Urban Civil Religion: Holiness and National-Social Involvement in Tel Aviv
The paper presents an anthropological research conducted on Beit Tefilah in Tel Aviv, a major organization in the Israeli movement of the renewal of Judaism in Israel. I argue that this organization has, through its activities, constructed an urban civil religion around the city of Tel Aviv, by which the image of the city is changed. No longer a global, materialistic and hedonistic city and a socially alienated one from the Israeli society, as perceived by the Israeli public and media and even called sarcastically as "the state of Tel Aviv"; into a spiritual and even holy city, deeply involved socially and nationally in the Israeli society at large.
In the broader context of the anthropological debate concerning the social and cultural relevance of the discipline in the post-modern era, and the massive tendency of "engaged anthropology" in order to enhance such relevance; I wish to demonstrate that even a theoretical research, conducted in an unproblematic population and by an unpolitical committed researcher, may be relevant to many publics and not only to the anthropological community itself.