Jewish Secular-Believer Women in Israel

A Complex and Ambivalent Identity

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 Sapir College hagarla@012.net.il
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abstract

About a quarter of Israeli Jews are secular-believers. They identify themselves as secular but also believe in some kind of divinity (whether or not they use the term ‘God’). As opposed to the ‘secularization thesis’, which perceives such combination of secularism and faith as a contradiction in terms, the current post-secular paradigm sees such hybridity as a deep manifestation of the complex relations between the secular and the religious in postmodern culture. This study offers, for the first time, a deep sociological look at Jewish-Israeli secular-believer women, based on 31 in-depth interviews. It discusses the interviewees’ perceptions of secularity, religion, and Judaism, revealing the complexity and characteristic ambivalence of their identity, while reflecting on similarities and differences between secular-believers and traditionalist (masorti) Israeli Jews.

Contributor Notes

hagar lahav is a Senior Lecturer in the Communication Department at Sapir College and an Associate Scholar at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University. Her work focuses on the sociology of faith, feminist studies, and journalism. Her book God of Secular Women is due to be published in Israel in 2018.

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