Amish Vs. Jewish: What Is the Main Difference

By Paul King •  Updated: 09/20/23 •  17 min read

In the realm of religious and cultural diversity, the Amish and Jewish communities stand out as distinct entities with their unique traditions and practices. Let us explore the main differences between the Amish and Jewish communities, using relevant facts and quotes from the Bible to provide a deeper understanding.

Historical Origins:

The Amish community traces its origins back to the 16th-century Protestant Reformation in Europe. They are descendants of the Anabaptist movement, which emphasized adult baptism and separation from the world.

The Jewish community, on the other hand, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. They trace their ancestry to the biblical patriarch Abraham and the covenant made between God and the Jewish people.

Religious Beliefs and Practices:

The Amish uphold a literal interpretation of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, and place great importance on simplicity, humility, and nonresistance. They believe in living a life separate from the modern world, rejecting many modern conveniences such as electricity and cars. Their religious practices are centered around community, church, and family life.

The Jewish faith is rooted in the Hebrew Bible, known as the Tanakh, which consists of the Torah (the first five books of Moses), the Prophets, and the Writings. They believe in one God and the observance of the commandments outlined in the Torah. Jewish religious practices include prayer, study of the Torah, observance of dietary laws (kashrut), and the celebration of holidays such as Passover and Hanukkah.

Community Structure:

The Amish community is tightly-knit and primarily agrarian. They live in close proximity to one another in rural areas, forming close-knit communities called ‘church districts.’ Decision-making is often communal, with church leaders known as bishops or ministers guiding the community.

The Jewish community is diverse and can be found in various parts of the world. They have synagogues, which serve as places of worship and community gathering. Jewish communities are organized into different denominations, such as Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform, each with its own religious practices and interpretations.


Amish education focuses on practical skills and vocational training, with an emphasis on preparing children for their future roles within the community. Formal education typically ends after eighth grade, as the Amish value hands-on experience and practical knowledge.

Jewish education places a strong emphasis on the study of the Torah and Jewish texts. Children attend religious schools, known as yeshivas, where they learn Hebrew, Jewish history, and religious teachings. Education is highly valued in the Jewish community, with a strong emphasis on intellectual pursuits and lifelong learning.

Cultural Traditions:

The Amish have distinct cultural traditions, including plain clothing, horse and buggy transportation, and the use of German dialects in their daily lives. They prioritize family and community, gathering for meals, worship, and social events. The Amish also have unique wedding and baptismal customs, often accompanied by traditional hymns and prayers.

The Jewish community has a rich cultural heritage, with traditions varying across different regions and denominations. They celebrate holidays such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur with specific rituals and customs. Jewish weddings, bar mitzvahs, and bat mitzvahs are significant life cycle events accompanied by joyous celebrations and religious ceremonies.

In conclusion, the Amish and Jewish communities have distinct histories, religious beliefs, community structures, educational approaches, and cultural traditions. By understanding and appreciating these differences, we can gain a greater appreciation for the tapestry of human diversity and the ways in which different communities navigate their respective belief systems and lifestyles. As it is written in Proverbs 4:7, ‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.’

Key Takeaways

Historical Origins and Background

The historical origins and background of the Amish and Jewish communities are rich and diverse, shaped by their unique cultural and religious heritage. Let’s delve into their fascinating histories and discover how their faith and traditions have been influenced over time.

The Amish community traces its roots back to the 16th century Anabaptist movement in Europe, particularly in Switzerland and Germany. They have a deep desire to preserve traditional values and practices, which has resulted in a distinct way of life emphasizing simplicity and separation from the modern world. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:2, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’

On the other hand, the Jewish community has an ancient and complex history that spans thousands of years. Their cultural evolution has been shaped by migration, persecution, and the development of religious texts and traditions. The Jews have faced numerous challenges throughout history, yet their resilience and unwavering faith have allowed them to endure. In Exodus 19:5, God said to the Israelites, ‘Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.’

Let us explore a factual story from the Bible that showcases the steadfastness of the Amish and Jewish communities in preserving their faith and traditions.

In the book of Daniel, we find an inspiring story of Daniel and his fellow Jewish exiles in Babylon. Despite being surrounded by a foreign culture and facing pressure to conform, Daniel remained steadfast in his devotion to God. When he was commanded to eat food that went against his religious beliefs, he proposed a test. In Daniel 1:12, he said, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.’ God honored their faithfulness, and at the end of the ten days, they were healthier and wiser than those who had eaten the royal food.

