SummonedIdentification and Religious Life in a Jewish Neighborhood

SummonedIdentification and Religious Life in a Jewish Neighborhood

Iddo Tavory

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780226321868

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Based on five years of ethnographic fieldwork, Summoned is an in-depth exploration of the social worlds of Orthodox Jews in a Los Angeles neighborhood as well as a theoretical exploration of the co-construction of identification, interaction and the patterning of social worlds. Located off Hollywood and Melrose—a space known better for aspiring artists than for its religious life—the neighborhood surprisingly emerged as one of the main hubs of Orthodoxy on the West Coast of the US. The study thus traces the everyday ways in which religious life can thrive in the midst of an urban environment that seems to be sharply at odds with its most basic sensibilities. Focusing on the multiple ways in which Orthodox residents are pulled into Orthodox social life, it moves from the synagogue to everyday encounters the street; from panhandlers coming all the way from Israel, to the way residents balance the non-Jewish world they work in, and a religious existence that seeks to erase such profanity. Focusing on this density of social life, the book is simultaneously a theoretical essay on interaction, culture and the theory of action. As such, it argues for an inter-situational view of social life, a view that take the rhythms, syncopations and anticipations of social life as seriously as it takes what happens within each situation.