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Author(s): Ostrovskaya, Elena
Date: 2016
Author(s): Ostrovskaya, Elena
Date: 2021
Date: 2008
Abstract: In this paper, the question of importance of Judeo--Spanish as the means for maintaining ethnic identity among the Sephardim in the territories of former Yugoslavia is investigated through an analysis of articles dedicated to the topic published in El amigo del puevlo (a Judeo-Spanish periodical which first was published in Serbia, and then in Bulgaria), fragments from the books by Angel Pulido, Los israelitas espanoles y el idioma castellano (Madrid 1904) and Espanoles sin patria y la raza sefardi (Madrid 1905),as well as unpublished documents from the Archive of Serbia and the Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade.The present analysis suggests that a specific language ideology(negative attitudes towards the minority language in question) has played a crucial role in language shift in favor of the majority languages in the region (which has not jeopardized the concept of ethnic identity and membership), thus supporting findings by other authors(e.g., Myhill 2004, Weis 2000) that the maintenance of ethnic identity among Jews over the centuries has often been strengthened bycultural (religious, traditional, literary, etc.) rather than linguistic criteria. From the theoretical standpoint, this research clearly supports the view that the construction of ethnicity and ethnic identity should be viewed as a complex process in which different factors (language being only one of them) have different values and saliency at different points in time (e.g., see Fishman 1989; 1999)
Date: 2021
Abstract: The Fifth Survey of European Jewish Community Leaders and Professionals, 2021 presents the results of an online survey offered in 10 languages and administered to 1054 respondents in 31 countries. Conducted every three years using the same format, the survey seeks to identify trends and their evolution in time.

Even if European Jewish leaders and community professionals rank antisemitism and combatting it among their first concerns and priorities, they are similarly committed to expanding Jewish communities and fostering future sustainability by engaging more young people and unaffiliated Jews.

The survey covers a wide variety of topics including the toll of COVID-19 on European Jewish communities and a widening generational gap around pivotal issues. Conducted every three years since 2008, the study is part of JDC’s wider work in Europe, which includes its partnerships with local Jewish communities and programs aiding needy Jews, fostering Jewish life and leaders, resilience training.

The respondents were comprised of presidents and chairpersons of nationwide “umbrella organizations” or Federations; presidents and executive directors of private Jewish foundations, charities, and other privately funded initiatives; presidents and main representatives of Jewish communities that are organized at a city level; executive directors and programme coordinators, as well as current and former board members of Jewish organizations; among others.

The JDC International Centre for Community Development established the survey as a means to identify the priorities, sensibilities and concerns of Europe’s top Jewish leaders and professionals working in Jewish institutions, taking into account the changes that European Jewry has gone through since 1989, and the current political challenges and uncertainties in the continent. In a landscape with few mechanisms that can truly gauge these phenomena, the European Jewish Community Leaders Survey is an essential tool for analysis and applied research in the field of community development.
Author(s): Yelenskyi, Viktor
Date: 2020
Date: 2011
Abstract: Книга содержит результаты комплексного социологического исследования российского еврейства, проведенного в 2010 году фондом "Общественная экспертиза" под руководством Игоря Яковенко. Результатом исследования стала представленная авторами гипотеза о структурно-функциональной модели еврейского мира, раскрывающая причины двух главных аномалий еврейского народа: механизма уникального трехтысяче-летнего выживания еврейской цивилизации и непропорционально большого вклада евреев в науку и культуру XX века.
В исследовании впервые дан сравнительный социологический анализ ашкеназов и горских евреев, в ходе которого доказана гипотеза о полиэтнической структуре российского еврейства.
Анализ фундаментального внутреннего противоречия между соблюдающими евреями "ядра" и ассимилированными евреями "оболочки", а также исследование "мембраны", отделяющей еврейский мир от нееврейского, позволили авторам выдвинуть гипотезу об ошибочности прогнозов об "умирании российского еврейства" и скором "конце еврейской цивилизации" и ее трансформации в неоэтнос.
Исходной точкой исследования стал семантический и социологический анализ понятия Jewish Peoplehood (принадлежность к еврейскому народу), которое, по мнению авторов, имеет шанс стать одной из несущих конструкций нового понятийного аппарата, необходимого для описания современного еврейства.
Author(s): Pignatelli, Marina
Date: 2020
Abstract: Jews who remained or returned to Portugal after the Expulsion (1496) and Inquisition (1536–1821) adopted and preserved different strategies to resist total assimilation, forced conversion and antisemitism. Today, Jewish communities are small and shy. At the same time, however, many Portuguese insist on an identification with a Jewish matrix. In parallel, there is an unprecedented effort to revitalize Jewish cultural memory in the public and private spheres. This article critically discusses the broad notion of Jewish identity and its representations in present day Portugal. It gives a succinct account of its existing Jewish communities, their power interrelationships and the categorizations used to label who is identified as a Jew. The article examines the making of cultural Jewish heritage and its paradoxes, considering the variety of agents involved and their agendas. While it will be argued that Jewish identity is certainly multidimensional, there are, at the same time, several contemporary native Jewish tangible and intangible cultural traces that are being neglected in the systematization process of Jewish memory and traditions in Portugal. Given the homogenizing tendencies of globalization and the particularizing local reactions to such trends, the present article describes and reflects on how the Jewish past in Portugal is intertwined with the present, and how the plural ways of perceiving Jewish identity and its cultural manifestations can be understood in a glocal frame, in terms of both discursive and material Jewish traditions. Based on a qualitative approach and a collaborative ethnographic method, the article analyzes how the Portuguese matrix of Jewish culture remains part of the Sepharad imaginary while it is subjected to the constraints of time and space.
Author(s): Paolo, Mendes Pinto
Date: 2020
Date: 2018
Date: 2019
Abstract: This study investigates the ethnic identity of the 1.5 and second-generation of Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants to Germany and the U.S. in the most recent wave of immigration. Between 1989 and the mid-2000s, approximately 320,000 Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants departed the (former) Soviet Union for the U.S. and an additional 220,000 moved to Germany. The 1.5 and second-generations have successfully integrated into mainstream institutions, like schools and the workforce, but not the co-ethnic Jewish community in each country. Moreover, Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants are subject to a number of critiques, most prominently, of having a ‘thin culture’ that relies on abstract forms of ethnic expression and lacks in frequent and concrete forms of identification (Gitelman 1998).

