Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (MS)
Carol Freedman-Doan, PhD, Chair
Jeffrey Danskey, PhD
The literature about self-identity views the self as socially constructed, constantly revised, and providing the individual with a narrative of continuity despite change (Shu-Fang Dien, 2000; McAdams, 1985). In this study, identity literature and the narrative approach were used theoretically and methodologically, to explore the connections between the decision to join a secular Jewish-oriented group (SJOG), and the joiner's perceived Jewish identity among joiners in Israel and in the U.S.
It was hypothesized that joining serves to reinforce, distinguish, and renegotiate a Jewish secular identity. Additionally, differences in the group's social context were expected to manifest through identity-negotiations content.
Results emphasized the importance of joining a group, and group identity, to the development of self-identity. Joiner's narrations revealed an attempt to bridge polarized selfidentities and thus create a continuous and balanced self-story. The social context subtlety influenced the decision to join a SJOG. Finally, in negotiating identities, individuals created outer social constructs to accommodate their identity needs.
Bayrach-Avraham, Nirit, "The connection between the decision to join a secular Jewish-oriented group and perceived Jewish identity: A comparative study between American and Israeli joiners" (2004). Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations. 80.