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If you follow the secular news media, however, you will find little mention of Orthodox Jews. They don't exist, or at least are quite invisible to secular journalists.

I'd say that they're about as visible as Reform or Conservative Jews, who are also rarely identified as such, except for rabbis and congregational leaders. For Orthodox Jews, these rarely identify themselves as "Orthodox".
There is an unwritten rule (actually it may even be written somewhere, in instructions to subs) that when referring to Jews, the word "orthodox" must always be preceded by "ultra".

I suspect that this is less that Orthodox Jews are seen as "ultra" as it is that the Jews who tend to get mentioned (as Jews) in a negative light are those that within the Jewish community and even the Orthodox Jewish community are called "ultra-Orthodox", largely those known less formally as "black hats".(1) It's a way of pointing to a subpopulation of the the Orthodox community (more or less) to avoid tarring all of them with the same bruxh.
(1) They don't call themselves that, of course. But I'm not sure they even call themselves "Orthodox".

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Before I moved to Chicago, I really didn't know any Jewish people (1). I only remember two in (2) high school, but there may of been more. It just wasn't something to be concerned about then.

When I moved to Chicago, I worked with Jewish people and was always around Jews. I lived with two Jewish roommates for three years in Chicago. During that time I hung out with many of their friends and dated some sisters of their friends. I've, of course, worked with many Jewish people.
Of all the Jews I've come in contact with, I have never known what branch/movement any of them subscribe to. It's never come up in a conversation. Jews have always been just Jews as far as I've known. Oh, I knew my roommates weren't Orthodox or Conservative, but I never knew from there to Secular where they stood.
(1) Jim Cohn (maybe it was Kahn) changed his name to Jim Conn and Phil Poppe reamed him out at a party for being ashamed of being Jewish. I hadn't known before that either was Jewish.
(2) I worked for a Jewish couple when I was in high school. He had been a dentist in Europe, but couldn't practice here. He made false teeth and bridges and I delivered them to the dentists. I know they kept two sets of dishes, but never thought about Orthodox or Conservative. They were just really into it as far as I was concerned. At that time, I thought all Jews were the same, but like Catholics, some took it more seriously than others.
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(2) I worked for a Jewish couple when I was in high school. He had been a dentist in Europe, ... At that time, I thought all Jews were the same, but like Catholics, some took it more seriously than others.

To my knowledge, I have never known any Jew who didn't take being a Jew seriously.
Briefly, Reform Jews supposedly believe in God and an afterlife, but emphasize the ethical component of Judaism and dispense with ... obsolete. The Reform movement is of nineteenth-century German origin, and you can find influence from main-line Protestantism, though congregations vary.

A fair description. If I may elaborate:
In recent decades the Reform movement has moved closer to traditional Judaism. In the US, the "Old Reform," as the are now called, conducted services entirely in English, worshipped on Sunday, used an organ to accompany all sung ritual, ostentatiously refrained from wearing yarmulkes even to services, and generally did their best to be indistinguishable from Protestants. I doubt you'll find any congregations that adhere to any of these practices today.

In most Reform congregations there has been a steady increase in the use of Hebrew in services, the services take place Friday nights and Saturday mornings, organs may be used but often are not, yarmulkes are optional, etc. Most have Torah readings on Saturday, though not necessarily of the entire prescribed portion. Few Reform Jews fully observe kashruth, but many at least avoid pork, shellfish, and mixing meat and dairy. To an observant Orthodox or Conservative Jew, the whole thing still looks quite secular, I suppose, but not as downright alien as the sort of thing that occurred half a century ago and more.
Reform rabbis are themselves quite well educated in Hebrew, ritual, Jewish history, etc. They do what they can to pass this on to congregants.

Bob Lieblich
Who has Reform rabbis as friends
Briefly, Reform Jews supposedly believe in God and an afterlife,

I don't think I've ever heard of belief (or at least any particular belief) in an afterlife as a tenet of Reform Judaism. Looking at the "Pittsburgh Platform", adopted in 1885, they say
7. We reassert the doctrine of Judaism that the soul is immortal,grounding the belief on the divine nature of human spirit, which forever finds bliss in righteousness and misery in wickedness. We reject as ideas not rooted in Judaism, the beliefs both in bodily resurrection and in Gehenna and Eden (Hell and Paradise) as abodes for everlasting punishment and reward.
http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Judaism/pittsburgh program.html

By the "Columbus Platform", adopted in 1937,
http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Judaism/Columbus platform.html

there appears to be no mention of this, nor does there appear to be in the current (1999) "Statement of Principles"
http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Judaism/refprin99.html

Information on other Jewish movements can also be found at

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Judaism/movements.html

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >Whatever it is that the government
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >does, sensible Americans would preferPalo Alto, CA 94304 >that the government do it to somebody

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(2) I worked for a Jewish couple when I was ... but like Catholics, some took it more seriously than others.

To my knowledge, I have never known any Jew who didn't take being a Jew seriously.

I did, in the 1970s. His wife took it seriously - education of the children, no milk after meat, their son wearing a cap while eating - but he treated it as a joke, and didn't appear to follow the rules, go to the synagogue or be a believer.

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Quiet part of Hertfordshire
England
To my knowledge, I have never known any Jew who didn't take being a Jew seriously.

I did, in the 1970s. His wife took it seriously - education of the children, no milk after meat, their ... treated it as a joke, and didn't appear to follow the rules, go to the synagogue or be a believer.

There is a distinction between being a Jew and performing as a Jew.
I did, in the 1970s. His wife took it seriously ... the rules, go to the synagogue or be a believer.

There is a distinction between being a Jew and performing as a Jew.

I would have said that too, Murray, but I've been ticked off many times when I've stated my thought that Jewishness is not solely a range of religious beliefs or practices. My friend's family name was Levy, and he had the physical characteristics of someone whose family came from the part of the world where Israel is located. He had the sense of humour, mannerisms.. everything but the religion.

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Quiet part of Hertfordshire
England
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There is a distinction between being a Jew and performing as a Jew.

I would have said that too, Murray, but I've been ticked off many times when I've stated my thought that ... the part of the world where Israel is located. He had the sense of humour, mannerisms.. everything but the religion.

Do I detect a pondian difference? How do you mean "ticked off"? Left Pondians use it to replace "*** off" in polite company.
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