Ofira Fuchs

States of Reform: Orthodoxy, Change and Jewish Religious Activism in Israel

My dissertation research investigates ways in which Orthodox Jews in Israel are re-envisioning the Jewishness of both the Israeli state and society. More specifically, I examine how religious activists in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as members of Modern-Orthodox congregations, propose egalitarian and pluralist alternatives to ultra-Orthodox religiosity that has shaped Israel’s religious institutions and its public sphere over the past several decades. By doing so, they seek to change Orthodox society from “within” and to influence broader Israeli society. While much attention has been paid of late to religious fundamentalism and extremism, by studying these actors, I argue there is much to be learned from an ethnography of religious moderation.

(Excerpt from Ofira's proposal)