Online Class: Judaism 101 — An Introduction

In this course, students will experience the beginnings of Judaism and become familiar with some of the basic beliefs and tenants of one of the largest religions in the world.

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Course Description

Discovering Judaism: A Comprehensive Online Introduction

Embark on a transformative journey through the rich tapestry of Judaism, one of the world's most ancient and profound religious traditions. In "Judaism 101," we endeavor to unveil the depth and breadth of Jewish heritage, beliefs, and practices that have shaped the course of history and influenced countless lives over millennia.

Judaism isn't just a religion; it's a confluence of history, culture, tradition, and spirituality. In this course, students will traverse the dawn of Judaism, acquainting themselves with foundational beliefs and tenets that have sustained this faith for over 3,000 years. You will be ushered into the heart of Jewish communal life—the Synagogue—and uncover the significance of life-altering rituals such as the bris (covenant of circumcision) and the bar and bat mitzvah (rites of passage).

Jewish festivals and Holy Days, replete with symbolism and ancient wisdom, will be illuminated, offering insights into the profound importance of each celebration in the Jewish calendar.

Your journey won't be confined to places of worship or major events. You'll be welcomed into the sanctity of a Jewish home. From understanding the nuances of kosher dietary laws to the warmth of the Shabbat dinner table, you'll witness firsthand how faith seamlessly intertwines with daily life. Delve into the written and oral laws—integral pillars of Judaism—and discern their pivotal role in guiding aspects of life, from matrimony to mourning.

Beyond the tangible, we venture into the spiritual realm, exploring Jewish perspectives on prayer, mysticism, and age-old beliefs about the celestial and the ethereal—including angels, demons, and conceptions of the afterlife.

History is a testament to a people's resilience and faith. From the epoch of the patriarch Abraham, through the eras of prophets and kings, you'll traverse time, culminating in the solemn reflection of the Holocaust—one of the darkest chapters of human history. Yet, from the ashes of the past emerged the resolute spirit of the Jewish people, leading to the rebirth of a nation in the form of the modern State of Israel.

Our aspiration is that "Judaism 101" becomes more than a course—it becomes a beacon. A beacon that not only enlightens but also inspires deeper exploration and understanding of Judaism and, by extension, fosters a world enriched by tolerance, knowledge, and mutual respect for all faiths.

Embark on this enlightening journey with us, and let the timeless wisdom of Judaism illuminate your path.

Course Motivation

What is Judaism?

Judaism is a way of life. It's a religion, but it's also a heritage developed through thousands of years of beliefs, rituals, and practices. It's a concept that intertwines generations of customs, thousands of years of history, and sacred and mysterious rituals.

The Jewish faith is one of the most well-known and practiced in the world, originating from a dedication to continue the teachings, language, and rituals of its origins to generations of descendants. While Judaism originated in the deserts of the Middle East, it is today practiced across oceans in the Americans, Eastern Europe, the Orient, and the depths of South America.

Judaism dates back 4,000 years to the time of Abraham. Using a very simplistic definition, Judaism combines belief in one supreme God, the acceptance of the Torah as a divine life plan, and a belief that they are God's chosen people.

There are different movements or divisions within Judaism itself. To date, you might find an Orthodox or Hasidic Jew (Hasidic Jews are distinguished from others through their dress and sidelocks and lifestyle, much as the Amish in the U.S.), an Ashkenazic Jew from Eastern Europe, and a Sephardic Jew from Spain seated at the same table discussing the Torah in discussion and friendship. Depending on geographic location, Judaism has developed over the centuries into different divisions with extremely similar belief systems, but nevertheless with differences that identify and personify themselves through different culture and traditions.

For example, those descended from Jews in Western and Eastern Europe may belong to the Ashkenazic movement (known as Ashkenazi Jews). Descendants of Jews from North Africa and Middle Eastern regions, as well as Spain and Portugal may be defined as Sephardic Jews. Those descended from North African, Middle Eastern, and other surrounding areas and cultures are known as Mizrachi Jews. There are also Oriental, Ethiopian, and Yemenite Jews.

