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A Jewish Revival?

According to Anshel Pfeffer, writing in Haaretz, there is a major religious revival going on in Israel:

This renaissance of Jewish learning is going unreported and largely unremarked upon because it has not resulted in a perceptible shift toward one religious stream or denomination. There is no new mass movement, and none of the charismatic rabbis or teachers has turned into a guru with a following of thousands. On the surface, the old fault lines between Haredi (ultra-Orthodox), dati (modern Orthodox), traditional, and secular Israelis are still in place, but just beneath, these boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred.

What’s fascinating here is that it is not really an Orthodox shift, so much as an increased interest among “secular” Israelis in a whole variety of new and old forms of religious expression. A wide range of institutions of Jewish learning, festivals, and synagogues have emerged for and by non-Orthodox Jews—each with its own angle, not necessarily to the exclusion of more traditional Jews, and mostly without affiliation to the Reform and Conservative movements known in America.

In other words: Something serious is afoot in non-Orthodox Judaism in Israel. It’s a creative period, and new movements may be about to emerge—trends which could easily reverberate back to the diaspora. Stay tuned.



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