Cultural Wars and Communal Perseverance: Jewish Fundamentalism in Our Time
The Corona epidemic and the social distancing it required posed serious challenges to Orthodoxy Jewry. Jewish religious prayers demand a quorum of ten men, and the community regularly conducts large celebrations of holidays and rites of passage. Many in the Ultra-Orthodox community had a hard time giving up on what for them was the essence of Jewish life. Modern Orthodox Jews took a different line, following the norms and regulations of the larger civic society. The epidemic crisis highlighted the position of the Orthodox communities within the larger Jewish, and non-Jewish, populations. It inflamed Jewish cultural wars, and the divisions between the ultra-Orthodox and other groups in society, including the other fundamentalist Jewish camp, the Nationalist Orthodox. The article explores the rise of the fundamentalist movements, their developments, beliefs, and characteristics, and places the reaction of the different camps to the pandemic within larger cultural contexts.