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Prof. Nurit Stadler, PhD

Senior Research Fellow


Areas of Interest

  • Religious Fundamentalism and Globalization
  • Sacred Places and their Sociopolitical Influence
  • Pilgrimage, Rituals, Sacred Spaces and Sacred Architecture
  • Ethnography

Religion, Secularities, and Cosmologies in Israel/Palestine

In my research I analyze the intricate relationship between religion and multiple facets of modernity, including the neoliberal democratic state, scientific breakthroughs, secular education, mass media, family dynamics, and the labour market. My primary objective is to unravel contemporary society's intricacies of religious revival, devotion, and ritual practices. Utilizing an array of methodological tools, I examine Jewish, Christian, and Muslim groups in Israel/Palestine. This examination encompasses fundamentalists, charismatic movements, and various congregations involved in distinct cults and rituals. Through this comparative approach, I highlight the socio-cultural developments and religious transitions, both locally and on a global scale.

My current project zooms in on the concept of secularities in Israel/Palestine, delving into the subtle interactions between micro and macro-level differentiations, distinctions, and cosmologies. A pivotal question guides this investigation: How are grassroots religious organizations reshaping the landscape of secularity in Israel/Palestine? As the 20th century drew to a close, Ultraorthodox organizations in the Israel/Palestine region became increasingly active in secular public domains. They embarked on a mission to weave Jewish laws, norms, and cosmologies with secular motifs and institutional practices. This dynamic interplay constantly requires these organizations to navigate the territories between secularities and religious ideologies.

My study centers on four key cosmologies and their corresponding organizations:

Death and the Public Sphere: I examine the Haredi Zaka organization's role in reinterpreting death cosmologies, especially in light of the rise in terrorist attacks since the 1990s.

Medicine and Religious Voluntarism: I delve into Yad Sarah, a grassroots religious entity that offers medical support to all, transcending religious boundaries.

Education, Ritual, and Conversion: My focus here is on Beit Chabad, also known as a Chabad house. While championing what they define as "traditional Judaism," they significantly influence ritual practices and education in Israeli society and also function with a transnational perspective.

Environment and Transcendence: I analyze Hardim leman Hasviva, representing religious factions that channel environmental issues to the Jewish religious audience, seeking sustainable resolutions and equitable environmental responsibility distribution. By investigating these grassroots religious entities and discerning their influence on secular structures, my research emphasizes the organic, bottom-up processes that mold religious terrains. This perspective challenges prevailing narratives that predominantly spotlight top-down institutional dynamics. Further, by understanding how grassroots organizations reinvent and employ diverse cosmologies, this research offers valuable insights into the contemporary renegotiation of religious traditions


2021 - present

Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The Faculty of Social Science, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel)

2020 - present

Full Professor, The Faculty of Social Science, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel)

2014 - 2020

Associate Professor, The Faculty of Social Science, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel)

2009 - 2014

Senior Lecturer, The Faculty of Social Science, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel)

2003 - 2009

Lecturer, the Faculty of Social Science, The Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel)


Post-doctoral Fellowship, The Centre for the Advanced Studies of Religion and Theology, The Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University, UK


Ph.D., Sociology and Anthropology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)

Relevant Publications

  • Eade, John, and Nurit Stadler, eds. "Pilgrimage, Animism and Nature." Special issue of Religion, State and Society 50, no. 2 (2022).
  • Eade, John, and Nurit Stadler. "An Introduction to Pilgrimage, Animism and Agency: Putting Humans in their Place." Religion, State and Society 50, no. 2, (2022): 137-46.
  • Flint, Shlomit, and Nurit Stadler. "Palimpsests and Urban Pasts: The Janus-faced nature of Whitechapel." Plos One 16, no. 9 (2021): 1-20.
  • Stadler, Nurit. Voices of the Ritual: Devotion to Female Saints and Shrines in the Holy Land. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • Flint, Shlomit, and Nurit Stadler. "Dynamics of Transcendence and Urbanism:  The Latent Mechanisms of Everyday Religious Life and City Spaces." Housing, Theory and Society 38, no. 2 (2020): 228-51.   
  • Stadler, Nurit, and Lea Taragin Zeller. "Like a Snake in Paradise: New Haredi  Models of Body and Piety." Archives des Sciences Sociales des Religions 62, no. 177 (2017): 133-56.
  • Golan, Oren, and Nurit Stadler. "Building the Sacred Community Online: The Dual Use of the Internet in Chabad." Media, Culture & Society, 38, no. 1 (2016): 71-88.
  • Napolitano, Valentina, and Nurit Stadler, eds. Religion and Borderlands. Special issue of Religion and Society 6 (2015): 1-50.
  • Stadler, Nurit. "Appropriating Jerusalem’s Disputed Lands through Sacred Spaces: Female Rituals at the Tombs of Mary and Rachel." Anthropological Quarterly. 88, no. 3 (2015): 725-58.
  • Stadler, Nurit. "Land, fertility rites and the veneration of female saints: Exploring body rituals at the Tomb of Mary in Jerusalem." Anthropological Theory 15, no. 3 (2015): 293-316. 
  • Stadler, Nurit. A Well-Worn Tallis for a New Ceremony. Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2012.
  • Stadler, Nurit. "Between Scripturalism and Performance: Cohesion and Conflict in the Celebration of the Theotokos in Jerusalem." Religion 41, no. 4 (2011): 645-64.
  • Stadler, Nurit. Yeshiva Fundamentalism: Piety, Gender, and Resistance in the UltraOrthodox World. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2009.
  • Stadler, Nurit. " Terror, Corpse Symbolism and Taboo Violation: the 'Haredi Disaster Victim Identification Team in Israel (ZAKA)." The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 12, no. 4 (2006): 837-58.
  • Stadler, Nurit. "Is Profane Work an Obstacle to Salvation? The Case of Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews in Contemporary Israel." Sociology of Religion 63, no. 4 (2002): 455-74.