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Date: 2021
Abstract: In 2015, Spain approved a law that offered citizenship to the descendants of Sephardi Jews expelled in 1492. Drawing on archival, ethnographic, and historical sources, I show that this law belongs to a political genealogy of philosephardism in which the “return” of Sephardi Jews has been imagined as a way to usher in a deferred Spanish modernity. Borrowing from anthropological theories of “racial fusion,” philosephardic thinkers at the turn of the twentieth century saw Sephardi Jews as inheritors of a racial mixture that made them living repositories of an earlier moment of national greatness. The senator Ángel Pulido, trained as an anthropologist, channeled these intellectual currents into an international campaign advocating the repatriation of Sephardi Jews. Linking this racial logic to an affective one, Pulido asserted that Sephardi Jews did not “harbor rancor” for the Expulsion, but instead felt love and nostalgia toward Spain, and could thus be trusted as loyal subjects who would help resurrect its empire. Today, affective criteria continue to be enmeshed in debates about who qualifies for inclusion and are inextricable from the histories of racial thought that made earlier exclusions possible. Like its precursors, the 2015 Sephardic citizenship law rhetorically fashioned Sephardi Jews as fundamentally Spanish, not only making claims about Sephardi Jews, but also making claims on them. Reckoning with how rancor and other sentiments have helped buttress such claims exposes the recalcitrant hold that philosephardic thought has on Spain's present, even those “progressive” political projects that promise to “return” what has been lost.
Author(s): Baugut, Philip
Date: 2021
Abstract: Rund 75 Jahre nach dem Holocaust verzeichnet die Polizei einen An-stieg antisemitischer Straftaten in Deutschland; als bedrohte Minderheit sorgen sich jüdi-sche Menschen um das gesellschaftliche Meinungsklima, das auch die etablierten Massen-medien prägen. Vor diesem Hintergrund untersucht der vorliegende Beitrag mit Hilfe des normativen Konzepts der „interkulturellen medialen Integration“ die medienjournalisti-sche Berichterstattung der Wochenzeitung Jüdische Allgemeine. Die Befunde der qualitati-ven Inhaltsanalyse von 168 Beiträgen zeigen, dass die vom Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland herausgegebene Publikation in verschiedener Hinsicht heftige Kritik an etab-lierten Medien übt. So hätten einzelne Medien antisemitische Stereotype verbreitet, Perso-nen, die sich antisemitisch äußern, eine Plattform geboten und Antisemitismus als solchen nicht erkannt, relativiert oder negiert. Im Sinne einer differenzierten Medienkritik macht die Jüdische Allgemeine aber auch deutlich, welche Merkmale von Medieninhalten sie für wünschenswert hält, darunter Berichte über alltägliches jüdisches Leben in Deutschland, aber auch authentische Beiträge über Antisemitismus, in denen Betroffene zu Wort kom-men. Die Befunde können zum einen verstehen helfen, warum viele Jüd*innen in Europa Antisemitismus in den Medien als Problem sehen. Zum anderen liefern sie Produzierenden von Medienangeboten Hinweise darauf, welche Resonanz ihre Inhalte innerhalb der jüdi-schen Gemeinschaft finden.
Author(s): Baugut, Philip
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.
Date: 2021
Abstract: This article presents research notes on an oral history project on the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Jews over the age of 65 years. During the first stage of the project, we conducted nearly 80 interviews in eight cities worldwide: Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and St. Petersburg, and in Israel. The interviews were conducted in the spring of 2020 and reflect the atmosphere and perception of interviewees at the end of the first lockdown.

Based on an analysis of the interviews, the findings are divided into three spheres: (1) the personal experience during the pandemic, including personal difficulties and the impact of the lockdown on family and social contacts; (2) Jewish communal life, manifested in changed functions and emergence of new needs, as well as religious rituals during the pandemic; and (3) perceived relations between the Jewish community and wider society, including relations with state authorities and civil society, attitudes of and towards official media, and the possible impact of COVID-19 on antisemitism. Together, these spheres shed light on how elderly Jews experience their current situation under COVID-19—as individuals and as part of a community.

