Orthodox Judaism

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Samson Raphael Hirsch's Jeschurun , October 1854.

The Orthodox Judaism (from ancient Greek ὀρθός Orthos , "right" and δόξα Doxa , "teaching" - that is "the right doctrine belonging") is one of the main currents of modern Judaism next to the Conservative Judaism , the liberal Judaism (also known as Reform Judaism ) and reconstructionism . Today's Orthodox Judaism is mostly divided into the two main directions modern Orthodox Judaism and ultra -Orthodox Judaism ; To what extent certain historical groups are forerunners of certain current groups is partly controversial. So become a rabbiSamson Raphael Hirsch , whose movement in the 19th century is mostly referred to as neo-orthodox, is claimed by both modern-orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews.

The term “Orthodox Judaism” emerged in the 19th century to differentiate it from the then newly emerging Reform Judaism.


The term orthodox was probably introduced as a pejorative association of Christian orthodoxy by liberal Judaism. As early as the 19th century it was pointed out that the term orthopraxis Judaism (from the Greek ὀρϑός orthós, “correct”, and πρᾶξις prāxis, “doing”, “acting”) is more appropriate. Occasionally the terms “Torah-abiding”, “law-abiding” or “Torah-observant Judaism” are used. The common term is now "orthodox"; this designation is also used as a self-designation.

In Orthodox Judaism, Jews are only considered to be those who were either born to a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism according to the rules of Orthodox Judaism .

Basis of Orthodox Judaism

Orthodox Judaism is based on the doctrine handed down in writing and orally, which is recorded in the Torah and Talmud . It continues to develop these principles in the subsequent works of rabbinic Judaism to this day. In Orthodox Judaism, the entire Torah is the authoritative word of God, but its interpretation is developed and increasingly unfolded over time. The authority of the Torah is formative for orthodox Jewish life, which is understood as a holistic worship service.

Alignments and movements

There are many different groups in Orthodox Judaism, which differ in their different orientations (e.g. more mystical or more rational) or different customs (shaped in regions of origin such as Eastern Europe, Germany, Yemen , Ethiopia , etc.). Today, these groups are often distributed across many countries, regardless of their region of origin, and in some cases are hardly represented in their region of origin.

The Hasidism is created in Eastern Europe movement which today involves many different and independent groups. With the movement of the same name in Germany in the Middle Ages ( Chasside Aschkenas ) it does not have much in common.

The Mizrachim and Sephardim follow the Shulchan Aruch in their religious practice .

Way of life

Orthodox Jews live their lives according to the Halacha , which was laid down in traditional works such as the Shulchan Aruch. Innovations are interpreted by the rabbis based on this halacha . Orthodox Judaism is thus able to react to changes without changing anything in the traditional written regulations.

The consistent observance of the Sabbath , the kosher diet and the rules of marital relationships (Taharat HaMischpacha) are of particular importance . Conservative Jews, on the other hand, keep these commandments partly in a modified form, partly not at all.

Orthodox Jewish men always wear a head covering as a sign of reverence for God. Usually a kippah is used for this; the ultra-Orthodox also wear a hat over their kippah. Orthodox Jewish women dress modestly (“tzniusdik”); they usually wear a long skirt. Married Orthodox Jewish women also cover their hair in public (with a headscarf, turban, bonnet, hairnet, hat, cap or wig).


  • Mordechai Breuer : Jewish Orthodoxy in the German Empire 1871–1918. Social history of a religious minority. Jewish publishing house at Athenaeum, Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-76-100397-8 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Orthodox Judaism  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
  • Judaism Online - A portal on the subject of Orthodox Judaism in German

Individual evidence

  1. a b “The word 'orthodox' means 'orthodox'. It is used to describe those Jews who, despite the Enlightenment and social changes after emancipation, did not change their beliefs and customs. […] The term came up in the 19th century and was probably used in a polemical way by the supporters of the reform movement […] It is rightly pointed out that for Orthodox Jews, 'orthodoxy' is less the focus than the right one Way of keeping the mitzvot . That is why it is better to speak of 'orthopraxia' or the 'movement of the real practitioner'. "Gilbert S. Rosenthal, Walter Homolka " Judaism has many faces - the religious currents of the present ", pp. 144ff .; Gütersloh publishing house, Gütersloh, 2000.