Jewish Spirituality and Social Transformation: Hasidism and Society

edited by Philip Wexler

(MAY, 2019)

What does lived religion look like in the 21st century? Against the polarizations of old and new, religion and secularism, theory and practice, a cadre of internationally renowned scholars interrogate the ways spiritual ideas and practices remain transformative in contemporary society. The Jewish mystical tradition, especially the contemporary movement of Habad Hasidism, embodies an intersection of the particular and the universal that speaks to wider crises in the governing assumptions of western culture and scientific disciplines. These essays exemplify the kind of radical interdisciplinarity that can move through these crises and beyond them, militating against academic hegemonies through the inclusion of indigenous Hasidic voices who speak with equal authority.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments / ix

Introduction / Philip Wexler / xi

SECTION I: HASIDISM, SOCIETY, AND SOCIAL SCIENCE

1. The Institute of Jewish Spirituality and Society / Philip Wexler, Hebrew University of Jerusalem / 3

2. On Mystical Sociology and Turning Judaism Outward / Don Seeman, Emory University / 17

3. Mysticism and the Quest for Universal Singularity—Post-Subjective Subjectivity and the Contemplative Ideal in Habad / Elliot R. Wolfson, University of California, Santa Barbara / 37

4. Habad Hasidism and the Mystical Reconstruction of Society / Eli Rubin, Chabad.org / 59

SECTION II: HABAD IN THEORY AND PRACTICE

5. Chassidic Prayer and Society / Naftali Loewenthal, University College London / 81

6. Modest Dress: The Rules, The Controversies, and the Experiences / Kate Miriam Loewenthal, Royal Holloway, University of London / 99

7. Education as Life: Reflections from the Field by a Chabad Shlucha on a College Campus / Rivkah Slonim, Rohr Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life at Binghamton University / 113

8. Touch of Gray: Aging as Spiritual Completion in the Thought of the Lubavitcher Rebbe / Shaul Wertheimer, Chabad on Campus of Queens / 125

SECTION III: LAW, LITERATURE, AND MYSTICISM

9. Demonization and Transformation: Legal and Kabbalistic Myths of Self and Other / Nathaniel Berman, Brown University / 139

10. Walter Benjamin’s Modern-Mystical Theory of Youth / Yotam Hotam, University of Haifa / 163

SECTION IV: MEDITATION, MORALITY, AND THE SELF: HABAD AND MUSAR

11. Contemplation, Meditation, and Metaphysics in Second-Generation Habad / Jonathan Garb, Hebrew University of Jerusalem / 185

12. The Road from Religious Law (Halakha) to the Secular: Constructing the Autonomous Self in the Musar Tradition and Its Discontents / Shaul Magid, Indiana University, Bloomington / 203

SECTION V: JEWISH SPIRITUALITY AFTER MODERNITY: DEATH AND RENAISSANCE

13. Holocaust Memories and Memories of Depression: The Influences of My Parents on My Scholarship in the Sociology of Education / Alan Sadovnik, Rutgers University, Newark / 225

14. Jewish Spirituality in Israel as Lived Religion: A New Perspective for the Study of Contemporary Jewish Life / Rachel Werczberger, Ariel University / 245

Notes on Contributors / 265

Series: Jewish Spiritual Traditions and Contemporary Society

Hardcover or Paperback: 290 pages

Publisher: Herder & Herder (May 1, 2019)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0824599462

ISBN-13: 978-0824599461

Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches