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Date: 2020
Date: 2020
Abstract: This chapter analyses the intersections between Judaism, conversion, belonging, and gender, through the lived material practice of the tallit. Conversion to a religious tradition is not merely a change in mind set, but rather implies the learning, performance and negotiation of a religious habitus. This is especially the case with conversions to Judaism, or giyur, which focuses on the learning of practices and commitment to synagogue life. Such process of ‘self-making’ is directly related to questions of gender and the possibility of taking on certain objects and tasks. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this chapter traces how conversion materialises in daily ritual practice for women in various Jewish communities in the specific ritual use of the prayer shawl, or tallit. Gender equality has been one of the prime topics by which liberal Judaism came to distinguish itself from orthodoxy in the Netherlands. A symbol of this difference is the use of the tallit by women, both in the local Dutch context as well as internationally. Historically, women have been excluded from Shul life, and wearing a tallit, as is permitted in liberal synagogues, can be revolutionary as a marker of inclusion. For converted women in the Jewish diaspora of the Netherlands, wearing the tallit in service can be a confirmation of their Jewishness, but is more often met with ambivalence. Some don’t practice, because they do not want to disturb the status quo, or because they see value in gender segregation in shul. Others do, for equally varied reasons, from political quests for emancipation, to pious desires for submission and devotion. As a compromise, specific forms of ‘women’s tallit’ have entered the synagogues, worn by women who do so out of pious desire. This chapter starts from these various prayer shawl practices, to trace broader questions of belonging. It asks not only how this object is used, but also which types of gender discourses, pious desires, and notions of agency are expressed through the use (or lack thereof) of a tallit.
Author(s): Ichau, Elke
Date: 2021
Abstract: This dissertation is concerned with present-day representations of Jews, with a focus on mainstream media. Research objectives are two-fold: first, to examine the ways Jews are constructed as Other in (1) traditional, offline mainstream media, (2) online environments, specifically in (a) comment fields under news content, and (b) SNS, and (3) offline group discussions with young people; second, to explore the relationship between the consumption of news and information through different channels and attitudes towards Jews in adolescents. This research builds on Social Identity Theory and Social Representations Theory, and insights from the literature on media representations of ethnic minorities, antisemitism, and hate speech. It employs a multi-method approach, including quantitative and qualitative content analysis, discourse analysis, text mining, and survey methods. The research questions are addressed in five studies: (1) a longitudinal (2006-2016), quantitative content analysis of the television news coverage of the Jewish minority in Belgium; (2) a semantic network analysis of the word "jew" in online reader comments under news content shared on the Facebook page of a leading Flemish news outlet; (3) a qualitative content analysis and co-occurrence network analysis of Instagram posts annotated with the hashtags #jew, #jewish, and #jews; (4) a cross-sectional survey study into the relationship between news consumption through different channels and attitudes towards Jews in adolescents; (5) a focus group study into perceptions and representations of Jews among non-Jewish youth. Findings point to substantial differences in representations of Jews between news media discourse on the one hand, and the "general public" on the other. Furthermore, attitudes towards Jews in adolescents are predicted by education and religious affiliation, rather than news consumption.
Date: 2022
Author(s): Williams, Amy
Date: 2020
Abstract: To date, scholars have mainly focussed on the history of the Kindertransport. This thesis is the first to examine extensively how the Kindertransport has been remembered in Britain, and to compare British memory of this event with memory in the other English-speaking host nations which took in the refugee children (Kinder), namely America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. ‘Kindertransport’ is understood here as referring not just to the actual rescue of children with mainly Jewish origins from Nazism that took place between 1938 and 1940, but also the effects it had, such as transplantation to strange environments. There is yet to be a true exploration of how the memories of the Kinder and these nations’ memories of the Kindertransport developed. Any comparison of these various host countries must consider the degree to which memory of the Kindertransport is not uniform, and the extent to which it is shaped by factors such as the role of these countries in the Second World War, and – above all – nationally conditioned memory discourses. Increasingly, according to memory scholars, Holocaust memory operates in a transnational, even global network. This thesis will assess this expectation against the empirical evidence. Is it more the case that host nations remember the Kindertransport in essentially national terms, even where they are aware of its transnational history? In order to assess this question, this thesis will examine a representative cross-section of different genres including testimony, museum exhibitions, memorials, and novels. I argue that the Kindertransport is much more nationally focussed and celebratory in Britain than in other host nations, where this memory is more transnational in focus. However, there are signs that national memory in Britain is beginning to develop in a more self-critical direction.
Date: 2018
Abstract: This paper examines whether the reemergence of “the Jewish Question” in post-2010 Hungarian public discourse has also re-surfaced the “Us” and “Them” distinction between “Hungarians” and “Jews” that has been latent within the Hungarian population, and whether this symbolic exclusion of Jews from the Hungarian “nation” creates new, additional Jewish and quasi-Jewish groups as “others”, to be lumped together with the “other others”.The current “Jewish Question” debate in Hungary may have less to do with actual Jews, and more to do with creating the populist fiction of a homogeneous, isolated, ethnic nation, reminiscent of the ethnic nationalist concepts championed during the 1920s and 1930s with tragic consequences. The paper’s first premise is that the state “protectively” treats Hungarian Jews as a distinct group, as a community that is distinguished by its “otherness”, separated from the “Us” of the national narrative. The second premise is that an “outgrouped other”, which doesn’t identify with the government’s concept of an ethnic nations, is depicted with stereotypes that historically described Jews, regardless of its background, origins or religion. In this context, the questions we must ask, as populist, ethnic nationalism is being resurrected in Europe, are, how can affiliated Hungarian Jews, and “outed” “non Jewish Jews” take part in a nation that rhetorically excludes “them”, while cynically attempting to promote “their” (Jewish) separateness in a seemingly positive manner? Why is this separation sensitive, and perhaps even dangerous? How can Hungarians (who are cast as Jewish) credibly participate in Hungary’s internal and external politics and democracy?
Date: 2012
Author(s): Staetsky, L. Daniel
Date: 2022
Abstract: Capitalising on new resources and advances made in the methods of estimation, this report is the first time that the global Haredi (strictly Orthodox) population size has been estimated and calculated, revealing that about 2,100,000 Haredi Jews live worldwide, out of a total global Jewish population of 15 million. The report projects that the Haredi population could double in size by the year 2040, rising to over a fifth of the total by that time.

