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Date: 2020
Abstract: This chapter analyses the intersections between Judaism, conversion, belonging, and gender, through the lived material practice of the tallit. Conversion to a religious tradition is not merely a change in mind set, but rather implies the learning, performance and negotiation of a religious habitus. This is especially the case with conversions to Judaism, or giyur, which focuses on the learning of practices and commitment to synagogue life. Such process of ‘self-making’ is directly related to questions of gender and the possibility of taking on certain objects and tasks. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this chapter traces how conversion materialises in daily ritual practice for women in various Jewish communities in the specific ritual use of the prayer shawl, or tallit. Gender equality has been one of the prime topics by which liberal Judaism came to distinguish itself from orthodoxy in the Netherlands. A symbol of this difference is the use of the tallit by women, both in the local Dutch context as well as internationally. Historically, women have been excluded from Shul life, and wearing a tallit, as is permitted in liberal synagogues, can be revolutionary as a marker of inclusion. For converted women in the Jewish diaspora of the Netherlands, wearing the tallit in service can be a confirmation of their Jewishness, but is more often met with ambivalence. Some don’t practice, because they do not want to disturb the status quo, or because they see value in gender segregation in shul. Others do, for equally varied reasons, from political quests for emancipation, to pious desires for submission and devotion. As a compromise, specific forms of ‘women’s tallit’ have entered the synagogues, worn by women who do so out of pious desire. This chapter starts from these various prayer shawl practices, to trace broader questions of belonging. It asks not only how this object is used, but also which types of gender discourses, pious desires, and notions of agency are expressed through the use (or lack thereof) of a tallit.
Date: 2019
Abstract: Религиозная идентичность, даже в рамках одного течения прогрессивного иудаизма, является неоднородной и во многом зависит от культурного, политического и социального контекстов, в котором находится та или иная община. Прогрессивное течение призвано гармонизировать современный мир и традицию иудаизма в соответствии с запросами индивида. Основная проблема предлагаемого исследования связана с тем, что на уровне идеологии — учения прогрессивного иудаизма — существует определенный набор маркеров идентичности, но на практике — в отдельных общинах — этот набор может трансформироваться. Для выявления устойчивой модели идентичности в прогрессивном иудаизме необходимо рассматривать отдельные кейсы — российский случай является одним из них и заслуживает тщательного научного анализа
(автор рассматривает общину «Ле-Дор Ва-Дор»). Реконструируемая на основе идей Клода Монтефиоре и Лили Монтегю философия прогрессивного иудаизма сравнивается в настоящей статье с российским вариантом прогрессивного иудаизма. В результате исследования автор приходит к выводу о том, что идентичность в общине «Ле-Дор Ва-Дор» конструируется за счет философской идеи универсализма, которая позволяет людям нееврейского происхождения становиться членами общины. Философское обоснование модификации ритуалов основано на концепции Informed choice. Сравнение общей философской мысли в прогрессивном иудаизме с учением в общине «Ле-Дор Ва-Дор» показывает, что сообщество
вырабатывает определенные стратегии идентичности исходя из культурного контекста. Влияние культурного контекста отразилось в отношении к однополым бракам, а также в некоторых ритуальных сторонах жизни указанной общины в России
Author(s): Badder, Anastasia
Date: 2021
Abstract: This dissertation is an ethnography of children and young people growing up Jewish in Luxembourg. It focuses on the students of a Talmud Torah class in a Liberal synagogue that, in recent years, has drawn increasing numbers of highly mobile, multilingual families from around the world. As these students learn how to be Jewish and carry on Jewish tradition, they simultaneously explore what it means to be modern and to be modern Jews. This process pushes them to confront a series of ambiguities and apparent paradoxes across the contexts of their everyday lives – in Talmud Torah, at home, and at school. Based on 31 months of fieldwork, this dissertation reveals the nuanced semiotic ideologies and competing visions of modernity that become visible through the lens of the students' Talmud Torah learning, including learning to read Hebrew, engaging with religious texts, and participating in ritual performance, and their school experiences. The students grapple with, navigate, and position themselves in relation to these different 'projects of modernity' as they work to make sense of and bring together the aims of Jewish continuity and liberal modernity and all that these entail. By exploring these processes, this dissertation aims to participate in the anthropological conversation about 'modernities' and 'the modern' as a project that is both embracing of the liberal, the secular, and inclusivity and can be powerfully normative, constraining, and exclusionary, and to encourage us as anthropologists and teachers to think about how we might leave open the possibility for nuance and alternative attachments, desires, goals, mobilities, and ways of being in the classroom and beyond.
