Topics: Jewish Community, Diaspora, Globalisation, Jewish Revival, Main Topic: Identity and Community, Comparative Studies
Abstract: From Publishers Weekly review: The new Jewish diaspora of a "heterogeneous people who thrive in secular societies" is here to stay, asserts Boston Globe journalist Tye (The Father of Spin). As these diverse Jewish communities have become not merely way stations but enduring homes, they have begun to remake Judaism itself. Tye tells this intriguing story through sketches of people and of life in seven cities. In Dsseldorf, he finds an Orthodox rabbi invoking a more pluralistic Judaism to educate Russian refugees. In Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, a fervent Lubavitcher Hasidic rabbi has energized a dormant community. In Buenos Aires, a Jewish polity fragmented by economic setbacks and anti-Semitic attacks has begun to revive with new models of worship and organization. In Paris, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews have forged ties that could serve as a model for their fractious brethren in Israel. Tye's chapter on Dublin, where the Jewish community is dying, may at first seem anomalous, but, he argues, their determination to reestablish their "Gaelic brand of Judaism" elsewhere is a testament to the ability of Jews to survive wherever they may be. His two American chapters focus on Boston, where the Jewish community has fused learning, spirituality and social justice, and Atlanta, where rival denominations work with considerable amity. Yet Tye's optimism might have been better contextualized by a broader survey. Though the author understandably had to winnow his examples from many compelling possibilities, readers may wonder about Jewish communities in such places as Melbourne, Montreal and Johannesburg. While not a breakout book, Tye's presentation of a new diaspora may intrigue a broad Jewish audience.