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Date: 2000
Author(s): Hofman, Nila Ginger
Date: 2000
Abstract: My dissertation addresses the sociocultural processes which contribute to the construction of ethnocultural identity among Zagrebian Jews. I argue, contrary to the often essentialized perception of Jewish identity imposed by e.g. the Croatian government and Jewish international organizations, that Jewish identity in Zagreb is actively chosen in ways that are both idiosyncratic and contingent upon the surrounding sociocultural environment. At the heart of my argument is an appeal to the dynamic and contextual nature of identity negotiation, and the influence this has on the maintenance and survival of the Zagrebian Jewish community. In support of this, I have employed ethnographic methods to assess (i) the ways in which Jewish identity is negotiated by community members and (ii) the ways in which the meaning of Jewish community is sustained in Zagreb. With regards to (i), I conclude that Zagrebian Jews understand their identities in terms of symbolic ethnoreligiosity, i.e. in terms of feelings and nostalgic ideas about Jewish culture and tradition. With regards to (ii), I show that the history and development of Jewish identity in Zagreb can be traced through patterns of membership participation in various Jewish organizations prevalent in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These patterns reveal the predominantly secular nature of the Zagrebian Jewish community. In light of this, I argue that community for Zagrebian Jews is ultimately defined symbolically through various types of social interaction among members. It is for this reason that the recent attempts of both international Jewish organizations and the Croatian government to impose an essentialized image of Jewish identity on the community are at odds with, and ultimately destructive to, the secular and improvisatory self-images of the members themselves.
Author(s): Cohen, Martine
Date: 2000
Date: 2000
Abstract: Porträts von 17 jüdischen Gemeinden in Europa.

Am Ende eines für Europa geschichtsträchtigen und vor allem für Juden tragischen Jahrhunderts entwerfen 18 Autoren individuell gestaltete, einander ergänzende Porträts jüdischer Gemeinden, die Auskunft geben über das Leben und Wirken der Gemeinschaften, über deren Gegenwart und Vergangenheit, ihre Strukturen und Voraussetzungen. Diese Bestandsaufnahmen des jüdischen Lebens führen quer durch Europa: nach Österreich, England, Frankreich und Deutschland. Es folgen Beiträge über die Türkei, einen jahrhundertealten Zufluchtsort für Juden, den jüdischen Nachwuchs in Osteuropa, über Thessaloniki, die Juden im Gebiet der ehemaligen Sowjetunion, deren Gemeinschaft durch anhaltende Emigration bedroht ist, und über die wirtschaftliche und soziale Not der ukrainischen Juden. Der Leser erfährt von der Entwicklung der kleinen aber dynamischen jüdischen Gemeinde von Litauen, von jener in Estland und von der unerwarteten Wiedergeburt des Judentums in Polen, dem einzigen Land in Europa mit einer wachsenden jüdischen Bevölkerung. Nach einem Beitrag über die neuerwachten Gemeinden Prag und Bratislava gibt der Band einen Überblick über die Geschichte des Judentums im Rumänien des 20. Jahrhunderts, erzählt von der »ungarischen Renaissance« und porträtiert die kroatische jüdische Gemeinde, die nun, nach beinahe 50 Jahren wieder einen Rabbiner hat. In einem abschließenden Essay fordert die französische Historikerin Diana Pinto das Wiederentstehen einer europäischen jüdischen Identität und gemahnt die Gemeinden an ihre Pflicht der Erinnerung.
Date: 2000
Abstract: In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

The public lighting ceremony in Paris on the first night of Hanukah, December 23, 1997, resembled battle. Chabad raised a giant menorah on the Champs de Mars and ranged around its flanks various siege engines: portable generators, a stage, a screen, batteries of speakers. The speakers boomed Hasidic marching music that rattled windows on the buildings facing the field. Then shrill young boys on stage shouted Hebrew verses into a microphone. Napoleon's grapeshot could not have done a more effective job of subduing a mob. The previously talkative crowd fell silent and gazed at the stage for what was to come next: first, a five-minute video biography of Rabbi Schneerson projected onto a large screen, then a satellite link-up with similar ceremonies in Crown Heights and Jerusalem. On cue, bearded cameramen turned to the crowd. People waved and cheered when their image on screen joined that of crowds in America and Israel. This was mixed with video of boys' choirs and stock footage of the Rebbe waving to crowds, as if to suggest that he was alive and actually participating. Then came the climax, the victorious raising of the flag: the Grand Rabbi of France, Joseph Sitruk, accompanied by a Chabad rabbi, rose aloft in a cherry picker. He pronounced a series of blessings into a microphone and lit the menorah. Paris was his.

The spectacle that night on the Champs de Mars has, arguably, less to do with Chabad's penchant for messianism and noise than it has to do with decolonization. Since emancipation in 1791, French Judaism has defined itself according to its embrace of the Revolution's universalist principles and its disavowal of political, cultural, and doctrinal separateness. Now, however, a small but vocal minority of the North African Jewish immigrants who have settled in France during the past 30 years is challenging the 200-year-old consensus. All of the people involved in the Hanukah ceremony, including the Grand Rabbi, were Sephardic Jews of North African descent. Like the millions of other formerly colonized peoples, most of them Muslim, who have come to France and are altering its culture, their aim is to assert a more uncompromised cultural identity within an ethnic community less sympathetic to its historical concern for discretion. What is happening among Jews is thus only a subset of a larger, national process. The North African Jews have succeeded to the extent that Judaism, at least in the Paris region, is more vital than it has been since before World War II. And never in France's history have there been as many Jewish schools, yeshivas, synagogues, kosher restaurants, and ritual baths.

