- Judaism as observed by Reform Jews.[1900-05]
* * *Religious movement that has modified or abandoned many traditional Jewish beliefs and practices in an effort to adapt Judaism to the modern world.It originated in Germany in 1809 and spread to the U.S. in the 1840s under the leadership of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise. Reform Judaism permits men and women to sit together in the synagogue, incorporates choir and organ music in the service, holds a confirmation ceremony for girls parallel to the boys' Bar Mitzvah, and does not observe daily public worship, strict dietary laws, or the restriction of normal activities on the Sabbath. Its principles, initially enunciated in the Pittsburgh Platform (1885), were revised in the Columbus Platform (1937) to support traditional customs and ceremonies and the liturgical use of Hebrew. The Reform movement continues to move toward Orthodox Judaism without embracing all its strictures.
* * *a religious movement that has modified or abandoned many traditional Jewish beliefs, laws, and practices in an effort to adapt Judaism to the changed social, political, and cultural conditions of the modern world. Reform Judaism sets itself at variance with Orthodox Judaism by challenging the binding force of ritual, laws, and customs set down in the Bible and in certain books of rabbinic origin (e.g., the Talmud).The movement began early in the 19th century, in Germany, with appeals from laymen for an updating of the Jewish liturgy and other rituals. With the liberation of Jews from their ghettos, many Jews began to question their allegiance to such traditions as restrictive dietary laws, prayers in Hebrew, and the wearing of special outfits that set them apart as Jews. Many felt that Judaism would lose Jews to other religions if steps were not taken to bring Judaism into the 19th century.Israel Jacobson (1768–1828), a Jewish layman, established an innovative school in Seesen, Brunswick, in 1801. There he held the first Reform services in 1810, attended by adults as well as children. Jacobson's liturgy was in German rather than Hebrew; organ and choir music were added to the service; and Jacobson instituted confirmation for both boys and girls to replace the traditional boys' bar mitzvah ceremony. The liturgy omitted all references to a personal messiah who would restore Israel as a nation. Jacobson held Reform services in Berlin in 1815; and from there Reform practices spread to Denmark, Hamburg, Leipzig, Vienna, and Prague.Although the Prussian government issued prohibitions under pressure from Orthodox leaders, the movement could not be stifled. Reform worshippers were no longer required to cover their heads or wear the prayer shawl (ṭallit). Daily public worship was abandoned; work was permitted on the Sabbath; and dietary laws (kashrut) were declared obsolete.Rabbi Abraham Geiger (Geiger, Abraham) (1810–74) was one of the leading ideologists of the Reform movement. He concluded that the essence of Judaism is belief in the one true God of all mankind, the practice of eternally valid ethical principles, and the communication of these truths to all nations of the world. Samuel Holdheim (Holdheim, Samuel) (1806–60) rejected Jewish marriage and divorce laws as obsolete, arguing that such codes fell outside the ethical and doctrinal functions of Judaism and were superseded by the laws of the state. He agreed with Geiger that monotheism and ethics are the principal criteria of authentic Judaism. Both felt that Judaism must be a living, constantly developing faith, compatible with the spirit of the times.Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise (Wise, Isaac Mayer) (1819–1900), a German emigrant, was a central figure in the remarkable success of Reform Judaism in the United States, where it had begun in 1841 when a congregation in Charleston, S.C., joined the Reform movement. Wise not only issued a widely influential prayer book (1857) but eventually established the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (1873), the Hebrew Union College (1875) for the education of Reform rabbis, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (1889).Two other emigrants, David Einhorn (1809–79) and Samuel Hirsch (Hirsch, Samuel) (1815–89), provided the theoretical foundations of American Reform. Hirsch was chairman of the first conference of American Reform rabbis, which met in Philadelphia in 1869. It declared that Jews should no longer look forward to a return to Palestine, and it rejected belief in bodily resurrection after death. The question of Zionism, support for an independent Jewish nation, was controversial within the Reform movement until the establishment of Israel in 1948.In 1937 several fundamental principles of earlier Reform Judaism were dramatically revised. In that year an important conference of Reform rabbis issued the Columbus (Ohio) Platform, supporting the use of traditional customs and ceremonies and the liturgical use of Hebrew. In the late 20th century the Central Conference of American Rabbis continued to debate how best to continue the spirit of the Reform movement. It issued several new prayer books for the modern age and considered such issues as inclusion of single parents in the congregation, the position of women in the congregation and in the rabbinate, and homosexuality.
* * *
Look at other dictionaries:
REFORM JUDAISM — REFORM JUDAISM, first of the modern interpretations of Judaism to emerge in response to the changed political and cultural conditions brought about by the emancipation . The Reform movement was a bold historical response to the dramatic events of … Encyclopedia of Judaism
Reform Judaism — refers to the spectrum of beliefs, practices and organizational infrastructure associated with Reform Judaism in North America and in the United Kingdom. [Meyer, Michael. Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New… … Wikipedia
Reform Judaism — Reform′ Ju′daism n. jud a branch of Judaism that stresses ethical teachings and frequently simplifies or rejects traditional beliefs and practices to meet the conditions of contemporary life Compare Orthodox Judaism Conservative Judaism •… … From formal English to slang
Reform Judaism — noun 1. the most liberal Jews; Jews who do not follow the Talmud strictly but try to adapt all of the historical forms of Judaism to the modern world • Hypernyms: ↑Judaism, ↑Hebraism, ↑Jewish religion • Member Meronyms: ↑Reform Jew 2. beliefs and … Useful english dictionary
Reform Judaism — noun A form of Judaism less strict than most others, with services often conducted with less Hebrew. See Also: Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Chasidim, Jew, Jewish … Wiktionary
Reform Judaism — noun a form of Judaism which has reformed or abandoned aspects of Orthodox Jewish worship and ritual in an attempt to adapt to modern life. Derivatives Reform Jew noun … English new terms dictionary
Reform Judaism — noun Date: circa 1905 Judaism marked by a liberal approach in nonobservance of much legal tradition regarded as irrelevant to the present and in shortening and simplification of traditional ritual compare Conservative Judaism, Orthodox Judaism … New Collegiate Dictionary
Reform Judaism — /rəfɔm ˈdʒudeɪˌɪzəm/ (say ruhfawm joohday.izuhm) noun a branch of Judaism originating in the 19th century, which adapts historical Judaism to modern life and does not require strict observance of traditional law … Australian English dictionary
Reform Judaism — the most liberal branch of Judaism … English contemporary dictionary
Reform Judaism (North America) — Reform Judaism is the largest denomination of American Jews today. [Bob Abernathy, [http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week238/cover.html Reform Judaism ] , Public Broadcasting Service, May 1999.] [Matthew Wagner and Greer Fay Cashman,… … Wikipedia