Offshoots of Judaism
An Article in the Series:
The Ten Tribes and the Jews.

24 November 2011, 27 Cheshvan 5772.

Orthodox Jews.
Conservative (Masorti) Judaism.
Reform Judaism.
Messianic Christian Jews.

Orthodox Jews.
The Orthodox are Jews who believe in God and the Torah and endeavor to keep the commandments.
Strictly speaking only Orthodox Judaism is Judaism and all other "branches" are assemblies to which Jews may belong.

Most Jews are not observant. 
In the State of Israel however a large number do keep the laws and even those who do not, on the whole, consider themselves as belonging to the Orthodox stream.
Their position is:
"The synagogue I never go to is an Orthodox one".

Oversea,s most Jews are not Orthodox but are irreligious or belong to one of the break-off groups.
These are:

Conservative (Masorti) Judaism.
This is less important today than it used to be.  It still has importance not only for its own sake but also because it reflects
attitudes also found found amongst some of the Orthodox and Reform.
Their attitude is that Historical Judaism had great value, much of it should be preserved regardless of its Divine Sanction or lack of it. The Jewish Halachah should be preserved but adapted more to modern requirements.

Reform Judaism.
Includes Liberal and Progressive Judaism.  Many Reform Jews today would not be considered halachically Jewish.  Reform covers a great latitude of opinions and attitudes.
On the whole they are extremely liberal: Believe in God, keep some Jewish customs, get together to sink a few hymns, hear a sermon and socialize, attend lectures on various topics, hold communal activities, and be socially aware.
Neither Conservative Judaism nor Reform today believes officially in the Divine origin of the Torah.

There is a joke that may help illustrate the differences between different branches of Judaism.

At an Orthodox wedding the mother of the groom is pregnant.
At a  Conservative wedding the bride is pregnant.
At a  Reform wedding the rabbi is pregnant.

Messianic Christian Jews.
This is a group set up and funded by the Baptist Church in the USA.
This reflects a Christian projection of themselves if they were to be also Jewish or of how they think Jews who become Christian could be.
Messianic members are sometimes Jews, more often non-Jews with some Jewish ancestry, and sometimes non-Jews who declare themselves Jews and are accepted as such by fellow Messianic congregrants.
Messianic Jews seem to be against the idea of the Lost Ten Tribes being in the west.
Messianic Jewish meetings attract a great many non-Jews. These non-Jews are relegated to a secondary status.
In reaction to this the Ephraimite movement began.

These were originally non-Jewish Christians who were disappointed with the Messianics. They set up their own groups.
They adopted Jewish and Old Testament customs and practices but made changes and innovations of their own as to how to keep them.
They began to re-interpret the New Testament as saying that all True Christians (such as themselves) were descended from Israel.
Later they adopted from British Israelite groups, Steven Collins, Yair Davidiy (Brit-Am) and others the doctrine of the Lost Ten Tribes having gone to western countries.
How strongly they believe in this is not certain.
In the past some of them were strong supporters of Brit-Am but now on the whole they are not.
A characteristic of the Ephraimites is their love-hate approach towards the Jewish people.
They are also (like the Messianics) into Conspiracy Theories. 
Ephraimites are also characterized by sympathy for the Karaite Heresy (which some support but do not understand), and schemes to settle in Israel.
Ephraimites may be considered Gentile Messianic Jewish wannabees, or an imitation of the Messianic Jews.
On the other hand,
Some of them are intensely religious, many know the Bible quite well, most seem genuine enough but confused over key issues.
An Ephraimite leader told Yair Davidiy that only through the New Testament will the Lost Tribes message be received.
This is mistaken but it reflects something about them. Psychologically they are adherents to Judaism (or to a Jewish type heresy such as Karaism) held back by belief in the Christian Messiah.
[They themselves may disagree with this definition, and dispute it. Things are not so clear but basically such is the case.]

There does however exist another aspect of Ephraimite Origins. Ephraimites reflect the general arousal amongst many Christians towards the Hebrew Roots of Christianity. The present US Evangelical support of the State of Israel is also a reflection of this movement.
Nevertheless, in general, Ephraimites are to be considered primarily in the context of Judaism and offshoots of Jewish-Christianity and only secondarily as adherents of Lost Tribes belief.
They do not reflect the masses of their brethren from the Ten Tribes.
They do not really relate to their own Israelite peoples, are not interested in spreading the Ten Tribes message, and look for ways to force themselves on Judah and the State of Israel but on their own terms.

Brit-Am in many ways is a one-man show initiated by Yair Davidiy.
Nevertheless it has many Jewish and non-Jewish adherents, sympathizers, and others who are interested.
Qualitatively all of these are of high calibre.
It also attracts a group of scholars of various backgrounds who in the world of ideas and information have made an impression, are still very important, and for the future have great potential.
Brit-Am reaches out to Judah and to Joseph (the Ten Tribes) as distinct entities, each in its own space, with its own faults and lacks, and its own uniqueness.
Brit-Am spreads the message of Israelite PHYSICAL descent and of concomitant personal and national obligation.
Brit-Am wishes to emphasize the Tribal group and the individual as an expression of  the group.
Brit-Am encourages Jews to be Orthodox, learn, and keep the Law.
Brit-Am is not against Christians. Brit-Am sees Christianity as a tool of Divine Providence to draw the Ten Tribes closer. Individual Christians should study the Bible, believe in God, and intensify their Israelite consciousness.
In the same way as one does not need to change religion in order to join the Republican Party, so too with Brit-Am.

See Also:
The Ten Tribes and the Jews.

Offering to Brit-Am

Correspond with us
Send Comments or Criticisms
You may not always receive an immediate answer
but anything you say will be considered and appreciated
Send us an

Books and Offering Opportunities

Main Page