Types of Judaism: Many Ways to Practice, but One Community of Faith

types of judaism

There are many types of Judaism including:

  • conservative
  • orthodox
  • reform
  • secular
  • social
  • Reconstructionist
  • Satman
  • renewal
  • and several others

That being said, most Jews would agree that one is of the Jewish community, which is one community, regardless of the type of Judaism that is practiced.

The way one practices doesn’t necessarily diminish one’s “Jewishness”. Instead, the type of Judaism is about the way that one practices their faith.

This article includes a description of the three types of Judaism.

Types of Judaism: Orthodox

Orthodox Jews are the most strict when it comes to keeping the Jewish laws. They eat a strictly kosher diet and every aspect of their lives, including speech, profession, how they dress and who they keep company with is governed by those laws.

Types of Judaism: Reform

Reform is a type of Judaism in which the followers think that the Torah and other Jewish laws are not something that was intended to be set in stone but rather that changes and evolves over time.

One example is the need to keep a kosher diet. While Orthodox Jews count this as a very important and necessary part of their faith, Reform Jews feel that the majority of food-related laws were put in place for health reasons only based on the conditions that existed at the time that the laws were written. The laws are no longer necessary, they reason, because of such great improvements in sanitary conditions. Therefore, many reform Jews only keep some of the kosher laws.

It is easy to see why that would not sit well with Orthodox Jews. Some feel that the Reform and other types of Judaism that are more progressive, tarnish the religion and allow men too much room to make changes that suit them rather than what would be pleasing to God.

Types of Judaism: Messianic

This is, perhaps, one of the most controversial types of Judaism within the Jewish community. Messianic Jews keep many of the Jewish laws and traditions, but there is one big difference between this type of Judaism and others: Messianic Jews believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.

Other Jews are still waiting for their Messiah. To them, the belief that Jesus is the Messiah is completely outside of the realm of possibility. Still, this is a movement that continues to grow.

Within each of the types of Judaism there are still a lot of differences. For example, one branch of reform Jews may hold to certain of laws while another branch of reform Jews would not. The same is true in all types of Judaism.

That is why one must speak in generalities when describing each group. Because of the fluctuations that exist – even within each group – it is not possible to make a hard and fast list of how each group practices their faith.

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