Orthodox and Reform Jews

Within Judaism there are different denominations often referred to as 'movements'. Two of these movements are:

  • Orthodox Jews
  • Reform Jews

These groups of Jews have slightly different interpretations of the sacred texts of Judaism. This leads to slightly different teachings and practices, especially when looking at gender equality.

Orthodox Jews

Orthodox Jews hold very traditional values of Judaism. They believe that the Torah was written by God. They therefore stick rigidly to the beliefs, teachings and practices, and do not believe that they should be changed to meet the changes of society.

In Orthodox Judaism, the role of women is generally seen as separate but of equal value. Women's obligations and responsibilities are different from men's, but no less important. The primary role of a woman is as wife and mother.

Reform Jews

Reform Jews believe that the Torah was inspired by God but written by humans. As a result, they have a more relaxed and open view of the beliefs, teachings and practices of Judaism. They are willing to make changes in order to keep up with the changes we are seeing in society.

Reform Jews believe in the equality of men and women. Both husband and wife may work outside the home, take part in domestic work and raise the children.

A  prayer shawl, known as a tallith, which is a Jewish religious symbol, with a Jewish prayer
The interpretation of the Torah is the main difference between the Jewish movements