British Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference
Durham, 9-11 July 2018
Theories and Histories: Jewish Studies Across Disciplines
We gratefully acknowledge the following institutions for their support of the conference:
- the European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS).
- St Aidan’s College, Durham University.
- Department of Anthropology, Durham University.
The Calman Learning Centre, Durham University, Stockton Rd, Durham DH1 3LE
Monday 9 July
11.00 – 13.00 – BAJS committee meeting
13.00 – 13.30 – registration (will remain open till 15.00)
13.30 – 15.00 – session 1
15.00 – 15.30 – refreshments. The Derman Christopherson Room
15.30 – 17.00 – session 2
17.00 – 18.00 – welcome (the Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre) and wine reception (the Derman Christopherson Room)
18.00 – 19.30 – keynote lecture by Professor Martin Goodman, The History of Judaism and the History of Religions. Chaired by Yulia Egorova. The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Tracing the development of Judaism since antiquity brings to light not only the extent of change but also the extent to which variety of theology and practice were tolerated in all periods. The lecture will consider how this came about in a religious system founded on a text which forbids deviation from revealed teaching, and how the pattern of religion to be found in Judaism relates to those of the other Abrahamic religions.
20.00 – dinner at Hatfield College
Tuesday 10 July
9.00 – 10.30 – keynote lecture by Professor Fania Oz-Salzberger, Truth, Story and History: Jewish Studies across Disciplines. Chaired by Ilan Baron. The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Since their very inception, modern Jewish Studies benefitted from the joint resources of history, philosophy, philology, literature, the social sciences and the fine arts. This lecture suggests that no single academic discipline or artistic perusal can venture on its own to tell us the great Jewish story. Consider such questions as “Is the Bible historically true?”, “Can archaeology unearth the worlds of ancient Israelites or Talmudic society?”, “How deeply did the Hebrew language sleep for two millennia?”, “Where did the Jews’ lineage of memory chiefly reside?”. Or perhaps the most poignant question of all: “How did Jewish civilization make it from early antiquity to postmodernity?” Navigating between social history, intellectual history, and storytelling, the lecture offers new thoughts on the annals of the Jews and on the thorny issue of Truth.
10.30 – 11.00 – refreshments. The Derman Christopherson Room.
11.00 – 13.00 – session 3
13.00 – 14.00 – lunch. The Derman Christopherson Room.
14.00 – 16.00 – session 4
16.00 – 16.30 – refreshments. The Derman Christopherson Room.
16.30 – 18.00 – keynote lecture by Professor Bryan Cheyette, The Ghetto as Travelling Concept. Chaired by Eva Frojmovic. The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
“Ghetto” is what Raymond Williams once called a “keyword”. It has layers of contradictory meanings accrued over half a millennium and a bewildering array of contexts across most of the world. If “keywords” are characterised by their contentiousness then “ghetto” would be at the top of the list. Is it a term of abuse or resistance; a way of understanding commonplace urbanisation or a unique form of racial segregation; is it a profound indication of how winners and losers are divided in the global metropolis or merely a superficial aspect of global culture (film, music, fashion)? My talk will trace the word ghetto—as both place and concept— across a wide range of histories. It will begin with three hundred years of ghettoization on the Italian peninsular followed by the nineteenth century imaginary ghetto; the urban ghetto; the Nazi genocide of Jews in Europe; black ghettos in American’s northern cities. It will end with the “global ghetto” or slums, townships and favela in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Not only will the talk refer to a wide range of comparative histories but also look at the question of disciplinarity (or “disciplinary thinking”) with Jewish studies falsely cast in a foundational role in relation to a wide range of “newer” disciplines.
18.00 – 19.00 – AGM. The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
19.30 – dinner in Durham Castle
Wednesday 11 July
9.00 – 10.30 – keynote lecture by Professor Susannah Heschel, Theorizing Jewish Studies: Race, Gender and Empire. Chaired by Zoe Roth. The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Does the text function as a metaphor for the fence? We live in the era of the fence, the barrier that keeps out the refugees, the starving, the fleeing, the asylum seekers, those who want to partake of a life in countries without war: a guarantee of food, shelter, education and medical care without threat of prison, guns, death. The fence keeps out human beings of the south pressing to enter the north. But what about the text, the narratives we construct and that constitute our scholarship? Is the text a wall against the humane or is it a cultivation of ethical sensibilities? How do we adjudicate conflicts between texts and ethics, fences and democracy? To work in the field of Jewish studies in the era of Trump and Bibi raises questions about the narratives of Jewish history and also about the theory, methods and issues we raise in our teaching and scholarship. An imperialist ethos dominated the Wissenschaft des Judentums of the nineteenth century, conceptualizing Judaism as autochthonous and as the foundation of Western civilization. Where does that conceptualization stand today? How do we trace the development within Jewish historiography of the mounting conflicts and social pathologies that are overtaking us today? The lecture will give a historical overview of the field of Jewish Studies viewed in the context of European imperialism, followed by a discussion of the contemporary situation of the field, the relationship between scholarship and political engagement, and ways of thinking about the ethics of scholarship and of our reading, thinking, teaching and writing. The talk will give particular attention to the ways our work might be informed by studies of empire, race and gender.
10.30 – 11.00 – refreshments. The Derman Christopherson Room.
11.00 – 13.00 – session 5
13.30 – 14.00 – lunch. The Derman Christopherson Room.
14.00 – 15.30 – session 6
15.30 – 17.00 – session 7
17.00 – 17.30 – refreshments. The Derman Christopherson Room.
LIST OF PANELS
Monday, 9 July
Session 1, 13.30 – 15.00
Panel 1A. Early Modern History and Thought. Chaired by Helen Spurling. The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Idan Breier, The Criticism of the King in Samuel and the Use of this Motif in Early Modern Political Thought
Cynthia Seton-Rogers, Unlikely Assets: Sephardic Jews in Early Modern England
Asher Albo, The Face of God: Between Metaphor and Metonymy from the Kabbalah to the Early Hasidism
Panel 1B. Jewish imageries. Chaired by Karen Skinazi. The Kane Wade Lecture Theatre.
Anat Koplowitz-Breier, Jews under the Magnifying Glass: Judaism and the Jewish Community in Non-Jewish Detective Fiction
Gal Manor, From Ebenezer Scrooge to Rabbi Ben Ezra: Victorian Images of Jewish Old Age
Ingrid L. Anderson, Daniel Deronda: Reconsideration
Panel 1C. Contemporary Jewish history and culture.Chaired by Gavin Schaffer. The Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre.
Joanna Cukras-Stelągowska, Research on the Jewish Community in Poland (1989-2018): Achievements, Perspectives and Scientific Challenges
Dominika Cholewinska-Vater, The Polish Government-in-Exile and Jews: Between the Ethnic and the Democratic
Anna Koch, “I am a German and a communist and nothing else.” Definitions of Jewishness among German Jewish communists in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust
Panel 1D. Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers session led by Yulia Egorova and Marton Ribary. The Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre.
Session 2, 15.30 – 17.00
Panel 2A. Antiquities. Chaired by Ann Conway-Jones.The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Atar Hadari, The Book of Ruth
Cecilia Haendler , Women-Related Metaphors in Tannaitic Literature
Marian Kelsey, The Role of the Prophet in Securing the Relenting of God in Jonah
Panel 2B. Histories and memories. Chaired byJessica van ‘t Westeinde.The Kane Wade Lecture Theatre.
Israel M. Sandman, Why Did Non-authors Rewrite Existing Medieval Jewish Works?
Carla Vieira, H. Lindo’s History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal (London, 1848)and the Myth of the Iberian Jew
Katharina Keim and Helen Spurling, Interdisciplinary Paradigms: The Concept of ‘Religious Competition’
Panel 2C. Greek Jewish Identities. Chaired by Yulia Egorova. The Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre.
Vasiliki Kravva, From “Being” to “Becoming” Jewish: Food Memories of an Old Jewish Woman in Thessaloniki
Shai Srougo, New Perspectives on the Concept of Port-Jews in Greek Thessaloniki: Status, Power, and Economic Influence at the Start of Hellenization of the Waterfront (1922–1925)
Maria Sidiropoulou, The Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity in the Greek Context
Panel 2D. Networks, Religion and Migration.Chaired by Jennifer Creese. The Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre.
Roman Vater, Fighting for a Civic Nation: the “I am an Israeli” Organization as a post-Zionist/post-“Canaanite” Phenomenon
Galit BenHaim-Pedahzur, “Kol Israel Arevim Ze la’ze”? – The Role and Influence of American Jewish Aid Organizations on Israeli Immigration Policy towards Moroccan Jews, 1948-1964
Sue Silberberg, Sailing Into New Horizons – Jews And Colonial Development
Tuesday, 10 July
Session 3, 11.00-13.00
Panel 3A. Antiquities. Chaired by Katharina Keim.The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Rachel Borovsky, Levitical and Priestly Hierarchy in Ezekiel’s Temple Vision, With a Focus on 44:6–16
Ann Conway-Jones, The New Testament: Jewish or Gentile?
Tavis Bohlinger, Faith in a Silent God: The Characterization of Hannah in Pseudo-Philo
Judith Göppinger, Josephus’ Moses – Hero, Lawgiver, Establisher of Identity?
Panel 3B. Theory’s New Jews: Emerging Directions in Jewish Studies
Panel convenor and chair: Zoe Roth.The Kane Wade Lecture Theatre.
Joshua Schreier, Beyond Jewish History’s ‘Imperial Turn’: Jewish as a Colonial Category
Adi Bharat, Queer Theory and Jewish-Muslim Relations: The Case of Two LGBTQ Muslim and Jewish Organizations in France
Zoë Roth, Critical Race Studies, Jewish Literature, and the Limits of Theory
Denise Grollmus, “What Does It Remember Like?”: Affect, Inherited Trauma, and Jewish Identity in Contemporary Jewish American Literature
Panel 3C. Modern European Jewish History. Chaired by Michael Berkowitz. The Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre.
Maja Hultman, Sacred Spaces of Stockholm at the Beginning of the 20th Century: How the Modern Experience of Individuality Shaped Religious Diversity on the Fringes of Europe
Kay Schiller, ‘The Fastest Jew in Germany’ (A. Flechtheim): The Eventful Life of Alex Natan (1906-1971)
Gavin Schaffer, The Postwar British-Jewish Community and the Fear of Decline
Hannah Ewence, Territoriality and the Alien Jew
Panel 3D.Religion and Theology.Chaired by Heather Munro. The Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre.
Yoav Ronel, Berdichevsky Melancholic Revival
Yoav Wechsler, Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh: The Idea of the Universal Religion
Yitzhak Kraus, Theological Responses to the Balfour Declaration
Alex J. Tal, Between the Collective and the Individual – Reflections on Automated Keeping of Mitzvoth
Session 4, 14.00-16.00
Panel 4A. Debating Israel. Round-table discussion led by Ilan Baron with participation of Keith Kahn-Harris, Sara Hirschhorn, Mira Sucharov and Yaacov Yadgar. The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Israel is largely represented by Jewish community leadership as a unifying force for the Jewish people, and a place we should all feel connected to. Yet, Israel is increasingly becoming a divisive force within Jewish communities. Moreover, debating Israel within our own communities can be very difficult, leading to heated debate. This roundtable explores a range of issues involved in debating Israel in our communities, of what role Israel plays for Diaspora Jewry, and what the future holds for Israel’s place within our lives.
Panel 4B. The city shaping its Jews: archaeology and history of cross-cultural and interreligious influences on urban Jewish groups in Antiquity
Panel convenors and chairs: Esther Schneidenbach and Jessica van ‘t Westeinde. The Kane Wade Lecture Theatre.
Jessica van ‘t Westeinde, The City Scape and Scattered Sacred Space: Diversification of Jewish Group Identity in Roman Dura-Europos
Maureen Attali, The Synchronisation of a Jewish Festival of Deliverance with Smyrna’s Dionysia During the Early Roman Empire: the Creation of an Inclusive Commemoration
Esther Schneidenbach, The Shaping of The Jews of Ancient Rome: Secluded, Multicultural or Cross-Culturally Influenced? A Closer Look at the Archaeological and Epigraphical Material
Alexander Bar-Magen Numhauser, The Elche Synagogue in its Late Antique Urban Context
Panel 4C. Art and photography. Chaired by Eva Frojmovic.The Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre.
Michal Ben-Horin, Jewish Pasts in Israeli Presents: A Cultural Reading of Nevet Yitzhak’s Schneckentempo and A Great Joy Tonight
Michael Berkowitz, Intersections of Music, Finance, and Science: Jews and the History of Colour photography
Roni Tzoreff, Ghosts and Shadows: Jacqueline Nicholls’s Visualizing the Women who Haunt the Talmud
Tehila Sade, From a Site of Memory to a Site of Struggle? Reclaiming Poland’s Jewish Memory through Contemporary Art
Panel 4D. Boundaries and Belonging. Chaired by Marton Ribary. The Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre.
