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Date: 2015
Date: 2018
Abstract: Problems of religious and ethnic identity are especially pertinent for people of Jewish heritage in post-Soviet states. Radical changes of the 20th century made the society more secular, put distinctions between definitions of being “Jew” and “Judaist”; the number of mixed marriages grew, and the young generations now learn traditions not from parents but from public lectures in Jewish communities. In this paper we have tried to find out what has brought young people to the Jewish community of Smolensk, why they choose to remain there, and whether they consider themselves Jewish. We have been especially interested in understanding how much does religious identity influence the choice of ethnic identity, and vice versa.

The research is based on 8 in-depth interviews collected during Sefer Center’s trip to Smolensk Oblast in 2016. The interviewees were selected according to the following criteria: regular visits to the synagogue (twice a month or more) and age between 14 and 35.

The working hypothesis is that the number, the frame of mind, and the identity of the young people who visit the synagogue are influenced by the following factors: 1) ethnic and religious identity of the family members and close people of the respondents and their disposition towards various confessions and ethnicities; 2) the rabbi’s policy in ethnic issues and traditions, how loyal he is to rule bending and now active he is in attracting the youth to the synagogue; 3) the environment: the influence of historically significant places of Smolensk Oblast and memories of remarkable historical events that occurred on its territory.

After analyzing the data we have drawn the following conclusions. The main reason for the interviewees to choose the Jewish identity is the prevailing of such identity in their parents. For those whose parents are both Jewish this argument is sufficient. If only parent is Jewish, a young person starts seeking for additional arguments to “allow” himself/herself be Jewish. Such reasons may be their sympathy towards Judaism and/or Jewish customs and the feeling of one’s “distinction”. Sometimes for the final integration into the Jewish environment the interviewees conduct Giyur or circumcision, the latter being not only for religious reasons. If the young people don’t feel such sympathies or don’t perform the special rituals for integration, they leave the community because they don’t feel enough “Jewishness” to remain there. The forming of one or another religious identity depends mostly on which identity is considered the right one in the family. Also, in contrast to ethnic identity, religious identity changes more often and is dependent on the person’s environment and period of time.

Thus, the working hypothesis has been confirmed in a number of points. 1) The forming of identities is indeed influenced by the identities of parents and social circles of the interviewees and the rabbi’s policy towards the youth and other members of the community. 2) It is also influenced to a lesser extent by which religious and ethnic identity is prevalent and considered normal in a particular region. Historical events and places have basically no influence on the identity formation.
Date: 2018
Abstract: Zwischen Berghain und Club Odessa, zwischen Assimilation und Desintegration, zwischen orthodox, liberal und säkular: Achtzig Jahre nach der Reichspogromnacht zeigt sich das jüdische Leben in Deutschland in einer ungeahnten Vielfalt. Junge Jüdinnen und Juden ergreifen in diesem Buch das Wort. Gibt es im 21. Jahrhundert so etwas wie ein „deutsches Judentum“? Wie sinnvoll ist das Reden von einer jüdischen Renaissance, wenn sich Jüdinnen und Juden heute ganz neu und in Abgrenzung zu alten Bildern und Vorstellungen definieren? Was bedeutet es für Deutschland, wenn sich Jüdinnen und Juden mit anderen religiösen, ethnischen und kulturellen Minderheiten solidarisieren und sich nicht gegen sie ausspielen lassen möchten? Und wie ist dem neu erwachenden Antisemitismus zu begegnen?

Die Generation der Autorinnen und Autoren in dieser Sammlung steht heute für ein neues jüdisches Selbstbewusstsein und für neue Selbstbehauptung. Es wird deutlich, dass sich die Autorinnen und Autoren einbringen möchten. Es wird gegen altbewährte Klischees und Voreingenommenheiten angeschrieben. Der Band fasst die Entwicklungen der letzten dreißig Jahre zusammen und weist hinaus auf die Zukunft einer Gemeinschaft, die sich in einem Prozess der Identitätsfindung neu definiert. Es entsteht das Bild eines lebendigen, vielfältigen jungen Judentums in Deutschland, das immer stärker Räume für sich innerhalb der Gesamtgesellschaft einfordert. Pluralität ist eine der neuen Werte einer sich verändernden deutschen und europäischen Gesellschaft. Diese Pluralität ist dem Judentum seit jeher inhärent. Und in Anbetracht gesellschaftlicher Diskurse, in denen die Herausforderung der Pluralität immer an erster Stelle genannt wird, zeigt dieser Band für alle Leser*innen: Juden und Jüdinnen haben der Gesellschaft viel zu geben an Erfahrungen mit Pluralität. Dass zu dieser ein intensiver Streit gehört, das ist so selbstverständlich wie das Ziel, dass das Streiten zu einem Gelingen einer gemeinsamen Lebenswelt beitragen muss, soll der Streit fruchtbar und somit sinnvoll sein. Das Machloket, für das Hannah Peaceman in ihrem Beitrag plädiert, ist ein wesentliches Merkmal einer jüngeren Generation an Jüdinnen und Juden, die streiten, auch streitbar sein möchten. Aber alle Autorinnen und Autoren dieses Bandes vereint der Wunsch, unsere gemeinsame deutsche und europäische Lebenswelt mitzugestalten, sie für alle lebenswerter zu machen.
Date: 2013
Abstract: Монография представляет собой попытку реконструировать модели этнического, национально-гражданского и религиозного самосознания постсоветской еврейской молодежи, с привлечением собранного авторами полевого материала. В работе рассматривается, в чем проявляется еврейская идентичность молодых людей. Внимание уделяется таким темам, как формирование этнической самоидентификации и религиозный опыт еврейской молодежи; стремление разнообразных еврейских организаций сконструировать новую еврейскую идентичность на постсоветском пространстве; стиль жизни и формы проведения досуга молодежи; система ценностей молодых людей еврейского происхождения, включая их отношение к Государству Израиль и память о Холокосте.

