Many people are not aware that there are divisions within Judaism just as there are in Christianity. Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, said there were four major sects of Judaism at that time:  
 Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots. Christianity began as a “sect” of Judaism, as well.

The Essenes were a monastic group. They believed the end of the age was at hand, and separated from society to patiently, passively await it. The Essenes produced written materials found millennia later, known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Zealots
also believed the end of theold age was at hand but they took actions to prepare a better age.They believed that they had to purify Jerusalem by throwing out the Roman occupiers and to incite others to revolt also. Many believe that the majority of Jesus' followers were of this persuasion. . The Zealots were fanatical in their anti-Roman militancy. Their actions accelerated Roman aggression against Jersusalem,  culminating in the destruction of the Temple.

The Sadducees did not believe in a literal afterlife or a bodily resurrection. The Sadducees’ primary interest seemed tp be politics. Of the four major sects of Judaism, the Sadducees were by far the most cooperative with the Roman Empire. They tended to be aristocrats and were in control of the high priesthood. Annas and Caiaphas, mentioned in the New Testament, were Sadducees.

The Pharisees were the only group to come out of the Babylonian Captivity. They were deeply committed to moral behavior which included a rigid adherence to Mosaic Law. Over the years, the Pharisees had developed a set of traditions that was greatly influenced by the Parsee religion of Persia, which is why they were known as Pharisees (Parsees). The later rabbinic interpretation grew out of the Pharisee sect. The other sects disappeared with the exception of the Zealots which merged into Christianity.

As Rabbinic Judaism grew, Christianity was seen by them less as a heresy and more as a distinct religion. Another small sect arising during this time was Karaite Judaism, which accepted only the canonical written books of the Old Testament and rejected the Rabbinic writings and oral traditions. The Rabbinic period lasted until around the end of the 17th century.

In the early part of the 18th century, Judaism began to fracture as modern approaches to Scripture and society emerged. The resulting sects of Judaism essentially divide modern Jews into three groups: Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. As always, there are numerous smaller, less influential sects of Judaism, such as Torah Judaism,  Reconstructionist Judaism and the Kabbalists. The overwhelming majority of Jews in the world are Orthodox, though Conservative and Reform are more common in the United States and certain parts of Europe.

Reform Judaism, which emerged in Germany the early 1800s, is by far the most theologically liberal sect. Reform Judaism is primarily an “ethical monotheism,” based on interpretation of traditional practices rather than strict adherence to them. Concepts such as prayers in Hebrew, kosher dietary laws, and the separation of genders during worship are rejected as irrelevant, or even backwards. The Scriptures, according to Reform Judaism, are human developments, subject to our interpretations and fallibilities.

In response to the rise of Reform Judaism, some Jews doubled down on the approach of Rabbinic Judaism, emphasizing traditional rituals, interpretations, and practices. Their core contention is that the Torah, handed down directly to Moses by God, is applicable in all ways and at all times. This group is today referred to as “Orthodox,” a term originally used as a criticism by more liberally minded Jews. Most practicing Jews in the world today, save for in the U.S. and parts of Europe, can be considered Orthodox.

The tension between liberal-leaning Reform and deeply conservative Orthodox resulted in the development of the third major sect of Judaism, known as Conservative. This group is significantly more common in the United States. Conservative Judaism keeps to the laws of the Torah and Talmud, but with certain concessions made to modern cultural preferences. The key interest in Conservative Judaism is the centrality of religion and Jewish religious identity. Conservative Judaism maintains kosher dietary laws and the regular Sabbath but uses both local and Hebrew language for liturgy and does not separate genders during worship.