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Rejecting the 'Religious vs. Secular' Binary: Traditionalists in Jewish-Israeli Politics

Professor Yaacov Yadgar, Bar-Ilan University, Visiting Faculty UC Berkeley

Thursday, January 10, 2013
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Bunche Hall
Room 10383
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Religion, State & Society Lecture Series, co-sponsored by UCLA Center for the Study of Religion

Although they comprise more than one third of the Jewish-Israeli population, Israeli Jews who self-identify as masorti (traditional) are probably the least understood segment within Jewish-Israeli society. They tend to be viewed as "mixing" the polar oppositions of secularism and religiosity, in what critics say amount to an inconsistent combination of certain practices and values of the two allegedly mutually-exclusive poles. In contrast, Professor Yadgar will offer a more attentive consideration of the meaning of masortiyut (traditionalism) in contemporary Israeli society: as a "third stance" that has the potential to overcome what often seems to be an unbridgeable gap between the Israel’s Jewish identity and its modern, democratic character.  His talk will highlight the masorti ability to transcend the limited nature of the secular vs. religious dichotomy, discuss the ways in which masortim interpret the meaning of being Jewish in this late-modern world, and consider the meaning of tradition itself.

About the Speaker

Yaacov Yadgar, UC Berkeley's 2012-2013 Lisa and Douglas Goldman Foundation Visiting Professor, teaches in the Department of Political Science at Bar Ilan University in Israel.  Yadgar received his PhD from Bar Ilan, where he studied with Israel Prize winner Charles Liebman, leading analyst of the Israeli and American Jewish communities. Yadgar is a scholar of religious identity, politics, and culture in Israel.  His latest book, "Secularism and Religion in Jewish-Israeli Politics (2011),"  focuses on the failure of the "religious vs. secular" discourse to capture accurately the complexity of Jewish identity -- not least of which because that discourse ignores the "masortim" (traditionists) who comprise over a third of the Jewish-Israeli population.


Pay-per-space parking is available in UCLA Structure 3, near the corner of Hilgard and Wyton (turn right onto Wyton and follow the street until you see signs for Lot 3 Pay-per-space). 


How to Park at UCLA

Cost: Free and open to the public

(310) 825-9646

Sponsor(s): Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Center for the Study of Religion

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