Learning How to Be Modern: An Ethnography of the Religious Education of L/liberal Jewish Talmud Torah Students in Luxembourg
This dissertation is an ethnography of children and young people growing up Jewish in Luxembourg. It focuses on the students of a Talmud Torah class in a Liberal synagogue that, in recent years, has drawn increasing numbers of highly mobile, multilingual families from around the world. As these students learn how to be Jewish and carry on Jewish tradition, they simultaneously explore what it means to be modern and to be modern Jews. This process pushes them to confront a series of ambiguities and apparent paradoxes across the contexts of their everyday lives – in Talmud Torah, at home, and at school. Based on 31 months of fieldwork, this dissertation reveals the nuanced semiotic ideologies and competing visions of modernity that become visible through the lens of the students' Talmud Torah learning, including learning to read Hebrew, engaging with religious texts, and participating in ritual performance, and their school experiences. The students grapple with, navigate, and position themselves in relation to these different 'projects of modernity' as they work to make sense of and bring together the aims of Jewish continuity and liberal modernity and all that these entail. By exploring these processes, this dissertation aims to participate in the anthropological conversation about 'modernities' and 'the modern' as a project that is both embracing of the liberal, the secular, and inclusivity and can be powerfully normative, constraining, and exclusionary, and to encourage us as anthropologists and teachers to think about how we might leave open the possibility for nuance and alternative attachments, desires, goals, mobilities, and ways of being in the classroom and beyond.
Main Topic: Education Jewish Pupils Reform/Liberal/Progressive Judaism Chedarim / Supplementary Schools Youth Synagogues
Link to record in university repository, Learning How to Be Modern: An Ethnography of the Religious Education of L/liberal Jewish Talmud Torah Students in Luxembourg
Learning How to Be Modern: An Ethnography of the Religious Education of L/liberal Jewish Talmud Torah Students in Luxembourg. . 2021: https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-2610