Lauren Henry, “A Brotherly Welcome”: The Arrival of Algerian Jews in Alsace, 1962-1965
Mustafa Kaan Sag, Evangelicalism, Millennialism and the Church of Scotland Jewish Mission in the Ottoman Capital Istanbul
Carolyn Robinson Sanzenbacher, Jews, Judaism, Race, and Transnational Protestant Conversionary Theory During the Hitler Years
Michael T Miller, Redefining Religion, Nationhood and Belonging: The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem
Wednesday 11 July
Session 5. 11.00-13.00
Panel 5A. Philosophy.Chaired by Ilan Baron.The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Daniel Herskowitz, Being Human, Being Jewish: Rethinking the Volkish Element in Heidegger’s Philosophy and Politics
Marcel Stoetzler, The Place of Antisemitism in Horkheimer and Adorno’s Critique of Modern Capitalism and Human Civilization in Dialectic of Enlightenment
Rosa Reicher, Hellenism and ‘Bildung’: Gershom Scholem’s Contribution to the “Wissenschaft des Judentums”
Piotr Sawczynski, Sacred Official Language? Philosophical Inquiry into the Nature of Hebrew
Edmund Chapman, Home, Mother, Madness: Jacques Derrida and Jewish Monolingualism
Panel 5B. The Haredi ‘Problem’: Haredi Life and Response to the Secular
Panel Convenor and chair: Heather Munro. The Kane Wade Lecture Theatre.
Kriszta Eszter Szendroi, Loss of Case and Gender: Substantial and Rapid Language Change in the Yiddish Grammar of the Stamford Hill Hasidic Community
Karin Eli, Haredi Women and Feminine Subjectivity
Ben Kasstan, Haredim and the Representation of ‘Community’
Heather Munro, Ultra-Orthodox Women’s Life as Critique of the Secular
Ella Grodzinski, “Her Work Is Far Above Rubies”: Women’s Position and Its Demographic Consequences In An Ultra-Orthodox Community
Panel 5C. British Jewish life and culture.Chaired by Joshua Lander. The Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre.
Wendy Filer, Challenges To Jewish Lay Justice: A Case Study From The Mahamad’s Court Of The Spanish-Portuguese Jews’ Congregation In Georgian London
Julia Pascal, The Absence of Complex Jewish Female Characters on the English Stage
Barbara Borts, Chanukkah Bushes and Kosher Turkey
Emma Poulton, Examining Jewish Identity and Antisemitism among Jewish Supporters of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
Panel 5D.Art and Holocaust memory. Chaired by Zoe Roth. The Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre.
Caroline Kaye, Jewish Encounters with Disputation Paintings
Eva Frojmovic, The Ghetto of Venice as Ashkenazi-German Contact Zone: Memory and Epistemic Violence
Amy Williams, Rethinking the Narrative of the Kindertransports through Memorials
Sarah Lightman, Megillat Esther Levy in Miriam Katin’s We Are On Our Own
Session 6. 14.00-15.30
Panel 6A. Anthropology. Chaired by Ben Kasstan. The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Dani Kranz, The Poetics and Politics of the Allos in Present Day Germany: Jews, Muslims, Others
Jennifer Creese, Positioning Jewishness within Multicultural Australia: The Performative Identity of the Jewish Community of South-East Queensland, Australia
Egorova, Yulia, Sovereignty, Genomics And Diaspora: Subalternity And DNA Research On Jewish Populations
Panel 6B. Religion.Chaired by Hannah Ewence.The Kane Wade Lecture Theatre.
Nina Collins, Do We Need to Eat Matzah on Seder Night?
Benjamin Steiner, From America to Australia: The Global Spread of the Ketubah of the British Chief Rabbinate.
Shlomo Guzmen Carmeli, Constructing a Secular and Pluralistic Judaism: Ethnography in a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv
Panel 6C. Jewish literatures. Chaired by Karen Skinazi.The Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre.
Joshua Lander, From Monstrousness to American Endlessness: Philip Roth’s Subversion of Anti-Semitism
Ohad Reznick, White Lie: Passing for non-Jewish in Post-WWII American-Jewish Fiction
Marcin Wołk, Between the languages, among the nations, amidst the spaces: modern Jewish literature in non-Jewish languages
Session 7. 15.30-17.00
Panel 7A. Histories and art. Chaired by Eva Frojmovic.The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre.
Rachel Misrati, Zionism, the Diaspora and Jewish Genius: The Story of the Abraham Schwadron Autograph Collection in the National Library of Israel.
Dagmara Budzioch, Decorated Esther Scrolls Across Disciplines
Rachel Pafe, The Chosen: Representations of Dissident Jewish Messiahs in Contemporary Art
Panel 7B. Nationalism and identity.Chaired by Emma Poulton.The Kane Wade Lecture Theatre.
David Grobgeld, Resisting Assimilation – Ethnic Boundary Maintenance among Jews in Sweden
Romina Yalonetzky, Transnationalism, Secularization and the Smaller Jewish Latin-American Communities: the Case of Jewish Lima (Peru)
Alexandru Bar, The Transformation of Tristan Tzara’s and Marcel Janco’s National Identity
Panel 7C. Gender and sexuality.Chaired by Barbara Borts.The Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre.
Eva van Loenen, “Marriage and Sexuality in Pearl Abraham’s The Romance Reader and Hush by Judy Brown”.
Efraim Sicher, Jewish ‘Bad Girls’: Subversion, Transgression, and Gender in Contemporary British Jewish Women’s Writing
Karen E. H. Skinazi, Love in a Headcovering
ABSTRACTS AND PRESENTER BIOGRAPHIES
Albo, Asher (Tel-Aviv University), The Face Of God: Between Metaphor And Metonymy From The Kabbalah To The Early Hasidism
Metaphor and metonymy are usually described as a mere device of rhetoric or of the poetic imagination, a matter of extraordinary rather than ordinary language. Moreover, most people will say there is a strong dichotomy between metaphor and reality. Recent cognitive linguistics researchers offer a deferent approach to this problem. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) suggested that metaphors are not just a matter of language but govern our everyday functioning, our thought and action. Metaphors cannot be separated from their experiential bases, they are embodiment. Lakoff (1987) developed the Theory of the tow domain claim for metaphor and the one domain claim for metonymy. I wish to use this approach to describe the shift from the Theosophic Kabbalah to the early Hasidism as shift from the metonymic pole to the metaphoric pole. I claim that in the Theosophic Kabbalah the things in the world are part of the syntagmatic operation based on combination and contiguity between the lower and the higher worlds. This chain of being, the emanation of the divine light from the higher worlds through the sefirot and down to the lower world enable lower parts to represent as metonymies the higher parts of the divinity. In the early Hasidism approach this is the one domain, one gestalt, or a single ICM. This chain of being got weaken, and a new spiritual need arose. The one contiguity is now had to be felt in the human mind that observed it as two deferent domain- the world as disconnect from the deity. This two ICM’s had to be connected together in the human mind by the use of metaphor that able to connect one thing in the terms of another. The metonymy was weakened while the metaphor got stronger.
Asher Albo is a lecturer in the school of Jewish Studies in Tel-Aviv University as part of the “Ofakim” Program of Posen Foundation, where he is also head of the Teacher Education Program. His doctoral dissertation is a research on the early Hasidisms in the view of cognitive linguistics studies on metaphor and metonymy. Albo published a book on the despair in Bratslav’s Hasidism at Resling publishing house. At the last 17 years Albo is also a high school teacher. His main research interests are: the religious despair, the poetic language in the religious thought, Kabbalah and Hasidism.
Anderson, Ingrid (Boston University), Daniel Deronda: Reconsideration
In the spring of 1976, a celebratory centenary symposium on Daniel Deronda was held at Hebrew University’s Institute of Language and Literatures. Thankfully, the conference proceedings were published by Jerusalem Academic Press, and include papers given by scholars such as Alan T. Mintz, Baruch Hochman, and H.M. Daleski. Shmuel Werses remarks in his own presentation that, “…the Jewish reactions to Eliot’s book…testify to its enormous influence, particularly in its ideological message to the Jewish people and in its sympathy for their historical destiny.” More recent scholarship on Daniel Deronda focuses on Eliot’s intent. Is Eliot concerned about the plight of Jews as Jews, or is she simply “orientalizing”? Is the approach to “the Jewish Question” in her utterly unique text anti-Semitic or philo-Semitic, and is there ultimately a significant difference between these two positions anyway? Typically, the answers provided to these questions often show very little awareness of or interest in real contemporaneous Anglo-Jews and their concerns. Yet these are all matters of interest with which Eliot deliberately engages, such that Daniel Deronda cannot be understood without considerable knowledge of the histories of British Jewish thought and experiences. Even analyses that reflect a great deal of knowledge about European Jewry tend to read Eliot as though she were a contemporary, post-Holocaust writer. Against Bryan Cheyette’s claim that Eliot’s text is ultimately an ambivalent “championing of Jewish racial particularity,” Alan T. Levenson insists that, “whether or not contemporaries [of Eliot] recognized the inconsistences that Cheyette locates in Eliot’s portraits, they found it not only possible but also obvious that Eliot had taken up the gauntlet on the Jews’ behalf…” 2 Indeed, it is a mistake to attribute our nascent ambivalence toward Eliot’s worldview to her contemporaries. This approach permits us to overlook the context of Daniel Deronda, as well as streams of Anglo-Jewish discourses about, and representations of, European Jewish cultures, concerns, and experiences with which Eliot converses. As some scholars have noted, Eliot was well versed in Jewish history and culture, and makes it clear that her feelings about European Jews were far from ambivalent.
Ingrid L. Anderson is a doctor of Religious Studies. She is the Associate Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University and a full-time instructor in the College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program. She currently teaches courses on post-Holocaust ethics, modern Jewish thought, the work of Elie Wiesel, and Judaism as a global religion. Her research interests include contemporary understandings of the relationship between ethical response and suffering and the construction of minority identities in the West. Her current research focuses on the influence of French existentialism on modern and contemporary Jewish thought, and modern Anglo-Jewish thought and experience.
Attali, Maureen (Université d’Angers), The Synchronisation Of A Jewish Festival Of Deliverance With Smyrna’s Dionysia During The Early Roman Empire: The Creation Of An Inclusive Commemoration
For more than a century, scholars have wondered about the identity of the Jewish and the either Greek or Roman festival that, according to Christian martyrdom accounts, both fell on February 23rd at least twice during the IIndand IIIrdcenturies CE and brought Greeks and Jews together on Smyrna’s agora. From a calendrical viewpoint, the Jewish festival could, as previously argued by Joseph Lightfoot and more recently, by Robin Lane Fox, be identified with Purim, especially if the year was intercalated. Alternatively, it could also refer to a local Jewish festival of Deliverance similar to the one celebrated in Antiquity by the Jews of Alexandria. Such commemorations would then proliferate within Jewish communitiesand be known as “second Purim”. A close reading of TheMartyrdom of Pioniusreveals that the two Smyrnian festivals were inextricably associated with each other in the Christian author’s mind, and that their simultaneity cannot be dismissed as a mere calendrical coincidence. Aelius Aristides and Philostratus have left us detailed accounts of how the Dionysia festival, which fell sometime during the same month, was celebrated in Smyrna at the time: it notably included a commemoration of the city’s deliverance during a war against Chios, where a trireme was processionally carried unto the agora. This information opens the possibility that the Jews of Smyrna, drawing on typological similarities, had intentionally synchronized their own festive calendar with the civic or provincial one, so as to blend their own commemoration with the city’s Dionysia, turning it into a public holiday thus rendered de factoinclusive. The Jewish tradition may even have been officially integrated in the civic discourse, as was the case in the nearby city of Apamea Cibotus (Pisidia) concerning the Flood myth. In any case, because of the simultaneity and the similarities between the Jewish Deliverance festival and the Dionysia in Smyrna, the city’s Jews were regarded as active participants in a public festival and drew the reprobation of the Christians.
Maureen Attali obtained her PhD in History and Anthropology of Ancient religions from Sorbonne Université (Paris, France) in December, 2017. In her thesis, she analyses the appearance and development, in Jewish communities, of new festivals partially influenced by the Graeco-Roman milieu. During the course of her PhD, she obtained two research scholarships for the OCJS and the École Biblique et Archéologique Françaisein Jerusalem, the latter awarded by the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. She currently teaches Ancient History at Université d’Angers (France).
Bar, Alexandru(University of Leeds), The Transformation Of Tristan Tzara’s And Marcel Janco’s National Identity
This paper focuses on the question of Jewish identity in Romania around the turn of the twentieth century, in the cases of Romanian-born Jews, Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco. It argues that it was neither Tzara’s and Janco’s Jewish heritage, nor their connection to Jewish culture, that defined their artistic personalities, but a web of interrelated social, political and personal components, all part of their multi-layered identity, of which their Jewishness was only one. In Romania, Jews have been variously stereotyped which led to a specific Jewish experience; simultaneously, and paradoxically, Eastern European Jews symbolized backwardness in the eyes of Western Jews. Taking these formulations as a starting point, the concern of this paper is with the phenomenon of self-definition, and particularly with Tzara’s and Janco’s self-definition over against Romanian reality and its clichéd views on national identity and citizenship. This article makes novel use of the Deleuzo-Guattarian concept of becoming to discuss how Tzara and Janco position themselves in relation to their national identity, arguing for a complex relationship between origin and artistic production that goes beyond simple identity. In short, the discussion is built around the argument that becoming offers a new platform to explore the linkage between Tzara’s and Janco’s lack of citizenship and the nation-state, by challenging the notions of Romanian and Jewish in favour of that of universal “citizenship.” In conclusion, this article seeks to clear the way for a renewed consideration of the symbolic substance of Tzara’s and Janco’s lack of citizenship because they were Jews and the role it played in defining their national identity.
