Topics: Assimilation, Psychology, Young Adults / Emerging Adulthood, Jewish Identity, Ethnicity, Youth, Main Topic: Identity and Community
Abstract: Jewish identity and assimilation in modern times are two sides of the same coin - one cannot speak of one without the other. If we wish to understand what makes certain Jews set out on a path of assimilation, we must first understand what and how they think about Judaism and being Jewish. One of the most important tasks is to uncover their cognitive tendencies when reflecting on Judaism. It is also necessary to search for the affective/emotional components of their identity (or the rejection or denial thereof), and to analyze their habits, customs and social behavior. When trying to outline assimilation trends and their causes, one should not only apply the "Jewish" point of view - however one interprets such a standpoint. We can get a clearer picture of the psychological and sociological aspects of Jewish identity by analyzing the relationship between various dimensions of an identity. For example, how does a person's cognitive approach to Judaism relate to his or her affective attachment? Or, how do the Jewish and the Hungarian ethnic identity dimensions relate to each other - do they supplement one another, "subtract" from each other, are they complementary, etc.? In this paper, an indirect approach is applied to the analysis of assimilation. First, it presents and analyzes the most important aspects of the cognitive approach that characterizes young secular Jews. Then it discusses certain psychological aspects of the Jewish identity of young Hungarian Jews The study is based on in-depth interviews with Jewish men and women in their 20's and 30's. It presents their opinions as well as their perception of their individual identity, and characterizes types of possible intervention.