This article explores complementary dimensions of Jewish diversity in Israel. In the past two decades Jews have evolved in polarising directions: whereas the fringes of ultra-Orthodox and the secular widened, the traditional middle narrowed. Within each sector, religious identification across an individual’s life cycle is dynamic, with the ultra-Orthodox and religious bolstering their religiosity and the secular and traditional moving away from any religious patterns. Alongside some significant differences among the religious sectors in attitudes and behaviours, such as the importance of being Jewish or the observance of ongoing rituals, there are broad consensuses on matters of belonging to the Jewish people, the importance of remembering the Holocaust, and the celebration of the major Jewish holidays. Still, Israeli society sees disagreements over values and institutions that the state should maintain, and over tension between Judaism and democracy. The discussion assesses differences in religious identity between Israel and Europe and the implications of this for European Jewry.
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- religious identity