Libel-Hass, E., & Ferziger, A.S. (2022). A Synagogue Center Grows in Tel Aviv: On Glocalization, Consumerism and Religion. Modern Judaism – A Journal of Jewish Ideas and Experience, 42(3), 273–304. https://doi.org/10.1093/mj/kjac009
Alongside the ongoing dominance of Orthodox Judaism in Israel, novel liberal religious frameworks have emerged that seek to address the needs of various constituencies through innovative approaches to synagogue life. One of the most active and successful is the Reform “Beit-Daniel” in Tel- Aviv, Israel’s urban epicenter. In this article, the institutional structure that emerged in Beit-Daniel is compared with another neighboring synagogue,
the Conservative/Masorti, Tiferet Shalom. Both adapted two well-established elements of the American Jewish experience—the synagogue-center and the “Rabbi as CEO”—and applied them to the Tel-Aviv environment. Yet Beit-Daniel has been more impactful. We examine its unique formula in the context of broader trends relating to religion in Israeli society since the late twentieth century, along with the particular features of Tel Aviv’s urban environment. Tel-Aviv is a predominantly secular milieu with a strong consumerist orientation. By homing in on these features, Beit-Daniel’s leadership facilitated a novel Israeli framework that operates as a religious, educational, and cultural service provider for a heterogeneous spectrum of target populations, a “community of communities” grounded on its diverse network.
The data provided in this article was collected during four years of ethnographic fieldwork at Tel-Aviv’s liberal congregations.