Some of the key findings in this report:

• The global Haredi population is estimated at 2,100,000, constituting about 14% of the total Jewish population in the world.
• Together, Israel and the USA account for about 92% of all Haredi Jews. Europe hosts 5% of the global Haredi population, while the rest live mainly in Latin America, South Africa, Canada and Australia.
• Outside of Israel and the USA, the three largest Haredi populations are located in the UK (about 75,000, or 25% of all British Jews), Canada (30,000, 8%) and France (12,000, 3%).
• While the world Jewish population has been growing by approximately 0.7% per year over the past decade, the Haredi population is currently growing by about 3.5%-4.0% annually.
• Today, a large part of the growth of the global Jewish population as a whole is due to the Haredi population: perhaps as much as 70%-80% of the total growth worldwide.
• Haredi rates of growth are very high not simply due to high fertility, but rather to the combined effects of very high fertility and very low mortality.
Author(s): Feldman, Rachel Z.
Date: 2022
Abstract: This article examines the Breslover Hasidim who attempted their annual pilgrimage to Uman during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the Ukrainian border closure in August 2020, which was supported by the State of Israel, thousands of Breslovers were stranded in airports, land borders, and even imprisoned in the weeks leading up to the Jewish New Year. This research contributes to an emerging scholarly literature on religion and COVID-19, challenging the religion and science "conflict thesis," as interviews revealed that the choice of Breslovers to ignore public health directives stemmed less from a disbelief in science than from a conflict between state and religious authority. Pious mobilities emerge, I argue, when secular logics fail to contain and properly modify religious actors. The choice to travel to Uman was made according to a Breslover moral universe as informants turned to the spiritual tools and teachings of Rebbe Nachman to guide their decisions, especially his notion of ratzon [willpower], engaging in a form of pious mobility that attempted to transcend nation-state borders. Pious mobilities not only challenged public health initiatives in 2020, but as I demonstrate in the ethnography, Breslovers' insistence on reaching Uman simultaneously threatened the cooptation of Breslov Hasidim within a Zionist narrative, reigniting a debate over the relocation of Rebbe Nachman's remains to Israel. By ethnographically examining moments of conflict between religious groups and state officials managing the pandemic, we might better inform future public health policies and the messaging aimed at religious populations including ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Author(s): Cohen, Lea
Date: 2021
Abstract: Over the last 20 years the perception of the Holocaust in Bulgarian society, including by various
historians, is perhaps one of the most complex subjects in the national public space, and even
beyond. The lack of consensus regarding the assessment and perception, as well as in the
presentation and interpretation of historical facts, i.e. of the stories about what happened and what
did NOT happen, prevents a structured history of the events from 1940 to 1944 in the Kingdom of
Bulgaria. In various versions, that are often diametrically opposed, the persecution of Jews is
presented using a hybrid mixture of facts from Bulgarian history of the same period (political,
military, economic relations with Germany and Italy, the partisan resistance movement and
relations with Soviet Russia, the specifics of political parties and political life in Bulgaria, actions
of the Royal Palace and the Parliament), which either have nothing to do with the so-called ‘Jewish
question’ or are only indirectly related to it. False theories of the ‘salvation of the Jews’ continue to
be fabricated from this hybrid mixture of facts into an amalgam, which has many followers who
believe these historical legends and myths over the past two decades.

In this article I will look at some of these recent theories and discuss the reasons for their spread
and, possible motives for the persistent desire within certain circles to impose on society these
“alternate” interpretations of the salvation of the Jews.