According to Biblical teachings in the Old Testament, the Jewish people were divided into 12 tribes, one each for the 12 sons of Jacob, known as the father of the children of Israel:

  • Reuben
  • Simeon
  • Levi
  • Judah
  • Dan
  • Naphtali
  • Gad
  • Asher
  • Issachar
  • Zebulon
  • Joseph
  • Benjamin

Many famous Old Testament leaders and prophets are recognized by their tribe. For example, King Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and Moses and his brother, Aaron, were of the tribe of Levi. Kings Solomon and David were of the tribe of Judah. 

General Beliefs

The Jewish faith is based on 13 principles that define exactly what Jews believe in. However, not every Jew believes that these fundamentals of faith are set in stone. That's the uniqueness of Judaism. Jewish faith, like many others, is fluid, and interpretations between individuals often differ.

Judaism is a faith that recognizes the existence of God as a unique, eternal, and incorporeal being. Those of the Jewish faith pray only to God. They follow the history and laws carried down from the first five books of the Bible; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, known as the written Torah .

Jews also believe that the Torah and laws, beliefs, rituals, and guidelines for living were handed down to Moses from God. Other oral teachings that are now part of what is called the Torah are the basics of the faith and instruct each individual on how to deal with, and behave,  toward their fellow man.

The Jews follow what is written in the Torah or Holy Scripture writings of the Old Testament, just as Christians follow what is written in the Old and New testaments of the Holy Bible. They believe, like Christians, that God knows and senses the thoughts of man, and knows what they've done with their lives. The Jewish faith also believes that God punishes those who are wicked or evil, and rewards those who are good or strive to live a good, clean, moral life.

Both Christians and Jews believe that the dead will be resurrected, but the one major difference between Judaism and Christianity is that the Jews don't believe that the Messiah has yet arrived. They believe the Messiah is yet to come. Christians believe that the Messiah has already come in the human form of Jesus Christ, crucified on Calvary Hill near Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.

Of course, this is a very simplistic view of the Jewish faith, and there are many details regarding these basic beliefs, or tenets of faith, that more fully describe the living essence of Judaism. We will more deeply explore the Torah, Jewish prayers, and the importance of prophets as we proceed through this course. 
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.7 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(1,077 votes)

Lesson 1: What is Judaism?

From ancient times to today, Judaism has provided millions of individuals around the world with a solid foundation for their religious, cultural, and spiritual beliefs. Additional lesson topics: What is Judaism? Video 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video A
  • Lesson 1 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Lesson discussions: Judaism; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2: Who's Who in the Synagogue

Understanding Jewish leadership in the synagogue or temple means learning the basics of how the synagogue functions as a whole and how its leaders are responsible for offering the guidance, examples and lessons of their faith. Additional lesson topics: Western Wall; What to expect at a Synagogue 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video A
  • Lesson 2 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3: Life Traditions

In this lesson, we'll briefly cover each milestone and the different traditions involved in their recognition and celebration. Additional lesson topics: More Jewish Traditions 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video A
  • Lesson 3 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4: Jewish Celebrations and Holy Days

In this lesson, we'll go through the calendar year and highlight some of the most important holy days - and traditions or celebrations - of the Jewish faith. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video A
  • Lesson 4 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5: The Jewish Home

In a Jewish home, family life and marriage are considered a religious obligation. Additional lesson topics: Jewish Home Tour 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video A
  • Lesson 5 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6: Jewish Foods and Cuisine

In this lesson, we will go over the basic laws and traditions when it comes to Jewish cooking and food preparation. Additional lesson topics: Jewish Cooking in America; Several Jewish Foods 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video A
  • Lesson 6 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Lesson discussions: Kosher
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7: Jewish Written Laws

In this lesson, we'll cover some of the basics in regard to Jewish written law and how such laws affect the lives, beliefs and practices of Jewish people around the world. Additional lesson topics: Jewish Laws Video 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video A
  • Lesson 7 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8: The Oral Laws

While the Torah includes a written description, interpretation and commentary regarding laws, oral laws involve legal decisions and are open to discussion, deliberation, and interpretation to some degree. Additional lesson topics: Understanding the Oral Torah Tradition; The Oral Law; Mishnah 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video A
  • Lesson 8 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9: Jewish Burial Rituals and Traditions

