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Reform Judiasm

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Reform Judaism

Tamara Rice
Instructor: Eric Speir
REL 212
March 11th, 2012

Background

Over a month ago when I selected the topic of Judaism as the subject for my field research paper, I thought that the outcome would be cut and dry. I knew that Judaism served as the foundation for my own faith (Christianity) and that Jews honored the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. I also had in my mind the imagery of the Star of David, the Torah scroll and the male rabbi in the synagogue donning a prayer shawl over his shoulders and a kippah on the crown of his head. I believed that I had the general concepts of the Jewish faith in my mind; I just needed to witness a virtual worship service and fill in some of the minor details while gathering some additional intelligence on some misconceptions. So I decided to go over to the Ustream for “Shir Hadash” and witness a Community Shabbat (Sabbath) Service (Ustream, 2011). What I discovered watching the 2.5 hour Shabbat service followed by some additional research gave me a rude awakening. The impression of Judaism that I’ve carried with me up to this point is what is known as Orthodox Judaism. The Jews that I’ve witnessed in tight-knit communities in places such as Brooklyn, New York and Oak Park, Michigan were towns filled with Orthodox Jews. In addition to Orthodox Judaism, there is also Conservative Judaism. Conservative Judaism reverences traditional Jewish practices in America, but also accepts modern culture outside of tradition in daily life.

Community Shabbat Service at Shir Hadash

The Shir Hadash congregation just outside of Los Angeles, California is part of the “Union for Reform Judaism.” Reform (or Liberal) Judaism is a separate branch from Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism (Congregation Shir Hadash, 2011). As we enter temple at Shir Hadash on…...

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