‘May our hearts rise up in prayer’: responses of Russian-speaking immigrant Israeli reform congregations to the Russo-Ukrainian war

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Abstract

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in March 2022 stunned the world and recalled levels of aggression unseen since World War II. Along with political, military and diplomatic discussions, this anthropological study contributes a sociological-cultural perspective through the examination of Israeli Reform Jewish congregation responses, which include Russian-speaking immigrants, to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. I analyze how the crisis pushed congregants into an internal dialog with their Jewish identity and Reform communal affiliation. Furthermore, this exceptional situation is reshaping rabbinical positions and creative liturgical responses. As such, Reform Jewish congregations are sites to identify tendencies and changes in the perception of Jewish identity, values and sense of belonging among Russian-speaking immigrants in Israeli society. Therefore, this research sheds light on the intersection between a time of crisis, such as war, and the intensification of religious views, liturgical flexibility and reflexive inquiry of religious leaders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-270
Number of pages19
JournalReligion
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Israel
  • Reform Jewish community
  • Russo-Ukrainian War
  • identity
  • immigrants
  • liturgy

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