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Jewish religious movements, sometimes called "denominations" or "branches", include different groups which have developed among Jews from ancient times. Today, the main division is between the Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform movements, with several smaller movements alongside them. This denominational structure is mainly present in the United States, while in Israel, the fault lines are between the Orthodox and the non-religious. The movements differ in their views on various issues. These issues include the level of observance, the methodology for interpreting and understanding Jewish law, biblical authorship, textual criticism, and the nature or role of the messiah (or messianic age). Across these movements, there are marked differences in liturgy, especially in the language in which services are conducted, with the more traditional movements emphasizing Hebrew. The sharpest theological division occurs between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews
Jews
who adhere to other denominations, such that the non-Orthodox movements are sometimes referred to collectively as the "liberal denominations" or "progressive streams".

Contents

1 Terminology 2 Judaism
Judaism
and Samaritans 3 Jewish sects in the Second Temple
Second Temple
period 4 Rabbinic Judaism 5 Karaite Judaism 6 Jewish ethnic and cultural divisions

6.1 Sephardic Judaism

7 Hasidic Judaism 8 Modern movements or denominations

8.1 Development of modern denominations 8.2 Response to Jewish Enlightenment 8.3 Response to immigration 8.4 Response to Israel
Israel
and Zionism 8.5 Response to pressures of assimilation

