Reforming the Israeli–Arab conflict? Interreligious hospitality in Jaffa and its discontents

Elazar Ben-Lulu, Jackie Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This ethnography analyzes three Israeli Reform Jewish rituals as manifestations of interreligious hospitality. The Daniel Reform congregation invites Muslim residents of Jaffa to participate in rituals incorporating Arabic and Muslim clergy and prayers. The egalitarian and pluralistic Jewish symbols and narratives promote neighborly relationships. Nevertheless, some participants’ responses reaffirm popular suspicions and prejudices, which the ceremony seeks to overcome. Interreligious hospitality here is not so much an act of theological reconciliation, but a political act also directed toward other actors – like the Israeli right-wing and Israeli society, which grant the Orthodox a monopoly on Judaism. While the shared ritual practice offers a dialogical model that engages broader publics through doing, the analytic frame of hospitality sensitizes us to the importance of space and language in the power relationships of hosts and guests. It helps explain the challenges to the messages of coexistence, which the rituals are designed to confirm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Compass
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Israeli–Arab relations
  • Jaffa
  • hospitality
  • interreligious ritual
  • reform Judaism

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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