i figured maybe someone on here would have a good answer..

Discussion in 'Judaism' started by Bohemian_Child, May 17, 2004.

  1. I'm just realizing that in a year im going to have to find my own temple... we are reform (my family) ((was orthodox, when i was 5 became conservative, and at 15 became reform... yeah...))

    Anywho, im looking into the different 'sects' of judaism. Can someone explain modern orthodox? Whats the different between modern orthodox and orthodox? What reforms were made to make it modern, i guess is what im asking... Can girls wear pants and tank tops? Can girls go to services and be equals or would i still be seperate and not allowed to study talmud and my bat mitzvah be negated?

    i guess just a besic synopsis of what modern orthodoxy is and the rules/tenants of that 'branch' is what im looking for.
  2. mikeyjwest

    mikeyjwest Member

    Well, modern orthodox will be a lot different from reform, but in my personal opinion it is more honest. To tell you the truth, your really going to have to go and find out for yourself because a lot of modern orthodox groups dont exactly believe the same thing. Bat mitzvahs dont mean anything. They never did untill very recently. Its just a way for reform parents to institute a misplaced gender equality on the religion. Can you study Talmud? Modern Orthodox arent so uptight like that I dont think, and if you want ot study it you can, but they probably wont encourage you as much as the conservatives might, although the reform probably would encourage you less, because they specifically dont believe everything in the Talmud to be true. So its pretty pointless to study it anyway, because the rules that you are meant to follow are much smaller in number then the ones for men. Your husband should have a firm grasp on the commandments and will likely be able to tell you how to do the ones you do wrong or something like that. Well, I cant speak for anyone, you have to go and talk to the group you find.
  3. dreadyjew

    dreadyjew Member

    I can't speak for any movement or anything, but I can tell you that my girlfriend (she went to Beis Yaakov, a non-modern-orthodox school) as well as a more religious-Zionist, modern orthodox school, saw girls have b'nai mitzvah at both. Bat mitzvah was common amongs many traditional Jews long before the Reform and Conservative movements begand doing it. Additionally, while some more conservative (small "c" conservative) orthodox Jews discourage Talmud study for women, most modern orthodox schools and synagogues encourage it. At my girlfriend's school, all students had to take a class in Mishna and a class in gemara. She also studied Talmud extensively in seminary in Israel after graduating.

    As for your other questions, there's not concrete answer. I definitely know plenty of modern orthodox Jews who are fine wearing pants (maybe not tank tops, but some would), though certainly in synagogue they would adhere more strictly to the laws of tzniut. There are also usually far more women in synagogue at modern orthodox shules than at other orthodox shules, but that's just my observation. Participation in services in shul will still be seperated, men on one side, women on the other. Jewish law holds that there must be a separation during prayer, though modern orthodox shules often hold to the letter of the law, and do things like divide the synagogue down the middle, while other shules may just have a women's section in the back, or a balcony. Women would not participate in leading the service though, as they have no religious obligation to do so, while men do (all commandments that are bound by time apply to men only, while those that are not bound by time apply to men and women equally, and prayer with a minyan is a time-bound commandment). Modern orthodox shules would be far more likely, however, to have women's prayer groups, where women get together and lead services for women only. This is harder to find, unless you're near a LARGE jewish community, like New York or LA.

    As for your comment on being "unequal," I have to disagree. I think that outside of certain Rabbis, synagogues or communities, the VAST majority of orthodox (modern and non-modern) Jews and orthodox Jewish culture DOES see women as equals. They just recognize that equal does not mean "the same." Men and women are different, and according to the Torah, there are different laws that apply to them. I encourage you to check out JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. It is run by Blu Greenberg, the wife of R' Yitz Greenberg. They are something of the First Couple of Progressive Modern Orthodoxy. I think the website is www.jofa.org or something like that. Find it, you'll like it.

    Best of luck on your journey, and as always, I say all of this with no authority whatsoever, so consult your local orthodox rabbi.

  4. well. let me clear up:

    im not totally sure reform is the movement for me, hense me asking. i am pretty religious. in temple i dress extremely conservatively, even at my reform shul i would never wear a tank top... long sleeves and a skirt, and often i wear a head covering of some sort.

    i like orthodoxy except for the inequality between the genders. i couldnt deal with that. that was my main concern about modern orthodoxy. i mean, i keep kosher, i would love to keep the sabbath, i used to but unfortunately circumstances truly dont allow... etc...

    i just dont want to be inferior because of my genetalia... my old ortho temple/ my aunts ortho temple is like that. cant do it.
  5. the dauer

    the dauer Member

    You may feel more comfortable as a frum conservative Jew. In reality, reform came first and conservative Judaism was reform Jews realizing that they had abandoned too much. It is important to remember that the conservative movement has both more liberal and more conservative branches with observance varying from congregation to congregation. It is important to find a congregation that suits you, just as much as it is important to find a sect of Judaism that suits you.

    My favorite congregation is a conservative temple that was dying until a Jewish Renewal rabbi came and brought life back. For me what was important was that they have a traditional service and that the congregation be fully engaged and alive. Just try to actively attend different shuls if you can to help you realize what you are looking for.

  6. ive been to a few conservative temples i liked. the two i belonged to i really really didnt, though. not because of the religion aspect, i simply didnt like the temple/rabbi/cantor/congregation. But im definately considering all branches.

  7. dreadyjew

    dreadyjew Member

    You should check out the Isralight organization, led by Rav David Aaron. Their website is www.isralight.org. If you can check out one of their retreats, I highly suggest that you take the opportunity.

  8. Nigal

    Nigal Member

    Hi! It’s so awesome that you want to embrace your religion. It can be confusing. I am a Noahide and have bounced back and forth about weather to convert and if so, which movement. After going back and forth and back and forth I have decided to stay a Noahide. In that time I went to a lot of different Temples. First off, and this may be unpopular with the more orthodox crowd but…just go! Reform, conservative, orthodox, whatever. Every place is just a starting place. I know some who were orthodox and now go to Reform and they haven’t become any less observant or less religious than before. No one will call you a Temple jumper if you find one doesn’t suite you and you leave. As you grow your needs will change and thus, so will your choice in Temples.

    Just one more thing…

    “i like orthodoxy except for the inequality between the genders. i couldnt deal with that. that was my main concern about modern orthodoxy. i mean, i keep kosher, i would love to keep the sabbath, i used to but unfortunately circumstances truly dont allow... etc...

    i just dont want to be inferior because of my genetalia... my old ortho temple/ my aunts ortho temple is like that. cant do it.”

    You are correct that different movements do make a more defined difference between the sexes and there are reasons for this. The best thing to do is to learn where these distinctions are made and then find out exactly WHY. The answers may surprise you. If you would like a knowledgeable rabbi’s opinion you can go to AskMoses.com and chat live with a learned rabbi 24 hours a day, six days a week.


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