Topics: Main Topic: Identity and Community, Jewish Community, Mountain Jews, Rural and Small Town, Diaspora
Abstract: Mikhail Chlenov, secretary general of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, introduces the classic volume Mountain Jews, edited by Iosef Begun and Valerii Dymshits. This essay presents the significance of the group as well as the book. Mountain or "Highland" Jews have cultural roots in the history of a far-flung Persian Jewish archipelago. Many Jews from mountainous villages in Dagestan and Azerbaijan in the post-Soviet period have fled long-established rural communities, often landing in Moscow as outsiders within an already "outsider" group.
Communities and Jewish Identity in Europe', Transcript of First Plenary of the Third General Assembly of European Jewry, Budapest 20–23 May 2004
Abstract: The European Jewish reality today confounds predictions of decline with demographic decline. We can see that predictions of Jewish decline don't mean that the data was wrong, but rather the interpretation of the data on Jewish life was wrong. To look at the inevitably flawed data and not see trends that cannot be altered is just bad futurology. The fact is (and we know it from our daily life, work life as well as leisure life) that today information is power. Without information about who we as Jews in Europe are, we cannot seriously build a future. The kind of information we need about ourselves is not just how many we are and where we are. This kind of information is sometimes impossible to know definitively. We really need to know what kind of Jews we are, what kind of Jewish identities form our being, what makes up Jewish identities today.