COVID-19 taught interviewees to reappraise what was important to them. They felt their family relations became stronger under the pandemic, and that their Jewish community was more meaningful than they had thought. They understood that online communication will continue to be present in all three spheres, but concluded that human contact cannot be substituted by technical devices.
Date: 2021
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic hit the British Jewish community hard. According to data gathered by JPR in July 2020, 25% of British Jews had already contracted the virus by that time and Jewish mortality rates in London in April 2020 – the peak of the first wave – were almost three times as high as usual. In Manchester, the picture was even worse.

Building on our previous studies on this topic, this paper looks at Jewish mortality over the first year of the pandemic, taking in both the first wave (March to May 2020) and the second wave (December 2020 to February 2021).

Whilst it confirms that excess mortality among Jews during the first wave was considerably higher than among comparative non-Jews (280% higher compared to 188%), it reveals that the second wave saw the opposite picture: 69% higher than expected levels of mortality for that period among Jews, compared to 77% among the non-Jewish comparative group. This second wave picture is exactly what one might expect to see given that Jews typically enjoy relatively good health and longevity, so it forces us to ask again: what happened during the first wave to cause such devastation across the Jewish community?

Whilst not yet definitive about their conclusions, the authors point towards the ‘religious sociability’ hypothesis – that notion that close interaction between Jews, prior to the first lockdown, caused the devastating spike in Jewish deaths early on. The paper also demonstrates that the ‘Jewish penalty’ at this time was greater among Orthodox Jews than Progressive ones which further strengthens the hypothesis, as much higher proportions of Orthodox Jews gather regularly for religious reasons than Progressive Jews (even though Progressive Jews do so more regularly than British society as a whole).

The fact that the picture of extremely high excess mortality among British Jews was not repeated during the second wave (on the contrary, excess mortality among Jews was very slightly lower than among the comparator non-Jewish population, and slightly higher among Progressive Jews than Orthodox ones), suggests that the religious sociability theory was no longer a major factor at this time. With many synagogues closed or complying closely with the social distancing policies established by government, Jews were affected by coronavirus in much the same way as others.

The findings in this paper should be taken seriously by at least two key groups. Epidemiologists and public health experts should explore the impact of religious sociability more carefully, as currently, socioeconomic factors tend to dominate analysis. And Jewish community leaders must also reflect on the findings and, in the event of a similar pandemic in the future, consider instituting protective measures much more quickly than occurred in early 2020.

Author(s): Tübel, Susanne
Date: 2020
Author(s): Bharat, Adi Saleem
Date: 2021
Author(s): Denis, Sieffert
Date: 2020
Abstract: Depuis 1967, le conflit israélo-palestinien a souvent été un facteur de tension au sein de la société française. Racisme, antisémitisme, affrontements communautaires se nourrissent de l’interminable crise du Proche-Orient. Pour quelles raisons particulières la France est-elle plus sensible qu’aucun autre pays occidental aux échos d’un conflit lointain et localisé ? Dans ce livre informé, Denis Sieffert s’efforce de remettre en perspective les relations tumultueuses entre la France et Israël. Plus qu’une simple affaire de politique étrangère, le Proche-Orient agit comme un miroir pour la société française et les communautés qui l’habitent. C’est pourquoi toute prise de position prend un caractère passionnel. Depuis le parrainage d’Israël par la IVe République jusqu’au caillassage du Premier ministre Lionel Jospin à l’université de Bir Zeit, en passant par la fameuse déclaration du général de Gaulle en 1967 à propos du peuple juif « sûr de lui-même et dominateur », et le « sauvetage » de Yasser Arafat par François Mitterrand en 1982, les débats et polémiques ont souvent divisé l’opinion française et ses responsables politiques. Denis Sieffert explore ici le rôle du passé colonial français toujours douloureux, la relation difficile entre le sionisme et la République et, plus largement, le problème que soulèvent les doubles allégeances. Il rappelle les liens que les grandes familles politiques conservent, plus d’un demi-siècle après la naissance d’Israël, avec les protagonistes du conflit. Il montre en particulier que les socialistes, comme leurs ancêtres de la SFIO, restent souvent très liés à Israël, alors que les communistes, l’extrême gauche, les Verts et les altermondialistes sont, eux, engagés dans le soutien des Palestiniens.
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.
Date: 2021
Abstract: In this report, the authors investigate the likely prevalence of COVID-19 and Long Covid among Britain’s Jewish population. Based on data collected by JPR in July 2020 – five months into the pandemic – they found that infection was already widespread in the Jewish community with a quarter (25%) of respondents (aged 16 and above) reporting having experienced COVID-19 symptoms (although testing in the UK was not widely available at this stage.) This accords with other national data showing that BAME groups, including Jews, suffered particularly badly in the early stages of the pandemic.

