7. Are there priests and Levites among the Jews? If the answer is affirmative, can you tell me the functions which they perform in the worship of the Jewish religion?



Yes, there are still priests and Levites among the Jews.

The priests (kohanim) have a secondary role in the ritual of the synagogue. In the synagogue they pronounce the priestly blessing (Numbers 6:24-26) every day, every sabbath or every feast, according to the local custom. They are called up first to the reading of the Law (in Hebrew this call is called Aliyah which means Ďascentí); they officiate the redemption of the firstborn (pidyon ha-ben) which takes place when the firstborn (male) is 30 days old. A priest is forbidden to marry a proselyte, a divorced woman, and to remarry his own divorced wife. He must not make himself ceremonially unclean for any of his people who die, except for a close relative. In the Jewish cemeteries, priests are buried in a separate section. The modern surnames which are variants of the Jewish word Kohen (particularly the name Cohen) usually (therefore not always) indicate that the person who has that surname is of priestly descent. Reform Judaism disregards all the laws applying to the priests.

As far as the Levites are concerned, their role is even less important that that of the priests, for they are called up to the reading of the law immediately after the priests and they wash the hands of the priests before the priestly blessing.