Social changes in recent years have led to a broadening of the definition of family. The perception of the concept of family among the American public was assessed in 2003 and 2006 by means of the Family Perception Scale, which found that the respondents fell into three clusters, dubbed Exclusionists, Moderates, and Inclusionists. Based on a sample of adult Jewish population in Israel (N = 1,518), this study examined whether these categories could apply to the Israeli public too, and if so, whether the distribution of these clusters were the same as in the United States. The study’s findings confirm that while this classification is well suited to the perception of family in Israel, the distribution of the three clusters differs from that in the United States. These findings may indicate that while global influences promote similar views of family structures, local influences may result in different cluster distribution patterns in each society.
Familism is a model of a social organization that assigns the family an important role in individual and collective identity. This article proposes a historical analysis and interpretation of the Seder celebrations of Jewish Israelis, in order to explore what is unique about Israeli familism—that it imagines the entire nation as an extended family. This ritual continues to be widely practiced today by Jews of every sector—secular, traditional, and religious. As a result, it has a significant presence in Israeli popular culture. The focus is on two questions: (1) who celebrates? That is, what forum convenes around the table? (2) How is it celebrated? That is, what ritual is conducted during the festive gathering? The historical and ethnographic analysis shows that over the course of the twentieth century, the extended family became the preferred forum for celebration, and that the conformist reading of the Haggadah and the other parts of the ceremony continue on the whole to follow the Orthodox rules, even in secular families. This mode of celebration is analyzed here as an expression of the political image of the entire Jewish people as one large extended family and as a demonstration of the extensive use of Jewish familism in the construction of Jewish identity in Israel today