Explain The Differences Between The Three Main Branches Of Judaism Jehs/ Studies Of Religion Essay

966 words - 4 pages

The Jewish religion has three main branches with each have differing characteristics, however they all share
the same core ethical teachings outlined in the Torah. These branches are Orthodox, Progressive and
Conservative Judaism. Followers of the Orthodox denomination must adhere to and follow strict guidelines,
and individual discretion in relation to the mitzot is not tolerated. Whereas the Progressive and Conservative
denominations have integrated their ways of practice to provide followers with a contemporary way to
practice and view of the religion. These denominations have differing views because each branch has their
own interpretation of the Torah.

Progressive Judaism embrace traditional beliefs and traditions but integrate them to suit the needs of
contemporary life. The Progressive variant of Judaism put a specific emphasis on the Tikkun Olam, which is
the belief that, “through social or environmental action we are partners with God in creating the world as it
should be.” The Progressive branch was formed in Germany when fundamental features of traditional
Judaism were changed. These changes included, mixed gender seating, a shortened service, single day
observance of holidays and the introduction of musical instruments and choir into the Synagogue services. In
1880, Progressive Judaism became the most commonly practiced variant, with over 90 per cent of
American’s identifying as Progressive Jews.

Orthodox Judaism was the most commonly practiced type of Judaism up until the nineteenth century and it is
the only Judaism which exists. Within the Orthodox variant there has been a further split in to two groups, he
Sephardim and the Ashkenazim. This division was caused by the varying interpretations of the Torah and
Halakhah. However, the basic theology of the groups are essentially the same. Among the Orthodox
denomination individual discretion regarding the mitzvot is not tolerated and must be fully obeyed as they
believe the guidelines outlined in torah are derived directly from God .Orthodox Jews insist on a strict
adherence to Jewish beliefs and practices, and if these are not fulfilled correctly and consistently it is not
recognised to be apart of the Orthodox variant.

The Conservative Judaism denomination aims at preserving traditional Jewish traditions and beliefs but
providing a more flexible approach towards the Jewish laws. The Conservative branch of Judaism is not as
strict as Orthodox Judaism and therefore created a more desirable choice of faith. The Conservative
movement generated growth and popularity when Dr. Schechter became president of the Seminary of
Breslau, Poland in 1902. Popularity grew as Dr Schechter organised the denomination under the United
Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Currently, the Conservative Judaism denomination is nearly as
common as the Progressive movement,

The Orthodox movement believe that both the oral and written law...

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