Modern and Conservative Judaism By Michaela Morgan Modern Judaism • Because Judaism has neither an institutional authority nor an official creed, there is a wide diversity of belief among different Jewish groups. Modern Judaism is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to blend traditional ceremonies and values with the secular, modern world. • Modern Orthodoxy traces its roots to the works of Rabbis Azriel Hildesheimer (1820-1899) and Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888). • Orthodox Judaism is characterized by belief that the Torah and its laws are Divine, were transmitted by God to Moses, are eternal, and are unalterable. Modern Jewish Festivals and Scriptures • Festivals include: Jewish calendar, Sabbath, passover, Unleaved bread, first fruits, Pentecost, Shavuoth, Tisha bee-Av, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, day of atonement, tabernacles, Sukkot, Simchat torah, Hanukkah , feast of lights. • The most prominent of these being -Passover, which is a holy day commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of Israelites from slavery. -Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur which is commemorated with a 25-hour fast by Jews. T -The hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt and -The Sabbath which is a weekly day of rest observed from sundown on Friday until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. • The most important Scriptures include: -The Torah which is the first part of the Tanakh and is well-regarded as the words of God revealed to Moses directly. Y -The Tanakh which is the Hebrew Bible The Halakhah which is translated as Jewish Law and by following Halakhah, Jews believe they will increase their personal spitituality. Modern Jewish Practices • Today Judaism has no Temple, but Synagogues, in which the Torah is kept. A typical Jewish service features scriptural readings, prayers, the chanting of hymns, often from the Psalms, by a cantor, and the giving of a sermon or lesson by the rabbi, and concludes with the "alenu" prayer, a prayer for doing one's duty to God. • The Home is the center of Judaism. The Jewish wife and mother, more than the father, is the one who rules the family, directs the education of children, makes sure that the right prayers are said before and after meals, in the morning and at night, and controls the family foods and purse. • Some practices of Modern day Jews include marriage, bar mitzvah, funeral and kosher. Conservative Judaism • The Conservative movement developed in Europe and the United States in the 1800s. • Conservative Judaism was inspired by a Jewish intellect, Zacharias Frankel (1801-75) He believed that the mandates in the Torah and the Talmud should be followed within the context of a living tradition. • The term conservative was meant to signify that Jews should attempt to conserve Jewish tradition, rather than reform or abandon it. • The principles of Conservative Judaism include -A dedication to Halakhah -A deliberately non-fundamentalist teaching of Jewish principles of faith -A positive attitude toward modern culture -An acceptance of both traditional rabbinic modes and modern scholarship & critical text study. • Conservative Judaism attempts to span the Gap between the branches of Reform and Orthodox Judaism. • Conservatives regard the 18th Century emancipation of European Jewry as a good thing. • They accept the capacity for change and insist the positive value of Jews being westernised in their manner, education and culture. Conservative Jewish Beliefs • Conservative Judaism affirms monotheism. Its members have varied beliefs about the nature of God, and no one understanding of God is mandated. • Many Conservative Jews reject the traditional Jewish idea that God literally dictated the words of the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai in a verbal revelation, but they hold the traditional Jewish belief that God inspired the later prophets to write the rest of the Tanakh. • Conservative Jews believe God's revelation was non-verbal and did not include the particular words of the divine texts. • Conservative Judaism believes that halakhah has always evolved to meet the changing reality of Jewish life, and that it must continue to do so in the modern age.
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