Topics: Jewish Identity, Age and Generational Issues, Artefacts and Material Culture, Memory, Main Topic: Other, Attitudes to Jews, Stereotypes, Libraries and Archives, Literature
Abstract: The paper analyses the complex dynamics of the rejection of ‘Jewish smells’ as markers of Jewish corporeality in the context of stereotypes constructed by Russian culture. It addresses the conflicting desire to cherish and yet reject the smells of childhood as an important repository of memory in autobiographical prose by Russian Jewish writers. It theorizes the notion of smell as a Jewish archive in the context of inter-generational knowledge, displacement, space and time. How can the most ethereal of all sensations serve as an archive? How do we pass on this type of knowledge-inducing mechanism to future generations? And how do writers negotiate their national/ethnic identities on the basis of this form of remembering?
Topics: Anusim / Crypto-Jews / Marranos, Ethnography, Jewish Culture, Jewish Heritage, Main Topic: Culture and Heritage
Abstract: This article analyzes some of the data collected during an anthropological research carried out among Jews, crypto-Jews and their descendants from Bragança, Portugal. In view of the growing interest in the Jewish heritage in the country, Bragança has also revived its Jewish legacy and is decorated with new Jewish cultural spaces in recent years. The study describes what were the authenticity and significance premises set by the official agents involved in this construction and also the Brigantines´ role and perceptions in the process, reflecting on the ‘engaging heritage’ notion considering four local sites.
Imagining a sonic al-Andalus through sound, bones, and blood: the case of Jewish music in Morocco and Spain
Topics: Main Topic: Culture and Heritage, Jewish Music, Jewish Culture, Sephardi Jews, Diversity, Attitudes to Jews
Abstract: Al-Andalus and the perception of its peacefully idyllic past currently inhabit Spain and Morocco through music. This article explores the multiple manners in which both the acoustic establishment of Jewish belonging and participation, and the reception of sonic allegiance help build a symbolic order that confirms the intrinsic relation of the Jew to the diverse nation in contemporary Spain and Morocco through the heritagization of a communal sounded voice. Finally, looking at two Jewish performers, one in Morocco and one in Spain, this article will address historical entanglements between both countries. The case studies aim to provide micro-histories of the larger conversations on Jewish belonging within each modern nation-state in the last generation through the performance of popular Jewish music as a symbol for the coexistence of al-Andalus.
Means of transport and storage: suitcases and other containers for the memory of migration and displacement
Topics: Main Topic: Culture and Heritage, Museums, Jewish Heritage, Immigration, Holocaust, Memory, Oral History and Biography
Abstract: Several exhibitions in recent years – in the ‘Deutsches Auswandererhaus’ Bremerhaven and other museums in Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States – have used suitcases (and ‘the suitcase’) as a central symbol and metaphor for the migration process. Based on a variety of examples, the article discusses the idea and the use of memory containers – and their function as archives – in the context of emigration, transmigration, and immigration. Suitcases are the most obvious material objects relating to these processes and the connected cultural practices. They are concrete objects, but beyond that they have been used as symbols and metaphors for the experience of travel and of dislocation. Suitcases often contained, and therefore are connected to, other items of memory storage: photographs and personal documents (letters, diaries about the migration experience – documents that have been termed, in a different context, ‘Schreibakte auf der Schwelle’ – acts of writing on the threshold); manuscripts, farewell letters (written on the boat, in border stations, in port cities), memorial and yizkor books, songs and poems, self-drawn maps which show the stations of the journey. An analysis of such ‘things’ – material objects which often carried an emotional value – and their representation in museums and exhibitions opens up a wide and rich field of research for the ethnography of migration.
Abstract: he increase in Israeli emigration and Israeli dual citizenship over the past fifteen years has created growing expatriate communities and Hebrew literary production outside of Israel. The emigration of fiction writers, poets, academics, essayists, artists and the creation of Hebrew language literary periodicals, libraries, and schools in Berlin have sought to challenge central tenets of cultural Zionism which tie the development of Hebrew language to Eretz Yisrael and Hebrew literary production to Israeli national literature.