The revival of Jewish life in France because of the North Africans is also strengthening French Judaism in some less obvious ways. The North African Jews' activism has taken place amidst a national debate concerning cultural pluralism and the integration of African immigrant communities. The conjunction of communal and national issues has provoked responses from community leaders and Jewish intellectuals anxious to defend the Republican values of traditional French Judaism. While some go no farther than defend the historical status-quo, others endeavor to rethink French Judaism and bring it up to date. Two Jewish thinkers in particular, Shmuel Trigano and Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, are beginning to elaborate a French Judaism that reconciles the demand for a stronger Jewish identity with the values of the Republic. After first exploring recent developments in France's Jewish community and their relation to national debates, this article will examine the ideas of Trigano and Bernheim at length.

France has historically been ill at ease with its own diversity. France's monarchy, for instance, worried that religious diversity impeded political centralization and undermined the power of the crown. The Enlightenment interpreted cultural differences in terms of the persistence of atavisms such as tribalism and superstition, both of which it contrasted with the universality of civilisation. Finally, the Revolution added Jean-Jacques Rousseau's obsession with private or minority interests that might threaten the unity of a Republic one and indivisible. It follows that the emancipation offered to Jews came with precise conditions. Jews had...
Author(s): Valins, Oliver
Date: 2000
Abstract: Institutionalised religion, as a powerful force in the structuring of the daily lives of probably the majority of the world’s population, is a field of social research to which geographers can usefully contribute. This paper examines ancient and contemporary forms of Judaism, exploring the underlying codes and regulations designed to structure every aspect of life. The first part of the paper examines institutionalised uses of space in ancient times, as recorded in the sacred Jewish text of the Talmud. Through the sacred geography of the great Temple in Jerusalem and the legal authority of the religious court to punish offenders, the social system was (in principle at least) highly ordered and regulated. The second part examines the institutionalisation of the religion in contemporary times, which for orthodox Jews involves attempting to practise and maintain these same ancient codes and regulations. Practising ancient ways of life in contemporary (post)modern contexts can be extremely difficult, however, which I discuss with reference to the proposals of the religious authorities in Manchester, England, to construct an eruv; a legalistic device consisting of poles and wires which changes the classification of space, allowing (in particular) the elderly, infirm and parents with young children to travel on the Sabbath. The device faces criticism from secular and religious sources over the rights to ‘claim space’ and the religious legalistic viability of the project.
Date: 2000
Author(s): Brumlik, Micha
Date: 2000
Abstract: Als Ezer Weismann, der israelische Staatspräsident, Anfang des Jahres 1996 Deutschland besuchte, erregte er mit seiner Äußerung Aufsehen, er könne nicht begreifen, daß Juden noch immer in Deutschland leben wollten. Ignatz Bubis, der damalige Vorsitzende des Zentralrats der Juden in Deutschland, der sich dezidiert als ein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens versteht, widersprach. - Wie sieht ein Jude der 68er Generation sein Leben in der Bundesrepublik? Micha Brumlik ist in der Bundesrepublik aufgewachsen, hier hat er sich politisch und publizistisch eingemischt. In seiner eindrücklichen Schilderung jüdischen Lebens in Deutschland nach dem Krieg beleuchtet er die neuerdings wieder viel diskutierte Frage, was jüdische Identität heute ausmacht. Dabei streift er nicht nur die Schmerzzonen deutsch-jüdischen Erinnerns der letzten Jahre, die mit den Namen Börneplatz, Fassbinder-Affäre, Bitburg und dem Holocaust-Mahnmal verbunden sind, er geht auch weiter zurück, erinnert sich der eigenen Kindheit in den fünfziger Jahren, um die Grundlagen eines jüdischen Selbstverständnisses freizulegen, das von der Fluchterfahrung der Eltern vor den Nazis bestimmt war. Zur Nachkriegsgeschichte gehört wesentlich auch das politisch empfindliche Verhältnis der Bundesrepublik zum Staat Israel. Micha Brumlik hat dort einige Zeit studiert und in einem Kibbuz gelebt. Er fragt nach dem Verhältnis eines nicht orthodox lebenden Juden zur Religion, denkt über den Zionismus und verschiedene Spielarten des Antizionismus nach, nimmt eine Neubewertung seines Engagements für die politische Linke vor - und kommt zu der Einsicht, daß er immer wieder zwischen allen Stühlen gelandet ist, landen mußte. In Brumliks Verknüpfung von erzählendem Rückblick und politischer Analyse wird nicht nur die Geschichte der Bundesrepublik auf besonders scharfsichtige Weise kenntlich. Hier zeigt sich auch, daß ein Leben als Jude in Deutschland - allen Anfeindungen, Sozialisationsbrüchen und Spannungen zum Trotz - ein starkes Selbstverständnis provozieren kann, das mit extremen Widersprüchen produktiv umgeht
Author(s): Simon, Patrick
Date: 2000