Cultural identity and fear: The case of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish teachers in primary education

Izhar Oplatka, Chajim Erlanger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Teacher identity can be studied in educational arenas where teachers are emotionally engaged in how their selves come to be constituted. This study traced the ways in which Ultra-Orthodox teachers interpret the meaning of fear in their work, the main sources of their fear in school, and the effect of the fear on their professional identity, work, and the school. Based on semi-structured interviews with 12 male teachers from the Ultra-Orthodox educational system in Israel, it was found that fear is prevalent among Ultra-Orthodox teachers, both on the level of faith (e.g., a fear of failure in their teaching mission, a possible damage to the holy education in their community/society), and on the practical level (e.g., being fired by the principal). Their sense of fear draws heavily on religious views and concepts that influence their professional identity. In this sense, our interviewees claimed that their religious faith might facilitate their sense of fear because it provides them with a wide variety of cognitive mechanisms to reconstruct the source of the fear and give it a positive or at least unthreatening meaning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducational Administration and Leadership Identity Formation
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Theories, Problems and Challenges
EditorsEugenie A. Samier, Peter Milley
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780429295935
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Educational Leadership


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