Orthodox Observance CategoriesBelow are guidelines to understanding the observance categories on JWed.
We do not use these terms to make judgments about an individual's observance, nor do we encourage categorization of people by "putting them in boxes". Our intention is solely to facilitate searches for a potential spouse; as an individual's religious outlook and practice are essential criteria in determining compatability.
Because these terms may be understood differently across the Jewish world, we encourage singles to search across Hashkafas (Jewish outlooks/observance categories), and focus on objective measurements of observance - such as frequency of prayer, and type of dress.
Modern Orthodox Liberal
These tend to be individuals who are Shabbat and Kosher observant, but have a more "relaxed" or "open" approach to Halacha, sometimes accepting leniencies that are not accepted by those who espouse strict adherence to the dictates of the Halacha. Such individuals may, or may not be involved in regular and consistent Torah learning or prayer, although the general tendency is to be more "relaxed" in these areas as well. A commonality amongst this group is that they are open to secular activities such as bars, clubs, and movies.
Modern Orthodox Machmir
These tend to be individuals who strive to maintain a lifestyle according to the rules and guidelines of Halacha (Jewish law); often this is reflected in greater involvement in daily Torah learning and prayer. However, they are modern in the sense that they are not "Yeshivish" (see the next category) and readily engage in the secular world while leading an Orthodox observant life.
These tend to be individuals who identify more strongly with the Yeshivish-black-hat community, but feel that working in society is an essential part of their Judaism. Such individuals strive to embrace a structured Torah lifestyle with a professional secular career. Identification with a "Yeshivish" outlook can reflect itself in dress, which Rabbi one follows, and the Torah institutions that one attends or supports.
Yeshivish Black Hat
With these individuals, Torah learning, prayer, and careful adherence to fulfillment of Mitzvos are core elements to a life of intensive religious commitment and spiritual growth. Strict and unbending loyalty to Halacha is seen as normative. Generally, an avoidance of the secular world is encouraged, and barriers are seen as critical to protecting against secular influences.
Such individuals embrace a Hasidic philosophy, which includes a commitment to the emotional/spiritual element of Torah observance. This can be reflected in an orientation in which additional emphasis is placed on prayer and fulfillment of Mitzvos with religious fervor and passion. Usually, there is a distinctive mode of Chassidic dress, which can vary according to the particular affiliation (e.g. Breslov, Ger, Lubavitch (Chabad), Satmar etc). Often, an individual follows and professes allegiance to a particular spiritual guide (Rebbe).
These are individuals who are Shabbat and Kosher observant and tend to embrace a more spiritual, and relaxed observant lifestyle. This observant outlook emanates from followers of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach who was an inspiration to many unaffiliated Jews in the 60's and 70's and who were drawn towards greater observance by a Rabbi who embraced a message of Torah, love of the Jewish people, and Israel, expressed through his own musicality.
This category was created out of a demand for a no-name brand "Orthodox" category. Individuals who choose this category generally do not believe in labels or categorization.
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