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Author(s): Pignatelli, Marina
Date: 2020
Abstract: Jews who remained or returned to Portugal after the Expulsion (1496) and Inquisition (1536–1821) adopted and preserved different strategies to resist total assimilation, forced conversion and antisemitism. Today, Jewish communities are small and shy. At the same time, however, many Portuguese insist on an identification with a Jewish matrix. In parallel, there is an unprecedented effort to revitalize Jewish cultural memory in the public and private spheres. This article critically discusses the broad notion of Jewish identity and its representations in present day Portugal. It gives a succinct account of its existing Jewish communities, their power interrelationships and the categorizations used to label who is identified as a Jew. The article examines the making of cultural Jewish heritage and its paradoxes, considering the variety of agents involved and their agendas. While it will be argued that Jewish identity is certainly multidimensional, there are, at the same time, several contemporary native Jewish tangible and intangible cultural traces that are being neglected in the systematization process of Jewish memory and traditions in Portugal. Given the homogenizing tendencies of globalization and the particularizing local reactions to such trends, the present article describes and reflects on how the Jewish past in Portugal is intertwined with the present, and how the plural ways of perceiving Jewish identity and its cultural manifestations can be understood in a glocal frame, in terms of both discursive and material Jewish traditions. Based on a qualitative approach and a collaborative ethnographic method, the article analyzes how the Portuguese matrix of Jewish culture remains part of the Sepharad imaginary while it is subjected to the constraints of time and space.
Author(s): Paolo, Mendes Pinto
Date: 2020
Date: 2021
Abstract: This article presents research notes on an oral history project on the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Jews over the age of 65 years. During the first stage of the project, we conducted nearly 80 interviews in eight cities worldwide: Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and St. Petersburg, and in Israel. The interviews were conducted in the spring of 2020 and reflect the atmosphere and perception of interviewees at the end of the first lockdown.

Based on an analysis of the interviews, the findings are divided into three spheres: (1) the personal experience during the pandemic, including personal difficulties and the impact of the lockdown on family and social contacts; (2) Jewish communal life, manifested in changed functions and emergence of new needs, as well as religious rituals during the pandemic; and (3) perceived relations between the Jewish community and wider society, including relations with state authorities and civil society, attitudes of and towards official media, and the possible impact of COVID-19 on antisemitism. Together, these spheres shed light on how elderly Jews experience their current situation under COVID-19—as individuals and as part of a community.

COVID-19 taught interviewees to reappraise what was important to them. They felt their family relations became stronger under the pandemic, and that their Jewish community was more meaningful than they had thought. They understood that online communication will continue to be present in all three spheres, but concluded that human contact cannot be substituted by technical devices.
Author(s): Staetsky, L. Daniel
Date: 2021
Date: 2019
Abstract: Jewish charities are a subgroup of about two thousand, five hundred organizations, accounting for 1.5% of the total number of main charities in England and Wales. The increasing total income of general charities has prompted considerable debate about the perceived concentration of income and the perceived dominance of bigger charities over smaller ones. Meanwhile, the implications of competition for charitable behavior have remained underappreciated. Building on these assumptions and aiming to test how far the results of research carried out in the charitable sector in general apply to the Jewish charitable sector in particular, the research investigates the trends in concentration of income of a sample of 1301 Jewish charities operating between 1995 and 2015, using common measures of concentration to describe the competitiveness of the Jewish charitable sector in England and Wales. The findings suggest that the sector, in line with the wider UK charitable sector, experienced high levels of growth in terms of both aggregate total income and the number of charities operating, along with decreasing levels of income concentration. These findings allow one to hypothesize that, other things being constant, the increasing numbers of entrant charities may well have increased the size distribution of charities providing the same products or services, therefore exacerbating the competition for charitable funding in the Jewish charitable sector. This, in turn, on the one hand is likely to have exacerbated the competition for donations especially among charities pursuing similar causes, reducing the total amount of charitable money devoted to particular causes. On the other hand, the increasing numbers of charities providing the same products or services and the resultant increasing competition for funding may have impacted on the costs and efforts Jewish charities were able to divert to fundraising at the expense of resources that could be devoted, instead, to service provision.
