How Did Judaism Affect Western Society

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Thomas Cahill argues that the Jews greatly affected Western society. Although the Jews are small in number, their contributions affect the way all people - both Jewish and non-Jewish behave. Firstly, Judaism introduced the concept of democracy to the world. In the book of Shmot, when G-d defeats the demi-god Pharoah, He proves no political figure can be a god. Furthermore, the 10 plagues are a direct attack against Egyptian gods: the transformation of the Nile river into blood an affront to the Nile-god, while the impenetrable darkness offended Ancient Egypt’s central god, the Sun-god (Ra). Absolute rulers may continue to exist and be accepted by their subjects, but Judaism took the first step in rejecting religious figures as politicians. …show more content…
As written in Bereshit, G-d chose to create a day of rest to end each week. Not only does the Story of Creation establish a seven-day week, but it also provides rationale to take at least one day off each week. Prager himself says “those people who work seven days a week ... [are] slaves”. This does not mean a day off from physical work (known in Hebrew as Avodah), but from creative work (Malcha). A day’s rest from creative work allows the human mind to reflect and recuperate, allowing them to be much more productive and creative workers the other six days. In fact, studies have shown those who schedule rest time for themselves to be much more productive than those who work around the clock. Even science proves a day of rest to be for everyone - not only Jews. In fact, as preposterous as it sounds, Judaism even made way for modern science. Many feel religion and science cannot coexist, yet, Judaism only affirms science’s validity. The Sh’ma says: “G-d is one”. How could multiple - or no - beings have successfully created or controlled the universe? Multiple gods would come into too much conflict to sustain life, while logically, it makes little sense for the universe to have been created from …show more content…
The loss of this identity began with some changes which, although seemingly arbitrary, represent Brandeis’ desire to dissociate themselves with its origins. These changes included allowing pork and shellfish into Brandeis’ two non-Kashrut but (previously) “kosher-style” cafeterias, removing Hebrew language from its seal (despite acclaimed secular universities having Hebrew in their logos), and switching Jewish holiday references to “No University Exercises” in the school calendar. At first, these changes seemed like an ill-executed attempt at inclusivity toward all religions. The school still maintained two full-Kosher cafeterias and ceased classes on Jewish holidays. Yet, the perception of these changes as seemingly innocent came to an end when the head of a Holocaust-denying organization published an ad suggesting the Holocaust’s falsity in Brandeis’ newspaper. The ad suggested concentration camp prisoners were not killed, but died of illness, and even goes as far to assert that photographs of concentration camp inmates were not Jewish! But why would Brandeis, a Jewish-sponsored institution publish such an advertisement, especially considering the nearly dozen non-Jewish universities which rejected it? Was it a desire for profit? No, at least not entirely, as no self-respecting,

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