The Minute-of-Silence as Solidarity and Individuation: A Conceptual Model of an Israeli Ritual

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Our paper studies Minute-of-silence an official ritual observed in Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day and Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers. We investigate this event as a microcosm encapsulating the relationships between the individual and the collective. It explores the intricate and in times conflicting relationship between communion (via the siren as signaling an external code of conduct) and individuation (via the silence as personal and internal). This article is based on interviews collected immediately following those minutes of silence from 2006 to 2010. Participants of all ages and identities (Israeli Jewish and non-Jewish citizens) described what they went through in those specific moments. Those narratives and external sources serve to qualitatively analyze the themes this ritual elicits. Despite its briefness, in no sense are these minutes uniform. They encompass the themes of solidarity and individuation; individuality and collective(s); norms and practices; routine and its disruption; speech and silence; past-present-future; biographical memory and collective memory. The two days' minutes-of-silence elicit more themes common to both days and only a few unique to only one of the days. This is the only paper specifically devoted to the minute-of-silence, a ritual that is strongly identified with the Israeli experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Ritual Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


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