Category Archives: Jewish Ultra-Orthodox

The groups that unwavering endeavor to increase their religiosity

Our examination will be limited to the three major monotheistic faiths.

Written By Gideon Aran

Similar to the Ultra-Orthodox Jews are their parallel-competitors in Israel, the right-wing nationalist Orthodox (known by the acronym Hardal), as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in the Sunni countries of the Middle East (e.g., Mitchell 1993; Kepel 2003), the Protestant Bible Believers Evangelists in the United States, Holland, and Germany (e.g., Ammerman 1997), and Catholic groups such as the Italian Communion e Liberazione (Zadra 1994). 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

 

Biblical Priests and Zealots

Zealotry, I am arguing, is a paradigmatic religious lethal violence. Brutal zealots play a significant role in Jewish canonic history and exegetical heritage.

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran 

The methodic examination of this rich reservoir of authentic materials offers an opportunity to advance our understanding of religious violence, its dynamics and implications. The present article illustrates the scientific potential of the sociological study of sacred texts. At the background of this and related research is the exposure  and rereading of the Jewish religious legacy of violence – often dormant, at other times dominant – alongside a legacy oriented towards peace, moderation and accommodation.

The above two maintain intense dialectical relationship.

While my broader project is to trace the normative, moral and political aspects of zealotry, in this particular paper I am focusing on its cultic aspect, relating it to the issue of collective and bodily boundary management. Furthermore, I draw attention to the homology of the ideal-types of zealotry and priesthood conventionally considered polar opposites in many respects. I usually employ the elaborate corpus of our accumulated knowledge on priesthood as a means to help me solve the riddle of zealotry.

In this article I exploit some insights concerning zealotry to shed light on yet unidentified dimensions of priesthood. Among others, I suggest that priests might be seen as zealots in a golden cage. A positive feedback from Jewish Studies scholars encouraged me to carry-on my Jewish Sociology project.