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Author(s): Salamensky, S. I.
Date: 2013
Author(s): Salamensky, S. I.
Date: 2014
Abstract: A “Jew-themed” restaurant provides its patrons with broad-brimmed black hats with foot-long sidecurls to wear, and the menu has no prices; patrons must bargain, or “Jew,” the staff down. A play billed as a tribute to a lost Jewish community ends in a gag: Death throws back his shroud to reveal an open-brain-pate wig, à la the horror flick Nightmare on Elm Street. In a “traditional Jewish wedding dance,” “Jewish wealth” is represented by a local luxury: vacuum-packed juice boxes. In parts of the world where Jews, once populous, have nearly vanished because of oppression, forced exile, and genocide, non-Jews now strive to re-enact what has been lost. In this essay, I will consider three general cases of what I term “Jewface” minstrelsy and

“Jewfaçade” display, in Krakow, Poland; the village of Hervás in western Spain; and Birobidzhan, capital city of Russia’s far-eastern Jewish Autonomous Region, which is known as Birobidzhan as well. Jewface-resembling the “blackface” prevalent in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries-is the practice of music, dance, theatre, and/or extra-theatrical types of performance, primarily by non-Jews, intended to convey notions of historical Jewish life and culture. Jewfaçade involves architectural and decorative constructions, again mainly by nonJews, meant to evoke ideas of the Jew in similar ways. Ruth Ellen Gruber, the team of Daniela Flesler and Adrian Pérez Melgosa, and other journalists and scholars have documented what Michael Brenner has called “Jewish culture without Jews” in Poland and Spain, as well as elsewhere in Europe (Brenner 1997: 152). However, no comparative study has been made, and no scholar has approached this topic with regard to Birobidzhan. I will provide brief overviews of Jewface and Jewfaçade activities in Krakow, Hervás, and Birobidzhan. I will then demonstrate the ways in which the notions of the figure of the Jew and of local Jewish history are performed, or acted out in these three comparative geographical contexts. These cases, as, in conclusion, I will argue, represent three very different approaches to public memory and memorialization with regard to the Jew, and perhaps in regard to troubled historical legacies more generally.
Date: 2021
Date: 2020
Abstract: In the Netherlands, religions are often positioned as opposite to secular ideals of women’s freedom. While women’s emancipation supposedly grants women their autonomy, religions are suspected of reaffirming gender inequality. In this religion-versus-emancipation dilemma, questions of the body are pertinent, since traditional religions are framed as restricting and regulating women’s bodies. Questions about modesty, sexual relations, clothing and food preparations often come up in such debates. There seems to be a particular tension for women who convert to religions that are often regarded as ‘gender conservative’, and this chapter sheds light on that field of tension. This expands the field of women’s conversion – which has typically focused on Islamic women – by employing a comparative analysis of interviews and participant observation with Jewish, Christian and Muslim Dutch women converts. Joining a religion that one was not raised in is a process of ethical self-fashioning through training and disciplining of both the body and mind. Converts have to learn how to eat, how to pray, how to dress and how to have sex in such a way that it permits them to give shape to their religious subjectivity and pious desires. What I found is that performing authenticity is a central and embodied characteristic of modern-day conversion stories in the ‘age of authenticity’. This performance is often played out through the sexual and gendered body and religious subject transformations were closely related to sexual self-fashioning. In order to understand these links between conversion, sexuality and the body, I focus on experiences and ideas about virginity and marriage, menstruation and homosexuality. In this chapter, I aim to show that sexual embodiments and ethics cannot be understood as either religious or secular, but rather as a new form of religious subjectivity within Europe as a space where authenticity has become the most important mode for selfhood.
Author(s): Tübel, Susanne
Date: 2020
Editor(s): Белова, O. B.
Date: 2019
Abstract: Отталкиваясь от распространенных в антисионистской кампании обвинений евреев-эмигрантов и отказников в меркантильности и потребительстве, статья рассматривает вещественный мир и его осмысление в советском и еврейском нарративах эмиграции, сосредотачиваясь на трех ситуациях: иммиграция вещей, эмиграция вещей и вещь как альтернатива эмиграции. Отмечая предубеждение против материального как традиционную установку мемуаристов, причисляющих себя к интеллигенции, автор тем не менее обнаруживает несколько категорий вещей, регулярно упоминаемых в разнообразных рассказах о своей и чужой эмиграции, и исследует то, как эти вещи проблематизируются и социализируются, превращаясь из
машинально используемых предметов в «социальные объекты», наделенные в антагонистичных нарративах различным, иногда противоположным, значением.