Varieties of Israeli Judaism

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As the references to "Orthodox Zionists," "Orthodox non-Zionists," and "Orthodox anti-Zionists" indicate, Judaism is not a monolithic cultural entity in contemporary Israel. Furthermore, an understanding of religious categories in American Judaism, is not sufficient for understanding Israeli Judaism. Israelis religiously categorize themselves first as dati, that is, "religiously" observant Jews or lo dati, "not religiously" observant Jews. One who is religious strictly follows halakah, that is, adheres to the totality of rabbinic law. One who is not religious is not a strict follower of rabbinic law; however, the category can be further subdivided into agnostic or atheistic secularists, on the one hand, and individuals who are committed to Judaism in principle, on the other. The latter groups calls itself "traditionalist."

Many Oriental Jews, especially in the second generation since immigration, are traditionalists, expressing this commitment in observance of folk customs such as ethnic festivals and pilgrimages. This group is important because, although members may not vote directly for religious political parties, they respond positively to religious symbols used politically by a number of parties; for example, the idea of the Jewish people's right to a greater, biblical land of Israel as divinely ordained.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress