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Chabad in Copenhagen: Fundamentalism and Modernity in Jewish Denmark

Andrew Buckser
Ethnology
Vol. 44, No. 2 (Spring, 2005), pp. 125-145
DOI: 10.2307/3773993
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3773993
Page Count: 21
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Chabad in Copenhagen: Fundamentalism and Modernity in Jewish Denmark
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Abstract

After establishing its mission in Copenhagen, Denmark, over ten years ago, the Hasidic group, Chabad, has little success to show for its proselytizing efforts. Yet it is admired and welcomed by the religiously liberal Danish Jews for its stringent religiosity, cultural otherness, and commitment to social ethnicity. Despite the profound ideological differences between the two, relations between Chabad and the Jewish community have been markedly positive. Indeed, Chabad's organizational independence has allowed it to relieve internal strains that have increasingly troubled the established Jewish community. The anthropology of religious fundamentalism has largely focused on ideological conflicts between fundamentalist and liberal religious ideologies. This case suggests that closer attention to social processes can enrich an understanding of the complexities of social interaction and the possibilities for engagement between ideologically opposed religious groups.

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