New Jewish Kinship--with Dogs

By Susan Kahn

Association for Jewish Studies (AJS), Spring 2011

Academic research on Jewish secularization offers profound insight into the transformation of Jewish life in the aftermath of the historical encounter with modernity. Such studies often examine ideological ruptures, philosophical crises, and social upheaval created by the rejection of Jewish religious tradition and the ensuing interplay of secular Jews with the non-Jewish world and its challenging ideas, beliefs, and practices. The revolution in traditional Jewish attitudes toward animals, particularly dogs, is a compelling, though understudied, by-product of this encounter. While a causal relationship between secularism and dog-loving may be farfetched, a strong correlation between the two seems unavoidable. For most Jews today, both in Israel and around the world, dogs have become cherished companions, reliable workers, and in many cases, genuine family members whose life passages are celebrated, marked, and mourned like any other relative. I suggest, therefore, that the revolution in the relationship between Jews and dogs offers wonderful opportunities for new insights in to the Jewish encounter with modernity.

Topic: Culture, Modernity

Name of Publication: AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies

Editor: Bunzl, Matti , Havrelock, Rachel

Volume/Issue: Spring 2011

Page Number(s): 26-27

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Genre: Article

Coverage: Israel

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Kahn, Susan. New Jewish Kinship--with Dogs. AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies. Association for Jewish Studies (AJS). Spring 2011: 26-27.


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