Religion in an Old Age Home: Symbolic Adaptation as a Survival Strategy

Haim Hazan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Based on an ethnographic study of an old age home in Israel, this essay presents an analysis of how religious activity is used as part of a survival strategy by elderly residents in an institution for the well-aged. The study describes the symbolic manipulation of religious symbols and the social meaning of religion in an old age home in terms of four behavioural levels: (a) the synagogue members and their study groups; (b) the rabbi's lack of identification with his congregants; (c) the relationship to the non-religious management of the home; and (d) the differentiation of categories of residents in terms of ‘ proper functioning’. Religion in this context is thus seen as an important social resource used in interactions with the social structure of the institution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-156
Number of pages20
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1984


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