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Author(s): Graham, David
Date: 2018
Abstract: JPR’s report, European Jewish identity: Mosaic or monolith? An empirical assessment of eight European countries, authored by Senior Research Fellow Dr David Graham, asks whether there is such a thing as a European Jewish identity, and, if so, what it looks like.

The question of whether there is a Jewish identity that is at once common to all European Jews but also peculiar to them, has intrigued scholars of contemporary Jewry since the fall of the Berlin Wall. This study contrasts the European picture with the two major centres of world Jewry, the United States and Israel, and examines the nature and content of Jewish identity across Europe, exploring the three core pillars of belief, belonging and behaviour around which Jewish identity is built.

This research was made possible by the advent of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey in 2012 examining Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism across nine EU Member States: Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Sweden and the UK. As well as gathering data about antisemitism, the study investigated various aspects of the Jewishness of respondents, in order to ascertain whether different types of Jews perceive and experience antisemitism differently. This study focuses on the data gathered about Jewishness, thereby enabling direct comparisons to be made for the first time across multiple European Jewish communities in a robust and comprehensive way.

The report concludes that there is no monolithic European identity, but it explores in detail the mosaic of Jewish identity in Europe, highlighting some key differences:
• In Belgium, where Jewish parents are most likely to send their children to Jewish schools, there is a unique polarisation between the observant and non-observant;
• In France, Jews exhibit the strongest feelings of being part of the Jewish People, and also have the strongest level of emotional attachment to Israel;
• Germany’s Jewish community has the largest proportion of foreign-born Jews, and, along with Hungary, is the youngest Jewish population;
• In Hungary the greatest relative weight in Jewish identity priorities is placed on 'Combating antisemitism,' and the weakest level of support for Israel is exhibited;
• In Italy, respondents are least likely to report being Jewish by birth or to have two Jewish parents;
• The Jews of Latvia are the oldest population and the most likely to be intermarried;
• The Jews of Sweden attach a very high level of importance to 'Combating antisemitism' despite being relatively unlikely to experience it, and they observe few Jewish practices;
• In the United Kingdom, Jews observe the most religious practices and appear to feel the least threatened by antisemitism. They are the most likely to be Jewish by birth and least likely to be intermarried.

