Movements in Modern Judaism
Emancipation and enlightenment
Until the 18th century Jews' participation in
general society was limited. Education was mainly limited to the study of
Torah and Talmud.
Haskalah - Jewish movement adopting the
values of enlightenment, promoting the integration of Jews in general society.
Secular education is encouraged, while maintaining a traditional lifestyle and
complete adherence to Halakha.
Emancipation - equal rights to Jews were given
between late 18th to mid 19th century throughout Europe.
The Reform Movement
Many Jews realize that their traditional lifestyle
does not allow complete integration in general European society. This results
with a large number of them converting to Christianity.
Jewish lay leaders propose a reform in traditional
Judaism, calling for the abandoning of traditional attire, changes in the
orders of the synagogue - introducing organ and choral music,
family seating, a weekly sermon in the vernacular.
The founded Reform movement [Neolog in Hungary]
stresses ethical and moral aspects of Judaism, and places less stress on
practical adherence to Halakha. Practices that interfere with integration in
general society [dietary laws, etc.] are neglected.
Radical Reform leaders promoted the change of the
day of rest from Saturday to Sunday from financial reasons. The proposal never
gained real momentum.
Reform Rabbis neglect the belief in the restoration
of the Temple and the reinstallment of animal sacrifices and remove any
mentioning of these concepts from the liturgy.
German-Jewish immigration to America causes the
Reform movement to become central in American Jewish life.
Orthodoxy - The most traditional counter-movement.
Guiding principles asserted by Hatam Sofer [Rabbi Moses Schreiber]. Placed
great emphasis on maintaining traditional practice and preserving ancient
customs. Refrained from integration in general society.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch - Torah with Derech
Eretz. Encouraging integration in general society and secular education
while maintaining commitment to Halakha.
Rabbi Zacharias Frenkel - Positive-Historian school.
Maintaining commitment to Halakha while recognizing its different form in
every generation. Openness to non-traditional forms of studying
The American Conservative Movement - Appealing to
Eastern-European Jewish immigrants. Led by Rabbi Solomon Schechter, following
Frenkel's general ideas. Stresses Jewish "Peoplehood".
Reconstructionism - Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan.
Offshoot of Conservative Judaism. Social-Scientific. Stresses custom
rather than faith.
||Middle ground - traditional in practice, ideologically liberal
||Traditional [similar to Conservative] in practice, radically
liberal in theology|
|Disregard of Halakha and rejection of traditional practice. Stresses
ethical and theological ideas.
||Strict adherence to Halakha as interpreted by Rabbinic authority
||Committed to Halakha, but interpret it more freely. Pluralist approach
to legal issues.
||Does not recognize the divine origin of Halakha, but view is as a set
of popular customs|
|[Originally] rejects non-religious aspects of Judaism
||Varied approaches to Jewish nationalism - Zionist, Anti-Zionist
||Stresses Jewish "Peoplehood"
||Views Judaism as an evolving civilization|
|Main American Rabbinical school - Hebrew Union College
||Jewish Theological Seminary of America
||Reconstructionist Rabbinical College|
|Key Figures - Abraham Geiger [Germany], Issac M. Wise [US]
||Hatam Sofer, Samson R. Hirsch
||Zecharias Frenkel [Germany], Solomon Schechter [US]
||Mordecai M. Kaplan, Ira Eisenstein|
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