The data also confirm findings that the strictly Orthodox community was most likely to have been infected (40%) at this stage. And while respondents who self-described as having ‘very strong’ religiosity or who characterised their outlook as ‘religious’ were also far more likely to report having experienced COVID-19 symptoms, it appears that synagogue or communal involvement (rather than membership) is associated with higher levels.

The report also shows that almost two out of three (64%) respondents first experienced symptoms in March 2020, which was the clear peak of infection up to July 2020 when the survey took place. Nevertheless, more than one in six (16%) said they first experienced symptoms in February 2020, and these cases were mainly among more secular members of the Jewish community.

Reports of ongoing health issues following a COVID-19 infection began to appear early on in the pandemic. Gradually, data emerged about Long COVID showing it to be associated with 205 symptoms affecting multiple organs. In January 2021 it was estimated that 300,000 people in the UK may have been suffering from Long COVID. Our data showed that at least 15% of respondents, who said they had experienced COVID-19 symptoms, reported Long COVID symptoms in July 2020, similar to the levels found in the UK generally.

Respondents who had pre-existing health conditions, were far more likely to report Long COVID than those without such conditions. The most commonly reported health concerns were shortness of breath, affecting half of sufferers (51%), followed by ‘severe fatigue’ affecting 43%. Long COVID sufferers were also more likely to report lower levels of happiness and higher levels of anxiety.

Long COVID may ultimately be one of the main long-term health legacies of the coronavirus pandemic. While many gaps in our understanding of this complex health issue remain at the time of publication, JPR will continue to investigate this and other key health issues confronting the Jewish community during the pandemic.
Date: 2016
Date: 2020
Abstract: Отношение к кладбищам в еврейской традиции амбивалентно: оно является одновременно и сакральным объектом – на идише оно называется «святое место», хейлике орт, – и местом нечистоты, которое связано с нечистотой мертвого тела и может осквернять людей. В статье рассматриваются практики, связанные с паломничеством к могилам хасидских цадиков, распространенные в настоящее время в России, Украине, Израиле и США. В большинстве случаев мы имеем дело с различными вариациями почитания праведников в хасидизме, причем многие индивидуальные практики на могилах цадиков перекликаются с историческими и мемуарными свидетельствами о поклонении этим же людям при их жизни. На могилах оставляют записки с просьбами о помощи, иногда кладут на них монеты и различные предметы, которые требуют благословения. Приходя к месту погребения, соблюдают правила поведения, установленные самими цадиками: не поворачиваются спиной к могиле, снимают кожаную обувь, читают определенные псалмы и молитвы. Отдельно в статье рассматриваются паломнические практики, связанные с субститутами могил праведников: с местами бывших захоронений, перенесенных в другую страну или к могиле жены праведника, которая находится в Иерусалиме.