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For(a)ging Jewish spirituality from what is left: problematizing, placing, and practicing

Koros, S.E. (2019) For(a)ging Jewish spirituality from what is left: problematizing, placing, and practicing. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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What does it mean to be spiritual but critical of religion? This thesis analyzes spiritual communities who critique structures of power, expounding upon them via Karl Marx’s philosophy. As an integral component of the postmodern landscape, criticalist spiritual communities provide a window into the ways in which people and their communities combine spirituality with critical values. I present many queer Jewish feminists who engage in spiritual practices that do not adhere to restrictive Jewish tenets. For example, writers such as Alicia Ostriker and Vivian Gornick describe a distinctly leftist spiritual position that centers on their group identity. Using a comparative approach, this thesis then parallels the praxis and liturgy of contemporary queer synagogues with a theoretical articulation of Marxist spirituality. These parallels fall under three spiritual themes: integrated temporality, integrated community, and creative labor. Together, these parallels create a flexible framework for understanding communally oriented spirituality that revolves around nontheist spiritual components rather than God. I call this framework, “for(a)ging,” based on the dialectic between spiritually forging new traditions and foraging from old ones. By outlining a framework, this thesis explores a growing form of contemporary spirituality that relies on community rather than individual choice or religious authority.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Koros, S.E.sak198@pitt.edusak198
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBahler, Brockbab145@pitt.edubab145
Committee MemberMoss, Danadmm209@pitt.edudmm209
Committee MemberKranson, Rachelkranson@pitt.edukranson
Committee MemberLofton, Kathrynkathryn.lofton@yale.eduN/A
Date: 18 April 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 22 March 2019
Approval Date: 18 April 2019
Submission Date: 10 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 75
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Religious Studies
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: religious studies, jewish studies, critical theory, sociology, anthropology
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2019 18:50
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2023 20:21


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