Reform Jew vs. Orthodox Jew

;j Anyway, what was the reform in Judaism? When did it happen? Was it merely representative?

I’m not quite sure what you’re asking, but I’ll take a stab at it while waiting for the better-educated to jump in.

The Reform movement began in early nineteenth century Germany, with Jews who wanted to ‘update’ the religion to make it easier to fit in with contemporary society. They discarded those beliefs and rituals that they felt were unnecessary for modern people, and added others to make practices more similar to those of neighboring Christians. (Conservative Judaism, btw, started as a breakaway movement from Reform. It was made up of those who felt that Reform was moving too far away from tradition; I think the immediate cause was the decision to shift prayers from Hebrew to the lingua franca. However, it’s been a while since eleventh grade Jewish History (when I formally learned all of this stuff), so I can’t swear to it.)

As I see it, the major reform of Reform Judaism was the belief that the Torah was written by men, rather than God-given. This belief enables one to pick and choose among practices to keep what one finds personally relevant. Of course, I’m Orthodox, which obviously influences my take on all of this.

Was it ‘merely representative’? Well, what do you mean by that? (I couldn’t let that go without answering a question with a question, could I?)