New Article: Engelberg, Modern Orthodoxy in Post-Secular Times

Engelberg, Ari. “Modern Orthodoxy in Post-Secular Times: Jewish Identities on the Boundaries of Religious Zionism.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 14.1 (2015): 126-39.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725886.2015.1005876

 

Abstract

Post-secularism in Israel is expressed, among other ways, by the growing public acceptance of identities that are neither religious nor secular. This paper is predicated on research of individuals located on the boundaries of Orthodox Religious Zionism. It explores their attitudes on a range of issues and argues that they reflect their post-secularist identities. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with young men and women who chose to abandon the strictures of a Religious Zionist lifestyle as well as those who still remain within its bounds. Various late-modern and post-secular modes of thought and expression were identified in interviewees’ narratives. These included pluralism, relativism, egalitarianism, the personalization of relationships with God, and a disregard for theological arguments based upon scientific findings. It is argued that these attitudes are related to two late-modern social processes: (1) the rise of individual expressivism and (2) the belief in the liberal human-rights ethic. These tendencies cut across the social divide between interviewees who left Religious Zionism and those who chose to remain within the fold, traversing the previously dominant religious–secular social divide and thus serving as yet another indication for the blossoming of new post-secular spaces in Israeli Jewish society.

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