New Rituals, Old Societies: Invented Rituals in Contemporary Israel

New Rituals, Old Societies: Invented Rituals in Contemporary Israel

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Nissan Rubin

Series: Judaism and Jewish Life
ISBN: 9781934843352 (hardcover) 
Pages: 208 pp.
Publication Date: August 2009

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Rituals provide public solutions to some types of life crises. There are crises which beset individuals in modern and post-modern society which are not easily addressed by traditional rituals. However, rites have not disappeared in contemporary society, but have merely changed their guise. New Rituals, Old Societies examines rituals which were invented by individuals and communities in order to celebrate important turning points. In contemporary Israel, a process of innovation of new rituals was introduced, either by the adoption of ritual elements from outside sources or by the transformation of existing Jewish symbols through the infusion of new contents originating in secular ideology. The term "personal definitional rites," coined here, refers to rites carried out by individuals undergoing a change in identity. Structural analysis supplies an additional dimension to this collection of studies.


Nissan Rubin (PhD Bar-Ilan University) is professor emeritus in the department of sociology and anthropology at Bar-Ilan University. His published books include: Research Methods in Social Science: Strategy, Design and Measurement (1978); The Beginning of Life: Rites of Birth, Circumcision and Redemption of the First-Born in the Talmud and Midrash (1995); The End of Life: Rites of Burial and Mourning in the Talmud and Midrash (1988); The Joy of Life: Rites of Betrothal and Marriage in the Talmud and Midrash (2004).