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Between State and Synagogue


  • 13 b/w illus. 14 tables
  • Page extent: 284 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.5 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 322/.1095694
  • Dewey version: 23
  • LC Classification: BM390 .B428 2013
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Judaism--Israel
    • Judaism and state--Israel
    • Secularism--Israel
    • Jews--Israel--Identity
    • Israel--Politics and government

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9781107003446)

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A thriving, yet small, liberal component in Israeli society has frequently taken issue with the constraints imposed by religious orthodoxy, largely with limited success. However, Guy Ben-Porat suggests, in recent years, in part because of demographic changes and in part because of the influence of an increasingly consumer-oriented society, dramatic changes have occurred in secularization of significant parts of public and private lives. Even though these fissures often have more to do with lifestyle choices and economics than with political or religious ideology, the demands and choices of a secular public and a burgeoning religious presence in the government are becoming ever more difficult to reconcile. The evidence, which the author has accrued from numerous interviews and a detailed survey, is nowhere more telling than in areas that demand religious sanction such as marriage, burial, the sale of pork, and the operation of businesses on the Sabbath.


Figures and tables; Preface and acknowledgments; 1. Unpacking secularization; 2. Israel: from status quo to crisis; 3. The state of marriage: regulating and de-regulating love; 4. Burial: a matter of lifestyle; 5. Pig on the plate: from 'white steak' to pork; 6. Live and let buy: bargaining for Sabbath; 7. Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.

Prize Winner

Winner, 2014 Best Book Award, Israeli Political Science Association

Winner, 2014 Shapiro Award, Association for Israel Studies


"This book provides useful information about the politis of the Israeli religious-secular divide and its evolution in recent decades. It is also timely in terms of the broader debate about the place of religion in Western democratic societies. Ben-Portat posits an important distinction between secularism and secularization … Recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, graduate students, and research faculty."
D. Schwan-Baird, Choice

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