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Author(s): Alexander, Philip
Date: 2016
Abstract: This research offers an original contribution to the study of contemporary klezmer
music by analysing it in relation to a particular urban environment. With its origins in a
largely destroyed Eastern European Jewish culture, contemporary klezmer is both
historically-grounded and paradoxically rootless, cut loose from geographical
specificity by the internationalism of its recent revival. Seeking to counteract the
music’s modern placeless-ness, this dissertation analyses the musical and spatial means
by which klezmer has been re-rooted in the distinctive material and symbolic conditions
of today’s Berlin. The theoretical framework takes in questions of cultural identity,
music and place, authenticities of tradition and instrumental practice, to show how this
transnational and syncretic music – with few historical ties to Berlin – can be
understood in relation to the city’s particular post-reunification bricolage aesthetic and
subversively creative everyday tactics. Beginning by mapping the criss-crossing
networks of musicians and their multiple artistic perspectives, the dissertation proceeds
through an exploration of the official and unofficial spaces within which these fluid
musical practices operate, leading onto ways that the city of Berlin is made manifest in
the music itself – how the city is interpellated sonically and textually. Processes of
musical transmission and education are analysed through the filters of tradition and
pedagogical ideologies, from which my own instrument, the piano accordion, is used as
a lens through which to uncover the balance between personal expression and
historically-informed performance. The final chapter looks at the relationship between
history, Jewish identity and music in the city. It explores the resonances between the
contested discourse of memorial and present-day cultural and musical production,
discovering how at times sound and music can act as a living sonic embodiment that
speaks against the silence of historical memory
Date: 2018
Date: 2008
Author(s): Willis, Ben
Date: 2005
Abstract: Within New Labour Policy, faith community involvement within urban renewal has
firmly been placed on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s policy agenda.
Nationally, faith community awareness is significantly increasing but what is a more important consideration is how this policy is developed to the micro-level. With specific interest in housing needs this policy arena has created the core context for this research.
Primary methodologies have been adopted to investigate the specific housing needs of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community within their micro-enclave of Gateshead. A particular focus will be on those projects, which aim to reduce the specific overcrowding issue within this community, which at 40% is the highest Borough-wide. Sub-regional and
private sector involvement has been key to the success of current renewal programmes
alongside successful mechanisms of Jewish participation. Key issues arising are the lack
of intra-agency knowledge flows, the lack of proposed further projects partnerships and
the increasing ‘parallel lives’ syndrome. The research discusses recommendations for future policy adaptation including the appointment of a Gateshead Council Community Liaison Officer in conjunction with a Gateshead Council Jewish Community strategy would begin to alleviate participation and planning issues. In conjunction with this there is a significant need for Jewish-led renewal and this should be addressed by the
establishment of a Jewish Housing Corporation.
Date: 2013
Abstract: The aim of this study is to analyze how ethnic-boundary drawing has been influenced in the urban
context by the turbulent events of twentieth-century Europe. The analysis is specifically applied to the
social boundaries of the small Helsinki Jewish community from the early twentieth century until the
1970s.
In the period covered by this research, Helsinki evolved from a multilingual and heterogeneous
military town of the Russian empire into the capital of an independent nation. As one of the few
Eastern European Orthodox Jewish communities not destroyed in the Holocaust, the history of the
Helsinki Jewish community offers a different set of spatial contexts that make this history an
empirical case study of changing ethnic relations from one generation to another.
My study suggests that empirical materials can be used as clues for teasing into existence the
long-vanished practices of boundary-drawing done at various times in the past. Collecting and
organizing information in archives is always guided by decisions that reflect the contemporary ideas
of relevant and meaningful social categories. Consequently, as Jews ‘in Finland’ became Finnish
Jews, the ethnic background subsequently lost its distinction in the archival material; in short, the
sources gradually became “mute” in this respect. My research strategy is to focus on questions
concerning the economic aspects of social boundaries, for example, whether the members of the
Helsinki Jewish congregation were entrepreneurs or were self-employed.
I have operationalized occupational status to analyze changes in the social position of the
community. The occupational titles were collected from three different cross-section years and
organized by using a Historical International Classification of Occupations (HISCO) Scheme. By
combining the occupational titles with the data on the Jewish-owned companies, I have established a
set of descriptive statistics. Supported by the findings of this empirical material, my study analyzes
how the concept of Finnish Jews has taken shape over the entire period of this study.
Contemporaries writing about the Jews of Finland did not use concepts of ‘ethnic boundaries,’ but
nevertheless considered questions related to economic aspects as the key elements in modern
societies. Such questions were a constant theme in modern economic antisemitism with a major
influence on Jewish policies, such as the restriction of Jewish occupations in Finland until 1918,
which in turn influenced the (counter-)narratives of Jewish business. This is what makes the Jewish
occupations so interesting – and also makes discussing them such a sensitive issue.
The community is an important part of the history of Helsinki, but it has only been accepted as a
part of the larger Finnish society since the Second World War. During this process, Jews were clearly
less frequently categorized as Jews and more frequently categorized by the professions they
represented.
In this study I have contextualized different aspects of what has been selected and written down as
Finnish-Jewish history. This involves discovering the political positions of its various authors. All
histories on the Finnish Jews have been written during the post-Second World War period and, in
consequence, are unavoidably viewed through post-Shoah/Cold War lenses. In these writings, the
national and transnational aspects are totally severed and become, indeed, mutually exclusive.
The Jewish history of Helsinki is often told as a collective story, where each generation faces
similar challenges and options. In this way, the past has been described as a joint striving for all
Finnish Jews. In reality, wide economic differences have played an important role in what is
ultimately a business-oriented community. In this narrative, the Jewish history has been reduced to a
bare minimum in order to serve as a collective story. Consequently, in the histories of the city of
Helsinki, Jews have either been described as poor, or they have not been remembered at al
Author(s): Balland, C.
Date: 1997
Author(s): Simon, Patrick
Date: 2000
Date: 2011
Abstract: A profound transformation of the cultural memory in the former Soviet Union has resulted in deep changes in the cultural identities of all Soviet—and ex-Soviet—ethnic and religious groups. This transformation led to a change of perceptions about sacred and profane spaces and the connections of these spaces to the urban landscape. As a result of complex historical and cultural processes, contemporary Russian Jewry is a highly heterogeneous community and its perception of traditional Jewish sacred places— synagogues, cemeteries, saints’ tombs—is that they have lost their function. During the Soviet era these places had often not been considered by Jews as sacred. Moreover, non-Jewish sacred places, like Christian churches, had, paradoxically,in some cases, become Jewish sacred places. The so-called Jewish renaissance in post-Soviet Russia has led to a revived interest in Judaism and Jewish traditions. Therefore, Jewish communal centers, philanthropic and youth organizations, centers for economic support, leisure time activities and places for Jewish sentiments and memories function as Jewish sacred places. This inversion of sacred and profane spaces, typical of post-modern culture, is visible, especially in small urban centers, where there are no synagogues and where the role of secular or semi-secular Jewish organizations is growing. In this article I will try to demonstrate the specifics of Jewish sacred and profane spaces in modern Russian urban centers.