Self-suasion: agents of Jewish conversion in Israel in search of religious sincerity

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The title of this essay is intended as ironic. The irony resides in the fact that while the agents of state-run Jewish conversion in Israel are preoccupied with the sincerity of conversion candidates, they are also troubled by the sincerity of their own religious belief and conduct. This essay will explore ethnographically how these religiopolitical actors engage with semiotic and interactive strategies of self-suasion in order to reconcile their Zionist and religious commitments with the moral toll that they pay for knowingly facilitating less-than-ideal conversions. The essay demonstrates that while these actors embody the Israeli state's national missionary impetus to convert newcomers, they rely on a variety of communicative practices that help them project the constructed sincerity of converts onto their own self-suaded religious sincerity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-60
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
StatePublished - Apr 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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