Along with Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism, Judaism is one of the 4 monotheistic religions of the world. Monotheistic religions firmly believe in the presence of only one God. The foundation of Judaism is firmly set in this belief, and the religion has developed ever since.
People who follow Judaism are known as Jews, and they also hold the belief that God shares a personal and almost parental relationship with each and every Jew. The origin of Judaism can be traced back to the Hebrew Bible, which shows that this is a religion that has a tremendous amount of history and heritage behind it. Abraham is known to be the founder of Judaism, and he founded the religion in present day Israel about 4000 years ago.
It is believed that God and Abraham covenanted with each other, thus making Abraham the first ever Jew. In fact, Abraham plays an ancestral role in the holy books of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. As a result of this, all these religions are also known as 'Abrahamic religions'. All three sects believe Abraham to be the father of Israel. Jews and Christians hold this belief due to the birth of Isaac, one of the three patriarchs of the Jewish people.
Abraham fathered Isaac through his wife Sarah. And Muslims believe Abraham to be the father of Israel due to his fathering of Ishmael. Ishmael's mother was Hagar, Sarah's maidservant. Through it all the name of Abraham, the religious leader of Judaism, has traveled through the centuries. It is also said that God promised Abraham that he would give birth to numerable progeny, and that all the lands would belong to his descendants. The name Abraham is said to mean 'father of nations'.
Binding of Isaac
There is a story that tells the tale about the binding of Isaac, the second son of Abraham. God asked Abraham to offer Isaac in sacrifice in order to prove Abraham's faith in the one God. Once Abraham reached the mount where he was instructed to go, he made Isaac carry the wood block upon which he was going to sacrifice him. But just before Abraham completed his task, one of God's angels came down to him and stopped him from doing so.
This story is often cited as an example for what Jews should be like; ready to sacrifice anything necessary in order to prove their faith. The fact that the founder of the religion himself was willing to sacrifice his own son to prove his faith should be a lesson for all followers of this faith. A few of the popular symbols also point out the sacrificial nature of its followers, and this is one of the traits that Jews have always been extremely proud about.
The Role of Moses
Moses came into the picture around 1400 BC. There are a large number of people that believe Moses is the true founder of Judaism. They claim that Abraham was simply the direct ancestor of all present day Jews, whereas it was Moses who developed Judaism into a full-fledged religion. This is true to a certain extent, but to label Moses as the absolute leader of Judaism would be a little undermining to the role that was played by Abraham.
Moses is the Prophet who is believed to have authored the Torah. He led the enslaved Jews out from the lands of Egypt to the 'promised land' of Midian, parting the Red Sea on the way in order to flee the impending forces of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Moses is also known as the 'Lawgiver' as it was he who climbed Mount Horeb and received the Ten Commandments from God, in order to show his people the right path.
Even though it is correct to assume that it was Moses who shaped Judaism as a structural and unified doctrine, to call him the founder of Judaism would be taking it a bit too far. The people who Moses led out were already known as Jews by that time, so the honor of founding Judaism can be accurately granted to Abraham.