Topics: Main Topic: Other, Assimilation, Antisemitism, Holocaust Memorials, Holocaust Education, Holocaust, Immigration, Memory, Jewish Future, Jewish Revival
Abstract: Germany’s acceptance of its direct responsibility for the Holocaust has strengthened its relationship with Israel and has led to a deep commitment to combat antisemitism and rebuild Jewish life in Germany. As we draw close to a time when there will be no more firsthand experience of the horrors of the Holocaust, there is great concern about what will happen when German responsibility turns into history. Will the present taboo against open antisemitism be lifted as collective memory fades? There are alarming signs of the rise of the far right, which includes blatantly antisemitic elements, already visible in public discourse. But it is mainly the radicalization of the otherwise moderate Muslim population of Germany and the entry of almost a million refugees since 2015 from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan that appears to make German society less tolerant and somewhat less inhibited about articulating xenophobic attitudes. The evidence is unmistakable—overt antisemitism is dramatically increasing once more. The Future of the German-Jewish Past deals with the formidable challenges created by these developments. It is conceptualized to offer a variety of perspectives and views on the question of the future of the German-Jewish past. The volume addresses topics such as antisemitism, Holocaust memory, historiography, and political issues relating to the future relationship between Jews, Israel, and Germany. While the central focus of this volume is Germany, the implications go beyond the German-Jewish experience and relate to some of the broader challenges facing modern societies today.
Topics: Main Topic: Identity and Community, Jewish Identity, Ethnicity, Ethnography, Jewish Community
Abstract: My dissertation addresses the sociocultural processes which contribute to the construction of ethnocultural identity among Zagrebian Jews. I argue, contrary to the often essentialized perception of Jewish identity imposed by e.g. the Croatian government and Jewish international organizations, that Jewish identity in Zagreb is actively chosen in ways that are both idiosyncratic and contingent upon the surrounding sociocultural environment. At the heart of my argument is an appeal to the dynamic and contextual nature of identity negotiation, and the influence this has on the maintenance and survival of the Zagrebian Jewish community. In support of this, I have employed ethnographic methods to assess (i) the ways in which Jewish identity is negotiated by community members and (ii) the ways in which the meaning of Jewish community is sustained in Zagreb. With regards to (i), I conclude that Zagrebian Jews understand their identities in terms of symbolic ethnoreligiosity, i.e. in terms of feelings and nostalgic ideas about Jewish culture and tradition. With regards to (ii), I show that the history and development of Jewish identity in Zagreb can be traced through patterns of membership participation in various Jewish organizations prevalent in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These patterns reveal the predominantly secular nature of the Zagrebian Jewish community. In light of this, I argue that community for Zagrebian Jews is ultimately defined symbolically through various types of social interaction among members. It is for this reason that the recent attempts of both international Jewish organizations and the Croatian government to impose an essentialized image of Jewish identity on the community are at odds with, and ultimately destructive to, the secular and improvisatory self-images of the members themselves.
Topics: Main Topic: Identity and Community, Jewish Identity, Immigration, Israeli Expatriates, Sephardi Jews
Abstract: The present study focuses on immigrant Jews who reside in three cities in Europe: Paris, Brussels and Antwerp. I analyze various dimensions of ethnic identity and identification, such as Jewish identity, transnational (with country of origin) and local (assimilative). The main research questions refer to possible explanations which influence the participants’ ethnic identity and identification, primarily their city of residence and its socio-cultural atmosphere which enables (or not) vivid overt Jewish life.