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Orthodox Judaism

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One of the oldest local religions is Judaism, which owns a special place in the general history of religion and world culture. In process of time, the evolution of this religion continuously changed and developed. The followers of Judaism were free from different old elements and adopted new principles and rules according to the changing conditions. Respectively, modern Judaism received several major religious streams which have some striking differences. For instance, the Orthodox Judaism has become one of the most common movements of this faith, and the followers of this stream strictly follow the rules provided by diverse scriptures. 

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Orthodox Judaism began to form as a religious movement in the nineteenth century as a challenge to the Enlightenment. In fact, the centerpiece of Orthodox religious concept holds a Halakha in the form in which it is fixed in the Oral Law (Morrison, Brown 56-67). Furthermore, the followers of this stream believe that Torah is one of the most important references of their religion and they must stick to it forever. Besides, the Orthodox Jews must observe the possible number of the existing 613 commandments, without putting into question the will of God. Moreover, the followers of this stream do not have to follow any new movement, and are required to maintain the tradition for future generations. Thus, the liturgy of worship in the synagogue and the prayers should not be changed. Moreover, Jeish Orthodox children should be educated in the Yeshiva, where the main subjects are religious disciplines.  Consequently, the followers of this stream believe that they were chosen to spread the word and commandments of God in the world. In fact, Orthodox Jews are confident that their version of Judaism is the only correct and genuine movement. Besides, they are assured that other streams and theories of Judaism are not sinful, but at least dangerous.

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In fact, Judaism has other general streams of faith. For example, Reform Judaism, which began to develop and concentrate in the Central Europe in the late eighteenth - early nineteenth centuries. This stream acknowledges the conclusions of secular science and believes that Jewish tradition existed not only as a result of the Divine, but also depended on the human impact. For example, Orthodox Judaism considers religion as a divine revelation, and Reform Judaism believes that it can evolve for the better. Therefore, there are some convictions that differ from the Orthodox doctrine. By contrast, the stream of Conservative Judaism tries to retain existing elements of traditional Judaism.  Besides, representatives of this movement show a desire to perform reforms in the religion, on the condition that they will not affect the general foundations of Halakha. The followers of the Conservative Judaism allow ignoring minor details in their faith.  For example, they can afford to reduce the duration of some prayers and use English in their sermons. Thereffore, Conservative Judaism occupies an intermediate link between Reform and Orthodox Judaism, and has slight differences from the last one. The main concept of the Reconstructionist Judaism stands on the idea of the civilization that develops and enriches the cultural heritage of the Jewish people. Besides, they reject the idea of a transcendent God, so this stream is substantially different from the Orthodox Judaism (Gurock 43-74).

In fact, the distinctions between these Judaism streams and Orthodox Judaism have a number of worship foundation features. For instance, the followers of Reform Judaism selectively interpret the Torah and have differences in worship rules. For example, a woman of Reform Judaism could become a rabbi. The Conservative Judaism stands at more liberal foundations than Orthodox Judaism, thus, it’s more related to the Reform Judaism. For instance, the followers of Reform Judaism adhere Sabbath to some Kashrut modifications. Besides, the Reconstructionist Judaism allows weakening in compliance with Halakha. In such a way, these streams are fairly different from the Orthodox Judaism.

Consequently, the followers of Orthodox Judaism recognize few primary sources such as Tanakh, Talmud and Torah. Due to these central references, they have established certain and permanent rules of their religion. Besides, other streams of Judaism have definite differences in a worship and observance of the Holy Scriptures in comparison with the Orthodox Judaism.

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