Author(s): Szász, Antónia
Date: 2012
Abstract: A progresszív judaizmus egy reformer zsidó vallási mozgalom és ideológia, amelynek gyökerei a felvilágosodásig nyúlnak vissza. Ma világviszonylatban követőinek számát tekintve a legnépesebb zsidó vallási irányzat. Magyarországon az első progresszív szervezetet a rendszerváltozás időszakában alapították. Vallási vezetője egy női rabbi lett, ami különösen szembetűnővé tette újító, szabadelvű, emancipált felfogását és gyakorlatát. Integrációs törekvéseit határozott elutasítás fogadta a tágabb zsidó vallási mezőben. A disszertáció a progresszív judaizmus hazai megjelenésének társadalmi körülményeivel és szerepével foglalkozik. Megvizsgálja, hogyan és milyen tényezők hatására alakult a hazai progresszív szervezetek helyzete – társadalmi bázisa, támogatottsága, elfogadottsága és erőforrás-ellátottsága – fennállásuk óta. Igyekszik megragadni a közösségi-felekezeti vonzás fontosabb elemeit, és arra keresi a választ, kik számára és miért vonzó, milyen igényeknek tesz eleget, milyen funkciót tölt be a hívek életében és a társadalomban. A több mint egy évtizedet átfogó kutatás első eredményei rávilágítottak arra, hogy a progresszív közösséghez való csatlakozás motivációi nem szűkíthetők le a vallásosságra és a valláshoz való visszatérésre, ezért a kutatás a továbbiakban kiemelt figyelmet fordított annak megismerésére és magyarázatára, hogy milyen tényezők alakítják az egyéni és társadalmi cselekvéseket. A mozgatórugókat az egyének saját interpretációin keresztül, a társadalmi cselekvéseket a maguk természetes közegében, alapvetően résztvevő megfigyelésen alapuló terepmunka során vizsgálta. Az empirikus tapasztalatok arra engednek következtetni, hogy a zsidó vallásnak és hagyománynak a zsidó identitásépítésben is komoly szerepe van, és az egyének társadalmi cselekvését zsidó önazonosságuk, illetve ezzel kapcsolatos útkeresésük irányítja. A szerző a szakirodalom vonatkozó elméleteinek és téziseinek áttekintésével, az azokra való reflexió során igyekezett kialakítani egy olyan keretet, amelybe a kutatási tapasztalatok értelmezése komplex módon ágyazható.
Author(s): Kowalska, Katarzyna
Date: 2021
Abstract: Shabbat day with its ritual phases and liturgies, chosen as a focus for this study, presents an ideological paradox, with notions of both particularism and universalism (P/U) in the core of its narrative. Ritual with all its elements, such as participants, objects, space, music, body gestures and style of service, provide additional meaning to what is embedded in the words, and this needs to be taken into consideration while examining the ideology of a prayerbook. The ritual process may affect or alter their P/U meaning.

Thus, to advance the debate in discussing P/U in the contemporary British Jewish Orthodox, Reform and Liberal prayerbooks and ritual, I engage here with Judaism as a vernacular religion. Because it is not enough to examine only verbal expressions of the prayerbooks, I also consider the verbal, behavioural and material expressions of religious belief. I identify and critically assess various strategies, which depend for their effectiveness on the approach to change of specific worshippers and prayer leaders, and that are deployed in order to remove or minimize the impact of undesired particularistic formulations.

Drawing these threads together, I triangulate the reading of Shabbat texts with ethnographical methodologies, thereby providing a better understanding of the way in which Jewish liturgy works as lived religion. The thesis contributes to further discussion of P/U notions within Jewish liturgy and serves to advance methodological thinking about siddurim and Jewish ritual.
