Judaism, the oldest of the three monotheistic faiths, is a religion that includes many rules and practices that influence the everyday life of its followers. Most halakhahs, or Jewish laws, are found in the sacred text known as the Torah. In this text, there are laws for everything from the clothing that should be worn to the meals that are appropriate to eat. However, like any religion, the effects of religious laws vary based on how observant an individual is of their religion, the denomination of faith they believe in and their interpretation of religious texts.
Prayer plays an important role in the everyday lives of those who practice Judaism. The most traditional denomination, Orthodox Judaism, requires followers to recite prayers three times per day, except for on Shabbat, a weekly day of rest, when four prayers are to be recited. The exact prayers that are used and the times of day when a follower prays vary by denomination. However, it's most common for readings from the Torah to be used as prayers, and prayer usually occurs upon waking, after meals and in the evening.
Ethical practices are Jewish laws found throughout the Torah. These religious laws are designed to guide the everyday behaviors of followers. The basic ethical practices that all denominations of Judaism adhere to include being just, speaking the truth, promoting peace, treating others with kindness, being humble, refraining from negative speech and being charitable.
The Jewish religion calls for followers to wear certain religious garments at certain times throughout the day. The kippah, a round, brimless cap, is worn by followers of all denominations while praying, eating and reciting blessings. Another religious garment, the tzitzit, is a tasseled shawl typically worn by those who practice Orthodox Judaism.
Jewish dietary laws are known as kashrut, and food that is prepared according to religious standards is deemed kosher. With the exception of many followers of Reform Judaism, those in the Jewish community are expected to avoid any meals or foods that are not considered to be kosher at all times. Most dietary laws involve animal-based foods that are either acceptable or unacceptable to eat. However, there are other rules regarding eating meat and dairy products at the same time, the preparation of meals and the way an animal is slaughtered. Although there is no specific reason for dietary laws in the Torah, many religious practitioners believe it is intended to teach self-control and promote purity.
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