The study asks several questions: how the 1.5 and second-generation see themselves as a distinctive social group? Where do they locate social boundaries between themselves and others? How do they maintain them? Close family ties lie at the center of the group’s ethnic identity. Russian-speaking cultures offer an alternative, and in the mind of the 1.5 and second-generation, superior approach to relating to family and friends, where, for example, being an unmarried adult does not contradict living at home or where youths and adults can socialize in the same setting. Their understandings and practices of family often run counter to the expectations of the mainstream in both Germany and the U.S. of what it means to be an independent adult. The organization and expectation of social relations among these immigrants reflect not only their different national origins, but their constitution as a distinctive moral community. Different foods and language use support these immigrants’ sense of group distinctiveness and reinforce the centrality of family as a shared ethnic practice.

Immigration has endowed family practices with the capacity to impart a sense of distinctiveness to the 1.5 and second-generation by changing the context in which close family ties are practiced. Transported across national borders these practices now contrast with prevailing understandings of family and serve as a cultural resource. Moreover, Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants have benefited, both culturally and economically, from state policies that granted them refugee status and enabled them to cross national borders as families and avoid years of separation other immigrants often must endure. The distinctiveness of Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants’ family practices is relative to those of the receiving country’s mainstream, but not those of other immigrant groups. As a result, a sense of group difference and belonging anchored in these practices may be challenging to impart to the third generation, who are removed from the immigration experience. Nevertheless, the 1.5 and second-generation experience their family relationships, obligations and expectations as anything but ‘thin’. They inform consequential decisions, are encountered regularly, and offer meaning to their lives as individuals, children and members of an immigrant and ethnic group.

This study draws on in-depth interviews in New York City and multiple locations in Germany with 93 Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants who arrived at the age of 13 or younger or were born in the U.S. or Germany. Despite the different history and structure of Jewish communities in the U.S. and Germany, 1.5 and second-generation Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants’ experience in each country have much in common with one another, a finding that emerged as a result of the study’s comparative design.
Date: 2021
Abstract: With Finnish independence in 1917, long-awaited legislative reforms were put in force in the country. Jews gained the right to obtain Finnish citizenship. The same year, the Finnish Parliament implemented the Civil Marriage Act (CMA), allowing the country’s Jewish citizens to marry non-Jews without converting to Christianity. In 1922, the constitutional right to freedom of religion was affirmed in the Freedom of Religion Act (FRA), granting the right to practice religion in public and private and allowing Finnish citizens to refrain from belonging to any religious community altogether. The FRA also addressed the question of children whose parents belonged to different religious congregations or who were unaffiliated. The FRA defined the religious affiliation of children after their father; this was, however, against the Orthodox Jewish law (halakhah) that the local Finnish Jewish communities wished to follow, which traced a child’s religious affiliation matrilineally.

Due to the small size of the Jewish marriage market and to the secularizing tendencies of the Jewish congregations, the number of intermarriages started to grow in the early twentieth century, and soon, they became a characteristic phenomenon of Finnish Jewish realities. This resulted in a growing number of halakhically non-Jewish children. Thus, the communities faced several challenges in terms of their administration and everyday practices.