This story exemplifies the Amish and Jewish communities’ commitment to their religious beliefs and practices, even in the face of adversity and cultural challenges. They hold onto their traditions and values, just as Daniel did, trusting in God’s guidance and provision.

Through their historical origins and the stories found in the Bible, the Amish and Jewish communities have established a strong foundation for their religious ideologies and rituals. Their unwavering faith, adherence to tradition, and reliance on biblical teachings have enabled them to maintain their distinct identities and traditions over time.

Religious Beliefs and Practices

Religious beliefs and practices vary greatly between the Amish and Jewish communities, and exploring the rituals, ceremonies, spiritual leaders, and interpretation of scripture within each community helps shed light on these differences. Let’s delve into these aspects using relevant facts, quotes from the Bible, and a factual story to provide depth and meaning.

  1. Rituals and ceremonies:
    The Amish value simplicity and plainness in their religious practices, gathering for church services in homes. They focus on scripture readings, hymn singing, and sermons, as guided by their understanding of the Bible. As it is written in Psalms 95:6, ‘Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!’ This emphasis on heartfelt worship is a central aspect of their religious life.

On the other hand, Jewish rituals and ceremonies are steeped in symbolism and tradition. The observance of religious holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur, is of great importance. These practices are deeply rooted in Jewish history and are meant to strengthen the faith of the Jewish people. As it is written in Exodus 12:14, ‘This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.’

  1. Spiritual leaders and authorities:
    In Amish communities, authority resides in the church leaders, known as bishops or ministers. They provide guidance in matters of faith and discipline, drawing from their understanding of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ. As it is written in 1 Peter 5:2-3, ‘Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.’

Jewish communities, on the other hand, have rabbis who serve as teachers, interpreters of Jewish law, and spiritual guides. They draw on the rich traditions and teachings of Judaism to provide moral and ethical guidance. As it is written in Malachi 2:7, ‘For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.’

  1. Interpretation of scripture:
    The Amish prioritize a literal interpretation of the Bible, placing emphasis on obedience to God’s commands and living a simple and separate life. Their interpretation is influenced by passages such as James 1:22, ‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.’ They strive to live out their faith in every aspect of their daily lives.

In Judaism, there is a rich tradition of interpretation and commentary on the Torah, the sacred text of Judaism. This tradition allows for various perspectives on Jewish law and ethics, fostering a dynamic and evolving understanding of the scriptures. As it is written in Proverbs 4:7, ‘The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.’

  1. Sacred spaces:
    Amish worship takes place in homes or simple church buildings, reflecting their focus on community and family ties. They believe that God’s presence can be felt anywhere, and their worship is deeply rooted in a sense of togetherness. As it is written in Matthew 18:20, ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’

In Judaism, synagogues serve as central places of worship, study, and communal gathering. They symbolize the connection to God and the Jewish community, providing a physical space for prayer and spiritual growth. As it is written in Psalms 84:10, ‘For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.’

Understanding these differences in religious beliefs and practices provides a foundation for exploring the subsequent section on the community structure and lifestyle of the Amish and Jewish communities. Through the stories and teachings of the Bible, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the unique paths of faith followed by these communities.

Community Structure and Lifestyle

Community structure and lifestyle of the Amish and Jewish communities can be examined by considering their social organization, daily routines, and cultural practices. Both communities place great emphasis on community dynamics and social interactions, drawing inspiration from the teachings of the Holy Bible.

The Amish community, known for its strong sense of communal living, derives its values and principles from biblical teachings. As stated in Proverbs 27:17, ‘Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.’ This verse highlights the Amish community’s belief in the importance of close-knit relationships and interdependence. Their social structure is based on a system of mutual support and cooperation, reflecting the biblical values of love, compassion, and selflessness.

A factual story from the Bible that resonates with the Amish community’s way of life is the story of the Good Samaritan. This parable, found in Luke 10:25-37, emphasizes the importance of helping others and being a good neighbor. The Amish community embodies this teaching by coming together to assist one another in times of need, demonstrating their commitment to the biblical principle of communal living.

On the other hand, the Jewish community also values communal bonds, drawing inspiration from their rich religious heritage. As it is written in Deuteronomy 6:5, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This verse underscores the Jewish community’s emphasis on intellectual and spiritual pursuits, as they strive to deepen their relationship with God through religious rituals and practices.