Alexandru Bar is a PhD Student in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds, on an AHRC Doctoral studentship with the Performing the Jewish Archives project under the supervision of Dr. Helen Finch. Alexandru’s research interests include Jewish identity, Avant-garde and Jewish intellectuals, East Central Europe, Romanian-Jewish history and culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, nationalism and archives. Originally from Romania, Alexandru graduated from Tel Aviv University, Gershon H. Grodon Faculty of Social Sciences (MASA Scholarship 2012-2013), with a Master’s of Arts in Political Science and Political Communication.
Bar-Magen Numhauser, Alexander(Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), The Elche Synagogue In Its Late Antique Urban Context
Since its finding in 1905, the Alcudia de Elche’s basilical building was the subject of an intense debate regarding its denomination as a Late Antique church or a synagogue. However, with recent archaeological studies the understanding of the building as a late 4th century synagogue raises more questions regarding its adaptation within the urban landscape of the city of Ilici. One of the most interesting questions is the use of the structure as a Roman domus before the construction of its synagogue, and the use of the adjacent structures surrounding the synagogue’s main hall. The identification of such archaeological remains reveals a Jewish community with a synagogue that shares similar characteristics to other urban synagogues of the diaspora, with important implications for the understanding of the Jewish communities of the western provinces of the Roman Empire. Through these findings, this paper intends to present a picture of the Jewish urban life in a city of the western diaspora and see aspects of Jewish life in the ancient Elche and Hispania as a whole, challenging traditional approaches regarding the history of Spanish and Portuguese Judaism before the advent of Sepharad.
Dr. Alexander Bar-Magen is a PhD in archaeology for the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. His field of expertise is archaeology of Judaism in Iberia in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. His recently presented doctoral thesis is titled The Basilical Building in Illici and its Late Antique and Early Medieval Jewish Context, supervised by Dr. Angel Fuentes of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Dr. Boaz Zissu of the University of Bar-Ilan. In it he explores the study of material remains for the Jewish communities in periods before the Sephardi “golden age”, placing them in their wider Mediterranean context.
BenHaim-Pedahzur, Galit (Durham University), “Kol Israel Arevim Ze La’ze”? – The Role And Influence Of American Jewish Aid Organizations On Israeli Immigration Policy Towards Moroccan Jews, 1948-1964
This paper examines the involvement of Jewish American Aid Organizations in the migration of Moroccan Jews to Israel. The American Jewish Aid organizations were involved in many of the prior flows of immigration to Israel from different countries in the world. In many ways without the help of these organizations, be it monetary, medical, diplomatic, etc., many of the communities who immigrated would not have made it to Israel. Morocco’s Jews are no different; they too were helped by the American Jewish organizations. For the most part, this is an untold story, that concerns the impact that American Jewish organizations had in the State of Israel and their kin-Diasporas. The paper seeks to address one central question: how strong is the diasporic connection? How much is a Diaspora willing to sacrifice towards helping a kin-Diaspora? This paper concentrates on the Moroccan Diaspora because it is, from a geographic and social network perspective, distant from the American Jewish Diaspora. Thus, by examining American Aid endeavors towards the Jewish Moroccan Diaspora we can glean new insights into how strong and deep the Diasporic connection is. The Diasporic connection is often described as triadic, but in fact, it is more complicated and at times, it is perhaps more accurate to describe and analyze quadratic relationship, a relationship that may involve four actors at a time. Looking closely at this case study can help further the research about the nature of diasporic connection and the role that a Diaspora might have concerning the homeland and kin-Diaspora. It also can advance the knowledge of the relationship between the different actors and expand the scope of perceiving this type of relationship beyond the traditional triadic paradigm to analyze a much more complex phenomenon than hitherto realized.
Galit BenHaim-Pedahzur is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Government and International Affairs at University of Durham, UK. She studies international relations, mainly diaspora studies. She is interested in the complicated relationship between kin-diasporas. More specifically, her work examines the role and influence of American Jewish Aid organizations on Israeli immigration policy towards Moroccan Jews, during 1948-1964.
Ben-Horin, Michal (Bar-Ilan University), Jewish Pasts In Israeli Presents: A Cultural Reading Of Nevet Yitzhak’s Schneckentempo And A Great Joy Tonight
The paper examines the relationship between Eastern and Western cultural traditions pursued by Jews from various Diaspora communities, as represented in the work of the Israeli artist Nevet Yitzhak. I will focus on two video concerts: Schneckentempo (2007) incorporates images and soundtracks from a series of anniversary concerts with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1936 by Bronislaw Huberman, who, like other musicians, immigrated to Palestine following the rise of the Nazi regime. The concerts conducted by Zubin Mehta included soloists such as Daniel Barenboim and Pinchas Zukerman. A Great Joy Tonight (2009), uses a television broadcast from the 1970s with members of the orchestra that played on Kol Israel’s Arabic station, established in 1948 and closed down in 1993. The musicians, such as Abraham David Cohen, Albert Shitrit, Felix Mizrahi, Albert Elias, and Abraham Daoud, often played in neighborhood cafés where they were greeted by an enthusiastic audience that listened devotedly to a repertoire based on classical Arab music. Each video concert presents a different cultural tradition but also embodies a double narrative of emancipation and oppression. Using Theodor Adorno’s concepts of translation and dissonance, I intend to show how these works demonstrate an intermedial translation based on a process of cutting and connecting that builds on the extension and stretching of both soundtrack and imagery. The dissonance created by the compositional act imparts a specific type of attention to the materials of which these works are made. It confronts the listener and viewer with layers of musical traditions, while simultaneously revealing a range of historical contexts involving national, ethnic, and gender-based practices of acceptance and exclusion. These diasporic traditions are presented within Yitzhak’s aesthetic work that exemplifies the documentation of what has been lost, alongside the possibility of an ethical and political mode of existence and creation.
Dr. Michal Ben-Horin is a Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at Bar-Ilan University. Her research focuses on comparative readings of modern Jewish and German literatures, memory poetics after the Holocaust, and aesthetic and critical theory. Her book Musical Biographies (2016) was published by De Gruyter, and her essays were published in University of Pennsylvania Press (Secularism in Question: Jews and Judaism in Modern Times); as well as in Brill, German Life and Letters, Weimarer Beitraege, among others. Her current project deals with the bilingualism of Israeli poets.
Berkowitz, Michael (University College London), Intersections Of Music, Finance, And Science: Jews And The History Of Colour Photography
The proposed presentation explores the history of colour photography as it was revolutionized by the research of Leopold Godowsky, Jr. and Leopold Mannes beginning in the second decade of the twentieth century. Their work resulted in Kodachrome (and other related film products), which are among the most successful commercial endeavours of all time. Godowsky and Mannes were professional, classical musicians who had a keen interest in improving film technology. They also were part of a Jewish cohort, including figures such as Walter Damrosch (NY Philharmonic) and the Gershwins, who attempted to bridge diverse cultural realms. I will illuminate critical connections between the approach to interpreting music, and appreciation of technological applications to music, with regard to the scientific work of Mannes and Godowsky. Kodachrome also is as indebted to the situation and distinctive history of American Jewry as the history of science. Light will be shed, as well, on distinctive roles Jews played in finance, especially surrounded the notion of ‘risk’, which has been illuminated in the scholarship of Adam Gower. This paper is the product of ongoing and recent research conducted primarily at the archives of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York.
Michael Berkowitz, a past President of BAJS (2007), is Professor of Modern Jewish history at University College London and editor of Jewish Historical Studies: Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England (UCL Press). He is author most recently, of Jews and photography in Britain (University of Texas Press, 2015), and co-editor, most recently, with Martin Deppner, of The Jewish engagement with photography (Carl von Ossietzky Press, 2017). Last academic year he was a fellow of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, D.C.), and the Remarque Institute of New York University.
Bharat, Adi(Manchester University), Queer Theory And Jewish-Muslim Relations: The Case Of Two LGBTQ Muslim And Jewish Organizations In France
Jewish-Muslim relations in France are increasingly depicted in binary and conflictual terms. Maud Mandel (2014) and Ethan Katz (2015) have demonstrated how, over the last several decades, Jewish and Muslim activists and public figures and French authorities increasingly blurred the lines between domestic interactions between Jews and Muslims and international conflicts. Nevertheless, daily interactions in France between the two communities were rarely affected by either Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the Algerian war. Still, conflict increasingly became the primary framework for understanding Jewish-Muslim relations, especially in the wake of the 1967 war. This “narrative of polarization” (Mandel 2014) obscures a more nuanced history of interactions between Jews and Muslims in France. In this context of polarization, the relations between the Jewish and Muslim LGBTQ associations, Beit Haverim and Homosexuels Musulmans de France (HM2F), respectively, are noteworthy. HM2F grew out of a Christian LGBTQ group, who had created a queer Muslim cell in order to welcome Muslims and help them form their own association. These three associations remain the most prominent LGBTQ (ethno)religious associations and have held numerous interfaith events. However, French Muslim and Jewish institutional structures do not recognize the groups. By contrast, Beit Haverim is firmly part of the broad French LGBTQ network, while HM2F is generally not. Thus, both associations are excluded from broader Jewish/Muslim communal structures, while HM2F is additionally excluded from broader LGBTQ associational circles. Despite occupying relatively marginal positions, both groups have sought to challenge the dominant “narrative of polarization” and the rigid, homogenized categorization it implies. Applying the insights of queer theory to Jewish-Muslim relations, this paper focusses on how both associations draw upon a more nuanced history of Jewish-Muslim interactions and construct a convivial socio-cultural space based on shared histories, religious affinities, and a sense of common marginality, expressed both through Jewishness and Muslimness, as well as queerness. In doing so, I also assess the extent to which queer theory constitutes a useful tool for scholars of Jewish-Muslim relations.
Adi S. Bharat is a PhD candidate in French Studies at the University of Manchester, where he is working on a thesis examining contemporary French representations of Jewish-Muslim relations. His broad research interests include Jewish-Muslim relations, antisemitism and anti-Muslim racism, LGBT-affirming interpretations of Islam and the lived experiences of LGBTQ Muslims, and the lived experiences of ex-Muslims.
Bohlinger, Tavis (Durham University), Faith In A Silent God: The Characterization Of Hannah In Pseudo-Philo
The biblical character of Hannah in Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum is a telling example of how Pseudo-Philo reworks his heroes into models of radical trust in God. And yet, the magnitude of L.A.B.’s rewriting of her story has not received the attention that it warrants. Hannah’s characterization in L.A.B. is remarkable for the fact that she is an oppressed woman in a narrative dominated by prominent male figures. Hannah’s circumstances as portrayed by Pseudo-Philo exceed even the dire situation of the biblical Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 and 2. Indeed, her situation demands greater trust in God than any of the male figures in the narrative, with the possible exception of Abraham in L.A.B. 6. In terms of Israel’s social spectrum, Hannah lies at the complete opposite end of the male leaders in L.A.B.; she is sterile, a childless second wife with no leadership role whatsoever. Yet the multifarious vindication she receives from God, without ever hearing a word from him, warrants her a place of unexpected honor on the list of Israel’s greatest exemplars of true faith in God. Whilst previous interpreters have noticed Hannah’s importance to the narrative, my paper seeks to offer a more comprehensive account of the pattern of faith that Hannah models. This pattern is evident in the other male leaders in L.A.B., but Hannah’s pattern is different in one significant aspect; God never speaks to her. Given that Pseudo-Philo’s narrative hinges completely on divine speech, this indicates the theological gravity of the author’s removal of a divine word for Hannah prior to the birth of Samuel. Thus Pseudo-Philo delivers a poignant message to a Jewish audience awaiting deliverance from Roman oppression: Hannah stands as the preeminent example of complete trust in the God who is so often silent.
Borts, Barbara (Durham University), Chanukkah Bushes And Kosher Turkey
During the Christmas season, Jews in various parts of the world solve what is commonly known as The December Dilemma in different ways. In the USA, a syncretic model is common and one finds Jews decorating their homes with so-called Chanukkah bushes and sending cards to Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike, wishing them happy ‘Chanumas.’ This syncretism also effects the Jewish celebrations of the minor festival of Chanukkah itself. In the UK, however, celebration of Christmas is a marker of British identity and a litmus for degree of assimilation. Here, it is more common to find Jews actually celebrating Christmas, with kosher turkeys and family meals replete with Christmas crackers. The pressure to celebrate is pervasive and affects peoples from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other traditions. Christmas itself being celebrated by Jews limits the amount of pressure on Chanukkah and on how it is observed. In this paper, marking the beginnings of a larger multicultural study, I will examine some of these differences and offer some thoughts about the different assimilatory and identificatory pressures brought to bear on non-Christians during this season of the year, and what it means in terms of how Jews, and others, understand their place in these two societies.
Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Durham.
Breier, Idan (Bar-Ilan University), The Criticism Of The King In Samuel And The Use Of This Motif In Early Modern Political Thought
1 Samuel relates the prophet’s career and the role he played as prophet, judge, and military commander. As he grew old, however, he was asked to appoint a ruler over the people so that they would feel themselves to be like other nations. Regarding this request as a personal affront, Samuel sought God heart on the matter, being told to accede to the vox populi. In a last ditch to avoid doing so, he describes how this office will border on tyranny, the king taking it upon himself to appoint officials according to his whim, appropriating land and property, and levying taxes on the fruit of his subjects’ labour. The people nonetheless hold fast to their demand, Israelite theocracy thus being replaced with a monarchy.
The question of the best system according to which the nation should be ruled arose again as a theoretical issue in medieval Jewish political thought. While Maimonides supported the idea of a monarchy, Abarbanel advocated republicanism. The controversy erupted afresh during early modernity (the sixteenth–eighteenth centuries), during which political thinkers, primarily in England, were influenced by a form of political Hebraism that sought inspiration for modern theories from Hebrew sources. These discussions made use of the picture painted of the monarchy in Samuel, each school interpreting these texts in the light of its own principles. After analyzing the treatment of the monarchy in Samuel, I shall look at the way in which these passages were employed by Thomas Hobbes, Robert Filmer, John Milton, Algernon Sidney, and Thomas Paine—John Locke relying predominantly on other biblical sources.
Dr. Idan Breier is a lecturer in Jewish History at Bar-Ilan University (Ramat-Gan, Israel), where he gained his graduate and post-graduation degrees. His primary field of interest lies in biblical and ancient Near Eastern history, in particular the international relations of this period in light of modern international relations theories. Inter alia, his publications deal with international relations during the El Amarna period and the end of the First Temple period and the mutual relationship between man and dog in the lands of the Bible and ancient cultures.
Budzioch, Dagmara, Decorated Esther Scrolls Across Disciplines
The decorated Esther scrolls started to be produced in the 2nd half of the 16th century in Italy and in the following decades and centuries, this custom spread to other European countries and communities of Oriental Jews. All these manuscripts include the same text – the Book of Esther – but they differ significantly in terms of the ornamentation, their layout and techniques in which they were executed. Abundant decorative elements adorning them are clearly related to art and culture of either Christian or Islamic milieus. Therefore, in many European scrolls, we can find for example the architecture of Italian Renaissance, the Esther story protagonists wearing long curly wigs or hairstyle a la Fontange and decorative elements like putti, satyrs or allegorical figures. On the other hand, for the scrolls produced in the countries under the Muslim rule characteristic are strong influences of Islamic art and architecture, like horseshoes arches, floral or geometric patterns and absence of the figurative scenes. Therefore, these manuscripts should be perceived as a wonderful example of the diversity of Jewish art and cultures but at the same time, they require a diversified attitude, especially that the scrolls’ornamentation is sometimes a real riddle and challenge for researchers. In consequence, in studies on these attractive objects of Jewish scribal art, it is essential to go beyond disciplinary boundaries and look at them through the prism of Hebrew paleography, history, history of art, architecture, culture and fashion, symbolism, Jewish heraldry, Jewish thought and philosophy, and many others. My presentation will show a diversity of the decorative motifs included in the megillot Esther deriving from different Jewish communities. Based on their selected examples, I will also show how various disciplines can be useful in research on decorated Esther scrolls and what sort of information can be obtained thanks to them.
Dagmara Budziochobtained her PhD in 2013 at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris) and the Jagiellonian University (Cracow) based on the doctoral dissertation devoted to the mass-produced illustrated Esther scrolls from Italy. In 2014‒2017 Dagmara was a post-doctoral researcher at the Maria Curie- Sklodowska University in Lublin (Poland). Currently she is an independent researcher. The main research interest is Jewish book art in the age of printing, especially decorated Esther scrolls. In 2018 will be published Dagmara’s book devoted to the megillot Esther stored at the Museum of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.
Carmeli, Shlomo Guzmen (Bar-Ilan University), Constructing A Secular And Pluralistic Judaism: Ethnography In A Secular Yeshiva In Tel Aviv
This paper presents field work conducted in the Binah secular yeshiva that is situated in southern Tel Aviv. The yeshiva is one of the fascinating hubs of the Jewish-Israeli renewal movement, through the varied and sometimes even contradictory content and values that movement offers: pluralism, Jewish and religious studies, secularization and humanism. The secular yeshiva views the canonic Jewish texts as a cultural “toolbox.” The yeshiva’s viewpoint is that these texts are imbued with immanent significance which encourages debate and the deconstruction, clarification, explication and re-assembly of the texts in accordance with the spirit of the times. Thus the yeshiva seeks to cultivate the “reflexive and individualistic” self that makes use of the texts to clarify his or her identity and world-view. The paper describes how the study performances that are carried out in the secular yeshiva, create positions of sovereignty over the texts. And the yeshiva students use this sovereignty to subvert the traditional Orthodox-religious interpretative framework imposed on canonic texts, by turning to personal interpretations and aligning themselves with commentators and texts that lie outside the traditional sphere of study.
Shlomo Guzmen Carmeli is an anthropologist who teaches in Bar-Ilan’s University Sociology and Anthropology Department. His main research subject is “Jewish textuality,” in other words the use of religious texts in different arenas of contemporary Judaism. His book, Encounters around the Text, an Anthropological Examination of Jewish Textuality (Haifa University Press, Forthcoming [Hebrew]), won the 2017 Bahat Grant for Outstanding Academic Manuscripts.
Chapman, Edmund (University of Manchester), Home, Mother, Madness: Jacques Derrida And Jewish Monolingualism
In Monolingualism of the Other, the Jewish French-Algerian philosopher Jacques Derrida argues that subjects are always alienated from ‘their own’ language. Derrida makes this argument through a discussion of his own childhood amongst the Jewish community of French Algeria. Derrida characterises language as colonialism, and his dual position as both a Jew and a colonial subject is central to his argument about linguistic dispossession. While several critics have examined the postcolonial implications of Derrida’s argument, this paper will explore the importance of Jewishness to Monolingualism. In a lengthy footnote, Derrida explores other Jewish writers’ and thinkers’ relationships with their ‘mother tongues’. Although Derrida stops short of arguing that there exists an innately ‘Jewish’ relationship to language, he appears to suggest that Jewishness is, at least, important in making certain writers’ alienation from language more explicit. This paper will examine the relationship between Jewishness and alienation from language that Derrida suggests in his discussion of other Jewish writers. Particularly important is Derrida’s use of the tropes of ‘home’ and autochthony, the mother tongue and the figure of the mother, and madness. Offering an important connection between Jewish studies and postcolonial studies, this paper will show that Monolingualism also plays an important role in criticism of European Jewish writers by allowing us to rethink their relationship to language. By subverting anti-Semitic tropes, and understanding Jewish writers in the wider context of colonialism, Derrida allows for a new understanding of literary language that places Jewishness as central.
Edmund Chapman recently completed his PhD on Walter Benjamin’s and Jacques Derrida’s theories of translation. He is beginning work on a project on various Jewish writers’ relationship to language, focussing on figures such Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Franz Kafka and Clarice Lispector. He has taught English Literature and French at the University of Manchester.
Cholewinska-Vater, Dominika (University of Manchester), The Polish Government-In-Exile And Jews: Between The Ethnic And The Democratic
My paper will attempt to re-conceptualize Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War. The prevalent approach to the question focuses on the horizontal relations between Poles and Jews under Nazi occupation, whereas I assert that to comprehend them fully a top-down perspective needs to be introduced. It would encompass the London-based Polish exiled authorities, which included prominent representatives of Polish Jewry. This way wartime Polish-Jewish relations can be redefined as a majority-minority interaction that persisted outside occupied Poland in a dialectics of continuity and change with pre-war Second Polish Republic. I suggest that the most adequate tool to analyse wartime Polish-Jewish relations is the “ethnic democracy” model, developed by the Israeli sociologist Sammy Smooha as an analytical method to study unequal inter-ethnic relations. Although Smooha asserted that his model is applicable to the Second Polish Republic during the years 1918-1935, I believe it ought to be applied also to the policy pursued by the exiled Polish government in 1939-1945 with regards to the Jews. My paper will consider two instances of ethnic democracy in action in the context of wartime Jewish-Polish relations outside Poland. One is the abolition of discriminating provisions in the 1938 Polish citizenship law won by Jewish members of the Polish National Council in 1943, as a case of national minority renegotiating its position vis-a-vis the majority. The other is the mass desertions by Jewish soldiers from Polish army in Palestine and Scotland in 1943-1944 as a forfeiture by the national minority of its negotiating position vis-a-vis the majority. This was also a practical declaration that Polish legal and political system was ill-equipped to diffuse ethnic tensions in a multi-ethnic society. These two polar cases offer an insight into the potential manoeuvring space offered by ethnic democracy to minorities.
Dominika Cholewinska-Vaterholds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies and a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Currently she is a third-year postgraduate student at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures in the University of Manchester (UK). Her research focuses on Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War, and particularly on the desertions of Jewish soldiers from the Anders Army. The title of her dissertation is “Contested Loyalties in War: Polish-Jewish Relations within the Anders Army”.
Collins, Nina (University of Leeds), Do We Need To Eat Matzah On Seder Night?
The rarely discussed verse of Exodus 12:39 states that the Israelites left Egypt with unleavened bread and no food, which does not make sense. They could not have left with no food if they left with unleavened bread. The contradiction has never been explained. The explanation proposed here accounts for the discrepancy and has significant implications for the relationship – or, in this case, the lack of any relationship – between the pre-Pentateuchal Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Also possible is the fact that the story of the Exodus (whether or not this event took place) did not originally have any connection either with the Passover or with the Festival of Unleavened Bread
After returning to University as a mature student, Nina Collins received a PhD in biblical History from the University of Leeds. She has published papers on biblical subjects and two books, The Library in Alexandria and the Bible in Greek (Brill, 2000), and Jesus, the Sabbath and the Jewish Debate (Bloomsbury, 2014).
Conway-Jones, Ann (University of Birmingham), The New Testament: Jewish Or Gentile?
The Jewish Annotated New Testament, edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler, has recently been republished in a second edition. It performs the vital task of correcting Christian misunderstandings, distortions, stereotypes and calumnies to recover the various Jewish contexts of Jesus, Paul, and the early Christian movement. This is a welcome development in the painful history of Jewish–Christian relations. There is a danger, however, in the book’s Christian reception, of a kind of nostalgia for ‘Jewish roots’ – an expectation that by returning to Jesus’ original message, and an authentic Jewish form of Christianity, one can bypass centuries of mistrust and worse. Matters are not that simple. Christianity grew out of a complex dual heritage, already reflected in the New Testament. The Christian message quickly spread into the Greek-speaking world, and its adherents soon became majority Gentile. This paper will explore the implications of the process, begun by Paul, of presenting Jewish ideas to a Gentile audience, thereby assigning universal significance to the traditions of one particular community. It will examine how Jesus’ teachings acquired new meanings, often reflecting a Christian movement at odds with the majority of Jews. And it will unearth the subtext beneath the New Testament’s defamatory polemic. Doing so involves negotiating the complex relationship between theology and sociology: between ideals (Jewish and/or Christian) and the lived experience of Jewish and Gentile communities.
Dr Ann Conway-Jones is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham and The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education. She teaches in a variety of settings, including Queen’s, The Birmingham Church of England Diocese, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, and the Oxford University Department of Continuing Studies.
Creese, Jennifer (University of Queensland), Positioning Jewishness Within Multicultural Australia: The Performative Identity Of The Jewish Community Of South-East Queensland, Australia
Multiculturalism, established as government policy in the 1970s, has become integral to Australian national culture and identity over the past decades. Whilst the Jewish position within Australian multiculturalism is complex, and most Australian Multiculturalism scholarship fails to interrogate the meaning of Jewish ethnicity in this context, Jewish communal representatives have pushed for Jewish cultural difference to be enshrined and celebrated under the framework of multiculturalism. Whilst this has been well-documented in the major Australian Jewish centres of Sydney and Melbourne, small Jewish communities like that of the state of Queensland lack the population size and geographic concentration which make the larger centres more visible within the multicultural human landscape. This presents challenges for individuals and community leaders, but also grants the power to create their own narrative of what Jewish identity means within the context of a multicultural Queensland. Whilst the individual private habitus (as per Pierre Bourdieu, 1990) of community members varies on many identity elements, the group identity of the local Jewish community, particularly in the public gaze, can be seen as a performative construct (as per Judith Butler, 1993), positioning the community both within and without mainstream society and negotiating its power relationships with other minorities and with the dominant majority Queensland society. My conference presentation aims to explore the way in which Jewish communal identity in South-East Queensland is performative, and how that performativity works to help the community formulate, contest and reformulate themselves as an empowered subject within the overarching societal framework.
