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Tradition, Innovation, Conflict

Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Israel

Zvi Sobel, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi

Publication Year: 1991

This book examines religion in Israeli society: what it is and how it functions. Here is a clear picture of how Judaism provides a matrix of continuity for Israeli society notwithstanding a wide diversity of beliefs and practices.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies

Front Matter

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

With the passage of time it becomes more and more evident that religion as an institution and as a force plays an increasingly central role in Israeli society. In the course of the governmental crisis which shook the country in the spring of 1990 a number of"truths" about the workings of the Israeli polity were revealed in stark relief. Two of these are of particular interest in the context ...

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pp. 1-22

From the beginning of the Zionist enterprise in the nineteenth century, the role of religion and the place of religion in a Jewish polity has persisted as a central question and continues to elude easy definition, to say nothing of resolution. Most Zionist thinkers of the "classical" period at the turn of the century and in the early decades of the present century at least in some measure viewed Zionism ...

Part I: The Communal Dimension

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1. Conflict and Communitas: The Interplay of Religion, Ethnicity, and Community in a Galilee Village

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pp. 25-47

Peter Berger once observed that the sociological world seemed to be divided into those who are intimately related to computers and those who study the theories of dead Germans. In a parallel fashion, studies of contemporary Israel apear to be divided between those who view the society as a case study in nation building and others seemingly overcome by its sui generis nature. ...

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2. Personal Motivation and Social Meaning 1n the Revival of Hagiolatric Traditions among Moroccan Jews in Israel

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pp. 47-70

Beliefs and practices related to the folk veneration of saints (hagiolatry) played a major role in the lives of many Jews in Morocco. Because Moroccan Jews have venerated their saints in a distinctively Maghrebi 'North African' style (Stillman 1982, 499), it is reasonable to assume that the proliferation of hagiolatric practices ...

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3. The jerusalem Funeral as a Microcosm of the 'Mismeeting' Between Religious and Secular Israelis

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pp. 71-100

In this chapter, I consider the Jewish funeral in Jerusalem from two distinct aspects. First, I present an anthropological/ ethnographic description of the unique aspects of Jerusalem mortuary against the background of more general Jewish custom. ...

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4. Tradition and Innovation in Jewish Religious Education in Israel

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pp. 101-132

Religious education has been perceived in all societies in the past and in most societies today as "that process of teaching and learning by means of which religions have sought for their transmission and self-perpetuation" (Hull1984b). In all religious schools, religious education was a holistic activity, one that demands that educational ...

Part II: Dissent and Religious Alternatives

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5. The Identity Dilemma of Non-Orthodox Religious Movements: Reform and Conservative Judaism in Israel

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pp. 135-152

Religious movements must develop plausibility structures that are responsive to the needs of the target population if they are to remain viable organizations in a pluralistic society (Berger 1967). This chapter analyzes the manner in which liberal religious movements that developed and flourished in a pluralistic environment cope and ...

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6. Back to The Fold: The Return to judaism

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pp. 153-172

Religion in Israel means Judaism, and more specifically, Orthodox Judaism. Eighty-five percent of the population in Israel is defined as Jewish, and this definition is legally made by the state. The involvement of religion and state in Israel has two aspects: first, there is no separation of state and religion; ...

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7. Conversion Experiences: Newcomers to and Defectors from Orthodox Judaism (hozrim betshuvah and hozrim beshe'elah)

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pp. 173-202

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed the emergence of a variety of fundamentalist groups that sociologists examined in terms of their recruitment tactics (Davis and Richardson 1976; Gordon 1974; Lofland 1986; Zygmunt 1967), the individual characteristics of the converts (Catton 1957), and the social conditions favorable for the emergence of potential recruits ...

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8. Judaism and the New Religions in Israel: 1970-1990

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pp. 203-224

The new religions that have appeared in Israel since the early 1970s, and have grown more forcefully after 1973, are the same ones that have appeared in the West since the 1950s. Their message, when they come to Israel, is the same as it is elsewhere. Only their audience is radically different, and so is the reception they are likely to get. ...

Part III. The Religiosity Factor

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9. Effects of Religiosity on Attitudes and Behavior

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pp. 237-260

In this chapter we examine how religiosity affects behavior and attitudes in Israel by reviewing all the studies we could locate. In many instances, the sole concern of a given research was the effect of religiosity on a specific variable, while in other instances (especially the later studies) religiosity was one factor among others, ...

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10. Dimensions of Jewish Religiosity in Israel

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pp. 251-278

Surveys carried out between 1962 and 1985 (Antonovsky 1963; BenMeir and Kedem 1979; Liebman and Don-Yehiya 1983) found that about 15 to 25 percent of the population define themselves as Orthodox (dati), 40 to 45 percent as traditional (mesorti), and another 35 to 45 percent as non-Orthodox (lo dati).

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11. Religious, Ethnic, and Class Divisions in Israel: Convergent or Cross Cutting?

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pp. 279-304

Within the Jewish populations of Israel, the focus of public attention appears to have moved in recent years from the ethnic division between Jews of European and African or Asian origins to the division between religious and secular Jews. The mass media has reported numerous conflicts, some involving violent confrontations, ...

About the Contributors

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pp. 305-308


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pp. 309-317

E-ISBN-13: 9781438420592
E-ISBN-10: 1438420595
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791405543
Print-ISBN-10: 0791405540

Page Count: 316
Publication Year: 1991

Series Title: SUNY series in Israeli Studies