Cite: Werczberger, Memory, Land, and Identity

Werczberger, Rachel. “Memory, Land, and Identity: Visions of the Past and the Land in the Jewish Spiritual Renewal in Israel.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 26.2 (2011): 269–289.

 

URL: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a937492388
Abstract

This study focuses on the creative reconstruction of Jewish history via a spiritual New Age perspective. Using the case of the Jewish Spiritual Renewal (JSR) narrative of the past and the land, this article aims to shed light on some of the cultural transformations which are taking place in contemporary Israeli public discourse, especially the reconfiguration of the association between Jewish history, contemporary spirituality, and the land. The JSR narrative recovers, reinterprets and remolds Jewish history in order to legitimize the claim for a spiritual renewal of the present. By offering new perspectives on the Jewish past and history, the JSR attempts to validate its post-modern and spiritual version of Judaism as an original, uncorrupted form of Jewish thought and practice. The comparison of the JSR narrative with the classical Zionist and Canaanite narrative reveals that the JSR spiritual narrative replaces particularistic and nationalistic values regarding the land with universal and global values concerning nature and the environment, in order to create a universal Jewish spirituality that caters to the identity needs of contemporary non-Orthodox Jewish Israelis.

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