What is Judaica?

A Kaminsky
A Kaminsky
Morning prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Morning prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Judaica includes any literature, religious icons or other items relating to the Jewish faith. Judaism is one of the oldest world faiths. Its roots go back thousands of years and coincide with other world empires, such as those of the Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians.

The basic tenets of Judaism include a belief in one God, who created the universe, heavens and earth, and who is active in the history of man. God handed down laws to a deliverer of the Jewish people, Moses, including codes on diet, clothing, worship and civil conduct. These laws are the codes of everyday living for an observant Jew.

The Star of David is one of the most recognizable symbols of Judaism.
The Star of David is one of the most recognizable symbols of Judaism.

Since Judaism is such an old religion, there are volumes written about its stories, traditions, holidays and observances. All of these writings can be called Judaica. Essentially, anything relating to the Jewish faith or way of life could fall into the "Judaica" category, from the old prayer books and menorahs belonging to grandparents, to posters for Passover meals served at kosher restaurants.

God gave the Ten Commandments to the prophet Moses to deliver them to the Jewish people.
God gave the Ten Commandments to the prophet Moses to deliver them to the Jewish people.

Judaica covers a wide range of materials, and some people collect it, either for religious purposes or as a hobby. Movie posters or press clippings from early 20th century Jewish-made movies are popular, as are Jewish newspapers from that era. Recipes are a popular category of Judaica for families. Most Jewish families treasure their family heritage and customs, and recipes that came from "the old country" many years ago form one link with this heritage. Mothers, daughters, aunts and cousins share the recipes for foods they love that have been part of the family celebrations for years.

Monotheism is one of the fundamental principles of Judaism.
Monotheism is one of the fundamental principles of Judaism.

Judaica is available on the Internet, in bookstores, at yard sales - anywhere someone Jewish might have something for sale. Someone thinking of collecting Judaica might want to begin by collecting recipes or other items in a particular category, such as menorahs or Seder plates.

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    • Morning prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
      Morning prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
    • The Star of David is one of the most recognizable symbols of Judaism.
      The Star of David is one of the most recognizable symbols of Judaism.
    • God gave the Ten Commandments to the prophet Moses to deliver them to the Jewish people.
      God gave the Ten Commandments to the prophet Moses to deliver them to the Jewish people.
    • Monotheism is one of the fundamental principles of Judaism.
      Monotheism is one of the fundamental principles of Judaism.