Bonds of Silence: Parents and Children Cope with Dissonant Levels of Religiosity

Ephraim Tabory, Shlomit Hazan-Stern

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2 Scopus citations


Loving parents characterized by a strong religious orientation may feel ambivalence when their children completely reject their religious identity. The parents might find it difficult to accommodate to their children's different identity, but at the same time, not want to drive their children away. We examine how this potential conflict situation is managed by focusing on Jews in Israel who take on a nonreligious identity after having been brought up by parents who were religiously observant. Our study is based on personal interviews with 20 religious (Orthodox) Jewish parents and 13 children who are no longer religious (representing a total of 18 households). Our findings emphasize the importance of silencing and self-silencing in managing conflict, as the sides are careful to refrain from making demands that might lead to a break in their relationships. Children often cover or mask their non-religious behavior in the presence of their parents, in order to help them maintain face and avoid embarrassment and shame.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-192
Number of pages22
JournalContemporary Jewry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Bonds of silence
  • Covering
  • Family relations
  • Passing
  • Religious drop-outs
  • Religious switching


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