Multiple Judaisms and mosaic selves: an ethnographic exploration of liberal American Jews

Debates about religion and secularism have called attention to the multiplicities of religions and secularisms that exist in modern societies. In this article, I draw on an ethnographic study of prayer, healing and identity among liberal American Jews, to demonstrate that studying Judaism as a relig...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Culture and religion
Main Author: Silverman, Gila S.
Format: Electronic/Print Article
Language:English
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Published: Taylor & Francis [2016]
In:Culture and religion
Year: 2016, Volume: 17, Issue: 4, Pages: 392-408
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B USA / Judaism / Liberalism / Religious identity
Further subjects:B Religion
B American Judaism
B ethnography
B Secularism
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Description
Summary:Debates about religion and secularism have called attention to the multiplicities of religions and secularisms that exist in modern societies. In this article, I draw on an ethnographic study of prayer, healing and identity among liberal American Jews, to demonstrate that studying Judaism as a religion obscures our understanding of multiply situated and continually evolving Jewish selves. These selves are best viewed as mosaics integrating diverse elements from Jewish religion, culture, ethnicity, history and peoplehood, as well as modern secular society. This Judaism is the product of individual agency and also embedded in communal frameworks, generated through a reflexive process of bricolage and an active engagement with multiple sources of authority, including imagined ones. It does not fit comfortably within existing analytical categories of religion and secularism, demonstrating that these categories, based on European Protestantism, are only partially appropriate to the study of modern Jewish life.
ISSN:1475-5610
Contains:Enthalten in: Culture and religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1080/14755610.2017.1296009