In this lesson, you'll learn the basics regarding a few Jewish burial traditions and rituals, as well as how funerals are prepared. Additional lesson topics: Jewish Burial Traditions 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video A
  • Lesson 9 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10: Abraham to Exodus

In this lesson, we'll cover the period of Jewish history from the time of Abraham, to the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video A
  • Lesson 10 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11: The Books of Moses

The book of Exodus focuses on instructing the Israeli people regarding the need for redemption, and how to prepare for such redemption. Additional lesson topics: Moses and Exodus 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video A
  • Lesson 11 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12: From King David to the Lesser Prophets

In this lesson, you'll receive a brief introduction into some of the most well-known and respected figures of the Old Testament, who helped to guide and develop Judaism, culture, and instruct the people to follow Judaic law, traditions, and rituals. 32 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video A
  • Lesson 12 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 Exam

Lesson 13: Jewish Prayers

In this lesson, we'll offer a brief introduction into the concept of prayer in Judaism. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video A
  • Lesson 13 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 13 Exam

Lesson 14: Jewish Mysticism

In this lesson, students will gain a brief introduction into the Jewish belief system involving angels and prophets, and dreams and visions, which may be considered mysterious by some, and perfectly natural for others. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video A
  • Lesson 14 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 14 Exam

Lesson 15: The Holocaust

Known by the Jewish people as Shoah, the term Holocaust refers to one of the most tragic and horrifying periods of history of the Jewish people. Additional lesson topics: Holocaust Survivor Interview 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 15 Video A
  • Lesson 15 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 15 Exam

Lesson 16: Starting Over

The State of Israel was established on May 14,1948. A tentative peace was created with its Arab neighbors, an uneasy peace fraught with struggles, outbreaks of violence, and sometimes war. Additional lesson topics: Israel: Birth of a Nation Video 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 16 Video A
  • Lesson 16 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Lesson discussions: Israel
  • Complete: Lesson 16 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 16 Exam

Lesson 17: The Six-Day War

During the days leading up to the Six-Day War, Israel was surrounded by nearly 500,000 troops, 3,000 tanks, and 800 military aircraft from their detractors. Additional lesson topics: Six Day War Documentary 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 17 Video A
  • Lesson 17 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 17 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 17 Exam

Lesson 18: Influential Jewish Contributions

In the following lesson, we'll give you a brief glimpse into some of the most important contributors to society in a variety of categories. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 18 Video A
  • Lesson 18 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Complete: Lesson 18 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 18 Exam

Lesson 19: Post Modern Age Judaism

We conclude this lesson on your introduction into Judaism with the feelings and attitudes regarding both the ancient homeland of Israel, and the country as a modern state. Additional lesson topics: Impressions of Israel Video 115 Total Points
  • Lesson 19 Video A
  • Lesson 19 Video B : Lesson Discussion
  • Lesson discussions: Your Opinion Matters: Course Rating; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: Lesson 19 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 19 Exam
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what Judaism is.
  • Describe who's who in the Synagogue.
  • Summarize life traditions.
  • Summarize Jewish celebrations and holy days.
  • Describe the Jewish home.
  • Summarize Jewish foods and cuisine.
  • Summarize Jewish Written Laws.
  • Describe the Oral Laws.
  • Describe Jewish Burial Rituals and Traditions.
  • Summarize Abraham to Exodus.
  • Describe The Books of Moses.
  • Summarize From King David to the Lesser Prophets.
  • Summarize Jewish Prayers.
  • Describe Jewish Mysticism.
  • Summarize The Holocaust.
  • Describe The Six-Day War.
  • Summarize influential Jewish contributions.
  • Describe Post Modern Age Judaism.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

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Course Title: Judaism 101: An Introduction
Course Number: 7550540
Lessons Rating: 4.7 / 5 Stars (1,077 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas.
Last Updated: November 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 1.6 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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  • "The Instructor is very knowledgeable and was extremely helpful. Interaction with the Instructor was thought provoking. Detailed analysis and thorough grading are appreciated. I definitely appreciate the time, effort and expertise offered by the Instructor to provide feedback on my learning process. I definitely would like to take more courses with this Instructor." -- Mohammad H.
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