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The Ins and Outs of Orthodox Judaism

If an individual believes in the strictest interpretation of the laws and ethics provided in the Talmudic texts, they most likely belong to the sect of Orthodox Judaism. Orthodox Jews follow the entire Torah and Talmud, whether it is the written word or oral teachings. They believe that this wisdom was handed down to Moses by God and is the only way to follow the religion.

Following the leadership of the Orthodox Union, Orthodox Jews in the United States and Canada belong to about 1,000 synagogues stretching across North America. They are known for disregarding the changes that have taken place with Reform Judaism and stay true to the majority of traditional Jewish beliefs and practices. Some of the practices of the Orthodox sect include:

·    Traditional prayers and ceremonies
·    Routine and intense study of the Torah
·    The separation of men and women in the synagogue
·    Daily worship
·    Strict observance of the Sabbath
·    No instrumental music during communal services
·    Following dietary laws (kashruth)

While Orthodox Jews consider followers of the Reform and Conservative Jewish faith, they do not embrace marriages, divorces, or conversions associated with non-Orthodox traditions. It is their belief that since they were not performed in accordance to Jewish law, they are not to be recognized.

Facts About Orthodox Judaism

·    It is the Orthodox Union that is behind the OU Kosher division, which certifies an estimated 660,000 products. Across 77 countries about the world, you will find the OU symbol, which is regarded as one of the most common certification symbols displayed on kosher foods.

·    Some of the practices associated with Orthodox Jews include circumcision for males, family purity laws (which include no sexual intercourse during certain periods surrounding menstruation and childbirth), and no adulterous actions allowed.

·    In many circles, an Orthodox Jew is often identified by the kind of clothing they wear and lifestyle they lead. Orthodox men wear the traditional skullcap called a Kipa. Modest attire is typical for Orthodox women, who often cover most of their skin. Most married women will cover their hair by wearing a bandana, hat, or even a wig.

·    There are strong views regarding the historical understanding of Jewish identity with Orthodox Judaism. They regard a Jew as someone who was born to a Jewish mother, or who converts to Judaism in accordance with Jewish law and tradition.

·    Intermarriage is strongly objected in the Orthodox Judaic sect. An individual that intermarries is typically cut off from the majority of the Orthodox community. Keep in mind that there are a few Orthodox Jewish organizations that attempt to reach out to intermarried Jews.