Since the late 1990s, the expression “Jewish Mindfulness” has become ubiquitous in Jewish community centers (JCCs) and synagogues in America, in Israel, and in the Western diaspora. “Mindfulness”, a secular meditation technique originating from Buddhism which has been popularized in Western culture through its recontextualization within the Western therapeutic culture, has been increasingly used in Jewish Religious settings, including Modern Orthodox. How do Modern Orthodox rabbis describe their use of “Mindfulness” in their religious teachings? Why do they refer to Mindfulness Meditation rather than to Jewish Meditation? In this article, I comparatively analyze the discourses spoken—online, and in print—of American rabbis from various Modern Orthodox trends as a case to study strategies of adaptation in the current context of globalization. By identifying three types of use of Mindfulness—through, and
Judaism—I seek to highlight the various ways in which today’s Orthodox educators use “Mindfulness”, both as a meditation technique and as a spiritual mindset, and how this is reshaping the way they teach Jewish religion. Observing contemporary Orthodox discourses on Mindfulness within Jewish religious pedagogy can help us better understand the processes of cultural appropriation and translation as well as religious change in the making, as part of a boundary maintenance work within today’s cosmopolitan cultures.
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