kids encyclopedia robot

Orthodox Judaism facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Koppel reich
Jewish cemetery in Budapest, circa 1920; the Yiddish word ארטאדאקסען (Ortodoksen, "Orthodox") is on the wall at left. Hungarian Jews were the first to use the term "orthodox", in forming an independent Orthodox organization.
Part of a series on
Star of David.svg Lukhot Habrit.svg Menora.svg
Jewish religious movements
Orthodox (Haredi • Hasidic • Modern)
Conservative • Reform
Reconstructionist • Renewal • Humanistic
Jewish philosophy
Principles of faith • Kabbalah • Messiah • Ethics
Chosenness • Names of God • Musar
Religious texts
Tanakh (Torah • Nevi'im • Ketuvim)
Ḥumash • Siddur • Piyutim • Zohar
Rabbinic literature (Talmud • Midrash • Tosefta)
Religious Law
Mishneh Torah • Tur
Shulchan Aruch • Mishnah Berurah
Kashrut • Tzniut • Tzedakah • Niddah • Noahide laws
Holy cities
Jerusalem • Safed • Hebron • Tiberias
Important figures
Abraham • Isaac • Jacob
Moses • Aaron • David • Solomon
Sarah • Rebecca • Rachel  • Leah
Rabbinic sages
Jewish life cycle
Brit • Pidyon haben • Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Marriage • Bereavement
Religious roles
Rabbi • Rebbe • Posek • Hazzan/Cantor
Dayan • Rosh yeshiva • Mohel • Kohen/Priest
Religious buildings & institutions
Synagogue • Beth midrash • Mikveh
Sukkah • Chevra kadisha
Holy Temple / Tabernacle
Jewish education
Yeshiva • Kollel • Cheder
Religious articles
Sefer Torah • Tallit • Tefillin • Tzitzit • Kippah
Mezuzah • Hanukiah/Menorah • Shofar
4 Species • Kittel • Gartel
Jewish prayers and services
Shema • Amidah • Aleinu • Kaddish • Minyan
Birkat Hamazon • Shehecheyanu • Hallel
Havdalah • Tachanun • Kol Nidre • Selichot
Judaism & other religions
Christianity • Islam • Judeo-Christian
Abrahamic faiths
Related topics
Antisemitism • The Holocaust • Israel • Zionism

Orthodox Judaism is the term for the traditionalist and theologically conservative branches of contemporary Judaism. It regards the Torah, both Written and Oral, as revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and faithfully transmitted ever since.

Orthodox Judaism advocates a strict observance of traditional Jewish law, or halakha. Key practices are:

Orthodox Jews believe in a future Messiah who will restore Jewish practice by building the temple in Jerusalem and gathering all the Jews to Israel, belief in a future bodily resurrection of the dead, divine reward for the righteous and punishment for the sinners.

Orthodox Jews may be divided between Haredi Judaism, which is more conservative and reclusive, and Modern Orthodox Judaism, which is relatively open to outer society. Each of those groups regards Orthodoxy not as a variety of Judaism, but as Judaism itself.

Daily life

Orthodox Judaism emphasizes practicing rules of kashrut, Shabbat, family purity, and tefilah (daily prayer).

Many Orthodox Jews can be identified by their manner of dress and family lifestyle. Orthodox men and women dress modestly by keeping most of their skin covered. Married women cover their hair, with scarves (tichel), snoods, turbans, hats, berets, or wigs.

Orthodox men are expected to wear a ritual fringe called Tzitzit, and the donning of a head-covering for males at all times is a well-known attribute distinguishing Orthodox Jews. Many men grow beards, and Haredi men wear black hats with a skullcap underneath and suits. Modern Orthodox Jews are sometimes indistinguishable in their dress from general society, although they, too, wear kippahs and tzitzit; additionally, on Shabbat, Modern Orthodox men wear suits (or at least a dress shirt) and dress pants, while women wear fancier dresses or blouses.

Orthodox Jews also follow the laws of negiah, which means "touch". Orthodox men and women do not engage in physical contact with those of the opposite sex outside of their spouse, or immediate family members (such as parents, grandparents, siblings, children, and grandchildren). Kol Isha is the prohibition of a woman's (singing) voice to a man.

Doorposts have a mezuzah; separate sinks for meat and dairy have become increasingly common.



הפגנת החרדים נגד גיוס בני ישיבות
Ultra-Orthodox demonstrators (over 300,000 took part), protesting for the right of Yeshiva students to avoid conscription to the Israeli Army. Jerusalem, 2 March 2014.

The most recognizable sub-group is the Haredim (literally, "trembling" or "fervent"), also known as "strictly Orthodox", and the like. Haredim are characterized by a minimal engagement with modern society and culture. Some Haredim also hold a lukewarm or negative assessment of the more modernist Orthodox. They are easily discerned by their mode of dress, often all black for men and very modest, by religious standards, for women (including hair covering, long skirts, etc.).

Apart from that, the ultra-Orthodox consists of a large spectrum of communities. They may be roughly classified into three different sub-groups.

Hasidic Jews

The first of the three Haredi sub-groups are the Hasidic Jews. The Hasidim originated in 18th-century Eastern Europe. Each Hasidic community has a hereditary leader known as rebbe (who is almost always, though not necessarily, an ordained rabbi). Rebbes exercise tight control over the lives of their followers. Every single one of the several hundreds of independent Hasidic groups/sects (also called "courts" or "dynasties"), from large ones with thousands of member households to very small, has its own line of rebbes. "Courts" often possess unique customs, religious emphases, philosophies, and styles of dress. Hasidic men, especially on the Sabbath, don long garments and fur hats, which were once the staple of all Eastern European Jews, but are now associated almost exclusively with them. As of 2016, there were 130,000 Hasidic households worldwide.


The second Haredi group are the "Litvaks", or "Yeshivish". They became defined by affiliation with their yeshivas. The "Litvak" sector is led mainly by heads of yeshivas.

Sephardic Haredim

The third ultra-Orthodox movement is the Sephardic Haredim. While living in strictly observant circles (there are several hundreds of Sephardic-Haredi communal rabbis), they, unlike the insular Hasidim or Litvaks, maintain a strong bond with the non-Haredi masses of Israeli Mizrahi society.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Judaísmo ortodoxo para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Famous Hispanic actors
Jenna Ortega
Anthony Quinn
Chita Rivera
Antonio Banderas
kids search engine
Orthodox Judaism Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.