9 Trans- and post-denominational Judaism 10 See also 11 References 12 External links

Terminology[edit] Some Jews
Jews
reject the term denomination as a label for different groups and ideologies within Judaism, arguing that the notion of denomination has a specifically Christian resonance that does not translate easily into the Jewish context. However, in recent years the American Jewish Year Book
Book
has adopted "denomination," as have many scholars and theologians.[1] Other commonly used terms are movements, branches, trends, streams, or even flavors of Judaism.[citation needed] The Jewish denominations themselves reject characterization as sects. Sects
Sects
are traditionally defined as religious subgroups that have broken off from the main body, and this separation usually becomes irreparable over time. Within Judaism, individuals and families often switch affiliation, and individuals are free to marry one another, although the major denominations disagree on who is a Jew. It is not unusual for clergy and Jewish educators trained in one of the liberal denominations to serve in another, and left with no choice, many small Jewish communities combine elements of several movements to achieve a viable level of membership. Relationships between Jewish religious movements are varied; they are sometimes marked by interdenominational cooperation outside of the realm of halakha (Jewish law), and sometimes not. Some of the movements sometimes cooperate by uniting with one another in community federations and in campus organizations such as the Hillel Foundation. Jewish religious denominations are distinct from, but often linked to, Jewish ethnic divisions
Jewish ethnic divisions
and Jewish political movements. Judaism
Judaism
and Samaritans[edit] Main article: Samaritans The Samaritans
Samaritans
regard themselves as direct descendants of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh in the northern Kingdom of Israel, which was conquered by Assyria
Assyria
in 722 BCE. Modern genetics has suggested some truth to both the claims of the Samaritans
Samaritans
and of the Jews
Jews
in account to the Talmud.[2][need quotation to verify] Samaritan
Samaritan
scripture preserves a version of the Pentateuch
Pentateuch
in slightly variant forms. The first historical references to the Samaritans
Samaritans
date from the Babylonian Exile. According to the Talmud, Samaritans
Samaritans
are to be treated as Jews in matters where their practice agrees with the mainstream but are otherwise to be treated as non-Jews. The Samaritans
Samaritans
have dwindled to two communities of about 700 individuals. One such community is located in the Israeli city of Holon, while the other is located near Nablus
Nablus
on Mount Gerizim, in the West Bank. Today, Samaritans
Samaritans
need to officially go through formal conversion to Judaism
Judaism
in order to be considered Jewish. One example is Israeli TV personality Sofi Tsedaka
Sofi Tsedaka
who was brought up Samaritan
Samaritan
and converted to Judaism
Judaism
at the age of 18.[3][4] Jewish sects in the Second Temple
Second Temple
period[edit] Main article: Second Temple
Second Temple
Judaism Prior to the destruction of the Second Temple
Second Temple
in 70 CE, Jews
Jews
of the Roman province of Judaea were divided into several movements, sometimes warring among themselves: Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, Zealots, and Christians. Many historic sources such as Flavius Josephus, the (Christian) New Testament
New Testament
and the recovered fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, attest to the divisions among Jews
Jews
at this time. Rabbinical writings from later periods, including the Talmud, further attest these ancient schisms. The main internal struggles during this era were between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, as well as the Christians, and also the Essenes
Essenes
and Zealots. The Pharisees
Pharisees
wanted to maintain the authority and traditions of classical Torah
Torah
teachings and began the early teachings of the Mishna, maintaining the authority of the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish court. According to Josephus, the Sadducees
Sadducees
differed from the Pharisees
Pharisees
on a number of doctrinal grounds, notably rejecting ideas of life after death. They appear to have dominated the aristocracy and the temple, but their influence over the wider Jewish population was limited. The Essenes
Essenes
preached a reclusive way of life. The Zealots advocated armed rebellion against any foreign power such as Rome. All were at violent logger-heads with each other, leading to the confusion and disunity that ended with the destruction of the Second Temple
Second Temple
and the sacking of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
by Rome. The first Christians (whom historians refer to as Jewish Christians) were the original Jewish followers of Jesus. The eventual redefinition of Moses' Law by Jesus' disciples and their belief in his deity, along with the development of the New Testament, ensured that Christianity and Judaism
Judaism
would become different and often conflicting religions. Rabbinic Judaism[edit] Most streams of modern Judaism
Judaism
developed from the Pharisaic movement, which became known as Rabbinic Judaism
Judaism
(in Hebrew Yahadut Rabanit - יהדות רבנית) with the compilation of the Oral Torah
Torah
into the Mishna. After the destruction of the Second Temple
Second Temple
and the Bar Kokhba revolt the other movements disappeared from the historical record, yet the Sadducees
Sadducees
probably kept on existing in a non-organized form for at least several more decades.[citation needed] A scholar named Rodkinson claimed about a century ago that the Sadducees
Sadducees
ultimately changed their name and are those who are referred to as the Qara'im and Ba`alei Miqra in the Talmud.[citation needed] Karaite Judaism[edit] Karaite Judaism
Judaism
(Hebrew: Yahadut Qara'it or Yahadut Kara'it – יהדות קראית, derived from the word "Qara'im" i.e. "readers of Scripture") started in the early 9th century[5] when non-Rabbinic Sages like Benjamin Nahawandi and their followers took the rejection of the oral law by Anan ben David
David
to the new level of seeking the plain meaning of the Tanakh's text. Karaite Jews
Jews
have always accepted only the Tanakh
Tanakh
as divinely inspired, not recognizing the authority that Rabbinites ascribe to basic Rabbinic works like the Talmud
Talmud
and the Midrashim. In the 10th-11th centuries, the Karaites were believed to have comprised about 40% of the world's Jewish population. At the time of the traveler Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela
in the 12th century, Karaites were widely dispersed around the eastern Mediterranean, both in Islamic areas and the Byzantine Empire. Benjamin describes Karaite communities in many of the places he visited. In the early 20th century, Karaite communities remained in Egypt, Turkey, the Crimea, Ukraine, what is now Poland, Lithuania, and Israel. Today, there are about 50,000 Karaite Jews
Jews
in the world, most of whom live in Israel, although other communities exist in the United States, France, Switzerland, and Turkey, as well as individual Karaites in other countries. Traditionally, Rabbinic Judaism
Judaism
has regarded the Karaites as Jewish, but with an incorrect philosophical understanding of the Torah. Likewise, Karaite Judaism
Judaism
considers the Rabbanites as Jewish but heretics. Jewish ethnic and cultural divisions[edit] Main article: Jewish ethnic divisions A wide array of Jewish communities have developed independently, distinguishable by their varying practices in matters that are not considered central ideas within Judaism, such as Maimonides' list of the Jewish principles of faith. Although there are numerous Jewish ethnic communities, there are several that are large enough to be considered "predominant." Ashkenazi Jews
Jews
communities compose about 75% of the world's Jewish population. Sephardi Jews
Jews
and Mizrahi Jews
Jews
compose the greatest part of the rest, with about 20% of the world's Jewish population. Together these ethnic groups compose 95% of the world's Jewish population. The remaining 5% of Jews
Jews
are divided among a wide array of small groups (perhaps the Beta Israel
Israel
group of Ethiopian Jews
Jews
is the most important), some of which are nearing extinction as a result of assimilation and intermarriage into surrounding non-Jewish cultures or surrounding Jewish cultures. The Enlightenment
The Enlightenment
had a tremendous effect on Jewish identity
Jewish identity
and on ideas about the importance and role of Jewish observance. Due to the geographical distribution and the geopolitical entities affected by the Enlightenment, this philosophical revolution essentially affected only the Ashkenazi community; however, because of the predominance of the Ashkenazi community in Israeli politics and in Jewish leadership worldwide, the effects have been significant for all Jews. Sephardic Judaism[edit]