Author(s): Samson, Maxim GM
Date: 2019
Author(s): Hofman, Nila Ginger
Date: 2018
Author(s): Illman, Ruth
Date: 2018
Author(s): Zelenina, Galina
Date: 2018
Abstract: In the early 2000s, the Russian branch of Lubavitch Hasidism embodied in the Federation of Jewish communities of Russia became a self-proclaimed speaker for Russian Jewry. The paper argues that the Federation is a nation-building project which succeeded in constructing a rather limited and imported real religious community as well as a large and amorphous “imagined community” and tries to offer some inclusive agenda for Russian Jewry as a whole. Most importantly, the Federation switched from the traditional lachrymose concept of the Jewish nation, and suffering as a core of Jewish identity, to the idea of Jewish and Russian Jewish success, achievement, and heroism. The paper seeks to demonstrate that the reason for this ideological innovation lies in Lubavitch mentality (part and parcel of which is the concept of miracle and ardent messianism) as well as in surrounding all-Russian trends. The Federation’s success story and development of optimistic memories and narratives has been parallel to Russia’s “rising from its knees.” The cornerstone of the Federation’s victory on the Russian Jewish scene - its effective and continuous alliance with Kremlin - shows the same pattern: on the one side, it follows the traditional Lubavitch path; on the other, it reflects the traditional Russian idea of state-church “symphony” and dependence of the latter on the former. The attitude to Judaism on the part of the Russian Jewry that supports the Federation may be defined as “vicarious religion,” and may be compared to the “light burden” of Orthodoxy undertaken by the majority of Russians.
Author(s): Ben-Rafael, Eliezer
Date: 2017
Abstract: Contemporary works have shown that antisemitism is far from moribund in Europe and it is in this context that in 2012 was conducted extensive research in the EU on current perceptions and experiences of antisemitism among Jews in Europe. I present and analyze here results that relate specifically to Belgian Jews (438 subjects out of 6,200 in eight countries). The first objective of this work is to learn about the Jewishness of our sample. Hence, we find that 40% of the respondents identify themselves as secular Jews; 15% consider themselves liberals; more than a quarter say they “observe certain traditions”; one sixth define themselves as Orthodox Jews. The data confirm, at this point, that there is only a limited correlation between religiosity and Jewishness: less religious or even non-religious people tend to express an identification with, and commitment to, Jewishness that were not weaker than the Orthodox’. The various factions are also united by a general feeling that while Belgium cannot be considered as an antisemitic state, it is currently experiencing virulent antisemitism in wide milieus. This antisemitism is bound to a sharp anti-Israelism salient in public life, the media, and the Internet. More than a number of other communities in Europe, Belgian Jews see antisemitism reigning in their environment with a gravity. They testify that the Israel-Palestine conflict weighs on their sense of insecurity; they confess that they have often considered the option of emigrating and they openly accuse Muslim extremists of inciting antisemitism. Belgian Jews also feel more vulnerable to antisemitic attacks and tend to resent a weakening in their position in society. On the other hand, what grants support to the Belgian Jews in these circumstances is that they often belong to the properous segments of the population. Moreover, there is the vitality of the community where one finds multiple forms of expression and activity - magazines, radio, clubs, synagogues, museums, etc.- and above all, exceptional educational infrastructures. These resources allow Belgian Jews, if not to protect themselves against the virus of antisemitism, at least to face it.
Author(s): Jikeli, Günther
Date: 2017
Author(s): Graham, David
Date: 2014
Abstract: During the 1990s, Jewish communal leaders in Britain reached a consensus that Jewish education, in the broadest sense, was the principal means of strengthening Jewish identity and securing Jewish continuity. This belief motivated considerable investment in communal intervention programs such as Jewish schools, Israel experience trips, and youth movements. Twenty years on, it is pertinent to ask whether, and to what extent, this intervention has worked. The Institute for Jewish Policy Research’s (JPR) 2011 National Jewish Student Survey contains data on over 900 Jewish students in Britain and presents an opportunity to empirically assess the impact such intervention programs may have had on respondents’ Jewish identity by comparing those who have experienced them with those who have not. Regression analysis is used to test the theory based on a set of six dimensions of Jewish identity generated using principal component analysis. The results show that after controlling for the substantial effects of Jewish upbringing, intervention has collectively had a positive impact on all aspects of Jewish identity examined. The effects are greatest on behavioral and mental aspects of socio-religious identity; they are far weaker at strengthening student community engagement, ethnocentricity, and Jewish values. Further, the most important intervention programs were found to be yeshiva and a gap year in Israel. Both youth movement involvement and Jewish schooling had positive but rather limited effects on Jewish identity, and short-stay Israel tours had no positive measurable effects at all.