- emigrated from Spain, Portugal
- 250,000 by 1880
- educated, literate, prosperous
- wanted to establish home and leave anti-Semitism in the past (Europe) - attempted to "blend in"
- established Reform Judaism in US
Reform Judaism (35%)
- Siddur in English
- Torah divinely inspired, product of human culture and history
- Messiah a metaphor
- Law 'keeping' optional
- synagogues that look like churches
- Americans 1st, Jews 2nd
Isaac Meyer Wise
- founded Reform Judaism, along with other Sephardic leaders
- extremely poor and mostly illiterate
- more orthodox than Sephardic Jews
- 2 million emigrate from central/eastern Europe (1880-1920)
- founded Orthodoxy in reaction to assimilation of Reform Judaism
- very strict observance of the Law
- traditional dress, ritual practice, gender norms
Orthodox Judaism (10%)
- Torah divinely REVEALED
- Law kept strictly; keep rabbinic kosher
- traditional gender roles, arranged marriages
- separation of genders
- Siddur/services in Hebrew
- can worship with non-orthodox
- attend integrated universities
- arranged marriages less common
- gender roles more relaxed
- women welcome at synagogue services (visible/equal separate seating)
- distinct traditional dress
- men and women cover heads
- less likely to interact with non-Jewish world
- domestic sphere women's sacred space
- synagogue attendance optional/strictly segregated
- closed community
- extreme adherence of the Law
- very strict gender roles and separation
- outreach to other Jews
- traditional dress
- Rebbe Meachem Mendel Schneersohn (recognized by many as the messiah)
Menachem Mendel Schneersohn
- recognized by most Hasidic Ultra-Orthodox Jews as the messiah
- May 5, 1831 – March 17, 1866
- Chabad Lubavitch
- A famous saying, "Think good and it will be good"
Conservative Judaism (18%)
- Torah divinely inspired (not revealed; it can be critiqued), written in historical context
- change is possible, sometimes necessary, but not as fast as Reform
- Siddur in Hebrew, men kippot, Bible more authoritative
- American-style of worship, mixed seating, moderate changes to the Law are OK
- women admitted in minyan
- considered 'middle path' - compromise between Orthodox and Reform
founded conservative sect and Jewish Theological Seminary 1884
- Torah not supernaturally revealed or inspired, but a product of ancestors
- Jews are not a 'chosen people' - but the same as all other people
- there is no messiah but us
- religion: people trying to reach God (highest ideals and aspirations)
- belief in God is optional - space to explore tradition, heritage, spirituality
- rituals, tradition, Bible created by people, not God (still sacred as a history of Jews seeking God)
- Celebrate and preservation of Jewish heritage, tradition, culture, history, philosophy
- creativity in worship, even other religious practices
- founded reconstructionist sect 1922
- 100 congregations by 2000 - fastest growing sect
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on GOD?
- conservative: God is creator, spirit, personhood, masculine, all good, interested in human affairs
- liberal: God exists, limited, cannot control evil, cannot rule over human free will
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on TORAH/DIVINE REVELATION?
- conservative:Torah revealed in its complete/final form to Moses, authored by God, perfect and historically accurate
- liberal: Torah product of multiple human authors over a long period of history, can be imperfect, should be read in historical context, sacred record of people seeking/interacting with God
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on HALACHAH (Law)?
- conservative: God gave the Law and is to be followed; changes may be necessary but usually additions not subtractions
- liberal: Law is a record of people seeking God and can be helpful to reveal God; a product of Jewish history and can be questioned; essential moral laws, the rest are optional
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on THE JEWS AS CHOSEN?
- conservative: Jews are different and set apart, which means responsibilities and obligations; a priestly people for humanity
- liberal: Israel chose God and that is why Jews have had a unique and special history; others can choose God, too; Jews are not completely unique
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on LITURGY & PRAYER?
- conservative: vital and sacred; unchangeable; much of it comes straight from God; pray 3x a day; remove distractions (kavanah)
- liberal: can be changed - it is about meeting needs not replicating tradition; can be as traditional (or not) as needed
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on the MESSIAH?
- conservative: a real person, descended from King David who will restore Israel and usher in an era of peace with no poverty or disease
- liberal: a metaphor; we are our own messiah (salvation); humanity needs to change and save the world, not wait for a messiah
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on EVIL?
- conservative: God made it evil - everything happens for a reason; it is necessary for free will; evil may not really be evil, but it may be for good (in the end)
- liberal: God is not all powerful; free will requires limits on God; God cannot end evil - that is our job
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on WHO IS A JEW?
- conservative: your mother has to be Jewish; only Jewish marriage is legit (no mixed marriages, not recognized)
- liberal: if you have one parent who is a Jew, or if you convert, you are considered a Jew.
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on WOMEN?
- conservative: women do not count in a minyan; cannot be ordained; sit separately in synagogue (participation optional); women's spirituality takes place in the home (they are priests of the home - table is their altar)
- liberal: mixed seating in synagogue; women count in a minyan and are ordained; rituals created to bring women fully into covenant; female God language incorporated; God shares both genders
What is the most conservative and most liberal views on HOMOSEXUALITY?
- conservative: a sin and abomination; God does not make people gay (it is a choice or mental illness); same-sex folks should practice celibacy if they cannot overcome inclinations and be happily married
- liberal: same-sex rabbis ordained; homosexuality a gift from God; distinct identity that allows you to know God and humanity in a distinct and meaningful way