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Sephardic Judaism
Judaism
is the practice of Judaism
Judaism
as observed by the Sephardi (Spanish and Portuguese Jews), Maghrebi Jews
Jews
and Mizrahi Jews, so far as it is peculiar to themselves and not shared with other Jewish groups such as the Ashkenazim (German Rite). Sephardic Judaism does not constitute a separate denomination within Judaism, but rather a separate cultural tradition. Sephardim are primarily the descendants of Jews
Jews
from the Iberian Peninsula. They may be divided into the families that left in the Expulsion of 1492 and those that remained as crypto-Jews, Marranos and those who left in the following few centuries. In religious parlance, and by many in modern Israel, the term is used in a broader sense to include all Jews
Jews
of Ottoman or other Asian or African backgrounds (Mizrahi Jews), whether or not they have any historic link to Spain, although some prefer to distinguish between Sephardim proper and Mizraḥi Jews. Sephardic Judaism
Judaism
lacks movements such as "Orthodox", "conservative", or "reform"; level of halachic observance is left to each person, but none dispute that contemporary definitions of "Orthodox" represents the level of observance of many Sephardim.[citation needed] Sephardic and Mizrachi Jewish synagogues are generally considered "Orthodox" by non-sephardic Jews, and are primarily run according to the Orthodox tradition, even though many of the congregants may not keep a level of observance on par with traditional Orthodox belief. For example, many congregants will drive to the synagogue on the Shabbat,[citation needed] in violation of halacha, while discreetly entering the synagogue so as not to offend more observant congregants. Unlike the predominantly Ashkenazi Reform, and Reconstructionist denominations, Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews
Jews
who are not observant generally believe that Orthodox Judaism's interpretation and legislation of halacha is appropriate, and true to the original philosophy of Judaism. That being said, Sephardic and Mizrachi Rabbis tend to hold different, and generally more lenient, positions on halacha than their Ashkenazi counterparts, but since these positions are based on rulings of Talmudic scholars as well as well-documented traditions that can be linked back to well-known codifiers of Jewish law, Ashkenazi and Hasidic Rabbis do not believe that these positions are incorrect, but rather that they are the appropriate interpretation of halacha for Jews
Jews
of Sephardic and Mizrachi descent. Hasidic Judaism[edit] Hasidic Judaism
Judaism
was founded by Israel
Israel
ben Eliezer (1700–1760), also known as the Baal Shem Tov. His disciples attracted many followers among Ashkenazi Jews, and established numerous Hasidic groups across Europe. The Baal Shem Tov came at a time when the Jewish masses of Eastern Europe were reeling in bewilderment and disappointment engendered by the two notorious Jewish false messiahs, Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676) and Jacob
Jacob
Frank (1726–1791), and their respective followers. Hasidic Judaism
Judaism
eventually became the way of life for many Jews
Jews
in Eastern Europe. In the late 18th century, there was a serious schism between Hasidic and non-Hasidic Jews. European Jews
Jews
who rejected the Hasidic movement were dubbed Mitnagdim ("opponents") by the followers of the Baal Shem Tov, who had previously called themselves Freylechn ("happy ones") and now call themselves Hasidim ("pious ones"). Some of the reasons for the rejection of Hasidic Judaism
Judaism
were the overwhelming exuberance of Hasidic worship, their untraditional ascriptions of infallibility and alleged miracle-working to their leaders, and the concern that it might become a messianic sect. Since then, all the groups of Hasidic Judaism
Judaism
have been subsumed theologically into mainstream Orthodox Judaism, particularly Haredi Judaism, although cultural differences persist. Modern movements or denominations[edit] Perhaps the greatest divisions since the time of the division between the Sadducees
Sadducees
and Pharisees
Pharisees
two millennia ago are the divisions within the Ashkenazic community that have arisen in the past two centuries, ever since the Enlightenment and the Renaissance
Renaissance
influenced Jews
Jews
from northern and eastern Europe. The first evidence of this great dogmatic schism was the development of the Reform Judaism
Judaism
movement, which rejected "ethnic Judaism" and preferred to regard Judaism
Judaism
as a religion rather than an ethnicity. Over time, three large movements emerged:

