Cosmopolitan Spirituality and Jewish Authenticity: Spiritual Renewal and the Middle Class in Israel
Rachel Werczberger and Dana Kaplan
This article discusses Jewish New Age spirituality in Israel, and explores its relationship with the Jewish middle class – a segment of the population usually associated with secularity. Through an ethnographic analysis of two Jewish New Age communities and interviews with their members, the article shows how the amalgamation of Judaism and spiritual renewal renders Judaism more universalist, cosmopolitan, and individualistic. The "cosmopolitan spiritualization" of Judaism described in the paper relies on the participants' considerable cultural capital and conniosseurship, as well as their adherance to the ethos of authenticity. Drawing on insights from the sociology of culture, the paper argues that the entrance of the Israeli secular middle class into the religious field and the cosmopolitan spiritualization of Judaism enables them to accrue more cultural capital and to reproduce symbolic class boundaries.