Author(s): di Porto, Bruno
Date: 2018
Abstract: La civiltà ebraica, lungo più di tre millenni e in tanta diffusione di luoghi, ha conosciuto, sulla base di fondamenti essenziali, per influenza degli eventi, una varietà di pensiero, di riti, di aspetti. La modernità, dal Settecento illuministico, e l’emancipazione, seguita dall’integrazione, in paesi progrediti, ha suscitato un fermento di riforma, per esigenza di adeguamenti. È così sorta, a partire dalla Germania, una corrente dell’Ebraismo, detta Reform o Liberale o Progressiva, con sfumature di termini e gradazioni. Si è propagata, per somiglianza di situazioni, in altri paesi europei e specialmente negli Stati Uniti di America. Contrapposta alla Riforma si è configurata, sul versante più tradizionalista, una Ortodossia ebraica, a sua volta suddivisa in riti e tendenze. Si è anche formata una corrente intermedia detta comunemente Conservative. Entro la stessa Riforma vi sono stati i radicali e i temperati, con tendenza al ricupero della tradizione e dell’identità ebraica di popolo. Una innovazione cospicua è la parità dei generi nel culto. Altra denominazione è il Ricostruzionismo che si incontra nel libro.
Tra gli ebrei d’Italia si sono manifestate nell’Ottocento sia propensioni riformistiche, sia maggiormente tradizionaliste. La nascita nel nostro paese di una organizzata corrente progressiva è recente e dovuta in parte agli aumentati scambi con i correligionari di altri paesi, così come gli scambi hanno reso più accentuata, su talune questioni, la linea del Rabbinato italiano. La presenza progressiva è esigua in Italia, ma anche le minoranze meritano di esser conosciute, tanto più essendo parte dell’Ebraismo italiano, esso stesso una minoranza.
Date: 2020
Abstract: Книга посвящена одной из деноминаций иудаизма — так называемомупрогрессивному, или реформистскому, иудаизму, а также его особенностямв России, идентичности его последователей и ряду факторов, способствую-щих его распространению. Хотя реформистский иудаизм пока сравнитель-но мало распространен в России, за рубежом, особенно в США, он являетсянаиболее крупной деноминацией иудаизма. Эта тема почти не изучена в на-шей стране и за рубежом, поэтому книга является новаторской, она вводитв научный оборот новые материалы, касающиеся истории реформистскогоиудаизма и его состояния в РФ.Книга построена в основном на полевых материалах автора, в приложе-ниях содержатся тексты нескольких интервью с раввинами и членами ре-формистской общины, а также таблицы и графики, составленные по резуль-татам опроса, проведенного в реформистской общине.Книга представляет интерес для историков, социальных антропологов,социологов, религиоведов, специалистов по иудаике, а также для студентов,обучающихся по этим специальностям
Date: 2016
Date: 2011
Abstract: Au carrefour des études de genre, de la sociologie des religions, et de la sociologie politique, cette recherche explore la dimension locale des conflits religieux sur le genre à partir du cas du judaïsme français des années 2000 et la fabrique organisationnelle du genre et de l'identité juive dans les synagogues non orthodoxes en France, qui se caractérisent notamment par l'ouverture du rituel aux femmes. L'approche ethnographique permet d'analyser les dispositifs de socialisation (comme l'organisation de l'espace, du rituel, de la prise de parole, de la formation religieuse, de la mobilisation pour le développement de la synagogue) qui contribuent à la production locale du genre. En particulier, cette thèse montre comment la perception de la division sexuée du travail dans l'organisation, l'appropriation des débats religieux sur le genre, la légitimité de mobilisations locales pour la participation des femmes au rituel, dépendent de la position de chaque organisation dans les concurrences religieuses. Dans une configuration où la place des femmes dans l'espace religieux est utilisée comme marqueur symbolique entre courants religieux en concurrence pour la définition de l'identité juive (configuration que l'on propose d'appeler plus généralement politisation religieuse du genre) la participation répétée au rituel et aux activités de la synagogue engendre un intérêt pratique pour le genre, qui se traduit notamment par une fierté égalitaire masculine et par une injonction féminine à la justification. Si les travaux sur genre et religion ont surtout abordé les contextes religieux conservateurs, cette recherche explore la normativité des contextes religieux égalitaires
Date: 2017
Author(s): Lewis, Gwynneth
Date: 2014
Abstract: Over the last 130 years attendance by Jewish children at Jewish day schools in Britain has waxed and waned, until now, in the twenty-first century, attendance figures are similar to those of the 1880s, with almost 60 per cent of Jewish children attending a Jewish primary or secondary school. Recent research has examined this trend within the Jewish population as a whole, mainly concentrating on Jewish secondary schooling. Because of the impact this phenomenon has had on chederim and because of the fundamental differences between the different branches of Judaism, it is important for Jewish educators and leaders to understand what factors lie behind the choices that parents make when deciding on their children's schooling. This study investigates the reasons why parents who are affiliated to Progressive synagogues choose to send their children to Orthodox Jewish primary schools, concentrating on one Progressive community in the north of England in particular, and contrasting the data with that from two larger and older communities. The data was collected through the use of interviews and questionnaires, then analysed in relation to the history and size of the three communities and contrasted with the conclusions of previous studies. The findings suggest that the size and relative age and history of the principal community have had a significant influence on the attitudes of the parents toward the city's Jewish community and the importance of the role of the Orthodox Jewish primary school in maintaining that community, to the extent that the parents' social identity as 'Jews' is more important to them than their synagogue affiliation.
