Ultra-Orthodox Jewish interiority, the Internet, and the crisis of faith

Ayala Fader


This article argues for a recuperation of interiority. Rather than conflate interiority with belief, as immaterial and individualized, research with ultra-Orthodox Jews in New Yorkreveals interiority to be as public and political as is the material. Over the past fifteen years, ultra-Orthodox Jews have been increasingly concerned with religious doubt. Many communal leaders have called the current moment “a crisis of faith,” with the perception that there are new challenges to ultra-Orthodoxy, especially from the Internet. In response, leaders have turned to explicit communal talk about interiority in their attempts to strengthen faith and therapeutically treat those with religious doubts. Public talk, where certain forms and locations of interiority are cultivated and others disciplined, shows efforts by ultra-Orthodox leadership to defuse the power of secular epistemologies, such as psychology and technologies, while harnessing their potentialities for religious authenticity.


Judaism, religion, interiority, technology, language, digital media

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau7.1.016