This article presents a general approach to the development of personal identity, exploring the ways in which various group identities may be incorporated into the emerging personal identity of an individual. It is hoped that this general scheme will have some implications for the question of how Jewish identity can be built into the personal identity of Jewish children, and what role Jewish education might play in this process.
The approach is based on a conceptual model developed for the analysis of social influence and extended to the analysis of personal involvement in social systems. This model is not specifically addressed to identity formation, but it has some relevance to the development of identity both at the level of the individual and at that of the group – that is, both to personal and to national or ethnic identity. The purpose of this article is to explore the implications of this model for identity formation at these two levels, with special reference to Jewish family.