Author(s): Illman, Ruth
Date: 2018
Date: 2017
Abstract: This study, which was produced by JPR on behalf of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, takes an in-depth statistical look at synagogue membership figures in the UK. Synagogue membership data have been gathered and analysed consistently over several decades, and constitute the best measure of Jewish communal affiliation in the UK that exists. They provide the only consistent indicator of patterns of Jewish affiliation and belonging over time, and are thus of particular interest to community leaders and planners.

The report, authored by JPR researchers Dr Donatella Casale Mashiah and Dr Jonathan Boyd, finds that despite the fact that there are now 454 synagogues in the UK – the largest number ever recorded – synagogue membership numbers have dropped below 80,000 households for the first time since records began. Indeed, there has been a 20% decline over a quarter of a century, and a 4% decline since the last such report was published in 2010.

However, the overall decline masks important developments at a denominational level. Critically, the sector that has declined most sharply is central Orthodoxy – broadly understood as the United Synagogue, the Federation and various independent modern Orthodox synagogues dotted around the country – which collectively have seen a 37% drop since 1990. This decline is partly due to disaffection, but it has also been driven considerably by natural decrease – more members dying than being born.

In contrast, membership of strictly Orthodox synagogues is growing. Indeed, it has grown dramatically over time – by 139% since 1990. A generation ago, the strictly Orthodox comprised 4.5% of all synagogue members households; today they comprise 13.5%. This growth is driven almost exclusively by demographic forces – particularly, high birth rates in this sector of the community.

Taken as a whole, Liberal, Reform and Masorti figures have been fairly stable over time. Liberal and Reform have both declined slightly since 1990, whereas Masorti has grown, albeit from a lower base. But this overall picture of stability is somewhat misleading: in reality, Liberal and Reform synagogues are both losing members at a similar rate to the central Orthodox ones, but unlike those central Orthodox ones, they are also attracting members from their religious ‘right’ to offset those losses.
Date: 2009
Abstract: This thesis examines the issue of ethnicity and kinship and explores the advent of identity formation, specifically in a Reform Jewish context, via youth movement participation. Through the mediums of informal education, focus group discussion and individual semi-structured interviews, I engage in an exploration of identifying what it means to be Jewish, how youth movements augment and abet Jewish identity formation, and the boundaries that exist between young Jews and their host communities.
Youth movement youngsters are observed in situ and Grounded Theory (Strauss, 1987; Glaser, 1978; Glaser, 1992; Glaser, 1998; Glaser, and Strauss, 1968) is employed to elucidate their engagements and interactions. Three case studies (Stake, 1995) are then presented to illustrate the experience of youth movement “graduates”. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 2004; Smith and Osborn, 2003) is used to consider the dimensions of their relationship to Judaism, their youth movement and mainstream society.
I conclude that Jewish Identity is a combination of the Motivational and the Situational imperatives. The combined values of religion, culture and national affinity provide the motivational forces. Situational factors inducing Jewish identity amongst youth movement members are the ever wider boundaries they create for themselves and that are created for them. The first boundary of these youngsters that I identify is their movement loyalty relative to other Jewish youth movements; the next is their Reform Judaism within a wider Jewish context and the broader category is their “Jewishness” in a wider society. This “Jewishness” is expressed through the desire for Jewish Continuity (the future of the Jewish people) and the perpetuation of the feeling of “otherness”.
The final chapter charts my developing identity as a researcher. I pose and answer questions taken from throughout the thesis to illustrate my trajectory along the route of becoming a researcher and interpolating my Jewish roots and their significance in my identity development.
Author(s): Tabick, Jacqueline
Date: 2013
Abstract: I examined the characteristics of converts to Judaism through the Reform Synagogues, 1952-
2002, exploring the psychological impact of conversion, the nature of their Jewish identity and
the durability of their religious commitment through time. Recognising the large variation in the
Jewish practice and attitudes displayed, I also examined the influence of motivational, family
and biographical factors on their Jewish identity.
Motivation for conversion was multi-dimensional. The instrumental desire to create family
unity was identified as the most powerful motivating factor. The strength of this variable
was found to be a significant predictor of the level of behavioural changes in the converts’
Jewish lifestyle. Counter-intuitively, this motivational factor formed negative correlations
with ethnicity and a non-significant relationship with ritual behaviour.
The data highlight differences between the factorial structure of the Jewish identity of converts
and born Jews. For converts, four identity factors were identified: ritual practice, ethnic
belonging, Jewish development and spirituality. Miller et al. have identified three factors
underlying the Jewish identity of born Jews under 50: behavioural ethnicity, religiosity and
mental ethnicity. Survey data of converts has shown a clear division of ritual and ethnic
behaviours, whilst in born Jews, the same differentiation is not demonstrated.
Like moderately engaged born Jews, converts emphasised the notion of affective identity rather
than the actual performance of Jewish ritual acts, though it is clear that ‘on average’ converts
have a somewhat more intense pattern of ritual practice than born (Reform) Jews.
The majority of the converts felt content with the results of their conversion but the relative lack
of emphasis placed on Jewish continuity as opposed to the convert’s individual self-fulfilment,
can be seen as an indication of a possibility that the conversion process may only delay
demographic decline in the Jewish community for just one or two generations.
Author(s): Borts, Barbara
Date: 2014
Abstract: The Movement for Reform Judaism [MRJ] - has been undergoing substantial changes in its style and patterns of worship. The introduction of a new prayer book has been accompanied by a pronounced focus on the music of the various synagogues, as a key element in the re-envisioning of prayer and spirituality in 21st century congregations. These have taken place within the context of the wider context of synagogue renewal, which surfaced first in the USA as Synagogue 2000 (now Synagogue 3000), entailing study, reflection and implementation of a variety of different changes in the hope of attracting and retaining Jews in synagogue services.

This thesis focuses on the relationship between forms of liturgical and ritual music and patterns of spirituality and identity within the UK Reform Jewish world during a period of significant social change. ‘Getting the music right’ is, for some, a major aspect in synagogal renewal and commands a central place in the focus on Judaism into the twenty-first century. Focusing on attitudes towards and experiments with music afford a distinctive manner to access the complexities involved in the interplay of diverse community traditions and contemporary pressures for change.

The complexities of this examination are mirrored in the interdisciplinary perspective of this thesis, as it encompasses the theoretical resources of theological, historical, and social scientific disciplines. Through the historical expansion of the movement, and the synagogues in which I have engaged in ethnographic research, we will note the shifts in movement and synagogal musical cultures, each affording a unique perspective on music in worship. Each helps to elucidate a little bit what constitutes the perspectives and preoccupations of the Anglo-Reform Jewish world.
Author(s): Kranz, Daniela
Date: 2009
Abstract: This PhD thesis focuses on the creation and maintenance of the liberal Jewish community in present day Cologne, Germany. The community has the telling name Gescher LaMassoret, which translates into „Bridge to Tradition.‟ The name gives away that this specific community, its individual members and its struggles cannot be understood without the socio-historic context of Germany and the Holocaust. Although this Jewish community is not a community of Holocaust survivors, the dichotomy Jewish-German takes various shapes within the community and surfaces in the narratives of the individual members. These narratives reflect the uniqueness of each individual in the community. While this is a truism, this individual uniqueness is a key element in Gescher LaMassoret, whose membership consists of people from various countries who have various native languages. Furthermore, the community comprises members of Jewish descent as well as Jews of conversion who are of German, non- Jewish parentage. Due to the aftermaths of the Holocaust and the fact that Gescher LaMassoret houses a vast internal diversity, the creation of this community which lacks any tradition happens through mixing and meshing the life-stories and other narratives of the members, which flow into the collective narrative of the community. On the surface, the narratives of the individual members seem in conflict, they even contradict each other, which means that the narrative of the community is in constant tension. However, under the dissimilarities on the surface of the individual narratives hide similarities in terms of shared values and attitudes, which allow for enough overlaps to create a community by way of braiding a collective narrative, which offers the members to experience a 'felt ethnicity.'
Author(s): Illman, Ruth
Date: 2016