Topics: Jewish Community, Jewish Identity, Main Topic: Identity and Community, Post-War Jewish History
Abstract: The Dutch Jewish community is part of Western European Jewry and as such is part of what Bernard Wasserstein describes as the vanishing Diaspora. The community is one of Europe's smallest and it was also the Western European Jewish community most heavily damaged by the Shoah; it lost 75% of its population. It is surprising that the community still exists. It has gone through many changes, most notably in the 1960s. Progressive Judaism and the Lubavitcher Habad movement have made considerable inroads in the religious community, but the population has become largely secular, and new secular Jewish networks have been established. Dutch Jews have redefined their identity, shifting from “Dutchmen of the Israelite religion” to “Jews” or “people with a Jewish background,” belonging to a social and cultural minority. A small population exchange has taken place between Israel and the Netherlands. The brief baby boom after the Shoah and the newly formed networks outside the religious framework have revitalized the community. But most Jews in the Netherlands are married to non-Jews, and in spite of unique efforts to integrate the Israelis into the community, the future seems uncertain.
Translated Title: In the tents of Jacob. Impressions of 75 years of Progressive Judaism in the Netherlands 1931-2006
Abstract: Liberal Judaism remained absent in the Netherlands during the nineteenth century but finally became successful in the early 1930s under the influence of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London and the establishment of the World Union for Progressive Judaism in 1926. It had a specific Dutch character which was more radical than the German refugees who joined in were used to. The Shoah barely left survivors of the prewar congregations, but Liberal Judaism made a remarkable comeback in the Netherlands and had a key role position for Liberal Judaism on the continent of Europe. In a much smaller Jewish community than the French one, the Dutch Progressive congregations for a considerable period formed the largest Progressive community on the continent, next to France. Even today, while comprising ten congregations, it still has a growing membership