Secularization and the Diminishing Decline of Religion

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[The entrance of Jews into modernizing societies has been accompanied by a decline of religiosity, but when a low level of observance is reached the decline slows down or comes to a halt. A minimal level of religiosity does not inhibit the involvement of secular Jews in modern industrial society and it enables them to express their ethnic or national identity through symbols and rituals of their religious heritage. This diminishing decline perspective provides the framework for an analysis of the influences on the religiosity of four Jewish-Israeli groups, two Middle Eastern (Moroccan and Iraqi) and two European (Polish and Rumanian). A process of secularization, as measured by intergenerational declines in the performance of the mitzvot (commandments), occurred in all four groups, but the intergenerational declines were greater in those groups whose older generation displayed high levels of religious observance. The relative importance of the independent variables influencing religiosity, such as father's religiosity, socio-economic status, and number of years lived in Israel, depend on the level of observance of the group. These generalizations are modified by attention to differences in the religio-cultural traditions and social locations of Israelis from Middle Eastern and European origins.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-207
Number of pages15
JournalReview of Religious Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986


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