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Date: 2023
Author(s): Badder, Anastasia
Date: 2024
Abstract: In the lives of students in Luxembourg’s Liberal Jewish complementary school, flexibility and mobility are highly valued as key characteristics of modern living. Complementary school students feel they easily meet these criteria—they are multilingual, cosmopolitan, and their approach to Jewish life is flexible, and equally importantly, they look, dress, and comport themselves “like everyone else.” These factors are understood to facilitate multiple movements and belongings in the contemporary world. The students directly contrast their ways of being with those of more observant Jews whom they refer to as “religious”; the material, embodied, and visible nature of observant Jewish life is perceived to be an impediment to participation and success in the secular sphere. However, when Jewishness appears in these students’ secular school classrooms, it is most often represented by Orthodox-presenting men—often a man in a yarmulke. Further, these men and their yarmulkes are taken to represent all Jews, framed as a homogeneous group of religious adherents. For many complementary school students, these experiences can be jarring—they suddenly find themselves on the “wrong” side of the religious–secular divide and grouped together with those from whom they could not feel more distant. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and a material approach to religion, this article argues that the yarmulke comes to point to different levels and modes of observance and identities and enable different possible belongings in the secular public sphere as it travels across contexts that include different definitions of and attitudes toward religion and Jewishness.
Author(s): Turner, Michael
Editor(s): Masanori, Nagaoka
Date: 2020
Abstract: Kristallnacht, 1938, was a defining moment, changing the course of history. Can the Jewish heritage destroyed before and during World War II be reconstructed? This paper will link eschatological thought and the relevant Mishnaic texts, in particular the value of holiness and its attributes both in time and place. Can a synagogue be de-sanctified? Is the value in the material or the use?

Reviewing these tragic events, the possible criteria for reconstructing the architectural components of Jewish life should be considered, through the evidence of history, the record of events, values of the past, and the new realities of the future. Another significant concern is not so much in understanding the changing and diverse values of a community but the approaches toward the interpretations of these values. In this debate, where existential or historical models play a major role, Judaism tends toward the former, recalling events over time and the allegory in the facts.

What remained in Europe were the ruins, the memory of places and events, and the resilience of the human spirit. However, there are compounded memories and multiple voices, ever changing, challenging the identities of real and virtual communities. How do we evaluate the facts and the extended contexts over time that demand renegotiation of their meaning and interpretation?

On current projections, the Jews may become an insignificant number in European society over the course of the twenty-first century. Can these buildings, as reconstructed, live without the spirit of the people; can new people inhabit the reconstructions, or is the ruin the true manifestation of the course of history? The divergent case studies of the three ShUM cities, Speyer, Worms, and Mainz, in Germany provide a glimpse into the debate and an appraisal of the moment in time.

There are common attitudes facing recovery and reconstructions for uprooted communities after tragedies that leave scars on history. The case studies of Jewish heritage reconstruction and the considerations of impermanence provide another perspective to the restorations of the Bamiyan Buddhas and together a chilling evidence to the consequences of racism.
Author(s): Tóth, Katalin
Date: 2018
Author(s): Tóth, Katalin
Date: 2019
Abstract: Selon la tradition, ce n’étaient pas les Juifs qui gardaient le Shabbat, mais c’était le Shabbat, qui gardait les Juifs pendant des milliers des années. Malgré le fait que le contenu et le sens de l’institution du Shabbat est caractérisé par de changements continus, il représente, en effet, un élément de la tradition multicolore et complexe du peuple Juif, contribuant à la construction et à la maintenance de l’identité même au 21ième siècle. Dans mon étude, j’examine l’importance du Shabbat dans les vies des individus, et dans celles des communautés de deux synagogues budapestoises de nos jours. Je m’appuierai sur mes deux études sur le terrain réalisées dans deux synagogues des courants neo-orthodoxe et néologue. En comparant les résultats de ces recherches, je démontrerai comment les interdictions du Shabbat puis les conditions, et les défis du monde moderne – par exemple le renoncement aux outils de la télécommunication ou bien aux moyens du transport public – résultent de stratégies d’harmonisation différentes. Les communautés Juives modernes et postmodernes doivent faire face aux problèmes inconnus auparavant: chaques communautés disposent de réponses officielles aux questions de la circulation, ou du réchauffement du repas pendant Shabbat, de l’usage du smartphone ou l’ordinateur, etc., et entre les murs de la synagogue, les membres de la communauté sont obligés de se comporter selon ces règles. D’après mes expériences les réponses individuelles diffèrent souvent de la résolution officielle, et la communauté peut prendre des sanctions contre les offenseurs d’un comportement impropre – en général ce sont plutôt des avertissements oraux. L’examen de la vie privée est hors contrôle de la communauté, puisque c’est l’individu soi-même qui construit son identité, et qui décide s’il préfère adhérer aux régulations de Shabbat ou acheter une paire de jeans. Toujours est-il, que dans la majorité des cas il y a une contradiction entre la pratique réelle et l’image idéalisé du comportement individuelle. Par de réponses et de réflexions individuelles, je montrerai un aperçu de la vie Juive de Budapest de nos jours. Une des forces organisatrices de cette vie est l’effort fait pour s’identifier dans une société du 21ième siècle déterminée par de règles religieuses, la tradition, mais également par la science et la technique.
