Alternative Judaism

Alternative Judaism refers to a variety of groups whose members, while identifying as Jews in some fashion, nevertheless do not practice Rabbinic Judaism, in whole or in part.


  • Variety 1
  • History 2
  • List of movements 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Generally, beliefs of these groups are not compatible with mainstream Judaism. Instead, their beliefs fall outside of the traditional views of the Torah and Jewish law. These movements may be explicitly atheistic, or they may incorporate certain elements foreign to Judaism, such as pagan or other religious traditions. Mainstream Jewish movements often criticize alternative groups as “not being Jewish”, as alternative groups often follow ideas that fall outside two important parameters historically apparent in Jewish theology: the oneness of God and God’s non-corporeal nature.[1]


Alternative forms of Judaism are nothing new in Jewish history, and have appeared in the past in such forms as the Sabbateans and Frankists which fell outside the common Orthodox and Non-Orthodox (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist) classification of the four major streams of today's Jewish denominations. These may be combinations of secular Jewish culture and Jewish symbolism with non-Jewish religions and philosophies.

List of movements

See also


  1. ^ "For most American Jews, it is acceptable to blend some degree of foreign spiritual elements with Judaism. The one exception is Christianity, which is perceived to be incompatible with any form of Jewishness. Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jewish groups are thus seen as antithetical to Judaism and are completely rejected by the majority of Jews". (Kaplan, Dana Evan. The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, Cambridge University Press, Aug 15, 2005, p. 9).
  2. ^
    • Kaplan, Dana Evan (August 2005). "Introduction". In Dana Evan Kaplan (ed.). The Cambridge companion to American Judaism. Cambridge Companions to Religion.  
    • Ariel, Yaakov (2005) [1995]. "Protestant Attitudes to Jews and Judaism During the Last Fifty Years". In  
    • Simmons, Shraga. "Messianic Jews, Buddhist Jews". Ask Rabbi Simmons.  
    • Schoen, Robert (April 2004). "Jews, Jesus, and Christianity". What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism.  
    • "Messianic Judaism: A Christian Missionary Movement". Messiah Truth Project. Archived from the original on 12 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-14. Messianic Judaism is a Christian movement that began in the 1970s combining a mixture of Jewish ritual and Christianity. There are a vast and growing numbers of these groups, and they differ in how much Jewish ritual is mixed with conventional Christian belief. One end of the spectrum is represented by Jews For Jesus, who simply target Jews for conversion to Christianity using imitations of Jewish ritual solely as a ruse for attracting the potential Jewish converts. On the other end are those who don't stress the divinity of Jesus, but present him as the "Messiah." They incorporate distorted Jewish ritual on an ongoing basis. 
    • Ariel, David S. (1995). "The Messiah". What do Jews believe?: The Spiritual Foundations of Judaism.  
  3. ^  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ "Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus?". Ask the Rabbi.  
  6. ^ Waxman, Jonathan (2006). "Messianic Jews Are Not Jews".  
  7. ^ "Missionary Impossible".  
  8. ^
    • Kessler, Edward (2005). "Messianic Jews". In Edward Kessler and Neil Wenborn (eds.). A dictionary of Jewish-Christian relations.  
    • Lotker, Michael (May 2004). "It’s More About What is the Messiah than Who is the Messiah". A Christian’s guide to Judaism.  
  9. ^ Berman, Daphna (June 10, 2006). "Aliyah with a cat, a dog and Jesus".