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Dynamic Belonging: Contemporary Jewish Collective Identities

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Dynamic Belonging

Contemporary Jewish Collective Identities

Edited by Harvey E. Goldberg, Steven M. Cohen, and Ezra Kopelowitz

272 pages, 7 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-257-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2011)

eISBN 978-0-85745-258-0 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


World Jewry today is concentrated in the US and Israel, and while distinctive Judaic approaches and practices have evolved in each society, parallels also exist. This volume offers studies of substantive and creative aspects of Jewish belonging. While research in Israel on Judaism has stressed orthodox or “extreme” versions of religiosity, linked to institutional life and politics, moderate and less systematized expressions of Jewish belonging are overlooked. This volume explores the fluid and dynamic nature of identity building among Jews and the many issues that cut across different Jewish groupings. An important contribution to scholarship on contemporary Jewry, it reveals the often unrecognized dynamism in new forms of Jewish identification and affiliation in Israel and in the Diaspora.

Harvey E. Goldberg is Emeritus professor and Sarah Allen Shaine Chair in Sociology and Anthropology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociale and a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

Steven M. Cohen is Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner. He has served as Professor at The Melton Centre for Jewish Education at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has written or edited a dozen books and hundreds of scholarly articles on such issues as Jewish community, Jewish identity, and Jewish education.

Ezra Kopelowitz is a sociologist specializing in Israel-Diaspora relations and issues of Jewish identity, education, and religion in Israel and the United States. Ezra is CEO of Research Success Technologies Ltd. (, and a founding member of the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education. From 2000-2003, Kopelowitz served as Director of Research Activities for the Department of Jewish Education of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and in 2004 he was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studiesat The Hebrew University.

Subject: Jewish Studies Sociology
Area: Middle East & Israel



Introduction: Dynamic Jewish Identities - Insights from a Comparative View
Harvey E. Goldberg

Section I: The Fluid Nature of Jewish Belonging

Chapter 1. Religion, Ethnic Identity, and the Sense of Belonging
Stanley Brandes

Chapter 2. Conceptual and Pragmatic Aspects of Binarism: Examples from Israeli Society.
Harvey E. Goldberg

Chapter 3. From Security to Insecurity: British Jewish Communal Leadership in the Context of Multiculturalism
Keith Kahn-Harris and Ben Gidley

Chapter 4. The Jewish Question Again: From Collective Identity to Social Vitality
Philip Wexler

Response to Section I: Rethinking Categories and Challenging Futures.
Marcy Brink-Danan

Section II: Diverse Attempts at Constructing Jewish Sub-Cultures in Israel and the United States

Chapter 5. Fundamentalist or Romantic Nationalist? Israeli Modern Orthodoxy
Shlomo Fischer

Chapter 6. Jewish Identity, Gender and Religion: Masorti Women and the Feminist Challenge to Traditional Jewish Identity
Yaacov Yadgar

Chapter 7. “Israeli-Jews” vs. “Jewish-Israelis” and the Ritual Connection to Diaspora Jewry
Ezra Kopelowitz and Lior Rosenberg

Chapter 8. Engaging the Next Generation of American Jews: Distinguishing the In-married, Intermarried, and Non-married
Steven M. Cohen

Response to Section II. Dynamic Belongings of Younger Jews and the Transformation of the Jewish Self
Rachel Werczberger

Section III. Diverse Ways of Connecting to the Jewish People

Chapter 9. Constructing Jewish Belonging through Mass Tourism: Self-Narration in Israel Experience Programs
Shaul Kelner

Chapter 10. A Jewish and Democratic State? How American Jews Discuss Israel’s Identity Dilemma
Theodore Sasson

Chapter 11. In Search of Roots and Routes: The Making and Remaking of the Diasporic Jewish Identity
Elan Ezrachi

Response to Section III. Hummus, Challah, and Gefilte Fish: Israel in Diaspora Jewish Culture
Sarah Bunin Benor

Afterward: “I’m a Gentile!” Border Dramas and Jewish Continuity
Jack Kugelmass

Notes on Contributors

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