This article-based dissertation provides an overview of Finnish-Jewish intermarriages from 1917 until the present by analyzing archival materials together with newly collected semi-structured ethnographic interviews. The interviews were conducted with members of the communities who are partners in intermarriages, either as individuals who married out or as individuals who married in and converted to Judaism. The key theoretical underpinning of the study is vernacular religion, which is complemented by relevant international research on contemporary interreligious Jewish families.

The results of the study show that while most informants understand Jewish law flexibly and rarely consider themselves “religious,” the differences between the practices of intermarried men and women are remarkable. Whereas women employ creativity and “do Judaism” to establish practices they consider meaningful for their Jewishness and Jewish identity, men tend to draw on their cultural heritage and often refrain from creative practices. The study also indicates that the adult conversion of women is far more common than that of men, making conversion a gendered phenomenon in the Finnish Jewish communities. Most informants of this study “do Judaism” in various ways and often choose to perform certain traditions to strengthen their connection to Judaism and ensure Jewish continuity through their children. Intermarried members and converts form a large part of the Finnish Jewish communities, and thus the results shed light on patterns that can be assumed to characterize multiple Finnish Jewish households.
Author(s): Sarri Krantz, Anna
Date: 2018
Abstract: Förintelsen är en historisk händelse som lever vidare i samtidens medvetande i form av minnesmonument och museala minnesutställningar och processas av forskningsinstitutioner och myndigheter. Bland överlevandefamiljerna lever minnet kvar och nu har några av deras barnbarn, den Tredje generationens överlevande, tagit på sig att förvalta minnet. Samtidigt florerar antisemitismen i det svensk samhället vilket formar och påverkar den judiska gruppen och barnbarnen. Den socialantropologiska studien som har genomförts kan visa att detta påverkar deras identitet. Syftet med studien är att undersöka den tredje generationens identitetskonstruktion och hur den formas av minnet av Förintelsen, samtida antisemitism samt de judiska institutionerna. I den etnografiska undersökningen som primärt har centrerats kring intervjuer och observationer framkom att det finns en uttalad vilja att minnas Förintelsen. Vissa påpekar vikten av att minnas i ett privat sammanhang, inom familjen, medan andra tycker att de mer offentliga minnesstunderna uppfyller behovet. Samtidigt lever barnbarnen i en tid med en manifest och latent antisemitism vilket formar både deras tillvaro och självbiografi. Några av forskningsdeltagarna har blivit utsatta för regelrätta antisemitiska påhopp medan andra har strategier för att undgå att synliggöra sin judiska identitet. Identiteten formas dock inte bara av detta utan också av den judiska etniska samhörigheten, de judiska institutionerna, det judiska kalendariet och kulturella och sociala riktlinjer. I studiens slutsatser kan det konstateras att den Tredje generationen överlevandes minnesbearbetning av Förintelsen baseras i mångt och mycket på en generationella minnesöverföring som har pågått under forskningsdeltagarnas liv då de har samtalet med överlevandegenerationen. Empirin visar också att de bär på förhållningssätt och strategier kring hur de hanterar en samtida antisemitism i kombination med att de bär på de överlevandes berättelser om den tyska, extrema formen. Detta tillsammans utgör en av grunderna till identiteten. Empirin visar också att den tredje generationen väljer att leva ett judiskt liv, inom den Judiska församlingens ramar, baserat på individuella val och ställningstaganden.
Date: 2009
Abstract: Posing a question whether it makes sense to try and speak in rational and scholarly terms of comparative value systems, ethnic «models», the role of various ethnic entities and cultures in world history and their contribution to civilization process, the author tends to give a «cautiously affirmative» answer to this question. He insists on the necessity of researching into this complicated, delicate and dangerous field, one of the goals being not to leave it in the hands of nationalistic ideologists, irresponsible politicians and mass media dilettanti. Discussing from this angle the position of the world Jewry and its disproportionally outstanding role in the shaping of the «Western» civilization, the author focuses on the Russian Jewry, its contribution to Russian and world culture and its peculiar - from the traditional point of view - identity. In his opinion, this fairly secular identity based on ethnic and cultural self-consciousness is the most tenable future model for the American Jewry which badly needs a revision of old stereotypes, first of all on the part of US Jewish leaders. He also analyzes what he calls a general crisis of Jewish identity and evaluates the comparative perspectives of retaining or losing the Russian Jewish identity by the young generations in Russian-speaking Jewish communities both in Israel, USA and Germany. Touching upon the subject of ethos and asserting that it is meaningless even for a secular mind to discuss it other than in a dialogue with two religious stands a Russian Jew is most familiar with, Jewish and Christian, he suggests several issues for such a dialogue. Finally, the author regards the existing conceptions of Jewish education, especially in the USA, as outdated and no more efficient and gives his vision of how they should be re-shaped.