The Decline in the Religious Zionist Negation of the Diaspora: A Translation Perspective

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The negation of the diaspora has historically been a staple of religious Zionist thought. The current article draws on theological exchange and export to argue that recent years reflect a notable shift in this once-preeminent ideological orientation. Against the backdrop of the increasing popularity of gap year programs for American students in Israeli yeshivas, the last three decades are shown to represent an unprecedented boom of theological translation across the homeland–diaspora divide, in which Israel-based religious Zionist export for English-speaking audiences, particularly of the thought of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, has played a salient role. While earlier socioreligious phenomena of translation demonstrate an often demeaning approach to the diaspora, and an undermining of the validity of Jewish thought written and consumed in the English language, the theological exchange of recent years attests to an increasing religious Zionist openness to Jewish life and thought in the diaspora. This trend has been shaped by the ideological migration of (mainly North American) English-speaking Jewish rabbis and intellectuals to Israel and has been intensified by religious individualization in both Israeli and American Jewish discourse, ultimately leading to a more meaningful transnational dialogue between the communities than in the past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-67
Number of pages23
JournalContemporary Jewry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation [Grant Number 1216/21].

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1216/21


    • Abraham Isaac Kook
    • Gap year program
    • Israeli-American Jewish relationship
    • Negation of the diaspora
    • Religious Zionism
    • Shimon Gershon Rosenberg
    • Theological translation


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