Orthodox Judaism. Orthodox Jews
Jews
generally see themselves as practicing normative Judaism, rather than belonging to a particular movement. Within Orthodox Judaism, there is a spectrum of communities and practices, including Modern Orthodox Judaism, Haredi Judaism, and a variety of movements that have their origins in Hasidic Judaism. Conservative Judaism, or "Masorti Judaism". Originated in Germany in the 19th century, but became institutionalized in the United States. After the division between Reform and Orthodox Judaism, the Conservative movement tried to provide Jews
Jews
seeking liberalization of Orthodox theology and practice with a more traditional and halakhically-based alternative to Reform Judaism. It has spread to Ashkenazi communities in Anglophone countries and Israel. Reform Judaism, also known as Liberal or Progressive Judaism. Originally formed in Germany as a reaction to modernity, stresses integration with society and a personal interpretation of the Torah. Reconstructionist Judaism. A smaller progressive Jewish movement, found primarily in the United States. It began as a liberal movement within Conservative Judaism
Judaism
and formally separated in the 1940s.

Additionally, a number of smaller groups have emerged:

Humanistic Judaism. A nontheistic movement that emphasizes Jewish culture and history as the sources of Jewish identity. Founded by Sherwin Wine, it is centered in North America but has spread to Europe, the Far East, Latin America, and Israel. Neolog Judaism, a movement in the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
and in its territories ceded in 1920, which is similar to the more traditional branch of American Conservative Judaism. Jewish Renewal. Founded in the counter-cultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s, Jewish Renewal
Jewish Renewal
tends to embrace the ecstatic worship style and mysticism of hasidism, while rejecting the halakhic rigor of Orthodox Judaism. Jewish Renewal
Jewish Renewal
congregations tend to be inclusive on the subject of who is a Jew. The Jewish Renewal
Jewish Renewal
movement lacks the formal institutional structure of the other liberal movements. Jewish Science. Formed in the early 20th century by Alfred G. Moses and Morris Lichtenstein. Jewish Science was founded as a counterweight Jewish movement to Christian Science. Jewish Science sees God
God
as a force or energy penetrating the reality of the Universe and emphasis is placed upon the role of affirmative prayer in personal healing and spiritual growth. The Society of Jewish Science in New York is the institutional arm of the movement regularly publishing The Interpreter, the movement's primary literary publication.