Jennifer Creese (B Arts, University of Queensland) is a PhD Candidate at the School of Social Science (Anthropology), University of Queensland, analysing Jewish identity in South-East Queensland. Jennifer is also a professional historian, whose book, “Jewish life in Queensland: celebrating 150 years since 1865”, was published by the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies in 2016. Jennifer is Honorary Secretary of the Australian Association for Jewish Studies, and Associate Editor of the Australian Journal of Jewish Studies.
Cukras-Stelągowska, Joanna (Nicolaus Copernicus University), Research On The Jewish Community In Poland (1989-2018): Achievements, Perspectives And Scientific Challenges
In my paper, I would like to focus on the achievements of researchers studying the Jewish community and culture in Poland. In recent decades, there have been numerous publications in this area. It must be admitted that most of them are historical works. However, I would like to draw attention to slightly dispersed studies in the field of social sciences (sociology, psychology, pedagogy). Who are the researchers who deal with Jewish themes? What are common and individual elements of their scientific approaches? Are all of them part of the discourse of research on the ‘renaissance of the Jewish community and identity’? I would like to look at the explorations of both researchers connected with the Jewish environment and ‘outsiders’ (including young foreign researchers interested in Polish Jews). The scope of their research is therefore quite diverse and includes issues such as: building Jewish identity and institutional structures; religious life and the activities of religious and secular associations; relations with dominant culture; informal education, Jewish education and family upbringing.
Joanna Cukras-Stelągowska – a sociologist, a cultural anthropologist and a PhD holder in Pedagogy. An assistant professor at the Department of Pedagogical Sciences, the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun (Poland). Research interests: Jewish culture, intercultural education, manifestations of social identities. The author of more than forty scientific papers and a book “Identity in Dialogue. Poles and Jews in the schools of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation” (2012) and “Remembering and forgetting: community, values, upbringing” (2016). A member of the Polish Association of Jewish Studies and the British Association for Jewish Studies.
Egorova, Yulia (Durham University), Sovereignty, Genomics And Diaspora: Subalternity And DNA Research On Jewish Populations
The paper considers the naturalizing tendencies of what became to be known as ‘Jewish genetics’ in a new analytical light through engaging with anthropological work on the concept of genomic sovereignty. Focusing on geneticists’ and tests participants’ narratives about community-level genomic mapping initiatives and ancestry tests, I suggest that geneticresearch emerges here as an endeavour to achieve genomic sovereignty born out of relationally subaltern self-perceptions and concerns about inequality. At the same time, I argue that while at first glance DNA testing used in search for social and political recognition appears to be the ‘weapon of the weak’, which could allow disenfranchised groups to subvert political and epistemological regimes privileging naturalist accounts of group membership, it should instead be theorized as a tool of subordination and control that is imposed upon these groups by those in positon of political and economic power in the fields of contestation in question.
Yulia Egorova is Reader in Anthropology at Durham University. She is the author of Jews and Muslims in South Asia: Reflections on Difference, Religion and Raceand a co-author of The Jews of Andhra Pradesh: Contesting Caste and Religion in South India.
Eli, Karin (Oxford University), Haredi Women And Feminine Subjectivity
This paper presents initial findings from my exploratory fieldwork, in which I examine how Charedi women’s practices and embodiments of feminine subjectivity are shaped through the communal development of locally-specific body cultures. Centred in Stamford Hill, my fieldwork investigates the configuring of ‘healthy’ femininities in women’s spaces – formal and informal, sacred and mundane. In this paper, I describe emerging findings concerning the enactment of the feminine habitus in large-scale Charedi women’s events, including religious and charity gatherings and women-only musical theatre performances. With particular attention to staged portrayals of masculinity and secularity, I highlight how Charedi women’s performances of embodying the ‘other’ construct dialogic understandings of Charedi feminine bodies, their capabilities and their boundaries, at the intersections of the local and the global. In so doing, I advance a non-medicalized reading of Charedi women’s bodies as intersubjective projects, located beyond the nexus of pregnancy and perinatal practice, and argue for a new understanding of Charedi feminine embodiment as enacted, inhabited, and transformed within women’s communal spaces of performance.
Karin Eli is a medical anthropologist based at the University of Oxford, where she co-founded the Body and Being Network, dedicated to fostering innovative dialogues about the body between scholars and performing artists. Karin’s research ranges from the intimacies of narrative, identity, and embodied experience to the structures of socioeconomic stratification and governance. Through her interlinked research foci, Karin interrogates eating disorders and obesity as multi-level conditions that call for integrated phenomenological and structural approaches. Her current research explores relationships between social mobility, embodied practice, and obesity within and across generations; structural vulnerability and barriers to care among socioeconomically and geographically marginalized people with eating disorders; and Charedi women’s spaces, body cultures, and well-being.
Ewence, Hannah (University of Chester), Territoriality And The Alien Jew
The claiming of space – or territoriality – is a fundamental geo-political strategy for the organisation and distribution of power. The drive to ‘own’ space, as David Storey has pointed out, can act as a ‘mobilising force’ for peoples and nations, as well as a means through which communal and national identities are defined. Colonialism, of course, is an especially pertinent expression of just such a process in modern times. The carving up of vast tracts of land in Africa, Asia, the Americas and elsewhere by European powers in recent centuries, and the legacies of ‘western’ dominance over ‘the East’ which still stubbornly linger, attests to the critical imperative of territoriality for cementing power. In this brief paper, I want to suggest that this ideology of territoriality provided the lens through which Eastern European Jews migrating to Britain at the fin de siècle were viewed. Suspicions about Jews’ spatially avaricious tendencies in the Pale, anxiety about migrants mounting an ‘invasion’ across Britain’s narrow sea, and alarm at the newcomers’ perceived appropriation of urban ‘ghettos’ all fuelled such rhetoric. So too did the renewed vigour for a territorial solution for diaspora Jewry seem to lend credence to the idea that Jews arriving in Britain had dangerous designs on the ‘heart of empire’. In presenting this argument, this paper will highlight some of the points of intersections between antisemitism, spatial theory, migrant and refugee studies and scholarship from the field of New Imperialism.
Dr Hannah Ewence is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Chester. She is the co-editor of Whatever Happened to British-Jewish Studies? (2012), Visualizing Jews through the Ages: Literary and Material Representations of Jewishness and Judaism (2015) and Minorities and the First World War: From War to Peace (2017). Dr Ewence has published on a variety of topics about Britain’s relationship with refugees and minorities and is currently completing a monograph about the spatial strategies used to characterise Jewish migrants in Britain between 1880 -1905.
Filer, Wendy (King’s College London), Challenges To Jewish Lay Justice: A Case Study From The Mahamad’s Court Of The Spanish-Portuguese Jews’ Congregation In Georgian London
This paper examines the legal culture of the Spanish-Portuguese Jews of London as reflected in the internal records kept by their organ of lay Jewish justice, the Mahamad. These records reveal the lives of ordinary disputatious congregants who brought a range of commonplace disputes to the Mahamad. Yet, the ordinariness of litigant and dispute hides a complex, nuanced story of how both Mahamad and litigant adapted the transnational lay and rabbinic justice model of Western Sephardim, whose legal procedures underpinned the London community’s bye-laws, to an English legal framework. By the late-seventeenth century, English case law had swept away theoretical legal impediments to Jewish plaintiffs suing in the English courts, enabling Jewish litigants to “forum shop” between Jewish and state adjudication to maximise individual procedural and substantive advantage. In that context, encouraging use of a Jewish judicial forum became an increasingly difficult task, as individual litigants acculturated to English legal norms. Without recourse to state recognition and coercive power, the Mahamad evolved procedural solutions to remain relevant to the jurisdictional choices of congregants. Through a combination of case studies from the records, and contrasting reported English cases, this paper explains some of the challenges faced in preserving lay Sephardi Jewish justice in Georgian London.
Wendy Filer is a PhD student at King’s College London researching the legal history of the Spanish-Portuguese Jews’ Congregation in London, focussing on the community’s internal court records. After reading law at the University of Oxford, she qualified as a solicitor in 1986 and then practised commercial litigation in the City of London, retiring after 18 years there. In 2012, she graduated with an MA in Jewish Studies from King’s College.
Frojmovic, Eva (University of Leeds), Ghetto Romanticism From Art To Museum
In this paper, I will propose that the beginnings of Jewish museology were strongly influenced by romantic, sentimental and apologetic artistic depictions of “Judenstadt”, “Judengasse” and Ghetto by artists such as Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (1800-1882), Solomon Alexander Hart (1806-81), Alphonse Levy (1843-1918) and Isidor Kaufmann (1853-1921). In other words, I suggest that museum associations, preservation activists, and collectors during the last quarter of the 19th century had a pre-existing image of what it is they wished to preserve and display, and that this image of Judaism was not just a mental image or one derived from either scholarship or belles-lettres, but also influenced by the paintings of Jewish customs and ceremonies created by painters. One of the key critical questions will be to ask about the impact of growing racialized antisemitism on the strategic deployment of art and the strategic display of Judaica.
Eva Frojmovic is the Director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Leeds. Her research circles around the intersection between Jewish studies, art history, medieval studies, and postcolonial and feminist theories. She teaches about Medieval and Renaissance Art, especially its constructions of Otherness, and about Jewish Museums and the Jewish presence in Museums.
Göppinger, Judith (Freie Universität Berlin), Josephus’ Moses – Hero, Lawgiver, Establisher Of Identity?
Moses is undisputedly one of the most important figures in Judaism and it is not a surprise, that he plays a prominent part in the writings of Flavius Josephus (above all in the Jewish Antiquities and in Against Apion). Josephus’ works are engaged with Judaism, Jewish history and what being Jewish meant apart from hateful hearsay and prejudiced whispers. Born and raised in Jerusalem, he wrote his books in the Diaspora in Rome and he was, of course, influenced by Roman and Greek historiographical traditions. But as a Jewish priest, he also put great value on Jewish traditions, the laws and the Bible. Based on the “synergy” of these two traditions in his writings, my PhD project at the Freie Universität Berlin with Prof. Baltrusch as supervisor attempts to gain new insights on the Jewish “identity/ies” Josephus constructed in his works. In Against Apion and especially in the Antiquities, Josephus shaped Moses into a hero of Greek and Roman taste; a lawgiver and politician like Solon or Pericles. What were his reasons for changing the traditional Moses-portrayal? If Moses, THE epitome of Judaism, was a great man of Roman kind, does that not turn his descendants into a people of values and ideals of Roman kind, too? Did Josephus, in depicting Moses in that particular way, shape Jewish “identity” into a way of living and being, that was at least not opposed to Roman-ness, if it was not the same in its core? Although Josephus did not create a new tradition, “his” Moses certainly could have been the root of a new Jewish-Roman tradition. I would like to suggest a presentation on Josephus’ depiction of Moses for the British Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference in Durham to elaborate my thesis with an example.
Judith Göppinger was born in Pfaffenhofen a.d. Ilm in 1988. For her studies she moved to Berlin in 2008, where she took classes in French, Political Science as well as History with a focus on Ancient History at the Freie Universität Berlin. Judith finished her Master’s degree with a thesis on Flavius Josephus’ Jewish War, analysing why Josephus concealed the role of religious motives of the Jewish revolutionaries in his depiction of the war. Since October 2016 she is working on her doctoral thesis focusing on the construction of Jewish “identity/ies” in the works of Flavius Josephus with Professor Baltrusch acting as supervisor. From January to June 2018 Judith will be a Visiting Doctoral Student at the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in Oxford.
Grobgeld, David (Stockholm University), Resisting Assimilation – Ethnic Boundary Maintenance Among Jews In Sweden
This paper applies the ethnic boundary making theory developed by Andreas Wimmer to understand the maintenance of Jewish ethnic identification in Sweden, as expressed in thirteen interviews with Swedish Jews. Wimmer’s theory holds that ethnic conflict and persecution routinizes and entrenches perceptions of ethnic difference; I argue that the antisemitic persecutions of the 20th century has entrenched the perception of the ethnic distinctiveness of Jews among Jews themselves. These persecutions also contribute to alienation from Swedish society, which does not share the same historical identity and frames of understanding. These factors in turn motivate the participants to maintain the ethnic boundary between Swedes and Jews and guard it against assimilation. Ethnic consciousness also motivates Jews to endow the category of “Jewish” with cultural content, sometimes having previously lacked knowledge of Jewish culture; the cultural distinctiveness of Jews is thus shown to partly be a result of the ethnic boundary between Jews and others, and not just an explanation for that boundary. However; the participants are generally not prepared to restrict the choice of romantic bonds to fellow Jews; since social closure is required to maintain ethnic boundaries (as stressed by Wimmer), this puts the participants in a contradictory situation.
David Grobgeld recently completed his Master’s Thesis in Sociology at Stockholm University. His previous studies are in philosophy, in which he has a Bachelor’s degree, political science and the history of ideas. His main interests include sociological theory, nations and nationalism, ethnicity, states, and ethics.
