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Ritual Variation among Modern Orthodox Jews in the United States

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Publication Date: January 1986

Publisher(s): Oxford University Press

Author(s): Samuel C. Heilman; Steven M. Cohen

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Culture and religion (Calendars, special days, and ceremonies)

Keywords: American Jews; Religious denominations; Identity formation

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


In Studies in Contemporary Jewry 2, 164-187. The essential lesson to be derived from this discussion of ritual variation within modern Orthodoxy is that religious/symbolic issues, communal ties, and social factors all play important roles in determining ritual performance. Thus modern centrist Orthodox Jews are not a world apart but rather similar to other American Jews in their desire to be both Jewish and American, parochial and cosmopolitan, particular and universal. Ritual practices which inhibit integration and are perceived to be of low religious / symbolic importance are less likely to be undertaken and even the observance of important mitzvahs shows some effects of cultural dualism.