Category Archives: Original Articles

Kookism Epilogue – Part 2

After the era of the Kookistik followers’ bloc – the prospect of a new “Jewish Underground” movement looms large in the or maybe I should say, underneath the territories – this one might be far more lethal and sophisticated than its predecessor.

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran

Kookism:Lately, we have seen all around Judea and Samaria some signs suggesting the formation of armed underground cells inspired by the doctrine of zealousness and fanaticism. We can assume that the authorities have these as well as other armed and covert Jewish cells under surveillance. These men wish to achieve both intimidation and retaliation. Continue reading

 

Kookism Epilogue – Part 1

It would be safe to say that right from the beginning, the main struggle of the Gush-Emunim movement was focused primarily on the minds of the people and not on the hilltops or the territories they were set to conquer.

Written By Gideon Aran

Prof. Gideon Aran

Prof. Gideon Aran

The Gush-Emunim followers believed that the settlement itself as well as the annexation of the land is simply not enough and so they sought to turn the Religious Judaism into a Kookistik one.

As a matter of fact, they believed that the territorial integrity of the land of Israel is in fact embedded in, or is folded into the Kookisation of the environment. In other words, they believed that the messianic-mystification of the Zionism – as well as the settlement – are one. Continue reading

 

Ultra Orthodoxy – high degree religiosity

Adherents to this extreme group, many of its religious opponents, and, curiously enough, secular Jews as well, see in Ultra-Orthodoxy the embodiment of “high-degree religiosity,” or, “religiosity par excellence.”

Written By Gideon Aran 

The notion of being more religious, or very religious, in the eyes of the Ultra-Orthodox as well as among others, gives the former a unique and authoritative standing.

Most Orthodox Jews–of all types–accept this perception, thereby relegating themselves to a lesser religiosity, a somewhat apologetic view of their own level of observance alongside awe for that of their more religious counterparts, one that relates to the religiosity of the latter as a point of reference for which they yearn and according to which they conduct themselves.

Though criticism of the Ultra-Orthodox on a wide range of issues is not uncommon, their supremacy in the religious realm is indisputable and the admiration they receive from other Jews is undeniable. Even those labeled Modern Jews whose lives are guided by “enlightened” values are ambivalent in their feelings toward the Ultra-Orthodox.

When Modern (neo) Orthodox Jews in Israel, especially those who are regarded as maintaining a “feeble” religiosity, wish to embark on a path toward greater religious observance, they essentially are on a journey to becoming Ultra-Orthodox. This phenomenon is known as hitchazkut (strengthening).

Taken from “On Religiosity and Super-Religiosity: Measures of Radical Religion”, By Prof. Gideon Aran

 

Gideon Aran : Degrees of Religiosity

It is said that some people are religious, some are very religious, and some even more so.  This might sound ridiculous, strange or outrageous to many. Not so for various religious groups, including Orthodox, and particularly Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Written By Gideon Aran 

The Ultra-Orthodox community of Jews in Israel is regarded as representing anything from paragon to radical religiosity. This stands in contradistinction to standard religiosity, which conventional wisdom hold is moderate and civilized, related to the establishment, and mainstream.

 

While a large proportion of Israeli Orthodox is in fact located in the range of “normal” religiosity, only a minority among them are truly emancipated from a charged position towards the Ultra-Orthodox (and the secular). According to idiomatic diagnosis, local Jews are either chazir trefe or meshuge frum.

Translated from Yiddish, they are either abhorred piggish filth eaters (as far as you can go in the violation of kashrut), or, in contrast, crazy punctilious ritualizers. Some mainstream religious Israelis are frustrated by the polar alternatives conceived as abomination and madness. A genuine solid conception of ideal religiosity as a matter of middle way is much less prevalent than could be expected.

Taken from “On Religiosity and Super-Religiosity: Measures of Radical Religion”, By Prof. Gideon Aran

 

Hamakom (the Place)

This paper (co-authored with Z. Gurevitch) challenges the predominant conception of the place in traditional and modern Judaism. We argue that, not only Diaspora Jews but modern Israelis and their ancient Israelite predecessors were “never in place”.

Written By Gideon Aran

The implications of this documented thesis, buttressed by historical and phenomenological analysis, raise questions relating to the ever changing contours of the State’s borders, the discontents that inhere in the Zionist collective experience, the catch of biblical heritage and the Territories, the ironic side of the relations with the Palestinians, the façade of Jerusalem’s  authenticity and the high-voltage cable that links it with Tel Aviv, the idea of the desert and the sense of  local patriotism, the paradox of Jewish nativism, and the improbability of the Land of Israel as axis mundi. Continue reading

 

ON RELIGIOSITY AND SUPER RELIGIOSITY – Preface

My work on Super-Religiosity consists of two parts. The present essay which is theoretical and methodological in nature presents a thesis on radical religion and discusses the measures of religion. The next essay (Numen, forthcoming 2013) presents an empirical “case” to which the analytic model of Super-Religiosity is applied. The first essay may serve as a conceptual and analytic introduction to the second, while the latter one may serve as an illustration and test of the former. 

Written By Gideon Aran

The religious group at the empirical focus of the two essays is the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox in contemporary Israel, known as Haredim. More precisely, the work on Super-Religiosity depicts and analyzes the hard core of the Haredi society that manifests religious extremism. The discussion of the Haredi world is harnessed to the effort to deconstruct and reevaluate the prevalent concepts of tradition and fundamentalism, and suggest new perspective on scaling religiosity and on high-scale religiosity. Continue reading

 

Gideon Aran: On Religiosity And Super Religiosity – Abstract

 On Religiosity and Super Religiosity essay submits a thesis on radical religion, discusses the measures of religion and proposes the concept of Super-Religiosity. It will be followed by a second essay (in an upcoming issue of Numen, 4, 2013) that presents a contemporary “case” to which the analytic model of Super-Religiosity is applied.

Prof. Gideon Aran

Prof. Gideon Aran

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran

Though the two essays systematically relate to each other and are complementary, they can be read independently of one another.

The theoretical core of the essay addresses the issue of the measurability of religiosity. It supports the recent claim that religion in general and religious extremism in particular, is not so much a matter of belief or experience but rather it is essentially a matter of performance of the self and the group. It then argues that advancing our understanding of religious extremism requires turning the spotlight from a performance oriented towards religion’s environment to religious inward-facing performance. Continue reading