Topics: Diaspora, Emigration, Main Topic: Identity and Community, Jewish Identity, Psychotherapy / Psychoanalysis, Refugees, Interviews, Ageing and the Elderly
Abstract: The relationship between psychoanalysis and Jewishness has been debated for over one hundred years and the derogatory term ”Jewish science” has been used to describe psychoanalysis. Because of the Nazi regime both Jewish and non-Jewish psychoanalysts left their homelands. In this study, aging Jewish individuals born in Central Europe and forced into exile were interviewed concerning their perceptions of psychoanalysis and Jewishness, of Jewish identity and exile. Anti-Semitism had influenced their perceptions of their work in the psychoanalytic field. The findings are discussed in relation to the current position of psychoanalysis as well as to questions of trauma and exile.
Abstract: This work is based on interviews with four elderly Jewish men, members of a Swedish congregation who advocate egalitarianism. A narrative analysis found that the participants’ perception of egalitarianism was connected to their own life experiences and to emotionally significant turning points in which the participants became aware how women were excluded. They perceived egalitarianism as a reassurance for a future Jewish life and described the development and preservation of traditions as intermingled rather than as opposed to each other. Gender equality in this study should not be viewed as specifically related to younger congregants and/or women but as connected to life experiences of the individual concerned.
Voluntary work with sporting activities for Jewish children and teenagers: commitment to inclusiveness, Jewish identity, and a future Jewish life – an interview study
Topics: Synagogues, Conservative / Masorti Judaism, Youth Movements, Youth Clubs, Teenagers, Interviews, Main Topic: Education
Abstract: Membership in Jewish congregations seems to be declining and modern society has been described as a challenge to Jewishness and to the future for Jews as a people with shared characteristics and traditions. Activities for children and teenagers have gained increasing attention, since such activities might be a reassurance of a future Jewish life. To arrange such activities is, however, demanding and individuals who commit themselves to voluntary work are essential. In this study, six members of a Swedish Conservative congregation, who were committed to voluntary work with sporting activities for children and teenagers, were interviewed about the way in which they perceived their voluntary work. A thematic analysis was conducted. The volunteers concluded that everyone should feel included in the activities. They had a nuanced view of Jewish identity and also welcomed those who were not considered halakhically Jewish. Moreover, they wanted to support a positive Jewish identity in the new generation. Their work was perceived as meaningful even though they said that congregants who felt that the activities should adhere to Halakhah had criticized them. It is proposed that congregations should support voluntary workers and facilitate their efforts, otherwise experiences of misrecognition might evolve, experiences that are counterproductive for a vital congregational life.