Judaism

 

With around 14 million followers, Judaism is one of the smallest of the major world religions. Despite this, it has had a massive impact on the world and is a major influence on the two largest religions (Christianity, and Islam).  Below is information on the most common beliefs on the subject of relationships and sex.

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Content verified and edited by JAT
Content verified and edited by JAT
Gender-Roles

Gender Roles

In Judaism, men and women are seen as created by G-d to be unique but equal, to complement each other, and be unified.

Historically Jewish men and women have inhabited different spheres: men studied and prayed, whilst women ran the home, raised the children and often worked. However, in our modern world, the different denominations have seen great change and the distinctions are breaking down.

Gender-Roles

Gender Roles

In Judaism, men and women are seen as created by G-d to be unique but equal, to complement each other, and be unified.

Historically Jewish men and women have inhabited different spheres: men studied and prayed, whilst women ran the home, raised the children and often worked. However, in our modern world, the different denominations have seen great change and the distinctions are breaking down.

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Growing Up

At thirteen a young person is considered to be an adult in Jewish law. This can vary between denominations and in orthodox communities girls are seen to reach this stage at twelve.

To mark the occasion boys will become “Bar Mitzvah” which means son of the commandment. Depending on his ability he may read from the Torah in front of his congregation. In many Progressive communities the girls will do exactly the same as the boys. In other communities there are different ceremonies for girls as females are not able to read from Torah during religious services. Many young people are lucky enough to celebrate with family and friends after this event but it is the ceremony which is most significant.

Growing Up

At thirteen a young person is considered to be an adult in Jewish law. This can vary between denominations and in orthodox communities girls are seen to reach this stage at twelve.

To mark the occasion boys will become “Bar Mitzvah” which means son of the commandment. Depending on his ability he may read from the Torah in front of his congregation. In many Progressive communities the girls will do exactly the same as the boys. In other communities there are different ceremonies for girls as females are not able to read from Torah during religious services. Many young people are lucky enough to celebrate with family and friends after this event but it is the ceremony which is most significant.

Growing-Up
Marriage

Marriage

Marriage is seen as a mutual commitment blessed by G-d, a joining together that should not be separated. Marriage is ultimately for companionship and for building a family.

Marriage

Marriage

Marriage is seen as a mutual commitment blessed by G-d, a joining together that should not be separated. Marriage is ultimately for companionship and for building a family.

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Sex

Jews see sex as similar to hunger and thirst, natural and beneficial desires given by G-d but which also must be regulated. Sex is not only for procreation but is how two people can express their love for one another. Love is an important part of marriage.

Sex before or outside marriage is not approved of as sex is not just about physical pleasure, but also requires commitment and responsibility.

Masturbation

For Jews the religious texts are silent on the subject. Some refer to the story of Onan, who ‘spilled his seed on the ground’ Gen 38v9, but this is referring to withdrawal as a form of contraception, not masturbation (By the way, taking a penis out before ejaculation is not a form of contraception. There is something called precum, that may have delivered around 80,000 sperm into the vagina already. Be prepared for babies, if you try this—it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg).

Sex

Jews see sex as similar to hunger and thirst, natural and beneficial desires given by G-d but which also must be regulated. Sex is not only for procreation but is how two people can express their love for one another. Love is an important part of marriage.

Sex before or outside marriage is not approved of as sex is not just about physical pleasure, but also requires commitment and responsibility.

Masturbation

For Jews the religious texts are silent on the subject. Some refer to the story of Onan, who ‘spilled his seed on the ground’ Gen 38v9, but this is referring to withdrawal as a form of contraception, not masturbation (By the way, taking a penis out before ejaculation is not a form of contraception. There is something called precum, that may have delivered around 80,000 sperm into the vagina already. Be prepared for babies, if you try this—it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg).

please-do-not-disturb
Contraception

Contraception

Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews believe that contraception is unacceptable unless they have special permission from the Rabbi to use it. This permission will usually only be granted if the mother’s life or health is at risk in some way. Other denominations have a different approach to contraception and it is usually the individual’s personal decision.

Contraception

Contraception

Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews believe that contraception is unacceptable unless they have special permission from the Rabbi to use it. This permission will usually only be granted if the mother’s life or health is at risk in some way. Other denominations have a different approach to contraception and it is usually the individual’s personal decision.

Termination-of-Pregnancy

Termination of Pregnancy

Jews believe that each life is a gift from G-d. Many cannot support terminating a pregnancy.

The commandment ‘thou shalt not murder’ is central to Jewish belief, but most Rabbis acknowledge that abortion could be permitted should the mother’s health be at risk or if it is likely that the baby will be seriously ill and/or severely deformed.

Termination of Pregnancy

Jews believe that each life is a gift from G-d. Many cannot support terminating a pregnancy.

The commandment ‘thou shalt not murder’ is central to Jewish belief, but most Rabbis acknowledge that abortion could be permitted should the mother’s health be at risk or if it is likely that the baby will be seriously ill and/or severely deformed.

Termination-of-Pregnancy
Divorce

Divorce

Divorce is discouraged.  However, if a divorce is sought, the couple will need to end the civil marriage and the religious marriage simultaneously.

Divorce

Divorce

Divorce is discouraged.  However, if a divorce is sought, the couple will need to end the civil marriage and the religious marriage simultaneously.

Abstinence-and-Delay

Homosexuality

There are many differing views on homosexuality within Judaism. In the Torah, sex between two males is seen as an “abomination”.

While some Jews refuse to ordain homosexuals as Rabbis and will not marry gay or lesbian couples, other Jews do.

The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks in a statement issued on 26 January 2000, cited in ‘Judaism and Homosexuality’ by Rabbi Chaim Rapoport “Gave clear expression to the Jewish view on this matter. Commenting from Sweden, where he was attending an international Holocaust conference, [Lord] Sacks said he could ‘never forget as a Jew that homosexuals were sent to Auschwitz just as Jews were.’ But while it was ‘right to fight against prejudice’, it was ‘quite wrong to suppose that this means abandoning a moral code shared by virtually all the world’s greatest religions. In Judaism homosexual practice is forbidden. This teaching should go hand in hand with sensitivity to those with homosexual feelings and a sympathetic understanding of the challenges they face.’”

The judgemental should remember the rabbinic teachings “Do not judge a person until you stand in his place” and “Love thy neighbour as thy self”.

Homosexuality

There are many differing views on homosexuality within Judaism. In the Torah, sex between two males is seen as an “abomination”.

While some Jews refuse to ordain homosexuals as Rabbis and will not marry gay or lesbian couples, other Jews do.

The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks in a statement issued on 26 January 2000, cited in ‘Judaism and Homosexuality’ by Rabbi Chaim Rapoport “Gave clear expression to the Jewish view on this matter. Commenting from Sweden, where he was attending an international Holocaust conference, [Lord] Sacks said he could ‘never forget as a Jew that homosexuals were sent to Auschwitz just as Jews were.’ But while it was ‘right to fight against prejudice’, it was ‘quite wrong to suppose that this means abandoning a moral code shared by virtually all the world’s greatest religions. In Judaism homosexual practice is forbidden. This teaching should go hand in hand with sensitivity to those with homosexual feelings and a sympathetic understanding of the challenges they face.’”

The judgemental should remember the rabbinic teachings “Do not judge a person until you stand in his place” and “Love thy neighbour as thy self”.

Abstinence-and-Delay
Content verified and edited by JAT
Content verified and edited by JAT