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A couple of centuries ago, Orthodox Judaism was the only form of Judaism.
Today, Judaism is made up of three main “branches”: Orthodox (very traditional), Reform (also known as Liberal or Progressive), and Conservative, which charts a course between the other two.
Each sect within Hasidic Judaism is led by a rebbe who is believed to have direct access to God.
Kabbalah, which is often described as “Jewish mysticism,” is also central to Hasidic Judaism.
Naturally, there are offshoots, variations, and even hybrids of these three.
Most synagogues are designated by the branch title, similar to a denominational name on a church.
While this article provides a basic overview of Orthodox Judaism, it is important not to make assumptions about an individual because of a label or perceived category.
But how and to what you degree you cover up is largely cultural and not so much a matter of scripture. While the tradition of covering one’s hair is vaguely alluded to in scripture, how this rule is interpreted and practiced is very much cultural.
The term Orthodox, which literally means “right opinion,” began to be used in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to distinguish it from other approaches to Judaism that had begun to develop.
Orthodox was first used as a pejorative term by more progressive Jews but came to be embraced by the traditional adherents of Judaism.
Finally, there are secular or non-religious Jews (also called humanistic or non-theistic Jews) who maintain a Jewish ethnic identity through the observance of many Jewish traditions.
Originally, those traditions had a religious purpose, but secular Jews attach absolutely no religious significance to them today.Orthodoxy, like Christians, Muslims, and other Judaic sects, dictates abstinence before the covenant of marriage... “This was a lot easier to do when people got married at 18,” acknowledged one of the Modern Orthodox women I spoke to.