Abstract: With contributions from a dozen American and European scholars, this volume presents an overview of Jewish writing in post–World War II Europe. Striking a balance between close readings of individual texts and general surveys of larger movements and underlying themes, the essays portray Jewish authors across Europe as writers and intellectuals of multiple affiliations and hybrid identities. Aimed at a general readership and guided by the idea of constructing bridges across national cultures, this book maps for English-speaking readers the productivity and diversity of Jewish writers and writing that has marked a revitalization of Jewish culture in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, and Russia. Introduction Thomas Nolden and Vivian Liska 1. Secret Affinities: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Austria Vivian Liska 2. Writing against Reconciliation: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Germany Stephan Braese 3. Remembering or Inventing the Past: Second-Generation Jewish Writers in the Netherlands Elrud Ibsch 4. Bonds with a Vanished Past: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Scandinavia Eva Ekselius 5. Imagined Communities: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Great Britain Bryan Cheyette 6. A la recherche du Judaïsme perdu: Contemporary Jewish Writing in France Thomas Nolden 7. Ital'Yah Letteraria: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Italy Christoph Miething 8. Writing along Borders: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Hungary Péter Varga with Thomas Nolden 9. Making Up for Lost Time: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Poland Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska 10. De-Centered Writing: Aspects of Contemporary Jewish Writing in Russia Rainer Grübel and Vladimir Novikov
Translated Title: Jewish Scandinavians or Scandinavia Jews?
Topics: Literature, Oral History, Assimilation, Integration, National Identity, Jewish Identity, Secularity, Main Topic: Identity and Community
Abstract: The Jews in Scandinavia have always been a small minority, where the own identity and the collective belonging have been important. During this century the Scandinavian Jews have become both secularized and assimilated, and the extreme individualism of the surrounding society has influenced them also. This essay deals with how the tension between being a member of a small Jewish minority and at the same time a loyal citizen of a secularized Christian country is reflected in two autobiographies by Scandinavian Jews: Boris Grünstein’s Jude i Finland (Jew in Finland) and Jo Benkow’s Fra synagogen til løvebakken (From the synagogue to the parliament). Both authors are non-religious Jews who have a strong Jewish identity, strengthened by their experiences during World War Two and their affection to Israel At the same time they are well integrated in society and feel at home in their countries. Their feeling of affinity with the Jewish community seems to have grown after a period of distance in younger years.
Abstract: This article presents a student’s perspective on Jewish studies in Sweden over the past ten years. By identifying the milestones of her own educational and professional path, the author discusses three questions of particular interest for a student wanting to pursue any kind of Jewish studies in a Nordic country, using Sweden as an example, namely: 1) How to compose a curriculum that leads to doctoral studies? 2) What can be said about the ‘identity’ of Jewish studies in Sweden? 3) Can a degree in the subject field of choice also lead to a career outside the academic framework?
Scandinavian Jews in the IDF: An Analysis of the Motivations of 15 Scandinavian Jews Who Have Volunteered for the Israeli Military
Abstract: This study aims at explaining the motivations behind 15 Scandinavian Jews’ decision to volunteer for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The study explores why they had a desire to volunteer for the IDF, and analyzes their motivations in a contextual relation to Israel and the Scandinavian Jewish diaspora. The study identifies three central motivations among the informants to volunteer for the IDF. These are Zionist motivations, motivations connected with the Jewish faith and motivations connected with a desire to be integrated into Israeli society. The informants express a strong conviction in the Zionist credo. The desire to support the state through military service is related to their identification with the Jewish people. By volunteering for the IDF, the informants express that they contribute to the preservation of Jewish existence and Jewish self-determination. Motivations connected with the Jewish faith are also present among the informants. However, these motivations vary according to the individual informants’ observance of Jewish law. The study suggests that the observant informants regard service in the IDF as a secular, but necessary undertaking in order to reach the religious goal of building an exemplary Jewish society that can fulfill the covenant with God. The non-observant informants express that their service in the IDF allowed them to give up traditional Jewish lifestyles brought from Scandinavia, because the IDF provided them with a more modern and secular Jewish universe of meaning. The study identifies a desire to be integrated into Israeli society as a central motivation for why the informants have volunteered for the IDF. The IDF has gained the position as an important arena for integration of Jewish immigrants, as well as being a central provider of national values to its conscripts. The informants express that IDF service has contributed to the shaping of an Israeli identity. Integration to Israel through IDF service thus contains aspects of transformations from Scandinavian diaspora Jews to Israeli Jews.
Abstract: Through a survey of affiliated Jews in Scandinavia, the author provides demographic information about attitudes towards intermarriage, rates of intermarriage and marriage to converts, and the ritual religious practices of intermarried families compared to in-married families. Jewish community size seems to be the strongest factor in predicting the acceptance and practice of intermarriage.