Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Elizabeth Traube

Major

Anthropology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis explores how IKAR, a spiritual Jewish community in Los Angeles, fosters an expansive Judaism that empowers congregants to perform their Jewish selves. In this ethnography, I describe how IKAR expands traditional conceptions of the American synagogue, Shabbat practice, and ritual performance to promote a revitalized Judaism for a community of people on a scale of religious observance. IKAR integrates secular and religious components, and traditional and non-conventional ritual forms within their Shabbat practice. By disrupting the separation between secular and religious, and the categories of Jewishness themselves, IKAR enables members from a diversity of Jewish backgrounds to find meaning in Judaism and belonging to IKAR.

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