Development of modern denominations[edit] Development of denominations or movements has been primarily a phenomenon among Ashkenazi Jews
Jews
who have immigrated to Anglophone countries. Much of the literature of these denominations is in English, not Hebrew. Their development can be seen as both a response to the western Enlightenment and to emancipation and immigration. Response to Jewish Enlightenment[edit] In the late 18th century Europe, and then the rest of the world, was swept by a group of intellectual, social and political movements that taken together were referred to as the Enlightenment. These movements promoted scientific thinking, free thought, and allowed people to question previously unshaken religious dogmas. The emancipation of the Jews
Jews
in many European communities, and the Haskalah
Haskalah
movement started by Moses
Moses
Mendelssohn, brought the Enlightenment to the Jewish community. In response to the challenges of integrating Jewish life with Enlightenment values, German Jews
Jews
in the early 19th century began to develop the concept of Reform Judaism, adapting Jewish practice to the new conditions of an increasingly urbanized and secular community.[6] Staunch opponents of the Reform movement became known as Orthodox Jews. Later, members of the Reform movement who felt that it was moving away from tradition too quickly formed the Conservative movement. Orthodox Jews
Jews
who were sympathetic to the Haskalah
Haskalah
formed what became known as neo-Orthodox or modern Orthodox Jews.[7] Orthodox Jews
Jews
who opposed the Haskalah
Haskalah
became known as Haredi Jews. Response to immigration[edit]

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The particular forms which the denominations have taken on have been shaped by immigration of the Ashkenazi Jewish communities, once concentrated in eastern and central Europe, to western and mostly Anglophone countries (in particular, in North America). In the middle of the 20th century, the institutional division of North American Jewry between Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements still reflected immigrant origins. Reform Jews
Jews
at that time were predominantly of German or western European origin, while both Conservative and Orthodox Judaism
Judaism
came primarily from eastern European countries.[8] Response to Israel
Israel
and Zionism[edit] See also: Haredim and Zionism The issue of Zionism
Zionism
was once very divisive in the Jewish community. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish non-Zionists believed that the return to Israel could only happen with the coming of the Messiah, and that a political attempt to re-establish a Jewish state was contrary to God's plan. Non-Zionists believed that Jews
Jews
should integrate into the countries in which they lived, rather than moving to the Land of Israel. The original founders of Reform Judaism
Judaism
in Germany rejected traditional prayers for the restoration of Jerusalem. The view among Reform Jews that Judaism
Judaism
was strictly a religion, and that Jews
Jews
should be loyal citizens of their host nations, led to a non-Zionist, and sometimes anti-Zionist, stance. After events of the 20th century, most importantly the Holocaust and the establishment of the modern State of Israel, opposition to Zionism largely disappeared within Reform Judaism. Among most religious non-Zionists, there is a de facto recognition of Israel, but as a secular state. The Edah HaChareidis
Edah HaChareidis
in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
does not recognize the legitimacy of the state, and one small group, Neturei Karta, actively opposes the existence of Israel. Secular opposition to Zionism
Zionism
has continued among some Jewish political groups, and among some Jews
Jews
active in leftist political movements. Response to pressures of assimilation[edit] Main article: Jewish intermarriage Among the most striking differences between the Jewish movements in the 21st century is their response to pressures of assimilation, such as intermarriage between Jews
Jews
and non-Jews.[9] Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis have been most accepting of intermarried couples, with some rabbis willing to officiate in mixed religious ceremonies, although most insist that children in such families be raised strictly Jewish. Conservative rabbis are not permitted to officiate in such marriages, but are supportive of couples when the non-Jewish partner wishes to convert to Judaism
Judaism
and raise children as Jewish.[10] Trans- and post-denominational Judaism[edit] The very idea of Jewish denominationalism is contested by some Jews and Jewish non-denominational organizations, which consider themselves to be "trans-denominational" or "post-denominational."[11] A variety of new Jewish organizations are emerging that lack such affiliations:

Some Jewish day schools lack affiliation with any one movement;[12] There are several seminaries which are not controlled by a denomination.