Author(s): Salner, Peter
Date: 2021
Abstract: This paper analyses how the Jewish community in Bratislava dealt with the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic that took place between the 1st March 2020 and 30 May 2021. Because the public health measures in force at the time rendered traditional ethnological research methods inapplicable, the author’s main source of information was the online communication of the leadership and administration of the Bratislava Jewish Religious Community (JRC) with its members. On the 9th March 2020, the government implemented the first battery of public health measures. Already on the same day, the JRC released a newsletter encouraging its members to observe the authorities’ guidance. It also cancelled all of its scheduled activities. The leadership would go on to distribute masks and hygiene supplies to the oldest members of the community, facilitate the vaccination of Holocaust survivors. Part of Slovak society compared restrictions on social contacts, a mask mandate, and a limitation on free movement to the suffering of the Jews in the Wartime Slovak State, highlighting this supposed parallel by wearing yellow stars. The effective limits on social contacts brought communal life within the community to a standstill, which had a particular effect on the older generations. The pandemic also inevitably led to a ban on communal worship and necessitated adjustments in the observance of traditional Jewish holidays, particularly Pesach. In many families, the communal Seder supper was held online via Zoom or Skype. The community had also to improvise during Hannukah, with an Orthodox or liberal rabbi assisting in the lighting of candles in the homes of members who requested it.
Author(s): Illman, Ruth
Date: 2022
Abstract: Gershom Scholem argued in his momentous book Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (1941, 34) that as the traditional Hasidic way of life was extinguished by the Holocaust, the last ‘authentic’ form of Jewish mysticism came to a close: “it has become again what it was in the beginning: the esoteric wisdom of small groups of men out of touch with life and without any influence in it”. Nevertheless, practices stemming from Kabbalah and Jewish mystical sources have since the turn of the millennium become more popular than ever inside as well as outside Jewish communities in Europe and North America, relocating and reframing traditional practices for a late-modern, urban, liberal and inclusive spiritual milieu. But are such vernacular practices to be seen as ‘authentic’ continuations of the tradition, or merely as vulgar commodification? Here, the views of contemporary researchers differ significantly.

This chapter’s point of departure is this controversy over ‘authenticity’ in research on Jewish mysticism. A vernacular religion perspective is applied as a means of untying the knot that has formed through the unfruitful juxtaposing of classic and contemporary Jewish mysticism. Discourses of authenticity are exemplified by a case study dealing with contemporary practices of niggunim singing: (mainly) wordless melodies sung as a means of elevating the soul to God, repairing the world and strengthening the divine presence in the world. Niggunim is a practice with roots in Hasidic Judaism, which is currently experiencing a renaissance within contemporary Jewish spirituality. Ethnographic material has been gathered among Jews from progressive milieus in London to shed light on the practice in general, and this chapter analyses how the practitioners reflect upon authenticity.
Date: 2020
Date: 2020
Abstract: This chapter analyses the intersections between Judaism, conversion, belonging, and gender, through the lived material practice of the tallit. Conversion to a religious tradition is not merely a change in mind set, but rather implies the learning, performance and negotiation of a religious habitus. This is especially the case with conversions to Judaism, or giyur, which focuses on the learning of practices and commitment to synagogue life. Such process of ‘self-making’ is directly related to questions of gender and the possibility of taking on certain objects and tasks. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this chapter traces how conversion materialises in daily ritual practice for women in various Jewish communities in the specific ritual use of the prayer shawl, or tallit. Gender equality has been one of the prime topics by which liberal Judaism came to distinguish itself from orthodoxy in the Netherlands. A symbol of this difference is the use of the tallit by women, both in the local Dutch context as well as internationally. Historically, women have been excluded from Shul life, and wearing a tallit, as is permitted in liberal synagogues, can be revolutionary as a marker of inclusion. For converted women in the Jewish diaspora of the Netherlands, wearing the tallit in service can be a confirmation of their Jewishness, but is more often met with ambivalence. Some don’t practice, because they do not want to disturb the status quo, or because they see value in gender segregation in shul. Others do, for equally varied reasons, from political quests for emancipation, to pious desires for submission and devotion. As a compromise, specific forms of ‘women’s tallit’ have entered the synagogues, worn by women who do so out of pious desire. This chapter starts from these various prayer shawl practices, to trace broader questions of belonging. It asks not only how this object is used, but also which types of gender discourses, pious desires, and notions of agency are expressed through the use (or lack thereof) of a tallit.
