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Judaism Today As with many religions, Judaism divided into different groups throughout time. The three main groups are: Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism holds on to all of the ancient Jewish traditions and does not believe that they can be changed in any way. Orthodox Jews strictly follow the Laws of the Hebrew Scriptures or the Old Testament. The Hebrew language is used in all religious services and men and women sit separately in the synagogue. All of the food laws are still adhered to and only food that is considered kosher (clean) may be eaten. This makes eating out quite difficult as only kosher restaurants may be used. Men always wear a hat or a skullcap as a mark of respect to God. The Sabbath is kept as a complete day of rest with no travel, cooking or work of any kind allowed. Conservative Judaism Conservative Judaism began in America and attempts to hold on to as many Jewish traditions as possible. However, it recognises that life is very different for Jews today when compared to the experiences of those in the Hebrew Scriptures. They still follow the dietary laws and the laws of the Sabbath and other celebrations, but they do allow some changes. For example, women and men are allowed to sit together in the synagogue and Hebrew does not have to be used for all of the services. For the first time in 1960 Conservative Jews could use electricity on the Sabbath and could use their cars to travel to and from the synagogue. Reform Judaism Reform Judaism believes that every generation has the right to choose which traditions they accept, reject or change. The Sabbath and other festivals are still considered to be important but men do not have to wear the traditional dress to worship. Hebrew is not used very often and women play a much greater role in services than in the other branches of Judaism. It is entirely up to the individual to choose whether they want to follow the dietary laws or not. Questions: 1. Which is the strictest form of Judaism? 2. Name two changes that Conservative Judaism has allowed? 3. What is the attitude towards the use of the Hebrew language in religious services in each of the branches? 4. Read Deuteronomy 14:3-10 and describe the Jewish food (dietary) laws in your own words.