In 2010, I published an article entitled “American Neo-Hasids in the Land of Israel” in the journal Nova Religio summarizing the research I did among Neo-Hasidic Americans in Israel. I conducted field work at two yeshivot, one in Jerusalem and another in a settlement outside the city, from 2004 to 2006. This research was done for my master’s degree thesis in Cultural Studies at Hebrew University, which I received in 2007.
This article relates to themes of new religious movements, the relationship of American Jews to Israel — both to the state of Israel and to Israel as a religious concept (as referenced in the title of the piece) — and to Zionism as a religious and political ideology. It also relates to the unexpected ramifications of American forms of countercultural spirituality. Particular areas of focus in this article are new expressions of Hasidic spirituality (often referred to as Neo-Hasidism by scholars) and the political complexities and contradictions of these communities.