Christianity fulfills rather than replaces Judaism. It all started 2,000 years before Christ, when God chose Abraham to be the father of many people (Genesis 12:1-3). Today almost 14,000 Jews claim Abraham as their ancestor.
Two generations after Abraham, his family moved to Egypt during a famine. Their descendants were later enslaved by the Egyptians, then liberated by Moses in the Exodus about 1450BC. While travelling to the Promised Land, Moses received God’s Law, the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
Until two centuries ago, the only form of Judaism was what is now called “Orthodox Judaism.” They follow the Mosaic Law and the old ways passed down from their ancestors.
“Conservative Judaism,” arose in the nineteenth century. They blend into modern culture but maintain at least parts of the Law.
The Jewish Bible is the Christian’s Old Testament. Not all Jews consider it inspired, but almost all deeply respect it.
They also accept the Talmud, a collection of legal rulings, traditions, and interpretations of the Torah.
The central belief of Judaism is the unity of God from Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one.” Most Jews have replaced the ancient belief in a personal Messiah with the hope of a coming age of justice. Most consider obeying the Law and doing good deeds more important than beliefs.
Knowing which branch of Judaism a particular Jew adheres to can aid efforts to share the good news of the Messiah (aka: Jesus). As a result of centuries of anti-Semitism, which came in part from Christianity, Jews may be understandably cautious. Build a trusting relationship and explain that following Jesus does not mean abandoning their Jewish heritage. He is the messiah for all people.
Remember, Jesus was/is a Jew. And Jews are God special people.