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The difference between Orthodox Judaism, Reform Judaism, & Conservative Judaism

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Janae Carrington

on 23 January 2013

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Transcript of The difference between Orthodox Judaism, Reform Judaism, & Conservative Judaism

Orthodox Judaism, Reform Judaism, & Conservative Judaism Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism has resisted modern pressures to modify its observance and has held fast to such practices as daily worship, dietary laws (kashruth), traditional prayers and ceremonies, regular and intensive study of the Torah, and separation of men and women in the synagogue. By: Janae Carrington All Jewish groups—Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform—consider themselves and each other as adherents of the Jewish faith. This fact, however, has not deterred Orthodox rabbis from challenging the legitimacy of certain non-Orthodox marriages, divorces, and conversions on the grounds that they violate prescriptions of Jewish law. Reform Judaism The movement began early in the 19th century, in Germany, with appeals from laymen for an updating of the Jewish liturgy and other rituals. With the liberation of Jews from their ghettos, many Jews began to question their allegiance to such traditions as restrictive dietary laws, prayers in Hebrew, and the wearing of special outfits that set them apart as Jews. Many felt that Judaism would lose Jews to other religions if steps were not taken to bring Judaism into the 19th century. A religious movement that has modified or abandoned many traditional Jewish beliefs, laws, and practices in an effort to adapt Judaism to the changed social, political, and cultural conditions of the modern world. Reform Judaism sets itself at variance with Orthodox Judaism by challenging the binding force of ritual, laws, and customs set down in the Bible and in certain books of rabbinic origin. Conservative Judaism The Conservative movement has been especially successful in the United States and is represented by the United Synagogue of America. The Rabbinical Assembly, Conservative Judaism's official body, is located at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York City, which educates future rabbis for the Conservative movement. Despite different opinions, Conservative Jews have found a common bond by maintaining continuity with the past. These differences make Conservative Judaism a theological coalition rather than a homogeneous expression of beliefs and practices. These differences also explain why it is all but impossible to enunciate a distinct theology of the movement. Conservative rituals show a like diversity, ranging from Orthodoxy to Reform. Differences Reform and Conservative are relatively recent interpretations of Jewish tradition. Orthodox is the term the Reform movement used to describe those who refused to adapt their interpretation. Extra info about Orthodox In the United States many Orthodox synagogues have joined together to form the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Most Orthodox rabbis are affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, or the Rabbinical Alliance of America. Yeshiva University, in New York City, composed of a rabbinical seminary and departments for secular studies, is one of the leading centres of Orthodox Judaism in the United States. In the State of Israel, Orthodoxy is the official form of Judaism and has considerable power and status exercised through the Chief Rabbinate of Israel In 1937 several fundamental principles of earlier Reform Judaism were dramatically revised. In that year an important conference of Reform rabbis issued the Columbus (Ohio) Platform, supporting the use of traditional customs and ceremonies and the liturgical use of Hebrew. In the late 20th century the Central Conference of American Rabbis continued to debate how best to continue the spirit of the Reform movement. It issued several new prayer books for the modern age and considered such issues as inclusion of single parents in the congregation, the position of women in the congregation and in the rabbinate, and homosexuality. Extra info on Conservative Following Orthodoxy, Conservatives insist on the sacredness of the Sabbath. Dietary laws are respected and observed, but with modifications when necessary. Starting in 1985, Conservative Judaism drew farther away from Orthodoxy by ordaining women rabbis. Many Conservatives, stressing Jewish nationalism as inseparable from the culture of the Jewish people, encourage the study of Hebrew and support the secular Zionist movement. Conservative Judaism grew out of the tension between Orthodoxy and Reform. It was formally organized as the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in by Dr. Solomon Schechter in 1913, although its roots in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America stretch back into the 1880s. Conservative Judaism maintains that the truths found in Jewish scriptures and other Jewish writings come from G-d, but were transmitted by humans and contain a human component. Conservative Judaism generally accepts the binding nature of halakhah, but believes that the Law should change and adapt, absorbing aspects of the predominant culture while remaining true to Judaism's values. In my experience, there is a great deal of variation among Conservative synagogues. Some are indistinguishable from Reform, except that they use more Hebrew; others are practically Orthodox, except that men and women sit together. Most are very traditional in substance, if not always in form. This flexibility is deeply rooted in Conservative Judaism, and can be found within their own Statement of Principles, Emet ve-Emunah. Reform Reform Judaism does not believe that the Torah was written by G-d. The movement accepts the critical theory of Biblical authorship: that the Bible was written by separate sources and redacted together. Reform Jews do not believe in observance of commandments as such, but they retain much of the values and ethics of Judaism, along with some of the practices and the culture. The original, basic tenets of American Reform Judaism were set down in the Pittsburgh Platform. Many non-observant, nominal, and/or agnostic Jews identify themselves as Reform simply because Reform is the most liberal movement, but that is not really a fair reflection on the movement as a whole. The NJPS found that 35% of American Jews identify themselves as Reform, including 39% of those who belong to a synagogue. There are approximately 900 Reform synagogues in the United States and Canada. For more information about Reform Judaism, see The Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Orthodox Orthodoxy is actually made up of several different groups. It includes the modern Orthodox, who have largely integrated into modern society while maintaining observance of halakhah (Jewish Law), the Chasidim, who live separately and dress distinctively (commonly, but erroneously, referred to in the media as the "ultra-Orthodox"), and the Yeshivish Orthodox, who are neither Chasidic nor modern. The Orthodox movements are all very similar in belief, and the differences are difficult for anyone who is not Orthodox to understand. They all believe that G-d gave Moses the whole Torah at Mount Sinai. The "whole Torah" includes both the Written Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and the Oral Torah, an oral tradition interpreting and explaining the Written Torah. They believe that the Torah is true, that it has come down to us intact and unchanged. They believe that the Torah contains 613 mitzvot binding upon Jews but not upon non-Jews. This web site is written primarily from the modern Orthodox point of view. The 2000 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) performed by the Council of Jewish Federations found that 10% of American Jews identify themselves as Orthodox, including 22% of those who belong to a synagogue. This power point presentation was made by Janae Carrington for Mrs. Dailey's Holocaust project. Resources: http://www.school.eb.com/eb/article-9057485?query=orthodox%20Judaism&ct= http://www.school.eb.com/eb/article-9063020?query=reform%20Judaism&ct=null http://www.school.eb.com/eb/article-9025942?query=conservative%20Judaism&ct=null http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/175,329/What-is-the-difference-between-orthodox-conservative-and-reform-Judaism.html Pictures & Symbols Conservative Reform Orthodox Extra info about Reform Religious movement that seeks to conserve essential elements of traditional Judaism but allows for the modernization of religious practices in a less radical sense than that espoused by Reform Judaism. Book: Heroes Conservative http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090909123325AA5aG6r What is the difference? I HOPE YOU ENJOYED!!
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