Religious Zionist Singles and Late-Modern Youth Culture

in Israel Studies Review
Author: Ari Engelberg
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In Israeli-Jewish society, specific life-cycle scripts bolster boundaries between religious groups. The Religious Zionist (RZ) script calls for marriage in the late teens or early twenties. RZs who remain unmarried after this age often rent apartments in downtown locations where they form social networks. Sociologists who have studied this phenomenon among Western youth associate it with the tendency of individuals in late modernity to carry on certain aspects of adolescence into later years, thus creating a new life stage—'young adulthood'. Although RZ rabbis prefer that singles marry early and avoid this life stage, the singles interviewed in this study do not accept this rabbinical stand. They value various aspects of late-modern youth culture but, nevertheless, continue to believe in RZ family values as well. Their social networks help maintain religious boundaries even while allowing them to inch closer to a Western youth culture lifestyle.

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