Streams of Judaism

There are different streams of Judaism, each with different religious practices and observances.  Below we briefly outline their practices in relation to Shabbat, as this Campaign is involved with attending synagogue.  There are links to each movement’s website for further information.  Even within a stream, practices may vary, so it is helpful to speak to someone at the synagogue before going if you have any questions.  If you would like to be put in touch with someone, please contact us.

Religious streams:

Ultra-orthodox Judaism

Ultra-orthodox Jews observe Jewish laws in a very strict fashion and live as a closed community.  ‘Chabad Lubavitch’ and ‘Charedi’ are examples of ultra-orthodox groups.

http://www.chabad.org.uk/

 

Orthodox Judaism

Orthodox, or Modern Orthodox, Jews observe Jewish law in a strict fashion, but generally live and work within mainstream British society.  Orthodox Jews do not use electricity or money on Shabbat.  Men and women play different roles in synagogue services, and sit seperately.  The United Synagogue, and The Federation of Synagogues are both Orthodox synagogue organisations.

http://www.theus.org.uk/

http://www.federationofsynagogues.com/

 

Masorti Judaism

Masorti Judaism is traditional.  Members will not use electricity or money on Shabbat.  Each Masorti synagogue has a different perspective on the role of men and women; some are egalitarian, whilst others have separate seating and roles.

http://www.masorti.org.uk/

 

Reform Judaism

Reform Jews make their own decisions about how to observe Shabbat, so practices vary greatly and there is an acceptance of diversity of practice.

http://www.reformjudaism.org.uk/

 

Liberal Judaism

Liberal Jews make their own decisions about how to observe Shabbat, so practices vary greatly and there is an acceptance of diversity of practice.

http://www.liberaljudaism.org/

 

Ethnic Streams:

There are 2 streams of ethnic origins of Jewish families in the UK.  Each has a different culture, and their food, music and some religious practices vary.  Most UK Jews are Ashkenazi.  Jews of any ethnic background can join any synagogue, but there are some synagogues which are Sephardi, whose services are different from the Ashkenazi services held in most synagogues.

 

Sephardi

Sephardi Jews originate from Spain, Portugal, France, North Africa and Middle-Eastern countries such as Yemen and Iraq.

Ashkenazi

Ashkenazi Jews originate from Eastern, Northern and Central Europe