Jewish Sects and Movements
Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world. While adherents are bonded by certain core beliefs, there is also diversity within the faith. Differences between Jewish denominations or sects, which are more commonly known as "movements," reflect varying responses to changing times and cultures.
The historical Jewish movements (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes) were responses to the Roman rule of Israel, while the major modern movements (Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative) are responses to the modern, secular culture of Europe and America. Hasidism and Kabbalah are mystical approaches to the Jewish faith. Jewish mysticism emphasizes inward, spiritual experiences over intellectual and rational knowledge.