Author(s): Badder, Anastasia
Date: 2021
Abstract: This dissertation is an ethnography of children and young people growing up Jewish in Luxembourg. It focuses on the students of a Talmud Torah class in a Liberal synagogue that, in recent years, has drawn increasing numbers of highly mobile, multilingual families from around the world. As these students learn how to be Jewish and carry on Jewish tradition, they simultaneously explore what it means to be modern and to be modern Jews. This process pushes them to confront a series of ambiguities and apparent paradoxes across the contexts of their everyday lives – in Talmud Torah, at home, and at school. Based on 31 months of fieldwork, this dissertation reveals the nuanced semiotic ideologies and competing visions of modernity that become visible through the lens of the students' Talmud Torah learning, including learning to read Hebrew, engaging with religious texts, and participating in ritual performance, and their school experiences. The students grapple with, navigate, and position themselves in relation to these different 'projects of modernity' as they work to make sense of and bring together the aims of Jewish continuity and liberal modernity and all that these entail. By exploring these processes, this dissertation aims to participate in the anthropological conversation about 'modernities' and 'the modern' as a project that is both embracing of the liberal, the secular, and inclusivity and can be powerfully normative, constraining, and exclusionary, and to encourage us as anthropologists and teachers to think about how we might leave open the possibility for nuance and alternative attachments, desires, goals, mobilities, and ways of being in the classroom and beyond.
Date: 2010
Author(s): Szász, Antónia
Date: 2012
Abstract: A progresszív judaizmus egy reformer zsidó vallási mozgalom és ideológia, amelynek gyökerei a felvilágosodásig nyúlnak vissza. Ma világviszonylatban követőinek számát tekintve a legnépesebb zsidó vallási irányzat. Magyarországon az első progresszív szervezetet a rendszerváltozás időszakában alapították. Vallási vezetője egy női rabbi lett, ami különösen szembetűnővé tette újító, szabadelvű, emancipált felfogását és gyakorlatát. Integrációs törekvéseit határozott elutasítás fogadta a tágabb zsidó vallási mezőben. A disszertáció a progresszív judaizmus hazai megjelenésének társadalmi körülményeivel és szerepével foglalkozik. Megvizsgálja, hogyan és milyen tényezők hatására alakult a hazai progresszív szervezetek helyzete – társadalmi bázisa, támogatottsága, elfogadottsága és erőforrás-ellátottsága – fennállásuk óta. Igyekszik megragadni a közösségi-felekezeti vonzás fontosabb elemeit, és arra keresi a választ, kik számára és miért vonzó, milyen igényeknek tesz eleget, milyen funkciót tölt be a hívek életében és a társadalomban. A több mint egy évtizedet átfogó kutatás első eredményei rávilágítottak arra, hogy a progresszív közösséghez való csatlakozás motivációi nem szűkíthetők le a vallásosságra és a valláshoz való visszatérésre, ezért a kutatás a továbbiakban kiemelt figyelmet fordított annak megismerésére és magyarázatára, hogy milyen tényezők alakítják az egyéni és társadalmi cselekvéseket. A mozgatórugókat az egyének saját interpretációin keresztül, a társadalmi cselekvéseket a maguk természetes közegében, alapvetően résztvevő megfigyelésen alapuló terepmunka során vizsgálta. Az empirikus tapasztalatok arra engednek következtetni, hogy a zsidó vallásnak és hagyománynak a zsidó identitásépítésben is komoly szerepe van, és az egyének társadalmi cselekvését zsidó önazonosságuk, illetve ezzel kapcsolatos útkeresésük irányítja. A szerző a szakirodalom vonatkozó elméleteinek és téziseinek áttekintésével, az azokra való reflexió során igyekezett kialakítani egy olyan keretet, amelybe a kutatási tapasztalatok értelmezése komplex módon ágyazható.
