Although Jewish movements and religious leaders share a core of monotheistic principles, Judaism has no formal statement of principles of faith such as a creed or catechism that is recognized or accepted by all. In effect, the Shema, a prayer that a religious Jew offers daily, through participation in services or use of phylacteries, is the only Jewish creed. Judaism has no pope or central religious authority that could formulate or issue a unified creed. The various “principles of faith” that have been enumerated carry no greater weight than that imparted to them by the fame and scholarship of their respective authors. Central authority in Judaism is not vested in any person or group but rather in Judaism’s sacred writings, laws, and traditions. In nearly all its variations, Judaism affirms the existence and oneness of God. Judaism stresses performance of deeds or commandments rather than adherence to a belief system.
Orthodox Judaism has stressed a number of core principles in its educational programs, most importantly a belief that there is a single, omniscient and transcendent God, who created the universe, and continues to be concerned with its governance. Traditional Judaism maintains that God established a covenant with the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and revealed his laws and commandments to them in the form of the Torah. In Rabbinic Judaism, the Torah comprises both the written Torah (Pentateuch) and a tradition of oral law, much of it codified in later sacred writings.
Traditionally, the practice of Judaism has been devoted to the study of Torah and observance of these laws and commandments. In normative Judaism, the Torah and hence Jewish law itself is unchanging, but interpretation of law is more open. It is considered a mitzvah (commandment) to study and understand the law. Although Orthodox and traditional Jews continue to stress the divine origin of Torah, most rabbinical authorities have agreed that there is no halakhic obligation to adhere to any particular statement of principles of faith, other than a belief in the oneness of God. Jewish principles of faith There are a number of basic principles that were formulated by medieval rabbinic authorities. These principles were put forth as fundamental underpinnings inherent in the acceptance and practice of Judaism. Conception of God Main article: God in Judaism Monotheism
Judaism is based on a strict unitarian monotheism. This doctrine expresses the belief in one indivisible God. The concept of multiple gods (polytheism) and the concept of God taking multiple forms (for example Trinity) are equally heretical in Judaism. The prayer par excellence in terms of defining God is the Shema Yisrael, originally appearing in the Hebrew Bible: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”, also translated as “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is unique/alone.”
God is conceived of as eternal, the creator of the universe, and the source of morality. God has the power to intervene in the world. The term God thus corresponds to an actual ontological reality, and is not merely a projection of the human psyche. Maimonides describes God in this fashion: “There is a Being, perfect in every possible way, who is the ultimate cause of all existence. All existence depends on God and is derived from God.”