There is a story about a Jew who travels from Israel to the United States. When he returns, he tells his friend some of the amazing things he has seen. ‘I met a Jew who had grown up in a yeshiva and knew large sections of the Talmud by heart. I met a Jew who was an atheist. I met a Jew who owned a large business and I met a Jew who was an ardent communist.’ ‘So what’s so strange?’ the friend asks. ‘America is a big country and millions of Jews live there.’ ‘You don’t understand,’ the man answers. ‘It was the same Jew.’
Judaism is not simply a series of beliefs. It is a practice and a way of life. What Do Jews Believe? explores the variety of ways Jews live their lives: religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, Jews in Israel and Jews who live in the Diaspora. It asks what Judaism means and what it means to be a Jew. It also asks how and why such a small number of people, totalling no more than 20 million worldwide, have played such a significant role in our history.