Living religions is a survey by pat Mary Fisher about all major world faiths. With illustrations like photographs and maps, it introduces, simplifies, and broadly covers each world faith. With a weight on individual consciousness of supporters it clearly supplies an account of the faith’s progress, set of guidelines, and practices. It looks at each of their feelings in the direction of issues such as the role of women, the environment and society, and the religion perpetrated violence. Author pat Mary Fisher also investigates new and surfacing religious traditions. She investigates past build up and teachings of customary religions, native religions, and fresh religious movements. She details how each of these ways of life has advanced into present-day attitudes and practices by outlining their changing character.
The chapter 8 of Living religions covers Jewish history, faith, practices and mores. Pat describes Judaism, the religion of Jews, as both a spiritual and cultural group. The Jews are ancient people, with Biblical time’s history, who were persecuted, massacred, and dispersed. Jews believe that they are descendants of Abraham who made a covenant with God and regard to themselves as “the chosen people”. They believe the covenant God made with Abraham stated that He would bless them with love and protection if they obeyed him. Jews also believe in the coming of an “anointed one” who will not only unite but lead them all. This messiah is believed to bring peace and justice to the world.
The holocaust is the genocide of Jews by the Nazi party of Germany. This was commanded by their leader, Adolf Hitler, as the “final solution” to the “Jews question”. It involved executing Jews in Europe. Cruel mass killing were made to wipe out the entire Jews population. The “Jews question” was a term used to denote the Jews attitude against political nationalisms. The Jews presence in Germany bothered the state. Therefore, they planned to completely eradicate Jews from Germany and Europe in stages during World War II. Millions of Jews were man slaughtered during the holocaust. The Germans trapped, sniffed out and terrorized the Jews to death.
Some Jews were enslaved in extermination camps. The biggest blow Judaism faced was losing its followers by millions. Some died in camps and other ways while others got murdered in cold blood. Families got torn as they got dispersed to all parts of the world. They lost self respect being a Jews became the problem. With most escaping, just a few were left behind, still practicing their faith (Little, 1989).
In the concentration camps, they were overworked, starved, tortured and mostly killed. They suffered emotionally, got traumatized and most lost their faith in God. Fewer believed in Judaism as they went through the sufferings. They were abused and subjected to inhuman physical torture. Survivors suffered malnutrition and other long-term medical complications as not all diseases could be cured. The victims of holocaust suffered because they were Jews. The trauma questioned their decision to or not to remain Jews.
Children got separated from their parents and wondered off in hiding, alone. Some did not know their names, age or origins. After liberation, some were adopted all over the world and adopted new religions. Some had to fake identity in order to survive. In hiding, they denied their Jews identity in fear of death. Some completely lost their identity as Jews even as adults.
They developed bitterness towards non-Jews who hurt them or not rescued them. The world watched as they got mistreated to almost extinction. Some concluded that there is no god. When they needed to be rescued, he never showed up. They believed that they were the chosen people but God abandoned them in their time of need.
The positive effect of the holocaust was that people started warming up to the Jews. The holocaust directly led to the configuration of Israel. They were allowed and offered protection to return to Israel. Judaism got many sects as freedom of worship was allowed. Israel allowed people of not just one belief. Still, it is not a safe place for the Jews as many seek to destroy Israel. With the threat, believers in Judaism face the fear of having to go through what their ancestors went through during the holocaust.
After liberation, giving birth took varied meanings. Some women were afraid they would not conceive again after the torture they were subjected to. They over invested in having children while others were unable to emotionally connect with their children. Other parents viewed and named their born children after those they had lost during the holocaust. These children felt inadequate and not living their own existence. (Braham, 1988).Their parent’s experiences triggered anger against the world in them. The question on where God was when their parents needed him weakened their faith too.
The holocaust tremendously changed Judaism. For one, Jews are no longer oppressed and they are economically growing. With the discrimination decrease, there is an increase in the intermarriage between Jews and the non-Jews. The Jews refer to the holocaust in their history teachings as part of who they are. The Jews went through the holocaust together with everyone else against them. Consequently, they share a sense of nationalism. Some of the Jews immigrants chose to quit Judaism as part of forgetting and putting the holocaust behind them. Others still wonder if god was punishing them for their sins during the holocaust.