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Date: 2015
Date: 2015
Date: 2018
Date: 2009
Abstract: This thesis examines the issue of ethnicity and kinship and explores the advent of identity formation, specifically in a Reform Jewish context, via youth movement participation. Through the mediums of informal education, focus group discussion and individual semi-structured interviews, I engage in an exploration of identifying what it means to be Jewish, how youth movements augment and abet Jewish identity formation, and the boundaries that exist between young Jews and their host communities.
Youth movement youngsters are observed in situ and Grounded Theory (Strauss, 1987; Glaser, 1978; Glaser, 1992; Glaser, 1998; Glaser, and Strauss, 1968) is employed to elucidate their engagements and interactions. Three case studies (Stake, 1995) are then presented to illustrate the experience of youth movement “graduates”. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 2004; Smith and Osborn, 2003) is used to consider the dimensions of their relationship to Judaism, their youth movement and mainstream society.
I conclude that Jewish Identity is a combination of the Motivational and the Situational imperatives. The combined values of religion, culture and national affinity provide the motivational forces. Situational factors inducing Jewish identity amongst youth movement members are the ever wider boundaries they create for themselves and that are created for them. The first boundary of these youngsters that I identify is their movement loyalty relative to other Jewish youth movements; the next is their Reform Judaism within a wider Jewish context and the broader category is their “Jewishness” in a wider society. This “Jewishness” is expressed through the desire for Jewish Continuity (the future of the Jewish people) and the perpetuation of the feeling of “otherness”.
The final chapter charts my developing identity as a researcher. I pose and answer questions taken from throughout the thesis to illustrate my trajectory along the route of becoming a researcher and interpolating my Jewish roots and their significance in my identity development.
Date: 2015
Abstract: In the aftermath of the spike in antisemitic incidents during the war in Gaza in summer 2014, and the Islamist attacks on Jews in Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen, there is growing concern about rising antisemitism in Europe. Yet, as this paper shows, existing data present a complex and multi-faceted picture of reality, proving some existing hypotheses beyond any reasonable doubt, but challenging others.

It is clear, for example, that spikes in antisemitic incidents occur when war breaks out in Gaza – all data sources from multiple countries and both Jewish and non-Jewish sources show this. However, it is far less clear whether or not levels of antisemitism are rising over time in the UK: different sources of data tell competing stories, and the absence of trend data on patterns of reporting among British Jews makes it difficult to draw any firm conclusions. We can see that antisemitic sentiment is particularly strong among certain sub-groups within the population, but we can also see that, taken as a whole, British adults hold largely favourable attitudes towards Jews, at levels that place Britain among the least antisemitic countries in the world.

Nevertheless, the data indicate that significant proportions of Jews in the UK and elsewhere are concerned about antisemitism. But it is evident that more work needs to be done to understand the targets of this concern – where the threats lie, and the nature and scale of the problems that exist.

In general, the report maintains that research data on antisemitism in the UK vary in quality, and despite a recent flurry of research activity, many of the outputs seem to generate far more heat than light. We argue that much more work needs to be done in coordinating research efforts, maximising the value of existing datasets, focusing on the areas of greatest concern, and ensuring that any data collected and analysed are strongly concentrated on the most important policy questions: understanding the threat, and providing genuine policy insights for international, national and Jewish communal leaders, as well as Jews more generally.