The form of Judaism that most strictly adheres to Jewish traditions. In this it contrasts with the other main forms of the faith, Reform and Conservative. Unlike Reform or Conservative Jews, Orthodox believers argue that Jewish practice cannot be altered by historical events or developments. It is not an ongoing process but rather a settled and eternal tradition. This tradition was established by God’s revelations to Moses on Mount Sinai, by the appearance of the oral and written Torah, and by the rabbis and elders who devised the Talmud. For the Orthodox, modern Jews must live their lives according to the commandments and strictures of that tradition in order to be true members of Is- Followers of Orthodox Judaism follow strict interpretations of the written and oral Torah, which they believe was handed down to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. © RICHARD T. NOWITZ/CORBIS rael. The name Orthodox Judaism was first used in 1795 by believers reacting against various reform movements, and the Orthodox came to see Reform or Conservative Jews as gentiles rather than practicing Jews. Within the broad category of Orthodox Judaism there are important divisions. One of them is the divide between socalled integrationist Jews and segregationist Jews. Integrationists believe that it is possible to live fully in the secular world in economic, social, and political senses while maintaining the Torah. Most Orthodox Jews in the United States as well as Europe are integrationists. In the United States they maintain such institutions as the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (which has the task of certifying kosher food, or food prepared according to religious dietary laws) and Chicago’s Hebrew Theological College. Segregationist groups argue that Jews should live entirely apart from gentiles, and there are several important such groups in Israel, where they maintain their own educational systems and even political parties. Some of these reject even the secular nature of the Israeli state.
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