The importance of family

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Much more Jewish life goes on in the home than in the synagogue. It is easier to describe the Jews as a huge clan or family than as a religion or religious group. The first name given to the Jews in the Bible is ‘The Children of Israel’ or the ‘Israelites’. In this case, ‘Israel’ does not refer to the country, but is another name for the patriarch Jacob. So even there, the Jews were originally identified as the descendants of one man, the grandson of Abraham.

One of the 10 Commandments is ‘Honour your father and your mother’.  ‘Honouring’ is not necessarily obeying them, but a child should always be concerned about their parents’ well-being and dignity. In Jewish teaching, it is equally important that parents treat their children in such a way that they do not provoke them to lose respect and that they bring them up fairly and well.

The Torah commands that Jews respect elderly people.