‘Orthodox’ is a term originally invented by the ‘non-orthodox’ to put a label on the Judaism they were rejecting.   By now, most halachically observant American Jews have resigned themselves to being so labelled.  Some resent it, while others wear the label with pride.  In any case, there is no actual organized ‘orthodox movement’.

Unlike Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism, ‘orthodoxy’ has no all-encompassing synagogue umbrella organization; no central rabbinic body; no authoritative seminary; no annual budget.  Each orthodox community follows its own authorities and practices Judaism accordingly.   Some have formed umbrella associations for mutual support and to advance common goals, but there are very many such associations.

The orthodox segment of the Jewish community is generally credited with a very high commitment to Jewish education, both for children and adults, and is currently the only segment of the American Jewish community not plagued by disaffection culminating in intermarriage.

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