Author(s): Harris, Margaret
Date: 1994
Abstract: This thesis is about the work and organisation of local religious congregations in England. It focuses on the congregation of two religions- Christianity and Judaism; that is, on 'churches' and 'synagogues'. In Chapter One, the study is positioned within the academic field of social policy and administration. Chapters Two, Three and Four review literature on the historical and societal context within which churches and synagogues operate, the role of religious functionaries and organisational features of congregations. Four organisational themes cutting across denominational and religious boundaries are identified: purposes and goals; roles and role relationships; organisational change; and denominational institutions. Chapter Five develops an approach for an empirical study and gives an account of fieldwork in an inner-city Roman Catholic church; a black-led Pentecostal church in an industrial town; an Anglican church on a housing estate; and a suburban Reform synagogue. Organisational features of the four case congregations are presented in Chapter Six. In the following four chapters the organisational issues which arise in the Congregations are described and analysed. Chapter Seven presents the perceived Issues in congregations around setting and implementing goals. Chapter Eight looks at clerical roles and Chapter Nine at the roles of lay employees and volunteers. Chapter Ten discusses organisational change, the links between congregations and their denominational institutions, and organisational structures. Finally, in Chapter Eleven, the study findings are drawn together and re-examined in the light of the earlier literature. The way in which the case studies elucidate and develop knowledge about the work and organisation of congregations is discussed. It is suggested that further progress towards the development of theory on congregation organisation could be made by conceptualising congregations as voluntary organisations.
Author(s): Picard, Jacques
Date: 2013
Date: 2020
Abstract: Статья посвящена трансформации, которую претерпел обычай «ѓахнасат кала» в современной российской еврейской общине. Заповедь «ѓахнасат кала» была впервые упомянута в талмудической литературе как
предписание увеселять жениха и невесту, однако позже, в XVII–XVIII вв., в Ашкеназе получила новое содержание: община должна была собирать на приданое бедным невестам, с тем чтобы они могли выйти замуж, – тем самым нищие девушки удерживались от социальной маргинализации или крещения. В современной российской еврейской общине (и, как выяснилось впоследствии, среди русскоязычных ультрарелигиозных евреев Израиля) это название стало употребляться по отношению к совершенно новой практике – сбору денег на организацию свадебной церемонии для жениха и невесты, уже выбравших друг друга, а нередко живших в гражданском браке и пришедших к иудаизму. В отличие от традиционной ситуации, когда стоимость свадебных расходов покрывается взносами гостей, в данном случае спонсорами свадьбы становятся пользователи интернета, сочувствующие данной паре, а бенефициарами – члены общины с высоким статусом. Таким образом, организация дорогой свадебной церемонии становится
для будущих супругов своего рода подтверждением их статуса в общине. Подробно анализируется один такой случай, произошедший в общине Московской хоральной синагоги в 2019 г. Делаются выводы о структуре общины, о ее экономике и роли краудфандинга в современной российской еврейской ортодоксии.
Date: 2002
Abstract: Книга посвящена судьбе синагогальных зданий на территории СНГ на протяжении прошедшего столетия. Первая ее часть охватывает период от начала ХХ века до распада СССР; вторая - рассказ о том, как в постсоветское время часть конфискованных государством синагог возвращается еврейским общинам и обретает вторую жизнь. Автор вводит читателя в круг проблем, связанных с этим процессом, и останавливается на роли Джойнта в деле реституции и ремонта синагог. Книга богато иллюстрирована фотографиями, в основном из коллекции Джойнта; большая часть из них публикуется впервые. В приложении приведен список действующих сегодня синагог СНГ. Одна из предыдущих книг Бейзера - "Евреи Ленинграда, 1917 - 1939: национальная жизнь и советизация" (1999) - удостоилась Анциферовской премии 2000 г. за лучшую зарубежную книгу о Санкт-Петербурге.
Author(s): Boyd, Jonathan
Date: 2021
Date: 2015
Abstract: My presentation will draw on the oral history of the Portuguese Jewish Community in XXI century using family histories and life stories of three generations in Portugal, particularly from the Jewish Community of Lisbon. The images that you are seeing here are from the synagogue of Lisbon, called “Shaaré Tikva” or ‘Gates of Hope’, from the beginning of the XX century, that has a symbolic meaning in the history of the Portuguese Jewish Community, in a country that is mainly Catholic by religion. This synagogue is a reflex of the social and historical relationship that was developed over centuries: the synagogue is in one of the main streets of the capital city, but at the time it could not be visible from the street because it was not Catholic. Today I will present the outcome of an anthropological, sociological and historical study over three generations of Portuguese Jews, especially focused on the history of the Sephardim and Ashkenazim in and out of Portugal from the XV century until the present day. I used an ethnographic methodology, doing an extensive ethnographic fieldwork for two years, that allowed me to do an oral reconstruction of their life stories and family memories until modern times, debating issues such as nation, belonging, religion and the meaning of being a Portuguese Jew nowadays. The reconstruction of their history is done taking in account the national and transnational narratives of Europe, Middle-East, Africa and America. It is my intention to contribute for an understanding of the national identity in Portugal and within Europe in a time when questions such as the right of belonging or living is becoming an important part of the public and private discourses.