Jewish Identity Research: A State of the Art

Mar. 03, 2010

Source: International Journal of Jewish Education Research, 2010 (1), 7-48. 


This article presents an overview of the field of Jewish identity studies. Highlights and milestones in diverse segments of the literature are indicated, including demographics, contents and meanings of identity, Israeli identity and the Israel-Diaspora relationship, the impact of anti-Semitism, comparative studies, typologies of Jewish identity, and a brief review of philosophical, theoretical, and creative writings on Jewish identity.


The methodology of studying Jewish identity is discussed. A mapping sentence of the field is presented, providing an exploratory conceptual framework. A structural analysis of a sample of 180 studies is conducted. Smallest Space Analyses of the content issues and methods in the sample of articles yield graphic representations of the structure of Jewish identity studies. Content issues may be differentiated into those related to ethnicity, identity conflicts, peoplehood, and historical forces. A clear differentiation is seen between quantitative and qualitative methods, and between the use of primary data and secondary sources.


Directions for future studies, including a synopsis of some of the major gaps in the literature, are discussed.

Updated: Mar. 22, 2010