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Religious movement that has modified or abandoned many traditional Jewish beliefs and practices in an effort to adapt Judaism to the modern world. It originated in Germany in 1809 and spread to the U.S. in the 1840s under the leadership of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise. Reform Judaism permits men and women to sit together in the synagogue, incorporates choir and organ music in the service, holds a confirmation ceremony for girls parallel to the boys' Bar Mitzvah, and does not observe daily public worship, strict dietary laws, or the restriction of normal activities on the Sabbath. Its principles, initially enunciated in the Pittsburgh Platform (1885), were revised in the Columbus Platform (1937) to support traditional customs and ceremonies and the liturgical use of Hebrew. The Reform movement continues to move toward Orthodox Judaism without embracing all its strictures.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Reform Judaism, visit Britannica.com.