While the beliefs and practices of Orthodox Jews date back to the very inception of the Jewish faith, the term “Orthodox Judaism” is of modern origin. First coined in the 1800s by assimilated German Jews interested in an updated form of the Jewish religion, “Orthodox Judaism” initially connoted overly strict adherence to a system of doctrine and law that was no longer relevant in the period of the Enlightenment (Spiro 2010). Perhaps because of the unflattering connotations of the term “Orthodox Judaism,” many modern-day Orthodox Jews refer to themselves as “Torah Jews” or “Observant Jews” – implying that rather than adherence to an outdated system of ritual, Orthodox Jews live in accordance with the timeless Will of God as revealed in the Torah, or God’s Law given at Mount Sinai.
There are several sects of Orthodox Judaism, including Ashkenazi (European descent), Sephardic (Middle Eastern descent), Hasidic (followers of Israel Baal Shem Tov), and Religious Zionist. However, what...
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