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Research paper topic: Zionism And Zionists - 1171 words
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.. red the ordination of women as rabbis. The Reform movement currently has the largest membership of any Jewish religious group in the United States. It is well represented in Europe, Asia, Mexico, and Australia; and, in recent years, it has had some limited success in Israel, as well. CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM The Conservative movement emerged in Germany and America in the last century.
The early leaders of Conservative Judaism broke away from the German Reform movement in order to pursue a middle route between radical reform and reactionary stagnation. In America, leaders of the Reform movement actually helped to establish Conservative Judaism in the early twentieth century, in the belief that the new Jewish immigrants coming from Eastern Europe could identify more easily with Conservative Judaism than with Reform. Most Conservative Jews believe that some kind of divine revelation took place at Mount Sinai. Some maintain that the written Torah was given to Moses. Others agree with the Reform movement, saying that the Torah is divinely inspired, but the work of human hands.
Especially when it comes to Jewish law, Conservative Judaism takes a stance between plain reason and blind reliance on tradition. Unlike the Orthodox, Conservative Judaism believes that Jewish law should be continually examined to meet the needs of every new generation. Unlike the Reform, Conservative Judaism maintains that Jewish law should be modified by rabbis and sages, and not by individual Jews. Conservative Judaism teaches that Jews should offer three prayer services daily and follow other traditional customs, such as wearing a kippah when praying (some Conservative Jews wear a kippah at all times, as do Orthodox Jews). But Conservative Judaism also tries to accommodate the modern world.
Conservative Jews generally send their children to public schools, supplementing this with religious schooling several times a week Conservative religious schools emphasize the Hebrew language and knowledge of the Bible. Conservative Jews prepare to be rabbis at the graduate school called the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York or the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. Conservative Judaism originally opposed the idea of women serving as rabbis, but in the last few years many women have graduated the Jewish Theological Seminary and gone on to serve as Conservative rabbis. At one time, Conservative Judaism was the largest movement in the United States, but its popularity has dwindled in recent years. Like the Reform movement, it is represented in countries around the world (with an especially large following in Great Britain) and it has made some in-roads in the State of Israel. RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM The newest of the four modern Jewish religious movements in the United States is the small Reconstructionist movement. This movement broke away from Conservative Judaism in the 1920s to follow the teachings of the brilliant rabbi, Mordecai Kaplan. Kaplan felt that Judaism needed, not small changes, but a reconstruction for our time.
Kaplans idea of God was unique in Judaism, for while all Jews believed that history was an important aspect of the Jewish religion, Kaplan viewed history as the unfolding of God in the world. In this light, God could be said to be the sum total of all things that are, were, and are yet to be. In its philosophy, Reconstructionist Judaism differs from Conservative Judaism. In practice, however, Reconstructionist Judaism adheres closely to its parent. Reconstructionist Jews generally send their children to public schools and to afternoon or Sunday religious school for instruction in Hebrew and Judaism.
As in the Conservative and Reform movements, students train to be rabbis at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Philadelphia) only after completing four years of undergraduate work at another university. The Reconstructionist movement has always been a staunch supporter of womens rights in Judaism. Indeed, the first recorded ceremony of Bat Mitzvah was held for the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. Women in the Reconstructionist movement are encouraged to become rabbis and the first ordination of a Reconstructionist woman rabbi was held in 1974, only two short years after the first Reform woman was ordained. HASIDIC JUDAISM Hasidic Judaism is a very vocal sub-group that wields influence beyond its small numbers. Its beginnings can be traced to the late 1700s, but the group that calls itself Hasidic today bears little resemblance to its early progenitors.
Hasidic Judaism began in an honest effort to restore the joy of Judaism to the average Jew. It succeeded due to the charisma of its early teachers; and where it continues to succeed today, it is still due to charismatic central leaders who are known as rebbes (a Yiddish term used instead of the term, rabbis). Like many other reactionary movements, the main idea of Hasidic Judaism is that Jews should stop living in the modern world and return to the good old days. On close inspection, however, the good old days (that is, the eighteenth-century world which Hasidism represents in both dress and practice) were really days of oppression and ignorance for the average Jew. It was only in such a world that Jews could have given credence to the claims that their rebbes worked miracles, cured illnesses, and exorcised demons.
One group of modern Hasidimthe followers of the Lubavitch rebbe who call themselves Habad (often spelled, Chabad) Hasidimhave proven very canny in the use of modern media to get attention. Their persistent and growing presence on the Internet, for example, makes it seem like they number in the millions while quite the opposite is the case. Despite their outward look of modernity, their medieval roots were recently exposed when their rebbe died. He was soon proclaimed by his followers to be either the messiah or a harbinger of the messiah. Huge billboards called for the dead rebbes resurrection. It is easy to see that such a call for the resurrection of a charismatic leader is outside the character of mainstream Judaism and has been so since at least the first century, C.E. In terms of belief, the Hasidic movement hardly differs from the Orthodox movement, except that it is consistently more stringent and less modern. While study is encouraged for men and boys, women are accorded a lower place in Hasidic Judaism than they are in any other Jewish religious group. Unlike the vast majority of Jews in this or any other age, the Hasidim read the Bible as the literal word of God believing, for example, that the world was actually created in seven days. Hasidic Judaism is also cult-like in its demand for complete and blind faith on the part of its adherents who live in small tightly knit, carefully controlled communities. The Hasidic movement is the smallest Jewish religious group in the world Like many other radical, rightwing movements in the history of Judaism, Hasidic Judaism is probably vestigialthe last gasp of a movement which once brought new vigor to the Jewish world.
Ironically, early Hasidism was the exact opposite of present day Hasidismit set out to be a liberalizing influence in a Jewish world that was itself moving toward the radical religious right. Bibliography n/a Religion Essays.
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