Notes for Religious Studies 369:

Introduction to Judaism

Basic Concepts from

S. Daniel Breslauer, Understanding Judaism through History

Modern Judaism


The term "Orthodoxy" is applied to Jewish traditionalist movements that resisted the European Emancipation and Enlightenment.

The adjective "Orthodox"appears to have been first applied derisively to Jewish conservatives by a Reform polemicist in an article published in 1795.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch commented bitterly in 1854 that was not "Orthodox" Jews who introduced the word "orthodox" into Jewish discussion. It was the modern "progressive" Jews who first applied the name to "old," "backward" Jews as a derogatory term. This name was at first resented by "old" Jews. And rightfully so...

By 1886, when Hirsch established the "Freie Vereinigung für die Interessen des Orthodoxen Judentums" (Free Union for the Interests of Orthodox Judaism)!

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888)

Main Teachings

Click here to read Hirsch's essay "Religion Allied to Progress"