According to report author, Dr David Graham: “This report represents far more than the culmination of an empirical assessment of Jewish identity. Never before has it been possible to examine Jewish identity across Europe in anything approaching a coherent and systematic way. Prior to the FRA’s survey, it was almost inconceivable that an analysis of this kind could be carried out at all. The formidable obstacles of cost, language, political and logistical complexity seemed to present impenetrable barriers to the realisation of any such dream. Yet this is exactly what has been achieved, a report made possible through an FRA initiative into furthering understanding of Jewish peoples' experience of antisemitism. It reveals a European Jewry that is more mosaic than monolith, an array of Jewish communities, each exhibiting unique Jewish personas, yet united by geography and a common cultural heritage."
Author(s): Illman, Ruth
Date: 2018
Date: 2016
Abstract: Though the exclusion of contemporary Orthodox Jewish women from active roles in public worship and other central religious activities has been condemned as patriarchal oppression by feminists and lauded as freeing women for sacred domestic duties by Orthodox apologists, little research has been carried out on Orthodox women’s religious lives and self-understanding. This study uses participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and monitoring of community email lists and media to document women’s religious activities in London; to investigate the constraints that shape these activities; and to examine women’s exercise of agency and creativity within these constraints to shape a rich, changing, and sometimes contested set of spiritual opportunities. The study examines four spheres of action, defined by the intersection of two axes: communal-individual arenas and culturally sanctioned-innovative practices. Alongside culturally sanctioned activity such as synagogue attendance and observance of the sexual purity system, innovative and hitherto unknown practices such as berakhah (blessing) parties exist, besides more controversial attempts to participate in public worship, both in women-only services and mixed services (partnership minyanim). The patterns and transmission of women’s individual customs are also examined, elucidating their religious significance for women. In addition to recording new practices, the study documents two periods of accelerated change, in the early 1990s and from 2005 onwards. It suggests that Orthodox women may be divided into three permeable groups—haredi (ultra-Orthodox’), identitarian/traditionalist, and Modern Orthodox—and examines the worldviews and innovative techniques displayed by each group. Factors such as education, community pressure, and norms of the non-Jewish community combine with differing group outlooks to give a nuanced explanation of the rich variation within Orthodox women’s religious lives. The study provides a basis for cross-communal research into Jewish women’s spirituality and models the complex interplay and impact of social and personal factors on religious life.
Author(s): Gerson, Jane
Date: 2008
Abstract: Kosher food is not necessarily the same as 'Jewish' food. The thesis explores ideas of Jewish identity in Britain in relation to food, examining the period from the end of austerity in the mid-1950s until the beginning of the twenty-first century. The period starts with Britain's emergence from the strictures of rationing and the development of an era of abundance and choice that has led, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, to a complex and ambivalent relationship between food and society. The thesis explores food in relation to the histories of diverse British Jewish communities and individuals deploying a range of evidence including oral histories, memoirs, journalism and cookery books. It studies the practice of Jewish identity and food, looking at Jewish communities ranging from the strictly Orthodox to progressive Jews. Theories of place, displacement and circuitry in the context of a global food economy are central to the thesis as are ideas of memory, myth and ritual. The first two chapters study the religious, political and social context of kosher food practice in Britain, analysing relations between the ecclesiastical authorities, the kosher food industry and consumers in which issues of class and gender are pivotal. Non-Jewish responses to kosher food are also examined. The third chapter interrogates the culinary origins of Ashkenazi and Sephardi food in Britain in the context of the globalization of the food industry, questioning how this affects the 'Jewishness' of specific culinary practices. The final chapter investigates the meaning and development of Jewish food rituals with respect to Sabbath and festival observance. The thesis suggests that despite the particularity of Jewish practice in relation to food, and the specific circumstances of the Diaspora, the Jewish practice of identity through food should not be treated as exceptional. The concept of 'Jewish' food is as problematic and as valid as the identification of any other group with a specific cuisine.
Date: 2015
Abstract: После крушения государственного социализма в Украине начинают происходить драматические трансформации религиозного ландшафта. В данной статье анализируется влияние религиозного возрождения на еврейское население Одессы. Рассматриваются различные стратегии поворота к вере, мотивация новообращенных, их попытки вжиться в иудаизм, те обсуждения традиции, в которые они в ходе этих процессов вовлекаются, а также влияние новой религиозности на внутри- и межсемейные взаимоотношения. Утверждается, что по большей части новособлюдающие иудеи восприняли иудаизм как новый способ быть евреем, а не как возвращение к своим семейным традициям. В целом она характеризует постсоветскую религиозность в Одессе как формирование режима «религиозной приверженности» в смысле особого состояния ума и пространства для выстраивания духовной жизни. Эта «религиозная приверженность» приводит к новым или несколько иным направлениям иудейской идентичности, уже не связанным с «полнотой» соблюдения набора правил. «Религиозная приверженность» может включать в себя полную, частичную, кратковременную или долговременную практику иудаизма, приобщение к нему в дополнение или в замещение прежних убеждений.
Date: 2015
Abstract: Статья основывается на анализе интервью с евреями Украины и Молдавии, прожившими часть жизни в условиях существования традиционного еврейского уклада, а часть — в условиях активного государственного неприятия любых религиозных традиций. Рассматривается несколько вариантов «народного иудаизма». Одна из форм «народной религиозности» – это вынужденный отказ от следования заповедям иудаизма и различные варианты обхождения запретов. Второй вариант – это сознательный отказ от религиозных традиций предков, соблюдение «для камуфляжа», и минимальное взаимодействие с современным ортодоксальным иудаизмом. Третий вариант – это формирование собственных индивидуальных норм для выборочного соблюдения некоторых религиозных предписаний. Были выявлены несколько основных механизмов формирования новых еврейских «народных» религиозных практик. Это трансформация существующих галахических предписаний с помощью а) ритуального обмана; б) изменения статуса объекта; в) применения традиционных законов ритуальной чистоты к заведомо нечистому объекту.
Author(s): Müller, Christine
Date: 2007
Author(s): Gerson, Daniel
Date: 2010
Abstract: Das interdisziplinäre Forschungsprojekt ging davon aus, dass das religiöse Leben der Jüdinnen und
Juden in der Schweiz im Kontext gesellschaftlicher Veränderungen seit den 60er Jahren des 20.
Jahrhunderts einem verstärkten individuellen und kollektiven Wandlungsprozess unterworfen ist.
Dabei wurden die Auswirkungen der Integration der jüdischen Minderheit und die aktuelle Bedeutung
von Antisemitismus erfasst. Die Position der jüdischen Religionsgemeinden als Teil der Schweizer
Gesellschaft wurde auch im Hinblick auf eine partiell erfolgte öffentlich-rechtliche Anerkennung sowie
auf das Interesse der Öffentlichkeit am Judentum hin untersucht.
Gesamtgesellschaftliche Phänomene wie Individualisierung und Säkularisierung sind als wesentliche
Faktoren vorausgesetzt und in die Analyse miteinbezogen worden.
Die Untersuchung konzentrierte sich auf Polarisierungs- und Pluralisierungsprozesse in den grössten
schweizerisch-jüdischen Gemeinschaften von Basel, Genf und Zürich, wo heute rund 70% der ca.
18’000 statistisch erfassten Jüdinnen und Juden leben. Die Auswirkungen von Mischehen (ca. 50%)
wurde für jüngste Entwicklungen des Schweizer Judentums als zentral erachtet: Sie schwächen die
traditionellen Einheitsgemeinden, die durch die soziale und religiöse Ausgrenzung von
Mischehenfamilien an Bedeutung verlieren und führen zur Bildung neuer Gemeinschaften, die beim
Umgang mit nichtjüdischen Familienangehörigen integrative Ansätze vertreten.
Anhand von Kontroversen um die Gleichstellung von Frauen im religiösen Leben und den Umgang mit
Homosexualität können Konfliktlinien zwischen den Ansprüchen einer modernen, rechtlich egalitären
Gesellschaft und den jahrhundertealten Bestimmungen des Religionsgesetzes aufgezeigt werden. Die
Vermittlung von Religion an Jugendliche wurde gesamtschweizerisch erfasst. Zudem wurden die
Auswirkungen der Auswanderung nach Israel auf das jüdische Selbstverständnis analysiert.
Mit dem Blick auf jüdische Gemeinschaften in Deutschland (Berlin) und Schweden (Stockholm) konnte
das Schweizer Judentum in den Kontext der europäischen Diaspora zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts
gestellt werden.
Als Grundlage unserer Forschung dienten schriftliche Quellen und Interviews.
Date: 2003