Впервые воедино собраны материалы восьми исследований, проведенных авторами в течение последних десяти лет, и большая часть полученных данных публикуется впервые. Это позволяет получить доступ к беспрецедентно большому массиву информации и проанализировать исследовательские вопросы более углубленно, чем это когда-либо делалось прежде.

Книга может представлять интерес для социологов, этнологов, антропологов, культурологов и специалистов по иудаике, а также для широкого круга читателей, интересующихся современными проблемами еврейства
Author(s): Abramson, Sarah J.
Date: 2010
Abstract: This dissertation is an exploration of the ways in which Jewish youth movements create, recreate and re-envision wider Jewish communal norms relating to authenticity, or what it means to be a `real' or `legitimate' Jew. The culmination of thirteen months participant observation fieldwork within one Jewish youth movement, as well as interviews with other youth movement leaders and archival research of one prominent British Jewish newspaper, I argue that the modem Orthodox Jewish Establishment in the United Kingdom has a strong grip on the concept of authenticity. The stakes for maintaining control over the boundary between the authentic and the inauthentic are high, as British Jewry is shrinking rapidly and education has been identified as the primary means by which to secure communal continuity. Consequently, Jewish formal education often supports particular (Orthodox) interpretations of Jewish authenticity, specifically in relation to communal pluralism, appropriate gender identifications and relationships with Zionism. However, these Orthodox expectations of authenticity are often incompatible with how many young British Jews today lead their lives. Youth movements are key sites in which the battle for continuity is being waged; British Jewish youth movements aim to create informal education agendas that inspire young people to create lifelong affiliations with Judaism. I contend that informal education has the necessary flexibility to disrupt (and thus redefine) the boundaries of Jewish authenticity. Specifically, the very pillars of Orthodox authenticity (pluralism, gender and Zionism) are beginning to be (re)- constructed in new and innovative ways by some movements. It is in this space, created through the negotiation of a movement's ethos and its simultaneous obligation to, or disregard for, communal (Orthodox) expectations, that the validation of `alternative' performances of Judaism is possible. In turn, such validation helps to associate authenticity with a fluid and context- dependent belief system that is more likely to secure communal continuity than the exclusive Orthodox system currently so predominant.
Author(s): Müller, Christine
Date: 2007
Author(s): Bitter, David
Date: 2005
Abstract: Jewish identity and assimilation in modern times are two sides of the same coin - one cannot speak of one without the other. If we wish to understand what makes certain Jews set out on a path of assimilation, we must first understand what and how they think about Judaism and being Jewish. One of the most important tasks is to uncover their cognitive tendencies when reflecting on Judaism. It is also necessary to search for the affective/emotional components of their identity (or the rejection or denial thereof), and to analyze their habits, customs and social behavior.

When trying to outline assimilation trends and their causes, one should not only apply the "Jewish" point of view - however one interprets such a standpoint. We can get a clearer picture of the psychological and sociological aspects of Jewish identity by analyzing the relationship between various dimensions of an identity. For example, how does a person's cognitive approach to Judaism relate to his or her affective attachment? Or, how do the Jewish and the Hungarian ethnic identity dimensions relate to each other - do they supplement one another, "subtract" from each other, are they complementary, etc.?

In this paper, an indirect approach is applied to the analysis of assimilation. First, it presents and analyzes the most important aspects of the cognitive approach that characterizes young secular Jews. Then it discusses certain psychological aspects of the Jewish identity of young Hungarian Jews

The study is based on in-depth interviews with Jewish men and women in their 20's and 30's. It presents their opinions as well as their perception of their individual identity, and characterizes types of possible intervention.