Grollmus, Denise (University of Washington), “What Does It Remember Like?”: Affect, Inherited Trauma, And Jewish Identity In Contemporary Jewish American Literature
In Everything is Illuminated (2003), Jonathan Safran Foer writes that Jews have six senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing and memory, where Foer describes memory not as a second-order cognitive process, but as a precognitive bodily affect unique to Jews, in whom the sensation of a pin prick does not simply produce the feeling of pain, but the experience of memory as a transhistorical and transgenerational sensation of Jewish pain that stretches back to the time of Abraham. In many ways, his literary description of inherited trauma, what I call the “epigenetic imaginary,” reflects the findings of the widely cited 2013 study in which scientists at Emory University argued that trauma is genetically transmitted. Not only has the study been frequently cited in reference to the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, but it was also taken up as a dominant theme of the television show Transparent’ssecond season. While the suggestion that Jewishness is, in some way, inherently biological (literally etched into our genetic material) troublingly recalls the murderous legacy of eugenics and biological determinism, the popularity of these recent scientific assertions (which are not deterministic, but probabilistic in nature) also demand that we take seriously an argument long made by the descendants of various oppressed groups, particularly those whose collective histories have been largely excluded and undocumented by official and conventional histories—that we very literally carry ancestral trauma in our flesh, our blood, our bones. This paper thus explores the stakes, implications, and questions raised by such representations through readings of Transparent, Foer, and Alison Pick’s Between Gods(2014), alongside the recent discourse about genetically inherited trauma in the physical sciences, Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism (1939), and contemporary theories of affect, which call us to consider the ways in which the body both reproduces and revises the social.
Denise Grollmus is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at the University of Washington in Seattle. She was a 2012-13 Fulbright scholar to Poland, where she researched the reemergence of Jewish life since the 1989 transition. Her research has appeared in numerous publications, including The Guardianand The New York Magazine. She has a forthcoming article in MELUSabout the issue of Jewish American identity in literary canon formation.
Hadari, Atar (Liverpool Hope University), The Book Of Ruth
Carolyn Sharp’s “Irony and Meaning in the Hebrew Bible” cites the book of Ruth’s comparison of Ruth’s bearing an heir for the Tribe of Judah to Tamar’s previous seduction of her father-in-law Judah while posing as a prostitute to draw a broader comparison of Tamar’s pose as prostitute to achieve conception by her father-in-law Judah and Ruth’s approach to her distant in-law Boaz. Crucially, Sharp reads Ruth’s approach to Boaz as sexual and her leaving the field before light with two portions of grain as prostitution. My paper subjects the book of Ruth to both a psychological and halakhic analysis, and notes the literary tension in the book between a highly charged sexual tension in the story-telling and a rigid legal context in which Ruth’s approach to Boaz is sexualized but also highly legally codified. It is only as “redeemer” that he can proceed to sex and conception, and the two portions of grain are a formal act of betrothal (kiddushin), not payment for sex, since any sexual act in the bible which results in conception is formally recorded, as occurs in both Genesis between Tamar and Judah and in Ruth between Ruth and Boaz AFTER the all important marriage which makes her child an heir for her dead husband. As an outsider to the faith Ruth’s status as heroine of the book is entirely dependant on her act of loving kindness to Boaz in offering him and his family and people herself as wife, not prostitute, and restoring Naomi’s family fortunes and ability to survive on the land. The meaning of the book is entirely lost if she is viewed as not a Proselyte but a prostitute.
Atar Hadari’s “Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik” (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award and his debut collection, “Rembrandt’s Bible”, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2013. “Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin” was recently awarded a Pen Translates 2016 grant and is forthcoming from Arc Publications in August 2017. He contributes a monthly verse bible translation column to MOSAIC magazine and is currently a Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholar in Theology at Liverpool Hope University where he’s writing on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy and the way it was edited to become the King James Version.
Haendler, Cecilia(Freie Universität Berlin), Women-Related Metaphors In Tannaitic Literature Doctoral Research
This PhD project attempts new ways to read gender in rabbinic law. My analysis focuses primarily on metaphors, and figurative language, that employ women or female aspects as source domain (i.e., the idea from which the metaphorical image is derived) and have as target domain (the object described by the metaphor) either theological, religious and legal themes, or aspects of reality. The feminine is here used as source from which significance is drawn to gain a better understanding of the world nurturing rabbinic imagination, and it is structured as a ruling, dominating possessor of a given subject. The employment of the feminine as salient feature in order to interpret and construct reality, decode the divine law and create law, is significant. Metaphors introduce a new logic and encase the struggle around what was impossible to say in direct, explicit language. Looking at metaphors with women as source domain and the religious world as target domain, previous research has concentrated mainly on aggadic material (as Midrash Rabbah). By contrast, I’m particularly interested in the influence and role of these metaphorical structures within the halakhic – that is, legal – reasoning of the tannaim. In the Bible and in the aggadah, these metaphors appear in their natural poetic, narrative context. But within the economy of legal language they are simply extraneous – the gendered aspect exceeding the mere necessity of understanding the ruling. This is unlike metaphors where the feminine, as target domain, is made object of legal discourse and transformed into speakable material. The rabbis invent new metaphorical expressions with a source domain declined in the feminine within their legal compilations, inserting them as a hidden riddle that is easy to be overlooked and bears additional meaning. These have something different to say about the feminine, gender and rabbinic ways of law.
Cecilia Haendler is doing a PhD on gendered metaphorical language in Tannaitic literature at the Freie Universität Berlin, supported by a full scholarship. For the series A Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud she is writing about Hallah, Orlah and Bikkurim. She has worked as a research associate in the project A Digital Synopsis of the Mishnah and Tosefta. She has published “Women and Priests in Tractate Hallah: Gender readings in rabbinic literature,” Melilah – Manchester Journal in Jewish Studies and “Trees as Male and Female: A Biblical Metaphor and its Rabbinic Elaboration,” Lectio Difficilior.
Henry, Lauren (Ohio State University), “A Brotherly Welcome”: The Arrival Of Algerian Jews In Alsace, 1962-1965
With the establishment of an independent Algerian state in July 1962, France’s 132-year colonization project on the southern shores of the Mediterranean drew to a close. The end of Algérie française, however, also marked the demise of another community: that of Algerian Jews, who had lived in Algeria since the Roman era. During the war, Jews had increasingly found themselves targeted by violence, their synagogues burned and leaders assassinated by pro- independence groups who labeled them French sympathizers and collaborators. After independence, nearly 110,000 Jews fled Algeria, joining the hundreds of thousands of pieds- noirs who flooded mainland France in the summer of 1962. This essay explores the experience of the approximately 3,000 Algerian Jews who resettled in the eastern French region of Alsace. Their arrival both challenged and invigorated the Alsatian Jewish community, among the oldest and most well-established in the country. Jewish organizations held fundraising and clothing donation drives, and synagogues were retrofitted into welcome centers and temporary shelters. Educators even created a summer camp for Algerian children, filling in the educational gaps left by the war and freeing their parents to look for work. Previously, scholars have attributed French Jewish efforts to welcome Algerian Jews in 1962 as an attempt to atone for their failure to do the same for Eastern European Jews in the 1930s. However, in my paper, I demonstrate that long-standing connections between the Jewish communities of Algeria and Alsace also helped drive this relief work. In particular, many Alsatian Jews had fled to Algeria after the German annexation of Alsace in 1940. During this difficult period, the Algerian Jewish community provided material and moral support to their displaced coreligionists. Twenty years later, Alsatian Jews embraced the opportunity to return the effort, creating a new, hybrid Jewish community in Alsace that persists to this day.
Lauren A. Henry is a Susan L. Huntington Dean’s Distinguished Fellow in Modern European History at the Ohio State University. She received her BA from Yale University (2008), and her MA from Ohio State (2012). Her dissertation, “Squaring the Hexagon: Algeria, Alsace, and French Identity, 1914-1970,” explores the connections between colonial and metropolitan France through an entangled history of Alsace and Algeria in the twentieth century. Previously, she has presented her work at the Western Society for French History (2015) and the Society for French Historical Studies (2018).
Herskowitz, Daniel (University of Oxford) , Being Human, Being Jewish: Rethinking The Volkish Element In Heidegger’s Philosophy And Politics
The latest uproar about the German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s notorious affiliation with the Nazi party that erupted with the recent publication of his Black-notebooks brought to light a certain way of conceptualizing the meaning of being human that prevailed in modern Europe thought: being a member of a Volk. In his philosophy, Heidegger believed that authentic existence can be attained only by participating in the struggle of one’s Volk and the fulfilment of its destiny. Many scholars claim that his employment of Volkish ideology within his philosophy provides the conceptual link to his support of National Socialism in 1933. In my paper, I wish to problematize this fundamental assumption by exploring a widely overlooked perspective: how Jews at the time responded to the Heidegger’s Nazism. As I show, in certain Jewish circles in Germany and Palestine, Heidegger’s endorsement of Volkish ideology was not condemned. To the contrary; his political siding was condemned for what was taken to be the corruption of this ideology. This is because in the 1920s and 30s, key strands in the Jewish discourse made sense of their own situation through the terminology provided from the Volkish ideology. One of the pressing questions at the time was: Were Jews part of the German volk or volk of their own? The Jewish reaction to Heidegger’s Nazism sheds light on a duality within the then-contemporary understanding of the volkish conceptualization of the meaning of being human and the meaning of being Jewish: is national identity driven by obnoxious xenophobia and racism, or by a sense of dignity imbued with a universal moral calling? Examining this matter demonstrate how knowledge from Jewish studies and Jewish history can shed new light on well established presuppositions and contribute to pressing questions in related fields of critical inquiry.
Daniel Herskowitz is soon to submit his DPhil, written at the Theology and Religion Department of the University of Oxford and dedicated to Jewish receptions of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy. Daniel is a Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe Dissertation fellow, and have published articles in various peer-reviewed international journals, including Modern Theology, Journal of Religion, New German Critique, AJS Review, and Journal of Jewish Philosophy and Thought. He has a Masters in Philosophy from Hebrew University and a BA from the Open University.
Hultman, Maja (University of Southampton), Sacred Spaces Of Stockholm At The Beginning Of The 20th Century: How The Modern Experience Of Individuality Shaped Religious Diversity On The Fringes Of Europe
As has been suggested within urban-religious studies, modernism and urbanisation were not the death of religion. The human experience of modernity at the beginning of the 20th century was, as Marshall Berman explains, about finding oneself at home in unknown surroundings. Movements to and the creation of sacred places in the city were, as Yi-Fu Tuan, Michel de Certeau and Joseph Amato emphasise, expressions originating from individual agencies of finding, in Simon Bronner’s words, ‘at-homeness’ in diaspora. Despite consisting of less than 10,000 individuals, Stockholm’s Jewry expressed a multitude of religio-spatial practices. Oral history reveals individual movements to specifically chosen synagogues on Shabbat as embodiments of personal desires, enabled by the metropolis. Indeed, the geographical software GIS proves the population to be fragmented and uncluttered. Similarly, the socio-archaeological methodology ‘building biography’ portrays the various wills at work in the construction of the liberal synagogue and the orthodox minyanim. The buildings themselves embodied varied ideals of Jewishness, often articulated by immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. Compared to other religious and ethnic minorities in Stockholm, Jewish sacred places were both more visible and more diverse. On the other hand, the limits of this sacred diversity are visible as minyanim leaders apply for economic aid from the liberal synagogue, with ethnicity and class serving as basis for the applications’ successes. This limitation extends work previously done by Francois Guesnet and Tobias Metzler on Jewish European communities, showing that wealthy individuals with personal interests in Jewish matters were an important factor for spatial diversity. This interdisciplinary, spatial study portrays how also a small Jewish community on the fringes of Europe could experience the individuality and quest for ‘at-homeness’ linked to modernity. With each individual finding expressions for personal agencies in the budding metropolis, transnational Jews and class were vital components in shaping Jewish diversity.
With an interdisciplinary BA in Jewish History and Culture from University of Southampton and a MA in Journalism from Uppsala University, Maja Hultman is completing a PhD thesis at University of Southampton, which explores the strategies and limitations of Jewish spatial diversity in Stockholm. The project is supported by the university’s Vice Chancellors’ Award in History, as well as scholarships received from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Foundation of Helge Ax:son Johnson and the Foundation of Gertrude and Ivar Philipson.
Kaye, Caroline (Manchester Metropolitan University), Jewish Encounters With Disputation Paintings
“Disputation paintings” always depict Jews. A “disputation painting” portrays the New Testament scene in Luke describing a twelve-year-old Jesus impressing the elders in the Temple. There is nothing in dispute. The “disputation painting” makes a frequent appearance throughout the History of European Art. It begins with medieval scholastic disputations and is present up until the events of WWII. The disputation motif departs from the biblical scene to allude to a generalised theological dispute between Christians and Jews. Examples include Giotto, Dürer, Ingres, Rembrandt, and in modern times, William Holman Hunt and Max Liebermann. Post-Enlightenment Jewish artists engaged with an artistic tradition indebted to Christianity, occasionally espousing Christian themes, including the “disputation”. The Christian Holman Hunt’s “disputation” painting was celebrated, whereas Max Liebermann’s work provoked scandal due to his Jewishness. The discipline of art history groups art by style, art movement or nation. This makes the examination of disputation paintings as a genre, and Jewish artistic responses to it problematic. Jewish artists inhabit an ambiguous space in terms of identity. There is no such thing as “Jewish Art”, only artists who are Jews. Jews inhabit many nations and places making their work difficult to classify in conventional terms. This paper will examine representations of Jewishness in “disputation paintings” and offer examples of Jewish artists engaging directly with its theme. Examples will include Max Liebermann, Moritz Oppenheim and Maurycy Gottlieb. I will consider the nature of the “disputes” conveyed in such paintings and offer alternative proposals. There is a textual discursive tradition within Judaism. There is also a visual dialogue, observable in painting, concerning a contested set of ideas surrounding religious and racial identities within Jewish-Christian relations. This visual discourse is necessarily situated within the field of Jewish Studies.
