Complete this analogy – Protestant : denomination :: Jew : ?

What is the right word for the divisions of Judaism? In Protestantism, the separate versions, such as Methodist an Lutheran, are called “denominations”. Judaism has Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed versions. Is “denomination” the correct word there, as well, or is another term used?

I’m not quite sure what you’re asking so I’m going to break down your proportion this way:

A Protestant is one who associates his beliefs with those of a Denomination of Christianity.

A Jew is one who associates his beliefs with those of an entire Religion.

I think that makes your missing term = Religion.

If that’s not what you’re trying to solve for, maybe another proportion will get at it better.

I’m trying to find the Jewish analog for the word “denomination”. Are Orthodoxy and Conservatism called “sects”, “divisions”, “partitions” or something else? Or do they also use the word “denomination”?

That’s a better wording for what you’re after. A Jew and a Christian are both members of different Religions. A Protestant is a menber of a Denomination. What you’re looking for (I believe) is the name for the category that an Orthodox Jew fits in, right? If so, I don’t know the correct answer, but I would guess at “Division” without doing some searches at Google, Yahoo! or Wikipedia.


How many divisions has the Pope?

Huh? You mean like in his army?

“Divisions” has a strangely military sound to it. This is the only context I’ve ever heard the word “divisions” applied with a reference to religion.

better link

I didn’t get much data on that link. I agree that “division” may not be the term for this concept, but I also don’t think “sect” applies. That’s just a guess. I say again that I don’t know the right term. I’ll be surprised but not heartbroken if it’s “sect.”

Protestantism and Catholicism are sects of the Christian belief system.Methodism & Lutheranism are denominations of Protestantism.
Judaism is another belief system. Hasidic and Sephardic are sects in that belief system.
I think.

One might conclude from this definition that if there is such a term for distinguishing the Orthodox from the Conservative aspects of Judaism, it must not be a big enough deal to use it in a dictionary definition. Obviously, the Dick is no help in this quest.

If you put much stock in what Wikipedia has to say about things, this article might persuade you that “stream” could apply. I never heard of such a thing, but then I’m no expert on Judaism – not by a long shot.

Judaism is divided by tradition, movement and sect. Tradition (No! I am not doing the Fiddler bit!) is either Ashkenazic (European), or Sephardic (Spanish and Mediterranean). At present we have four movements- Orthodox (strict traditionalists), Conservative (less strict and willing to change or discard some things), Reform (very liberal interpretation of rules and traditions) and Reconstructionist (this focuses on Jews as a people and culture and not so much on G-d.). There is great variation within each movement. Sects are groups within movements which follow the ideas of a specific rabbi or rabbis. The Lobavicher and Chasids are both Orthodox, but differ on some things they consider very important. In fact, at least one other rabbi placed the founder of Chasidism in herem (essentially excommunication) and laid a series of ritual curses on him - IIRC “May he be cursed in his going out, cursed in his coming back, cursed in the day and cursed at night. May he be cursed at home and cursed when he travels,” It goes on from there.

I usually hear the word “branches” used to describe the various forms of Judaism. Wikipedia, though, uses “demoninations” which I think is perfectly accurate. Jewish denominations

I think “branch” is right on.

Let me ask a question, possibly very naive, but my knowledge of Christianity is negligeable. If you are a member of, say, a Baptist church and you decide to join instread, say, a Methodist church, you have to undergo any formal conversion? How about to Catholicism or back?

Although I personally practice no religion, as a born Jew I would feel perfectly at home in any synagogue, except for the hernetic ones such as Lubavitcher. There is a synagogue in Barbados that was originally sephardic (and looks it, eith the bima–pulpit–in the middle) which disappeared in 1928 and was revived by European refugees who started arriving in 1929, of course as an Ashkenazy synagogue without making any changes to the archtecture. Incidentally, that community has mostly disappeared mostly having migrated to the US and the synagogue survives mainly as a tourist attraction. It has been very beautifully restored.

It is going to depend on the church (either the denomination or the local congregation), and there will not be one rule for all cases.
To “become” either Catholic or Orthodox, there will, indeed, be a formal procedure including instructions and a formal rite of initiation. (If a person has already been baptized into a Christian church, Catholics and Orthodox may recognize the baptism (if it is carried out according to form), but the person will still need to be accepted into the church. If the person has never been baptized, then that rite will be required.

On the other hand, there are any number of stories of people switching back and forth among various Protestant denominations simply by showing up at the service some Sunday. I am sure that some are more formal, in parallel to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, but I could not provide a list of which denominations do or do not follow the more formal procedures.

Doc Cathode has identified the way that Jews consider their religion, I just want to add that what he calls “movement” is also sometimes called “branch.”

It also depends on what you mean by “joining.”

Many protestant churches have processes for actually joining the church. For the ones I’ve attended regularly, this includes a class saying “this is who we are - this is what we believe” the potential members also meet the people who have positions of authority in the church, and formally profess their faith. All in all, it takes a small amount of time (maybe a few months), because there’s a level of commitment that is implied by joining a church (it’s not a marriage, but there is a level).

OTOH, if you just want to attend services, get religious instruction, and/or give time and energy to God through the church - for many churches, all that’s required is showing up.

I think if you ask Jews, they’ll tell you the word is opfregn. :slight_smile: