Jewish Communities in Israel

Roger Friedland and Richard D. Hecht

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Jewish Communities in Israel

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  • Interfaith Relations
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The formation of the state of Israel in 1948 represented not only a historic achievement but also an extraordinary experiment in the nationalization of a global religion. It is remarkable in part because every strand of Judaism was suddenly condensed into one tiny country. Curiously, Israel contained the very seeds of exilic existence that its founders sought to overcome in the new national existence. Over 2,000 years, Judaism evolved into a transportable, de-territorialized, ethical, and ritual system, one that could be practiced anywhere. Under both Christian and Muslim rule, this de-territorialization took the form of a tolerated and eminently movable ethnos, a people with a history but without political claim. The category of Jew was a politically empty category. To give Jews a political identity would, in fact, contradict the claims of Christianity and Islam to supersede Judaism. This article examines Jewish communities in Israel, focusing on the haredim, Hasidism, the formation of the Sephardi Torah Guardians (SHAS), and religious nationalism of the Jews.

Keywords: Israel; Judaism; haredim; Hasidism; Sephardi Torah Guardians; religious nationalism

Article.  5999 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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