Caroline Kaye is a Liverpool Fine Art graduate who taught in Further Education for over twenty years. She has an MA in Screen Studies from the University of Manchester, and a graduate certificate in Religions and Theology from the University of Wales. She recently took a second MA in Religions and Theology at Manchester for which she was awarded a distinction and the Bernard Jackson prize for the highest mark for a Jewish Studies dissertation. She is currently researching for an interdisciplinary PhD investigating the representation of Jews in Nineteenth Century Painting at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Keim, Katharina (University of Manchester)andHelen Spurling (University of Southampton), Interdisciplinary Paradigms: The Concept Of ‘Religious Competition’
The paradigm of religious competition received substantial attention within the field of sociology and was a methodological model developed by scholars such as Finke and Stark who wrote a seminal article on ‘Religious Competition and Choice’ for American Sociological Review in 1998. The idea of religious competition has since been developed in relation to the study of Antiquity, particularly in connection with early Christianity in the Graeco-Roman world (e.g. Engels and Van Nuffelen, 2014, and DesRosiers and Vuong, 2016). The theoretical model has also been applied to the rabbinic period (e.g. Rosenblum, Vuong, and DesRosiers, 2014, and in papers presented to the Religious Competition in Late Antiquity unit at SBL in 2016 and 2017). This paper represents the concept stage for a collaborative project on religious competition between Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the 7th to 10th centuries, as reflected in exegetical traditions produced in what is a formative period for the relationship between the three religions. This contribution will assess the paradigm of religious competition, including proper consideration of the limits of existing versions of the model. The paper will address how we might apply a version of this paradigm to the study of exegesis in Late Midrash, but also ask whether it is more appropriate to move away from existing work and refine our own approach and understanding of religious competition and how it impacts on the developing relationship between Jews and others. In particular, this contribution will examine the value of such a model for the analysis of Late Midrash and how it can help to deepen understanding of exegetical traditions with examples from Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer as a test case.
Katharina Keim is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the John Rylands Research Institute and Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester. She has strong research interests in the development of Jewish/non-Jewish relations in Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. Her recent monograph, Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer: Structure, Coherence, Intertextuality (Brill, 2016), examines the intertextual relationship between Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer and Jewish, Christian and Muslim tradition from the Second Temple period to the apocalyptic revival following the emergence of Islam.
Helen Spurling is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southampton and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations. Her research focuses on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations in Late Antiquity in the Eastern Mediterranean, biblical exegesis and apocalypticism. She published The Book of Genesis in Late Antiquity: Encounters between Jewish and Christian Exegesis (Brill, 2013), and is currently working on the development of Jewish apocalypticism at the emergence of Islam.
Kelsey, Marian (St Andrews University), The Role Of The Prophet In Securing The Relenting Of God In Jonah
The book of Jonah describes the visit of an Israelite prophet to a wicked foreign people, and God’s subsequent relenting from the punishment he had planned for them. The sparing of Nineveh would be a surprise to readers who were aware that the city was long since destroyed, and the surprise is compounded by allusions within the texts to other episodes of biblical history in which God did not relent from punishment. Moreover, Jonah’s role in the book stands in clear contrast to the role of the prophets in the alluded-to narratives. Jonah does not attempt to intercede with God to avert punishment, nor warn people to repent. These allusions prompt reflection on the effectiveness of the prophetic role and suggest that neither approach to the prophetic task, intercession or warning, is guaranteed success. The sobering assessment of the influence of prophets returns the discussion to the absolute divine autonomy to relent or not, to spare or to destroy. While such autonomy is fortunate for the Ninevites at the end of the book of Jonah, it carries unsettling implications for reflection on the fate of Jerusalem. Divine freedom to relent concerning Nineveh means it was divine freedom to not relent concerning Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the reader’s awareness of Nineveh’s eventual destruction indicates the freedom to reverse judgment, which holds out hope for a ruined Jerusalem.
Marian Kelsey is a doctoral student at St Andrews University. She is researching the book of Jonah’s literary contexts, both those which it uses through inner-biblical allusion and that in which it was later used as one of the Twelve Minor Prophets.
Koch, Anna (Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah), “I Am A German And A Communist And Nothing Else.” Definitions Of Jewishness Among German Jewish Communists In The Immediate Aftermath Of The Holocaust
Most German communists of Jewish origin had cut all ties with Judaism when the Nazis began to categorize and persecute them as Jews. In the wake of the Holocaust, however, some embraced their Jewishness. Those who defined themselves as Jewish did so in a specific way. They did not practice Judaism, many did not join the community and they did not consider themselves religious. Most defined their Jewishness almost solely as a response to the Holocaust, and emphasized the necessity to show solidarity with the Jewish victims of Nazism. Others, who remained distant from their Jewish origin, likewise did not regard Jewishness as merely a matter of religious affiliation. Rather they emphasized that they had long ago broken their connections with anything or anyone Jewish, and tended to stress a past as antifascists, rather than as Jewish victims. Both understood Jewishness as the belonging to a group that had shared similar experiences under Nazism though they depicted these experiences as either common with or distinct to their own past. This paper will examine the meanings communist Jews, in East and West Germany, attributed to “Jewishness” in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust. Rather than seeing “Jewish” as a fixed part of a person’s self-understanding, I examine Jewishness as an analytical category with shifting meanings over time, and I am exploring how approaches to gender and race studies can help us think about these so-called “non-Jewish Jews.” Engaging with scholars who assess individuals’ self-understanding from various disciplinary perspectives such as gender studies, sociology, cultural history and social psychology, this research brings a Jewish perspective into debates on the construction of social identities.
Anna Koch currently holds a post-doctoral Fellowship from the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah. Anna has received her PhD from New York University in 2015. She is completing her book manuscript titled “Home after Fascism: Italian and German Jews after the Holocaust.” Dr. Koch has taught European and Jewish history at the University of Southampton and at the University of York. Her research has been supported by the SSRC, the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, and the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, among others. She has held fellowships at the Center for Jewish History in New York and the German Historical Institute in Rome.
Koplowitz-Breier, Anat (Bar Ilan University), Jews Under The Magnifying Glass: Judaism And The Jewish Community In Non-Jewish Detective Fiction
Since the 1990s, detective fiction has turned from light reading material into a social mirror. Reflecting Tchernichovsky’s dictum that “Man is nothing but the image of his native landscape,” writers such as Harry Kemelman and Faye Kellerman have given us a number of Jewish detectives who (inter alia) pursue crimes committed within the Jewish community. In this context, P.D. James’ “four Ls”—love, lust, lucre, and loathing”— are complicated by anti-Semitism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Holocaust-related themes. This paper examines five non-Jewish authors—whose works spans the past four decades—who treat Jews and Judaism, however, S.T. Haymon’s Detective Inspector Benjamin Jurnet (Ritual Murder, 1982) is in the process of converting. The crime he is investigating mimicking the murder of Little St. Ulf, whose blood the Jews were alleged to have sought for ritual purposes, and he is afraid that anti-Semitism will become an ugly force in the tiny town of Angleby. In John Brady’s Kaddish in Dublin (1990), also a police procedural, a Palestinian group takes responsibility for the murder of a Jewish reporter, the Catholic detectives thus being forced to deal with the Dublin Jewish community and Arab-Jewish tensions. The detectives in Lee Harris’s The Yom Kippur Murder (1992) and William X. Kienzle’s Requiem for Moses (1996) are both Catholics—the former an ex-nun, the latter a priest—who encounter Jewish tradition, these plots also containing some post-Holocaust elements. Harri Nykänen’s detective is a member of the small Jewish community of Helsinki. One of two Jewish policemen in the city, he investigates deaths that appear to be related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its effect upon the Helsinki Jewish community.
Dr. Anat Koplowitz-Breier is a lecturer at the Comparative Literature Department at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel. Her M.A. thesis was written on the subject of The Women of the Nibelungenlied – Presented and Represented. She wrote her Ph.D. on A Woman’s Charm in Le Morte Darthur – Two Models of Women in the Work of Sir Thomas Malory. Since then she has published several articles on medieval literature and on Modern poetry. Her research focuses nowadays on modern poetry (in particularly German, English, and Hebrew), and the place of the Bible in it. Another area of her expertise is the Detective Fiction.
Kranz, Dani (Bergische University Wuppertal), The Poetics And Politics Of The Allos In Present Day Germany: Jews, Muslims, Others
This paper forms part of my overarching anthropological project of the poetics and politics of the construction of the allos in present day Germany. While the focus of this work is on present day Germany, my ethnography draws on historical sources in a transdisciplinary fashion to substantiate the attempt of a multi-sited ethnography. Zygmunt Bauman (1998) coined the concept allosemitism to approach the figure of the Jews in Europe across different eras. He argues that ‘the Jew’ is the ultimate allo (other) to Christian Europeans. Gil Anidjar (2003) amended this notion to include Arabs – a short hand for Muslims. I have argued along similar lines in terms of suggesting a trialectic between Christians, Muslims, and Jews in regard to transculturally (in)formed, zeitgeisty antisemitism and Islamophobia and the poetics of hospitality towards Israeli Jewish and Arab/Turkish and other Muslims migrants in Germany. What I attempt in this paper is to pull together poetics and politics and how the figure of the Jew (Nirenberg 2013) intersects in this nexus. I aim at unravelling the effects of the ‘figure of the Jew’, or the ‘imaginative Jew’ to the ‘real-life’ Jews in the country and how current debates about Germanness, antisemitism that culminated in the parliament passing a bill to initiate the post of a high commissioner on antisemitism, the discursively constructed refugee crisis, and the right-swing of the country impact on the life-worlds, struggles, and allegiances of the Jews in the country in the present.
Dani Kranz is the director of Two Foxes Consulting and senior research fellow at Bergische University Wuppertal, Germany. Trained in anthropology, social psychology and history, her thematic expertise covers migration, ethnicity, law, and the state. Within these intersecting fields, she has worked on issues ranging from interfamilies and interchildren, citizenship and intergenerational transmission in Israel and Germany. She has been conducting long-term fieldwork in Europe and the Middle East since 2002. Her latest work concerns the trialectic between Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Germany as well as the perceptions of Israeli Jewish and Palestinian/Arab Muslims migrants and perceptions of Middle East conflict in Germany.
Kraus, Yitzhak (Bar-Ilan University), Theological Responses To The Balfour Declaration
The Balfour Declaration was the first political achievement of the Zionist organization, which was the first step forward the Allies’ solution in San Remo in 1922. These historic events led to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, and was the first recognition of Palestine as the national Jewish homeland. It was believed that the Allies’ recognition would put an end to the Orthodox Jewish polemic about the attitude towards the Zionist movement. However, this did not prove true. The Balfour Declaration only made the different camps take more extreme position, as manifested in the theological reaction to the declaration. The common denominator of the diverse responses to the declaration and its political implications was the theological idea that everything was the result of the divine providence. However, on this basis, two main different positions were taken regarding the political achievements: 1. The events are ATCHALTA DE”GEUllA, signs from heaven confirming the return to Zion by human activism, as the first step from exile toward redemption. 2. The Anti-Zionists were fundamentally opposed to the Zionist enterprise. They did not alter their position in the wake of the Balfour declaration, and the recognition of the nations in San Remo. They as believers in the divine providence, had to propose a different interpretation of these events. In this paper I will analyze these two positions from a theological and philosophical perspective.
Yitzhak Kraus is a Prof. at The Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies in Bar-Ilan University. 2011-2014 he served as a president at Herzog College in Israel. Until 2010 he was the head of the Midrasha for Women at The Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies in Bar-Ilan University where he served as Deputy-Head of the Midrasha since 1994. Prof. Kraus is the author of the book “The Seventh – Messianism in the Last Generation of Habad” (2009). He has also published scholarly articles on the radical doctrine of the Satmar Hasidim, and on the theological response to the Zionism and the state of Israel.
