass down Torah knowledge l’dor vador — from generation to generation.
For Jews, it is important to dress according to modesty codes, to prevent the exposure of ervah, or nakedness. For women, this means covering the collar bones, down to the ankles, and the arms to the elbows. For Orthodox married women this also includes wearing tichel, hair coverings, or sheitel, wigs, to cover the hair, which is considered an erotic part of the body after marriage.
For men, this includes covering the hair with a kippah, or skullcap, and growing out payot, or those long curls along the side of the head you may have seen, along with wearing modest dress.
Many people refer to this form of dress as being frum.
Tradition is very important to Jewish communities. The tradition of a particular community is called minhag. Traditions include hanging mezuzot on your doorframes, styles of dress, and celebration of holidays.
Some important holidays include Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Rosh Hashanah, the new year, and Chanukah, the celebration of the miracle of light. Pesach, also known as Passover, commemorates the Exodus of the Jews who were enslaved long ago in Egypt by the Pharaoh Rameses. All of these holidays may differ in the way they are celebrated, because communities have different minhag, but these holidays are important to all Jewish communities regardless of observance.
Acts of chesed are acts of loving-kindness towards others. This includes charity work, which is very important to Jews as part of healing the world around us. Jews have an obligation to help the poor, the orphan, and the widow, according to Torah. World of Belz is dedicated to these acts of charity. To understand Jewish Culture, let’s take a look at some of the charity work done by World of Belz.
World of Belz provides medical care to those in need. This includes the crucial help given to those who fall victim to terrorist attacks.
For newlyweds, World of Belz provides clothing and appliances in order to keep a kosher kitchen. They also provide new couples with assistance finding housing. For the elderly, they send weekly meals, and have a temporary loan program available. For children, they provide not only invaluable education, but clothing and transportation to and from hospitals for sick children.
Saad Umarpeh is a Help Israel charity that helps families through illness recovery. This can be extremely stressful, but World of Bels makes certain that no family is ever left behind.
Ezras U’vikur Cholim gives free transportation to and from hospitals for patients. They also provide care during the summer for sick children, taking pressure off of parents who are caring for children with illnesses.
These are just two of the many, many charity organizations run by World of Belz.
In conclusion, Jewish Culture is vibrant and can vary in a lot of ways in a lot of different communities. There are the separations between Eastern European Jews (Ashkenazim), Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese Jews (Sephardim), and Middle Eastern Jews (Mizrahim), just to name some of the different denominations that exist and hold different cultures. There are also denominations such as Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform, primarily in The United States where they formed. They may eat different foods, speak different languages, but they all are united by the reverence and study of Torah.