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Issues and Traditions in Western Religions

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A current issue facing the Jewish faith revolves around homosexuality. According to Jewish beliefs sexual relations with a person of the same gender was considered an abomination and a sin before God. Currently, the many factions of Judaism have differing stances on the practice of homosexuality. Many of the more traditional Jewish groups such as the Orthodox and Masorti Jews still considered homosexuality as a sin and their practices exclude men and women determined to be guilty of homosexual acts. On the other hand, groups such as the Reform Judaism movement take a more liberated approach to this topic and are more inclusive.

One of the most widely known Jewish holidays is Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah means " first of the year" and is often referred to as the 'Jewish New Year' (, 2006)." This holiday is very similar to the American New Year's holiday. Jewish persons use the time of Rosh Hashanah to reflect back on their lives and deeds during the previous year. This time is also spent making plans to better themselves and the mark they live on world. Unlike the resolutions made by Americans to mark the beginning of the New Year, Jewish persons take their introspection very seriously and try to find ways to change the mistakes they have made in the past as a way to ensure a better life in the future.

One of the most common rituals performed in the Jewish community is the Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The bat mitzvah is held for boys when they reach the age of 13 years. The bat mitzvah is held for girls when they hit the age of 12 years. The ritual of having a bar or bat mitzvah is done to mark the coming of age for children entering into adulthood. The ceremony is said to mark the commitment of these young persons to accept the commandments. Additionally, once the boy or girl has reached the appropriate age, he or she is now able to participate in and lead religious ceremonies and testify in religious courts.



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