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The Social Integration of Baalei Teshuvah

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This article focuses on the perceptions of baalei teshuvah, Jews who were raised with little identification with Judaism as a religious system and subsequently became Orthodox, as an example of the social integration of a group that migrates from one community to another. The baalei teshuvah participants perceived themselves as unique and distinct from those who were raised Orthodox and preferred to associate with others like themselves. They experienced a mixture of pride in their own religious fervor and embarrassment over their lack of knowledge compared with those who grew up Orthodox. At the same time they expressed ambivalent feelings toward Jews who were raised Orthodox. Immigration theory and the concepts of human, social, religious, and spiritual capital are used to discuss the baalei teshuvah's marginal status and preference to associate with other baalei teshuvah.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Social Policy and Practice University of Pennsylvania

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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