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History



Early Developments

A separate Orthodox community in Germany, officially recognized by the German government, was first established in 1876. In Hungary, the Shomrei ha-Dass (Keepers of the Faith) association was created to combat the rapid spread of Reform Judaism. The traditionalist rabbis in Germany and Hungary refused to be associated with the Reform movement, and formally established what was known as Austritt, or separatist, Judaism.

Schisms and Sects

The separationism that characterized early German Orthodoxy was vigilantly opposed by Rabbi Isaac Dov Bamberger. The major schism within Orthodox Judaism to this day, between the ultra-Orthodox and "modern," or centrist Orthodox, can be traced back to the 19th-century divisions between the German and Hungarian schools of Orthodox Judaism.

Missions and Expansion

Since by its very nature, Judaism is non-evangelistic, one cannot accurately speak of a deliberate, missionary spreading of Orthodox Judaism. However, since the late 1960s, especially in Israel after the Six Day War, a growing number of Orthodox Jewish movements, most famously Chabad/Lubavitch and Aish ha-Torah, have engaged in active religious outreach to non-observant Jews.

Exploration and Conquest

Orthodox Judaism served as a bulwark against the rapid assimilation and widespread conversions to Christianity of German and Austrian European Jews in mid-19th century central Europe. Later, in eastern Europe, Orthodoxy combated the growing popularity of secular Jewish ideologies, such as Zionism and Jewish socialism, among Russian and Polish Jews.

Modern Age

Though all professing the same total commitment to the immaculate truth of Torah and strict adherence Jewish law, Orthodox Jewish institutions in the world's two largest Jewish communities—the United States and Israel—have strikingly different approaches and degrees of stringency with regard to a wide range of social and political issues.