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Date: 2024
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to compare two groups of Jewish women, native-born and migrants, who reside in Brussels regarding their social integration into native-born Jewish and non-Jewish communities and the acculturation strategies they employ. It seems that Brussels is not as socially and culturally open, as perceived by the interviewees. Hence, the social networks of women in our study, as well as their acculturation patterns, differ in degree of separation between native-born Jewish women, non-Israeli immigrants and Israeli immigrants. The former maintain social networks characterized by fluid boundaries between them and the majority society, whereas non-Israeli immigrants are characterized by shared, not very dense networks with the native-born Jewish community and diasporic networks. Finally, Israeli women are characterized by almost completely closed social networks, which can be defined as a distinct “Israeli bubble.” As for their acculturation strategies, native-born women are those who are more integrated among non-Jews and native-born Jews, as expected from their familiarity with the culture and their long-term interactions, despite being partially marginalized as minority. Migrant women are less integrated and more separated from both native-born Jews and – to a larger extent – from non-Jews; so are Israelis. Social networks which gradually become communities are mainly created by women and maintained by them over the years. Therefore, the study of social networks, their structure and construction through daily interactions, and their contribution to the ethnic-diasporic community building have become the source of women’s strength in the host country – as immigrants and as a native-born minority group.
Author(s): Tzadik, Efrat
Date: 2014
Abstract: For many years anthropologists have researched other cultures. They were separate from the group they researched (Peirano, 1998). In recent years, anthropologists have started to conduct their research ‘at home’. Researching one’s own culture raises many questions regarding the position of the researcher in the field. It differs from a simple participatory observation since the researcher does not leave his or her own field, but belongs culturally to the field being studied, and as such gains access to more intimate topics. This special position the researcher has the advantage of being familiar with the field, but it may also cause conflicts and obstacles. This paper will reveal to the reader some of the experiences in the field and the mechanisms used to deal with these conflicts. In this chapter I situate myself as a Jewish Israeli woman seeking to explore my own community within the context of Jewish Israeli women in the Belgian Diaspora. Utilising the participatory observation approach I explore the questions concerned in "insider-outsider" research and the ethical considerations that underpin social science research of this kind. My starting point involves questions of "self" and identity before attempting to discuss my community; drawing on appropriate theorists, I explicate my particular religious-ethnic grouping with reference to the experiences, views and roles of women in this group. The chapter analyses the challenges faced by an anthropologist in conducting participatory observation into her own peer group, and in its conclusion will explain some of the mechanisms an anthropologist can incorporate in order to overcome these challenges. Looking into my own culture and conducting research into my own surroundings stemmed from the need to understand the steps leading to a person’s decision to migrate. I wanted to understand my own experience as an immigrant.
Author(s): Tzadik, Efrat
Date: 2012
Abstract: This research introduces an anthropological perspective in the debate on religious identity and the workplace. In particular, it examines the relationship between Jewish identity and practices and the workplace in Belgium, with a focus on gender issues. Thanks to in-depth interviews with a number of Jewish women in Brussels about their daily experiences in the workplace and extensive field work in this community, valuable and generally difficult to access data regarding Jewish women’s workplace participation, perceptions, and experiences has been collected and analyzed. There is a complex relationship between Jewish identity, practices and the perception of the respondents as it relates to the workplace and their own position. Perceived hostility towards Israel and the Jewry is a recurrent issue amongst the respondents. As Judaism is often connected to the State of Israel and the current political climate, individual Jewish women are sometimes confronted with unpleasant or negative comments or experiences in the workplace. Besides forming a strong deterrent for many of the respondents to participate in the mainstream workforce, this puts a lot of pressure on those women working for non-Jewish organizations. To a certain extent, Jewish practices are adapted, modified and negotiated by the working Jewish women to meet the demands of dominant norms in the modern Belgian workplace. In addition, the ‘coping mechanisms’ that are applied by the respondents are frequently gender-specific and family-motivated.
Author(s): Tzadik, Efrat
Date: 2016
Abstract: Changing one’s place of residency creates new challenges, such as how to preserve social, cultural, ethnic or national identities and how to create a comfortable living environment in the new country; creating a new ‘home.’ In this article I explore ways in which migrant women transform a new place into a space, into a new home. More specifically, this article answers the question of the mechanisms used by Israeli women who immigrated to Belgium in order to create a setting wherein they feel a sense of comfort and belonging. I call this mechanism ‘social bubbles’, a term taken from Cohen (1992) in his work about types of tourists. Cohen named it ‘environmental bubbles’. My aim is to develop the use of the term for general migration. Looking at a religious group is often discussed in terms of ‘enclaves’ (Sivan, 1991; Valins, 2003). Enclaves are social forms where people live completely within the boundaries of the group. Individuals are not obliged to remain in the community (in the enclaves) but there is social pressure to do so. I compare the term ‘enclave’ with ‘social bubble’ and explain that the use of the term is more flexible, dynamic and leads to a new perspective on the whole phenomenon of integration of social groups: religious, ethnic, national and for different migration purposes; asylum seekers, expatriates, refugees and others. Although the concept of bubbles could describe social groups, such as Jewish people in Brussels, Belgium, this article focuses mainly on Israelis who immigrated to Brussels.