Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 25-54

First online:

Holocaust, Hurban, and Haredization: Pilgrimages to Eastern Europe and the Realignment of American Orthodoxy

  • Adam S. FerzigerAffiliated withGraduate Program in Contemporary Jewry, Bar-Ilan University Email author 

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The article describes and analyzes the evolution of trips to Poland for post-high school American Orthodox young adults studying in Israel. It contends that beyond exposing the students to aspects of the Holocaust in an unusually visceral and intense manner, these excursions increasingly serve as “pilgrimages of particularistic Orthodox identity.” Indeed, while they are aimed at products of Modern Orthodox homes and schools, over time they have adopted some of the religious stances and celebrated Jewish cultural models that were heretofore more consistent with haredi Orthodox practice and ideals. As such, these voyages offer insight and may even play a role in the process of religious intensification of American Modern Orthodoxy that has been examined from a broader sociological and historical point of view by a number of prominent scholars.


Holocaust Orthodox American Jewry Poland Pilgrimage Israel One Year Programs Haredi