Bio /134

Issues and Traditions in Western Religions

Issues and Traditions in Western Religion

Suzette Lee

REL/ 134

Dr. Miguel Rodrigues


We study different religious faiths in order to understand other people. Many people have strong religious convictions, and it would be impossible to understand them without first understanding their beliefs.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are monotheistic faiths practiced by about half of the world’s population. Monotheism refers to the belief in one God. The faiths are often called western religions.
Today Jews from every movement or denomination face discrimination known as anti-Semitism. This discrimination and hatred is "...based on stereotypes and myths and often invokes the belief that Jews have extraordinary influence with which they conspire to harm or control society" (ADL, 2009, para1).
Many Jews that live in the world today, at least 5 million of those Jews reside in the Middle East in Israel. The Jews that live in the Middle East are faced with great dangers and threats from an extremely powerful country with possible nuclear weapons, Iran. The president of Iran has publicly spoken out against the existence of the Jewish state Israel and has threatened to wipe the country off the map, literally (Haass, 2009).
Jews have many rituals and traditions, and one tradition that is popular is called Kapparot which is done before Yom Kippur. This ceremony requires the participant to use a rooster if they are male, a hen if they are female, and hold the bird above their head and swing it in circles three times while chanting a phrase that says: "This is my exchange, my substitute, my atonement; this rooster (or hen) shall go to its death, but I shall go to a good, long life, and to peace" (Schwartz, Ph.D., 2009). Although, this scared tradition is not listed in the Torah, many Jewish followers believe that the Hebrew word for man can be translated into rooster and therefore a rooster can atone for their...