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Judaism is a monotheistic religion that began over 4000 years ago and these days Judaism is said to have over 10 million followers worldwide. Some of these followers live their lives in strict accordance with traditional Jewish laws and customs, while others have a more relaxed, modern view about what it means to be Jewish. This modern approach to Judaism is referred to as Liberal or Reform Judaism.
Jewish tradition and law dates back thousands of years when Moses is said to have spoken to God on the top of Mount Sinai. God gave Moses a set of rules that he said all Jews should abide by. These rules had to do with everything from diet to family relationships, but Jews observe each of these rules differently depending on whether they are Orthodox, Conservative or Liberal Reformists.
Most Liberal Reformists fully integrate themselves within modern culture believing that a person’s actions and demeanor are more important than the need to strictly follow Jewish laws. Reformists, therefore, try to live good, honest lives adopting Jewish practices where they see fit.
Reformist Judaism began in the mid-1800s in Germany. Samuel Holdheim, a rabbi, philosopher, teacher and master of Talmudic argumentation, is considered to be the founding father of this movement. Holdheim’s message to others can be simplified by his statement, ”Judaism is not a religion of dead creed, but of living deeds.” Holdheim essentially believed that Jewish law had to evolve as society evolved.
The plight of the Liberal Reformist is to adapt historical Jewish customs and the laws of traditional Judaism to the modern world.
Some Liberal Reformists study the Talmud and eat only kosher foods, while others don’t. The point is that each person takes their faith into their own hands and follows tradition as the see fit.