The Making of Modern Jewish Identity: Ideological Change and Religious Conversion

1st Edition

Motti Inbari

Published May 31, 2019
Reference - 172 Pages
ISBN 9780367135959 - CAT# K409760
Series: Routledge Jewish Studies Series

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This volume explores the processes that led several modern Jewish leaders – rabbis, politicians, and intellectuals – to make radical changes to their ideology regarding Zionism, Socialism, and Orthodoxy. Comparing their ideological change to acts of conversion, the study examines the philosophical, sociological, and psychological path of the leaders’ transformation.

The individuals examined are novelist Arthur Koestler, who transformed from a devout Communist to an anti-Communist crusader following the atrocities of the Stalin regime; Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine, who moved from the New Left to neoconservative, disillusioned by US liberal politics; Yissachar Shlomo Teichtel, who transformed from an ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist Hungarian rabbi to messianic Religious-Zionist due to the events of the Holocaust; Ruth Ben-David, who converted to Judaism after the Second World War in France because of her sympathy with Zionism, eventually becoming a radical anti-Israeli advocate; Haim Herman Cohn, Israeli Supreme Court justice, who grew up as a non-Zionist Orthodox Jew in Germany, later renouncing his belief in God due to the events of the Holocaust; and Avraham (Avrum) Burg, prominent centrist Israeli politician who served as the Speaker of the Knesset and head of the Jewish Agency, who later became a post-Zionist.

Comparing aspects of modern politics to religion, the book will be of interest to researchers in a broad range of areas including modern Jewish studies, sociology of religion, and political science.

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