An example from the Bible that showcases the Jewish community’s commitment to intellectual growth is the story of King Solomon. Known for his wisdom, King Solomon was renowned for his intellectual discussions and study of various subjects. This story from 1 Kings 4:29-34 illustrates how the Jewish community values the pursuit of knowledge and engages in intellectual exchanges as part of their social interactions.

Understanding the unique community dynamics and social interactions of these two groups provides insight into their distinct ways of life, rooted in biblical teachings. The Amish community’s focus on close-knit relationships and interdependence, as well as the Jewish community’s emphasis on intellectual and spiritual pursuits, shape their approach to knowledge acquisition and technological advancements, as guided by the principles found in the Holy Bible.

Education and Technology

Education and technology play significant roles in shaping the ways of life and social interactions of the Amish and Jewish communities, as stated in the Holy Bible. Both communities recognize the importance of education in preparing their members for the future, as Proverbs 22:6 says, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’

One story from the Bible that highlights the value of education is the story of King Solomon. In 1 Kings 4:29-34, it is written, ‘And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men;… And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.’

In the Jewish community, the embrace of technology and utilization of online platforms for education aligns with the pursuit of knowledge encouraged in the Holy Scriptures. Proverbs 18:15 says, ‘The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.’ By exploring various sources of information, the Jewish community fosters a culture of intellectual curiosity, as inspired by Proverbs 2:3-5, which states, ‘Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.’

On the other hand, the Amish community adheres to traditional forms of teaching and learning, prioritizing simplicity and preserving their traditional way of life. Their approach aligns with the teachings of the Holy Bible, as 1 Timothy 6:6 says, ‘But godliness with contentment is great gain.’ The Amish community believes that by restricting access to certain forms of technology and information, they can maintain their cultural identity and prioritize the teachings of the Bible.

Both communities face the challenge of balancing tradition and modernity in their educational systems, as inspired by Romans 12:2, which says, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ They strive to integrate technology without compromising their core values and cultural traditions. This delicate balance requires thoughtful consideration and adaptability, as guided by the teachings of the Bible.

Education and technology are seen as tools for empowering younger generations in both communities, as stated in Proverbs 1:8-9, which says, ‘My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.’ By equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the modern world while preserving their cultural identity, these communities ensure the continuity of their traditions, as emphasized in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, which states, ‘And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.’

Understanding the role of education and technology in these communities, as supported by facts and quotes from the Holy Bible, sets the stage for exploring their unique cultural traditions and celebrations, deepening the meaning and significance of their practices.

Cultural Traditions and Celebrations

Cultural traditions and celebrations are deeply rooted in the Amish and Jewish communities, embodying their distinct cultural identities and strengthening their collective bonds. These festive rituals hold immense significance, allowing members of these communities to commemorate significant religious events and milestones. The power of these traditions can be seen through stories from the Bible.

In the Amish community, celebrations often revolve around harvest festivals and community gatherings. These events provide an opportunity for Amish individuals to come together and express gratitude for the bountiful harvest that God has provided. As it is written in Psalm 100:4, ‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.’ This verse exemplifies the importance of expressing gratitude to God, which is a central aspect of Amish celebrations.

Similarly, Jewish celebrations are centered around religious holidays such as Hanukkah, Passover, and Rosh Hashanah. These holidays hold great significance in the Jewish faith, as they commemorate important events that are deeply rooted in biblical stories. For instance, during the celebration of Passover, Jewish individuals gather to remember the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt, as described in the book of Exodus. This story serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and deliverance, as stated in Exodus 13:8, ‘And you shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.”

Traditional attire also plays a vital role in both the Amish and Jewish communities, serving as a visual representation of their cultural heritage and religious beliefs. The Amish community is known for their simple and modest clothing, which reflects their commitment to humility and separation from the world. As stated in 1 Peter 3:3-4, ‘Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.’

Similarly, Jewish individuals often wear specific garments such as the tallit or kippah during prayer and festive occasions. These garments serve as reminders of their devotion to God and their connection to the Jewish community. In Numbers 15:37-39, it is written, ‘The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them.’

These cultural traditions and celebrations not only provide a sense of continuity and identity for the Amish and Jewish communities but also serve as a means of passing down important values and beliefs to future generations. By incorporating stories and teachings from the Bible into their celebrations, both communities ensure that their faith and cultural heritage are preserved and passed on for generations to come.

Paul King

I post written versions of my powerful sermons exploring topics like prayer, praise, biblical truths, and more expressions of faith. My church has a deeply spiritual culture, which I try to convey through vivid storytelling and applications in our everyday life. I spread the Good Word with lots of conviction and passion.