Negotiating Female Identity in the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki: Between Tradition and Modernity
Abstract: Thessaloniki, due to its geopolitical position, has functioned as a crossroad of many people and many religions. In particular, the Jewish presence reached its apogee during the Ottoman period (15th-20th Century). Over the past hundred years, after the official annexation of Thessaloniki to the Greek state, the identity of the Jews changed. Despite the numerical weakness of the old ethno-religious Jewish community during its annihilation in the years 1941-44, today, once again, Jews claim a place in the city life. This paper will focus on the contemporary Jewish female presence in Thessaloniki. On the one hand, Jewish women have their own role contributing in various ways to the maintenance, transmission, and reproduction of their particular ethnoreligious identity. On the other hand, they negotiate their active role in the modern Greek society. In other words, the author investigates the ways in which Jewish women negotiate between tradition and modernity, between their own traditional and modern identity.