The Academy for Jewish Religion, California, is a transdenominational academy based in Los Angeles. It draws faculty and leadership from all denominations of Judaism. It has programs for rabbis, cantors, chaplains, community leadership and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). AJRCA is fully accredited.[13] The Academy for Jewish Religion, is a transdenominational academy in Yonkers, NY. AJR is a fully accredited program that trains rabbis and cantors and also offers Master’s Program in Jewish Studies. The Hebrew College
Hebrew College
seminary, in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, near Boston.[14] The ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP), a non-denominational Jewish renewal seminary training rabbis, cantors, rabbinic pastors, and Jewish spiritual directors

The International Federation of Rabbis (IFR), a non-denominational rabbinical organization for rabbis of all movements and backgrounds;[15]

Organizations such as these believe that the formal divisions that have arisen among the "denominations" in contemporary Jewish history are unnecessarily divisive, as well as religiously and intellectually simplistic. According to Rachel
Rachel
Rosenthal, "the post-denominational Jew
Jew
refuses to be labeled or categorized in a religion that thrives on stereotypes. He has seen what the institutional branches of Judaism have to offer and believes that a better Judaism
Judaism
can be created."[16] Such Jews
Jews
might, out of necessity, affiliate with a synagogue associated with a particular movement, but their own personal Jewish ideology is often shaped by a variety of influences from more than one denomination. See also[edit]

Jewish schisms Jewish views on religious pluralism List of religions

References[edit]

^ Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaism: A History (2004) p. xix-xx notes the "newfound popularity" of the term "denomination." ^ Oefner, Peter; et al. (2004). "Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans
Samaritans
and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation". Human Mutation. 24 (3): 248–260. doi:10.1002/humu.20077. PMID 15300852.  ^ "- - nrg - ... :". Nrg.co.il. Retrieved 9 November 2014.  ^ "ynet סופי צדקה עושה שבת (וחג) - יהדות". ynet. Retrieved 9 November 2014.  ^ "Karaite FAQ".  ^ Plaut, W. Gunther (1963). The Rise of Reform Judaism: A Sourcebook of its European Origins. World Union for Progressive Judaism. OCLC 39869725.  ^ "YIVO Orthodoxy". Yivoencyclopedia.org. Retrieved 2012-08-15.  ^ Herberg, Will (1983). Protestant, Catholic, Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology. University Of Chicago Press (Reprint edition). ISBN 0-226-32734-5. OCLC 9686985.  ^ Tobin, Gary A. and Katherine G. Simon (1999). Rabbis Talk
Talk
About Intermarriage. Institute for Jewish and Community Research. ISBN 1-893671-00-3. OCLC 44759291.  ^ Bloom, Mark; et al. (2004). A Place In The Tent: Intermarriage And Conservative Judaism. Eks Publishing. ISBN 0-939144-46-8. OCLC 179259677.  ^ Heilman, Uriel (February 11, 2005). "Beyond Dogma". Jerusalem Post.  ^ Mendelsohn, Martha (August 22, 2002). "High School Without Labels". The Jewish Week.  ^ https://ajrca.edu/#sthash.dIO47S7j.dpbs accessdate 2-https://ajrca.edu/#sthash.dIO47S7j.dpbs015-11-15) ^ Meskin, Jacob
Jacob
(2002). "Answers Divide Us, Questions Unite Us". Archived from the original on January 4, 2004. Retrieved March 9, 2007.  ^ "International Federation Of Rabbis About Us". Intfedrabbis.org. Retrieved 2012-08-15.  ^ Rosenthal, Rachel
Rachel
(2006). "What's in a name?". Kedma (Winter 2006). 

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Jewish Sects.

Emergence of Jewish Denominations (MyJewishLearning.com) Jewish World Today. Overview: State of the Denominations (MyJewishLearning.com) Jewing Movements - How Jewish movements will and have evolved

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