Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Erich Steinman

Reader 2

Gabriela Morales

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Rights Information

© 2019 Tirza J Ochrach-Konradi


This research applies C. Wright Mills’ theory of vocabularies of motive to reveal the collective narratives, which were used to justify the atypical founding of an urban Jewish congregation in the 1970s. Prior to and during this period, US Jewish communities were migrating out of city centers into their surrounding suburbs. Most Jewish congregations followed their congregants and moved into the suburbs. This study identifies the collective justifications within the Hatchala Chadasha community, which are the accepted reasons for the organization’s atypical urban location and organizational structure. The findings of this research are based in the examination of interviews with individuals who were community members during the earliest years of Hatchala Chadasha’s existence. Patterns of similar accounts across the interviews revealed the collective narratives that defended four of the congregation’s fundamental decisions: why the congregation was founded, where the congregation chose to locate, how the congregation acted politically, and what organizational structure the congregation employed. These justifications are further examined, in relation to the behavior and values common within the broader Jewish community and other contextual components, to theorize why certain accounts became the accepted narrative within Hatchala Chadasha. Fundamentally, this research examines informants’ motive statements to discern and analyze the collective narratives formed in a community, which justify the community’s atypical behavior in the context of a predominant, external culture.