Catholic & Jewish Worship Similarities

by Michelle Lee

Catholicism and Judaism have similar origins but different beliefs. Catholicism places emphasis on having faith in the triune God and adhering to scripture written in the Bible, while the focus of Judaism is on good moral and ethical conduct and the teachings of the Torah and Talmud. Because of these differences, Catholicism and Judaism are often thought of as two divergent religions. However, there are a number of similarities in the way Catholics and Jews worship.

Prayer

For Catholics and Jews, prayer is the primary form of worship. The sacred texts of both religions instruct practitioners to pray every day. Jews typically pray three times per day at designated times: in the morning, at noon and at sunset. Catholics are free to pray at any time of day. However, Catholics typically pray at meal times and before going to sleep, which usually equates to three or more times per day. While praying, Catholics and Jews are communicating with the same God.

House of Worship

Jewish synagogues and Catholic churches are both designed to be places of worship. Although Jews and Catholics have the option to pray in solitude, both religions encourage practitioners to come together in groups to worship and pray. Both religions hold worship services in a sanctuary, and one person is responsible for leading the worship service. For Catholics, it is a priest or deacon, and for Jews it is a rabbi or chazzan. Synagogues and Catholic churches also are places where group study of sacred texts and religious educational classes are held.

Sabbath

The Jewish and Catholic religions both consider the Sabbath to be a holy day that is a time for worship. Although the Sabbath falls on the same day as the days of worship for both religions, the Sabbath extends the practice of worship beyond the Synagogue and church. Catholics celebrate the Sabbath by resting and reflecting on God's sacrifice. Jews observe the Sabbath in a similar way, by remaining at home or in the synagogue and reflecting on the covenant between God and the Jewish people.

Sacred Texts

The sacred texts used for worship in Catholicism and Judaism are similar in several ways. The Torah, the holy text of Judaism, includes five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Torah and the Bible also describe many of the same events and include many of the same religious characters. For example, creation is described in much the same way in both texts, and Adam and Eve exist in the sacred texts of both religions. Also, the Talmud, another Jewish holy text, includes most of the Ten Commandments from the Bible, although they are spread throughout the text rather than included in list form.

About the Author

Michelle Lee has been writing on the topics of culture and society since 2010. She has published articles in scholarly journals, such as "Social Problems" and the "Journal of Sociology," and also written articles for web-based companies. Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in ethnic, gender and labor studies from the University of Washington.

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