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Judaism

1. How does contemporary Judaism reflect both historic tradition and the modern world?

2.Discuss a Biblical and/or historical Jew who made an important contribution to Jewish history. What was that person's influence and how did he or she change the course of world events?

3.How has the history of Judaism influenced the Jewish people's understanding of themselves? Choose an important event in Jewish history and discuss how this event influenced Jewish identity. Is this influence still felt today?

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1. How does contemporary Judaism reflect both historic tradition and the modern world?

Over the past few centuries, contemporary Judaism has developed several major movements or divisions, each reflecting both historic tradition and the modern world to varying degrees. These divisions are based on differences in practice incorporating aspects of the modern world, not differences in belief. Most of contemporary Jews fall under one of three main groups: Orthodox, Conservative, or Reformed Jews. Orthodox Judaism adheres very much to the old ways, abiding by all the laws of Torah in comparison to Reform and Conservative Judaism. (1) In comparison, Reform Judaism had its origins in 19th century Germany, with the European Enlightenment. Their changes (reforms) reflected the modern world and were intended to allow them to better assimilate into the larger society, to drop much of what set them apart from the surrounding Christian culture. These Jews did not adopt Christian beliefs, but much of contemporary Reform Jewish practice was modeled after Protestant Christian practice. Yet Reform Jews also hold to their ancient Jewish heritage by continuing to observe and celebrate the same Jewish holidays as the Orthodox do - the Reformers simply do so in more liberal and creative ways. (1) On the other hand, the Conservative Jews are considered the "middle-of-the-road" tradition- somewhere between Orthodox and Reform in their practice. Conservative Judaism was a response to the early reformers. The conservatives wanted to conserve some of the old ways while still adjusting somewhat to modern life. (1)

As a case in point, tradition incorporates aspects of the modern world like including girls in the coming of age tradition. For example, Jewish tradition involves life cycle events, such as birth, marriage coming of age and death. LIFE IS CELEBRATED through the marking of major transitions in a ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the questions on aspects of Judaism in some detail, contemporary Judaism reflects both historic tradition and the modern world, etc.

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