This study discusses the religious identity and organizational patterns of a community of baalei teshuvah as a unique form of new religious movement. Findings over time show that community members originally took steps to integrate and merge with the dominant group of ultra-Orthodox in Israel (the Haredim), later adopted a sectarian pattern, then moved toward an alternative way of religious life, in time even challenging and criticizing the dominant Haredi stream. An additional objective of the study was to identify the sources and mechanisms of organizational and identity changes experienced by this community. The empirical analysis reveals that these changes were influenced by universal, local, national, and personal factors, such as the leaders’ worldview and biography. In light of these findings, we claim that when analyzing new religious movements, researchers must integrate and synthesize several aspects: structure and agency, macro and micro, and intentionality and contingency.
“We Don’t See Our Past as a Mistake”: Changes in the Religious Identity and Organizational Pattern of a Community of Baalei Teshuvah
Yitzhak Dahan, Janet Cohen; “We Don’t See Our Past as a Mistake”: Changes in the Religious Identity and Organizational Pattern of a Community of Baalei Teshuvah. Nova Religio 1 August 2023; 27 (1): 51–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2023.27.1.51
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