Topics: Israeli Expatriates, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Israel-Diaspora Relations, Jewish Culture, Holocaust Commemoration, Holocaust, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Memory
Abstract: The relevance of nostalgia and memory in the constitution of identity narratives of individuals and nation states is a well-documented phenomenon. Yet little is known about the function of nostalgia in the context of Israeli and Polish relations. The Holocaust experience has changed in dramatic ways how Jews and Poles relate to the category of nostalgia. In this essay Swetlana Boym’s distinction between ‘reflective nostalgia’ and ‘restorative nostalgia’ will serve as a starting point for a discussion about the function of nostalgia in the works of Israeli artist Yael Bartana and Polish artist Rafał Betlejewski, and about its role in facilitating the formation of new perceptions of the self and of the other and of new understandings of homelands.
Topics: Diaspora, Emigration, Main Topic: Identity and Community, Jewish Identity, Psychotherapy / Psychoanalysis, Refugees, Interviews, Ageing and the Elderly
Abstract: The relationship between psychoanalysis and Jewishness has been debated for over one hundred years and the derogatory term ”Jewish science” has been used to describe psychoanalysis. Because of the Nazi regime both Jewish and non-Jewish psychoanalysts left their homelands. In this study, aging Jewish individuals born in Central Europe and forced into exile were interviewed concerning their perceptions of psychoanalysis and Jewishness, of Jewish identity and exile. Anti-Semitism had influenced their perceptions of their work in the psychoanalytic field. The findings are discussed in relation to the current position of psychoanalysis as well as to questions of trauma and exile.
Topics: Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Multiculturalism, National Identity, Antisemitism, Sports, Football, Main Topic: Antisemitism
Abstract: There are certain football clubs, mostly but not all in Europe, which have become known as being ‘Jewish’. These clubs include Tottenham Hotspur in England, Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands and (with relation to its history) Bayern Munich in Germany. As it happens one club for each country. These clubs do not necessarily have actually Jewish players or supporters. Rather, the clubs’ supporters self-identify as Jewish and are attacked by rival clubs’ fans as if they are really Jewish. This acting out of being Jewish seems to have started around the 1970s. In this article I argue that this development coincides with the increasing integration of the countries of the European Union and a corresponding sense by many members of these nation-states that their countries are losing their political identity. Attacking the ‘Jewish strangers’ has become one way of asserting not just club but national identity. Conversely, the identification as ‘Jewish’ can be read as an affirmation of diversity against the fascistic pressure for a homogeneous national population.
Topics: Jewish Identity, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Pluralism, Multiculturalism, Minorities, Main Topic: Identity and Community
Abstract: Jewish identities in early twenty-first century Europe are becoming ever more variegated, post-modern, and eclectic. They flourish across Europe because they are protected by the wider democratic pluralist context. But this pluralism comes at a price. European societies are becoming asemitic. They no longer consider Jewish life as a Holocaust-related responsibility, but simply as one piece of an ever more pluralistic kaleidoscope. As a result, Jewish voices will carry different weight depending on where they speak from: inner Jewish-Jewish community spaces, the new Jewish-friendly neutral spaces of academia, memorials, and museums, or the more universal spaces where Jewish themes must compete with others, in an ever more open pluralist cacophony.
Abstract: This article argues that twenty-first century cultural representations of British-Jewish life are, on the one hand, various, popular and successful, and, on the other, defensive and apologetic to the extent that they are liable to offer readers and viewers literal and aesthetic translations of the detail of Jewish culture. It explores the workings of such a process in relation to a variety of recent texts about contemporary and wartime British-Jewish life, including Howard Jacobson’s novel The Finkler Question, Mike Leigh’s play Two Thousand Years, Robert Popper’s television series Friday Night Dinner, and fiction by Andrew Sanger, Naomi Alderman, Charlotte Mendelson and Natasha Solomons.
Antisemitism and Israel in British Jewish fiction: perspectives on Clive Sinclair’s Blood Libels (1985) and Howard Jacobson’s The Finkler Question (2010)
Topics: Literature, Fiction, Antisemitism, Israel-Diaspora Relations, Main Topic: Culture and Heritage
Abstract: Recently Howard Jacobson’s Booker Prize winning novel The Finkler Question (2010) and Peter Kosminsky’s controversial TV mini-series The Promise (2011) have forcefully re-introduced the issue of Israel to British Jewish cultural creativity. Both need to be understood not only in the context of contemporary British Jewish cultural creativity but also of the earlier literary engagement with Israel in British Jewish fiction. Focusing in particular on Clive Sinclair’s Blood Libels (1985) and Jacobson’s novel, this article traces notions of Israel in British Jewish fiction since its establishment in 1948 to the present day.
The Jew in the eruv, the Jew in the suburb: contesting the public face and the private space of British Jewry
Topics: Eruv, Jewish Neighbourhoods, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Jewish Space, Main Topic: Other
Abstract: In recent years, British-Jewish commentators, novelists, film-makers and others have identified and bemoaned the existence and persistence of a very ‘British’ preoccupation with image within the community. That preoccupation, which is grounded in the mentality that Jews in Britain should be neither seen nor heard, can be traced back to the period of mass Jewish immigration (and beyond), and can be identified in debates about Jewish space and place within London and elsewhere. This article explores this long history of image control, from the efforts of the Jewish Dispersion Committee and others to encourage migration from the East End ghetto to the suburbs and provinces, to the very recent, heated debates concerning the construction of an eruv by the Orthodox community in North West London.
Topics: Oral History and Biography, Genealogy, Memory, Television, Media, Main Topic: Culture and Heritage
Abstract: This essay explores aspects of the family history of David Baddiel, a television presenter and author based in the UK. It specifically examines the way in which Baddiel's family history is represented in an episode of the television series Who Do You Think You Are? shown on UK television in autumn 2004. In this essay, Baddiel's family journey is contextualised within an exploration of the rise in popularity of family history pursuits in the UK, and a discussion of how family history is commonly represented and framed through the medium of television. Thereafter, the essay investigates Baddiel's particular family story in relation to collective and individual Jewish histories and memories, along with exploring how his story is portrayed in relation to the conventions of televised and celebrity-led history.
Is there an ‘Israeli Diaspora’? Jewish Israelis negotiating national identity between Zionist ideology and diasporic reality
Topics: Israeli Expatriates, Israel-Diaspora Relations, National Identity, Zionism, Interviews, Psychology, Psychotherapy / Psychoanalysis, Diaspora, Main Topic: Identity and Community
Abstract: Given the centrality of the ‘Negation of Exile’ in the construction of political Zionist ideology and the continued dominance of this world-view within the Jewish-Israeli imagined community and Israeli public space, the essay discusses the viability of an ‘Israeli–British diaspora’ – an intermediate space which is neither Israeli not British – that potentially troubles Zionist notions on nationality, belonging and Jewishness. The paper draws on interview material of Jewish Israelis who live in Britain, and examines the interplay between hegemonic Zionist discourses of nationality and counter-hegemonic discourses of diaspora, as subjects construct their personal narratives of ‘Israeliness abroad’.
Topics: Diaspora, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Assimilation, Integration, Jewish History, Main Topic: Identity and Community
Abstract: The classic model of diaspora constructs the process of population change as spatial, along a horizontal axis, and sequential, with one wave following another. Taking the history of the Jews in modern Britain as a case study, this article argues that we need to take account of the multi-layered character of diasporas, the possibility that vertical alignments are as important as horizontal ones, and that ideological currents may sweep through the different layers of a diaspora simultaneously. The differentiation between types of diaspora is crucial for understanding the internal dynamics of Jewish history and Jewish/non-Jewish relations. Each type engenders a different sort of identity and entails different relations with the ‘host society’.