Perhaps this will help understand where I come from.
5,000 years of Judaism summed up as best as I can.
1) The Torah is the central document of Judaism, and of Jewish bible (Tanakh). It was revealed to Moses and the Children of Israel at Sinai. It is here that we formally enter into our covenant with G-d. We are taught that every Jewish soul that was/would live was present at Sinai to bear witness to giving of the Torah and affirm their pledge to enter into the covenant with G-d. The torah contains the 613 commandments that regulate everything from ethical conduct to ritual slaughter and sacrifices of animals. No one is expected to actually follow the commandments to the letter. The great Rabbis teach us that these are a guide to life, and when famously a student asked "If the commandments could be seen as a ladder, who is closer to G-d, the man at the top or the man at the bottom?" the Rabbi replied "but your question is not finished, you did not say who is striving to climb higher".
2) Man is created in G-d's image. Not literally, but we are endowed with G-d's gift to reason and distinguish between good and evil. It is in this free will that we are but in a small part, like G-d.
3) Deuteronomy 16:20 "Justice, Justice shall you pursue"
. If there's but one thing G-d wishes from us, it is to create a just and fair world. G-d himself is bound by this law.
4) Man has the right to question and debate with G-d. Yes, that's right I said it. G-d has responsibilities just as we do, and just as He questions us when we fail to live up to expectation, so must we remind G-d of His responsibilities to us. When G-d plans the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah, Abraham challenges the Almighty, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth not act with justice?". When the Children of Israel commit the sin of the golden calf, G-d rages and vows to destroy them and give Moses a better people to lead, to wish Moses challenges "Then blot me out too".
5) Leviticus 19:34 The Stranger who resides with you shall be as one of your citizens; you shall love him as youself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt
6) Deuteronomy 24:17, 27:19 and Jeremiah 22:3 "Not to oppress the stanger, the orphan and the widow"
. Even the lower casts of society deserve all our love and support.
7) Deutoronomy 24:16 "Fathers shall not be put to death for the sins of sons, nor sons for the sins of fathers"
you are responsible for your actions in this world and yours alone. Also why we do not accept the idea of "Original Sin".
8) We are the Chosen People, through our covenant with G-d we are responsible for bringing knowledge of Him to the world, and to live as an example among nations. This does not affirm us special privelages, in fact G-d judges us more harshly than others since we are His representatives.
9) Non-Jews are allowed all of G-d's love and graces so long as they do not deny his existance. One does not have to be Jewish to have a place in the World to Come. G-d will judge you based on your actions and conduct in life. A would be convert once asked a Rabbi if he can sum up Judaism while standing on one foot, he would promptly convert. The Rabbi got on one foot and said "What you would not do unto yourself, do not do to others. The rest is commentary, now go and study".
10) Afterlife. There are very few references dealing with what happens when we die. The Jewish belief is that such thigns are the matter of G-d and G-d alone, we are not to worry ourselves with what will come so much as we should concentrate on perfecting the world with what lives we have. G-d will provide and care. What beliefs have formed are:
-Only the true righteous go immediately to heaven
-The rest must have their souls cleansed in a purgatory, a process the lasts no more than 12 months. some believe that the person sees the sum of his life, how he made others feel, and what opportunities he was too selfish to see and explore. Others feel each sin creates a personal demon that punishes us for that sin. Yes others feel in purgatory the soul is given the opportunity to understand and accept G-d in all his glory before allowed to move on. souls that cannot be cleansed or the truly wicked are either destroyed or sent to an unkown fate.
11) You must fear G-d in the sense that it liberates you from the fear of your fellow man, and that it defends the weak and the disadvantaged from the powerful.
12) Tzedaka. Give significantly (10% of your income) to charity, help those who need it, work to perfect the world and make it a better place. Charity may not save us, but it makes us worth saving.
13) Where life it at stake, all laws are forfeit. Human life has infinate value, if you save a man, you save not only him but all of his decendants through all time. consequently murder is considered the only sin for which there is no forgiveness. This leads to my favourite phrase of all time:
WHOEVER SAVES A SINGLE LIFE IT IS AS IF HE SAVED THE WORLD ENTIRE
14) Faith in G-d does not forgive sins. Only the acknowledgement that you sinned combined with abstaining from commiting that sin again constitutes repentance. Only the person to whom you sinned can forgive you, G-d cannot forgive you if you sinned to your friend. Also, no one, not even G-d can withhold forgiveness if you are sincere.
15) I've explained our concept of the Messiah well enough.
And that's just a rough overview of some basic beliefs and pillars. To be truthful, Judaism cannot be accurately described like this, it is a way of life combined with a relationship with G-d, and a mix of constant questioning and discovery. As the Rabbi said, "Go and study". good idea.