"Choose one religion. Describe the main beliefs and practices of the religion and discuss ...."

Essay by christie1973University, Bachelor's April 2004

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"Choose one religion. Describe the main beliefs and practices of the religion and discuss what might be some of the challenges facing members of that religious community seeking to practice their religion in Britain"

The religion that I have chosen to investigate for the purpose of this assignment is Judaism. There has long been a strong Jewish presence in Manchester; in 1875 there was a population of 10000 Jews, (though the first synagogue opened in 1788) which rose to 35000 by 1914. This was the England's largest Jewish community outside London and consisted of Jews mostly from Eastern Europe. They came from Russia, Austria and Romania in attempts to escape popular anti Semitism and an official persecution that was most marked in the Russian pogroms of the 1880's. The East European Jews readily found work in the cheap clothing and household furniture trades in Red Bank, Strangeways and Lower Broughton- rather poor areas of low cost accommodation and numerous lodging houses.

However soon upwardly mobile families migrated further north out of the city centre to Hightown, near Cheetham Hill or Higher Broughton and later still to the far-flung outposts of Whitefield and Prestwich. As a native of the North Manchester region I have for the greatest part of my life lived alongside an established Jewish community, but despite having many Jewish friends I knew very little about the beliefs, practices and challenges that faced this particular community.

Judaism is the faith of the Jewish people and is arguably the oldest of the world's four great monotheistic religions. Jewish history dates back almost 4000 years, but it has the smallest number, about 12 million followers around the world, however this is largely due to the Holocaust of the 1930s and 40s, which dramatically transformed Jewish demographics-if the Holocaust had not occurred...