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Secular Identification: The Case of Bina and its Secular Yeshiva

$ 64.5

Published: 2020-04-08
Category: Anthropology
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In this work is an analysis of group identification based on secular principles. It argues that group identification based in secularity, facilitates inclusive environment; however, it does not guarantee inclusion. Looking at BINA and its secular yeshiva in the south of Tel-Aviv, ethnographic data shows how secular sensibilities challenge current understanding of group belonging and boundaries. The binary notion secular-religious forms the basis for understanding the secular by both layman and experts. In Israel s socio-political atmosphere orthodoxy has become equated with religiosity, leading many to believe that secularity and Jewishness are mutually exclusive. However, this study shows that the ethnographic findings about BINA and its secular yeshiva prove otherwise. BINA proudly claims its in-between status, representing both the secular and Jewishness, not as oppositions but simply as different cultural frameworks coming together to form BINA, and in turn these frameworks are being reimagined through BINA, embodying the processual nature of culture. Two themes guide the investigation into BINA: the ways the secular informs its operations as a Jewish educational institution, and the relationship between the collective and the individual in the secular institute. This work argues for a new model for group identification that is more flexible and thus more inclusive. It introduces and explores the notion of inclusive groupness as a voluntary collective individualism, which achieves group cohesion through its very dynamism, flexibility and ability to foster change.

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