Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Timothy Landry

Second Advisor

Dr. Jane Nadel-Klein


This is a study of the disruption of place and belonging in an urban, multi-generational, Modern Orthodox Jewish community in the Northeastern United States. It asks how members define themselves as part of a religious community. Living within walking distance of their synagogue, members build community based upon shared space. In order to embrace a more pluralistic community, local leaders in the past ten years have been pushing the boundary on what is and is not religiously allowed. This creates new, more inclusive spaces to be formed within this community, which fall along the lines of gender, sexuality, and religious identity. The studied community is pushing to embrace a “big tent” of individuals in orthodoxy and wants everyone to “come home to shul.” Additionally, Orthodox Jews are concerned by rising antisemitic threats, so particular focus is given in exploring how the concrete threat and abstract idea of “security” intersects with ritual practice. Security now is one of the largest budget expenses for the synagogue and is in the minds of nearly all who attend a service. These recent changes to this Orthodox synagogue have started to reshape the synagogues identity as a whole, which has resulted in tension between different groups of community members leading to disagreements in how ritual should be “properly” conducted. Lastly, to support local Orthodox action against violence, this study offers new ways of disrupting existing anti-Jewish narratives seen in popular media by focusing on the lived stories, oral histories, and shared spaces of Orthodox Jews in a pluralistic American city.


Senior Thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.