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Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.[1] In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the surrounding culture. Many branches of Reform Judaism hold that Jewish law should be interpreted as a set of general guidelines rather than as a list of restrictions whose literal observance is required of all Jews.[2][3] Similar movements that may also be called "Reform" include the Israeli Progressive Movement and its worldwide counterpart.

Reform Judaism in North America

Reform Judaism is one of the two North American denominations affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism. It is the largest denomination of American Jews today.[4][5] With an estimated 1.1 million members, it also accounts for the largest number of Jews affiliated with Progressive Judaism worldwide.

Reform Judaism in Britain

UK Reform is one of two Progressive movements in the UK. For details on the relationship between the two progressive movements, see Progressive Judaism (United Kingdom).

Progressive Judaism in Israel

After a failed attempt in the 1930s to start an Israeli movement, the World Union for Progressive Judaism tried again in the 1970s and created the movement now known as the Israeli Progressive Movement. Because the first rabbis in the 1970s were trained in the United States, the Israeli press and public often refers to the Israeli Progressive Movement as "Reform".

Reform movement in Judaism

Along with other forms of non-orthodox Judaism, the US Reform, UK Reform, and Israeli Progressive Movement can all trace their intellectual roots to the Reform movement in Judaism.[6][7][8] Elements of Orthodoxy developed their cohesive identity in reaction to the Reform movement in Judaism.[7]

Although North American Reform, UK Reform, and Israeli Progressive Judaism all share an intellectual heritage, they have taken places at different ends of the non-orthodox spectrum. The US Reform movement reflects the more radical end. The UK Reform[9][10][11], and Progressive Israeli movements,[12] along with the North American Conservative movement and Masorti Judaism, occupy the more conservative end of the non-orthodox Judaisms.

See also

  • Beliefs and practices in Progressive Judaism, for more about the platforms of the different denominations of Reform Judaism
  • Liberal Judaism
  • Reform movement in Judaism
  • Progressive Judaism
  • Cantor in Reform Judaism
  • Reform Judaism (magazine)


  1. Meyer, Michael. Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York, USA: Oxford University Press, 1988), viii. "Reform Judaism" refers to a "particular position on the contemporary Jewish religious spectrum represented by a broad consensus of beliefs and practices and a a set of integrated institutions. Note: in the remainder of his book Meyer is quite specific about where he uses the phrase "Reform Judaism"—it is used only in connection with the U.S. Reform (pp.227–334, 353–384) and UK Reform (p. 347) denominations.
  2. ReligionFacts - Reform Judaism
  3. What is Reform Judaism?
  4. Bob Abernathy, Reform Judaism, Public Broadcasting Service, May 1999.
  5. Matthew Wagner and Greer Fay-Cashman, Reform rabbis offended by Katsav, Jerusalem Post, June 2006.
  6. Louis Jacobs, The Emergence of Modern Denominationalism I: Modernization and its discontents: the Jewish Enlightenment and the emergence of the Reform movement from The Jewish Religion: A Companion, Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN 0198264631
  7. 7.0 7.1 Louis Jacobs, The Emergence of Modern Denominationalism II: The development of Orthodox, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Judaism from The Jewish Religion: A Companion, Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN 0198264631
  8. Meyer, Response to Modernity, viii
  9. URJ. "What is Progressive Judaism in Great Britain all about? What is it like to be Jewish in Great Britain? How is it different from being Jewish in North America? "
  10. Usenet FAQ. "How is Reform Judaism structured in the rest of the world?"
  11. Judaism 101:Movements of Judaism
  12. IMPJ. "Progressive Judaism in Israel"

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Reform Judaism. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.