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Contemporary Kabbalah and its Challenge to the Academic Study of Jewish Mysticism

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Contemporary Kabbalah and its Challenge to the Academic Study of Jewish Mysticism
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  Kabbalah andContemporary SpiritualRevival edited by Boaz Huss Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press  The Goldstein-Goren Library of Jewish ThoughtPublication No. 14 ISBN 978-965-536-043-1 All Rights ReservedBen-Gurion University of the Negev PressBeer-Sheva 2011Printed in Israel  Contents Contributors7Preface13From Neo-H asidi sm to Outreach Yeshivot: The Originsof the Movements of Renewal and Return to TraditionYaakov Ariel17Performing Kabbalah in the Jewish Renewal MovementChava Weissler39Self, Identity and Healing in the Ritual of Jewish SpiritualRenewal in IsraelRachel Werczberger75The Contemporary Renaissance of Braslov Hasidism:Ritual, Tiqqun and MessianismZvi Mark101Towards the Study of the Spiritual-Mystical Renaissancein the Contemporary Ashkenazi Ó aredi World in IsraelJonathan Garb117Building a Sanctuary of the Heart: The Kabbalistic-PietisticTeachings of Itamar SchwartzElliot R. Wolfson141The Boundaries of the Kabbalah: R. Yaakov Moshe Hilleland the Kabbalah in JerusalemJonatan Meir163Kabbalah for the Gentiles: Diverse Souls and Universalismin Contemporary KabbalahJody Myers181Toward a Social Psychology of SpiritualityPhilip Wexler213Yoga and Kabbalah as World Religions? A ComparativePerspective on Globalization of Religious ResourcesVéronique Altglas233  Kabbalah in Gnosis Magazine (1985-1999)Wouter J. Hanegraaff251Paganism: Negotiating between Esotericism and Animismunder the Influence of KabbalahGraham Harvey267Radical Religious Zionism from the Collective to theIndividualShlomo Fischer285Precursors to Postmodern Spirituality in Israeli Cultural EthosTamar Katriel311Between Universalism and Relativism: The Acquiring of a Continuously Liberating Self by Buddha-Dhamma IsraeliPractitionersJoseph Loss329Contemporary Kabbalah and its Challenge to the AcademicStudy of Jewish MysticismBoaz Huss357  Contemporary Kabbalah and its Challenge tothe Academic Study of Jewish Mysticism Boaz Huss Introduction In the last decades of the 20 th century, and the first decade of thesecond millennium, Kabbalah and Hasidism, which seemed to havedeclined by the mid 20 th century, became prominent in both Israel andthe Jewish communities around the world (especially in the UnitedStates); interest in Kabbalah has become widespread also in non Jewishcircles in the Western world. Various hasidic and kabbalistic groupshave grown more active and influential, new forms of Kabbalah werecreated, and kabbalisitc themes were integrated in a range of forms of contemporary cultural productions – literature, visual arts, cinema and popular music.Until about a decade ago, the revival of Kabbalah and Hasidism 357*The research for this study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation(grant no. 809/05). I am grateful to Jody Myers for her helpful comments.1The first scholarly review of later developments of 20 th century Kabbalah, whichI am familiar with, was published in 1997 in Charles Mopsik, Cabale et Cabbalists (Paris, 1997), 239-270. Several studies of the new development in the Chabadmovement were published in the 1990’s, such as Aviezer Ravitsky, “TheContemporary Lubavitch Hasidic Movement: Between Conservatism andMessianism”,  Accounting for Fundamentalism , eds. Martin E. Marty and R.Scott Appleby (Chicago, 1992), 303-324. A study of “Neo-Braslovianism”,dealing with Rabbi Eliezer Shick and his followers, was published by MendelPiekarz,  Ó  adisut Braslav (Hebrew; Jerusalem, 1995), 199-218. Also, since thelate 1970’s, various aspects of contemporary Kabbalah were examined in YoramBilu’s extensive publications on traditional healing and saint veneration practicesin Israel; see, for example, Yoram Bilu, “Demonic Explanations of DiseaseAmong Moroccan Jews in Israel”, Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 3 (1979):363-389; idem, “The Woman who wanted to be her Father: A Case study of Dybbuk-Possession in a Hasidic Community”,  Journal of Psycoanalytic Anthropology 8 (1985): 11-27; idem, “Jewish Moroccan ‘Saint Impresarios’ inIsrael: A Stage-Developmental Perspective”,  Psychoanalytic Study of Society 15(1990): 247-269; Yoram Bilu and Eyal Ben-Ari, “The Making of Modern Saints:Manufactured Charisma and the Abu Ó atseiras of Israel”,  American Ethnolog  is t  received little scholarly attention. 1 Since then contemporary forms of 
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