I'm very interested in Judaism, and I would like to learn more about it. So I started to read this site and it is like a wall. Where can I find a gentle introduction to all this and the terms used. I'm specially interested in customs and how the Bible is read by observent followers. I hope I don't offend anybody with my question.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya mike. To read a lot is the good way, progressively you will understand more and more. – kouty Apr 20 '17 at 8:37
  • Hello kouty, thanks for the welcome. Where do I start reading, do you have any suggestions? – mike Apr 20 '17 at 9:10
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    I've heard that Introducing Judaism (World Religions), by Eliezer Segal, is a great option for the uninitiated to familiarize with the origins and developments of Judaism. – Chaim Apr 20 '17 at 10:24
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    If you have an Orthodox Rabbi near you, then speaking to him would be a good start. Also faqs.org/faqs/by-newsgroup/soc/… has a good FAQ. I have not been following it lately but when I helped write the FAQ it had good information. – sabbahillel Apr 20 '17 at 11:35
  • Welcome Mike. If you feel you would like to discuss Judaism informally in a relaxed way with someone on "the inside" :) ... you can reach me at Davidariel25@gmail.com – David Kenner Apr 20 '17 at 15:41

There are a variety of resources both on and off line. The best is via actual human contact, but unless you live near someone who can (and is willing and equipped to) give you a private conversation, that might be tough.

Online there are different kinds of sources:

  1. this site deals with particular issues which distinguish Judaism from other religions http://whatjewsbelieve.org/

  2. This site is more encyclopedic but with a less formal tone http://www.jewfaq.org/

  3. This is more formally an encyclopedia https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/religion

  4. sites like this give a broad range of ideas in a more user friendly format http://judaism.about.com/od/judaismbasics/u/Judaism-101-Judaism-Basics.htm

  5. This kind has a lot of detail but can be overwhelming http://www.chabad.org/

For some print resources, try here http://www.beingjewish.com/learning/reading_list.html

So the particular resource which is best suited will depend on if you are looking for history, current practice, underlying theology, or something else.


I would recommend getting a copy of the book "Jewish Literacy" by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. It covers many different Jewish topics (history, theology, philosophy, culture) in brief, easy-to-read articles. It is widely available at many libraries and makes for a good "Judaism 101" course.


I think an interesting text to read might be Pirkei Avot, which is often called 'Abot' or 'Ethics of the Fathers' in English. It is part of a larger text called the Mishnah. Here is a link to the beginning of Pirkei Avot in the English translation of the Mishnah by Herbert Danby:


The reasons it might be a good reading project are that it is a classic text, it deals with themes that are very important in Judaism (mainly Torah study), and unlike other texts it is not about the details of particular laws, making it more approachable to read.

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