Kravva, Vasiliki (Democritus University of Thrace), From “Being” To “Becoming” Jewish: Food Memories Of An Old Jewish Woman In Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki, “the city of ghosts” (Mazower, 2005) has a turbulent past. Before the Second World War there was a sizeable Jewish community. The Jewish community in modern Thessaloniki numbers no more than 1, 000 and the city seemed, at least until recently, to be suffering from collective amnesia and unwilling to recall its Jewish past. The paper to be presented here discusses the life history of a woman who lived and died in the Jewish Old People’s Home in the city Thessaloniki1 in northern Greece. Mrs Abravanel was born in 1910 in Egypt and in 1928 settled in Thessaloniki. There she fell in love with Leo Abravanel, a young Jewish neighbour, and during the Second World War risked her life to save him. Officially she became a Jew after the war, when she converted to Judaism to be able to marry in a synagogue. She was thus born an Orthodox Christian, but experienced a transition from being a Christian to being Jewish. In her narration, food plays a key role. During the war, she confronted the spectre of hunger and death and after the war cooking Jewish food became synonymous with becoming a Jew. In the view of anthropological literature, people “taste” and “consume” their culture, their past and present. They also create images of cultural continuity. The social value of food consists in its ability to endow taste with emotions and recollections. Food also marks and creates histories and thus serves as a central mnemonic device (Kravva, 2008, 2010). The mnemonic qualities of food and its power to enhance belonging will be the starting points in our examination of the life history of Evgenia Abravanel.
Vasiliki Kravva studied history and archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.She completed an MA and a PhD in social anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Dr. Kravva has participated in a number of conferences and seminars in Greece and Europe and has publishedon issues of foodand identity food entitlement, embodied memory, religious performativity,oral histories and minority issues. Her book on food and Jewish identities was published (2010) by the German Publishing house VDM-Verlag.Since 2011 she has been teaching Social Anthropology at the Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, Department of History and Ethnology.
Lander, Joshua (University of Glasgow), From Monstrousness To American Endlessness: Philip Roth’s Subversion Of Anti-Semitism
Marie Syrkin infamously wrote that ‘there is little to choose between [Joseph Goebbels’s conceptualized ‘Jew’] and [Philip] Roth’s interpretation of what animates [Alexander] Portnoy.’ Syrkin accuses Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) of being ‘frequently nasty, and Jewish only in its unabashed collection of Jewish jokes as well as stereotypes’. Recent Roth scholarship has lamented Syrkin’s (mis)reading of the novel, but this paper, using Syrkin’s critique of Portnoy’s Complaint as its starting point, re-considers Roth’s writing and its problematic engagement with anti-Jewish stereotypes. By comparing Portnoy’s Complaint and Sabbath’s Theater (1995) this paper explores the evolutionary ways in which Roth has subverted antisemitic imagery through excessive parody. I read Roth’s novels through Sander Gilman’s work on ‘The Jewish Body’ in order to contextualize the ways in which modern antisemitism produced ‘Jewish difference’ through somatic imagery. Roth satirizes antisemitism’s conceptualized ‘Jew’ through caricature, bringing the ‘Demonic Jew’ to life through his sexually degenerate Jewish male protagonists, of whom Roth makes a mockery.
By developing Chris Gair and Ross Possnock’s re-readings of Roth’s literature, this paper further stresses the important relationship Roth’s two novels have with the American Renaissance poet, Walt Whitman. Roth reproduces American Renaissance’s intertwinement of the body and nation, but does so through the hyperbolized Jewish body. In doing so, Roth creates a new Jewish-American literary voice that celebrates its hybridity, simultaneously subverting and thus challenging antisemitism’s powerful grip over American Jewry in the aftermath of the Shoah.
I am a fourth year Ph.D student at the University of Glasgow studying the novels of Philip Roth, examining his subversion of antisemitic imagery as a means of fostering and celebrating Jewish-American hybridity. Last year I was awarded the BAJS Studentship and currently teach on Writing and Ideology, with the aim of having my first journal article published this year.
Lightman, Sarah (University of Glasgow), Megillat Esther Levy In Miriam Katin’s We Are On Our Own
Miriam Katin’s first graphic novel and Holocaust memoir, WeAre On Our Own (Drawn and Quarterly, 2006) depicts her childhood in hiding in Hungary. Katin’s graphic novel is a contemporised Megillat Esther, and her decision to build her traumatic narrative within and upon an ancient biblical story is not a new initiative, as for thousands of years Jews have interpreted religious texts in order to help comprehend present experiences, drawing on the past to provide hope and explanation for present-day hardships. We Are In Our Own is a narrative of redemption, where protagonists of the same name – Queen Esther and Esther Levy – share themes of hidden Jews, female heroism, thwarted genocide and sexual assault. However, Katin’s graphic novel is also a feminist critique of MegillatEsther: Haman’s attempted rape of Queen Esther is narratively vital but empathetically unexplored in the original text, but the artist’s memories of her mother’s multiple rapes, first by a Nazi officer and then a mass rape by Red Army soldiers, are central to her own narrative (Katin 2006:45, 46, 59). Where Queen Esther’s story concludes with a celebration of survival, and the holiday of Purim, Katin refutes a Jewish festival that selectively celebrates the remembering and re-enactment of trauma through military might and drunken celebration, but ignores the trauma inflicted on the body of Esther, the heroine of the narrative.
Sarah Lightman is an artist, curator and scholar. She has recently submitted her PhD thesis “Dressing Eve and Other Reparative Acts” to the University of Glasgow. She edited Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews (McFarland 2014) that was awarded the 2015 Will Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic Book, The 2015 Susan Koppelman Award for Best Feminist Anthology, and An Honorable Mention for Jordan Schnizter Book Award (Jews and The Arts). Her research has been funded by The Rothschild Foundation, Hadassah Brandeis Institute and The Principal’s Early Career Mobility Fund, University of Glasgow, and her first graphic novel is her autobiography, The Book of Sarah (Myriad Editions 2019).
Loenen, Eva van (City of Bristol College), Marriage And Sexuality In Pearl Abraham’s The Romance Reader And Hush By Judy Brown
The paper examines these two authors’ perspectives on marriage and sexuality in Hasidic Judaism through their leading female protagonists. Each novel features an adolescent woman on her path to marriage and her experience of matrimony and sexuality within her Hasidic community (Satmar and Ger respectively). The aim of the paper is to analyse and compare their views in order to gain a better understanding of the female experience of sexuality and marriage within contemporary Hasidic Judaism. Furthermore, this paper discusses the treatment of sexual abuse within a particular Hasidic group. It employs a methodology of close reading combined with a discussion of Talmudic, theological, sociological and ethnographic commentaries on the subject.
Eva van Loenen, a Durham alumni, holds a PhD in Jewish American Literature from the University of Southampton. She is a Lecturer in Religion, Philosophy & Ethics at City of Bristol College and teaches Academic Writing at Bath Spa University.
Manor, Gal (Levinsky College), From Ebenezer Scrooge To Rabbi Ben Ezra: Victorian Images Of Jewish Old Age
The second half of the nineteenth century saw the emergence of the elderly subject as a political and cultural construct, an ‘other’ mainly associated with anxiety and decline, a process culminating in the Pension Bill of 1908. As a result of the increasing number of elderly people requiring care, Victorian culture acknowledges the emergence of old age as “a distinct stage of life” and a recognized site of social, medical and political discourse.
The construction of this category of old age converged with other social categories, such as gender, religion, ethnicity and class, which contained both positive and negative representations of old age. Charles Dickens’s Fagin and Ebenezer Scrooge, Robert Browning’s Rabbi Ben Ezra and George Eliot’s Mordechai are examples of characters that embody two forms of ‘otherness’: Jewishness and old age. In the nineteenth century Semitic discourse, most of the representations of Jews in Victorian culture have been likened to “an alien presence of a diseased body”, reminiscent, perhaps, of some of the attitudes towards the aged. These representations of Jewish old men in Victorian culture, most of which contain negative and intimidating traits such as avarice and malevolence, become all the more contentious from the late 1870s onwards as a result of the growing number of Jewish immigrants of East European origin who entered England.
Gal Manor’s Ph.D., gained at University College London, explored Robert Browning’s fascination with supernatural language. Her work has appeared in Victorians: A Journal of Literature and Culture, the Browning Society Notes, and English studies. Her research addresses representations of Otherness in the long nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on Victorian poetry. She is currently a lecturer in English literature at Levinsky College, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Miller, Michael T. (Liverpool Hope University), Redefining Religion, Nationhood And Belonging: The African Hebrew Israelites Of Jerusalem
In 1966, black American steel-worker Ben Carter received a vision from the archangel Gabriel, commanding him to take his people home to the promised land. Three years later, some two hundred religious black Americans had entered the state of Israel, claiming to be the authentic descendants of the Ancient Israelites. Here began a drama which has lasted 50 years, but after decades of wrangling the community is accepted within Israel and plays an important cultural role. What Ben Ammi nee-Carter (who died in 2015) achieved in those years stands out from many groups in the black civil rights movement of the era, because Ammi succeeded in taking his people out of the influence of America, redefining their religion, their culture and their way of life; the community of 3,000 now have documentaries and scientific papers written about their success and their healthy lifestyle (their life-expectancy is almost twice that of black Americans). Ben Ammi wrote several books on theology, on history and living “divinely,” and his religious outlook of strong community, strict religious practice and physical health (all based on interpretation of the Hebrew Bible) is an inspiration to a growing community around the globe. While still believing they are the heirs of the covenant, they also affirm that they only retain this right through having returned to the God-centred life and identity they had lost, and for which the bondage in America was punishment. This paper will offer an investigation of Ben Ammi’s new Israeli/te theology as a combination of black nationalism and the Hebrew Bible, and the relationship between this and their growing acceptance of and within modern Israel, where they play an important role as cultural ambassadors.
Dr Michael T Miller is currently Visiting Lecturer in Jewish Studies at Liverpool Hope University, and in Jewish Studies and Philosophy at University of Chester. His research focusses on Jewish mysticism and modern Jewish philosophy and he has published widely in peer-reviewed journals as well as presenting at conferences at Cambridge, Glasgow, St Andrews, CEU Budapest, and Hebrew University Jerusalem. His monograph, The Name of God in Jewish Thought (Routledge 2015) offers a philosophical examination of Jewish mystical traditions regarding the relationship of naming to identity, incorporating apocalyptic, rabbinic, and kabbalistic texts. He has been Religion and Theology editor for early career journal HARTs & Minds since 2014. His other academic interests include Black Judaism, and contemporary continental philosophy.
Misrati, Rachel (National Library of Israel), Zionism, The Diaspora And Jewish Genius: The Story Of The Abraham Schwadron Autograph Collection In The National Library Of Israel
In the questionnaire that Schwadron filled in for David Tidhar’s book on the founders and builders of Eretz Israel in 1954, he referred to his collection as the first, largest, unique, most noteworthy, Jewish collection of its kind in the world. At the time of Schwadron’s death, in 1957, the collection was the culmination of over 60 years of devoted work by a man inspired by Zionism, his total rejection of the Diaspora and his pride in Jewish genius. The remarkable story of one man’s vision and devotion to building a Jewish national autograph collection for the Jewish people, which he began as a young man in Galicia, provides the necessary context for the understanding and appreciation of a collection comprising a wealth of primary source research material stretching over four centuries of Jewish history. The autographs vary from simple signatures to handwritten letters and literary manuscripts and the collection is a written record of Jewish history, through the handwriting of over five and a half thousand famous Jewish people. The National Library of Israel is now working to make the collection fully accessible to the public through its online catalogue and, at a later stage, by digitizing the collection.
This talk will trace the history and development of the collection, in the light of Schwadron’s attitude to Zionism, the Diaspora and the Jewish people. It will discuss the motivation and burning ideology of its dedicated creator, and the collection’s unique and potential value for the study of a variety of aspects of Jewish history and culture.
Rachel Misrati (Frankel) is an archivist in the National Library of Israel’s Archives Department. She is also the library’s External Exhibitions Coordinator. Rachel has a first class BA honours degree from Oxford University in Oriental Studies (Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish), an MA from the Hebrew University in Communications and an MA in Information Science from Bar Ilan University. She is on the board of the Association of Israel Archivists, heads its international relations committee and is presently on the editorial board of its journal Arkhiyyon. Rachel recently published an article about the collection and has also lectured on the topic.
Munro, Heather(Durham University), Ultra-Orthodox Women’s Life As Critique Of The Secular
There has been significant engagement with the idea of secularism as the critique of religion, in as much that secularism is a manifestation of Western hegemony, and religion is relegated to the realm of the Oriental. However, with shifting populations due to the creation of the Jewish state, changes in ultra-orthodox Jewish society can be viewed as a critique of the new Jewish secularism. Therefore, by examining the choices of the ultra-orthodox, especially when navigating direct interactions with the secular world, we can begin to see the creation of a new definition of religious by the religious Jewish community. Because women are often at the centre of mediations with the secular, this is not independent from, and in opposition to, women’s interests, but rather in direct alignment with feminine agendas in the ultra-orthodox world. This can be understood more clearly through an examination of by-women-for-women arts projects, including Rebbetzin Tap, the Bulletproof Stockings, Pearl, Beit Shemesh Musical Theatre productions, and women’s literature, among others. Implicit in these community organisations is the presence of ba’alos teshuvah women, women who became ultra-orthodox as adults, and bring with them their secular knowledge and influences. These women almost universally attend seminaries, mainly in Jerusalem, and the curriculums of these schools become a second site of inquiry. The schools’ offerings betray ultra-orthodox perceptions of what is offered by the religious life that the secular world is lacking; the arts life created by ba’alos teshuvah women display acceptable types of absorption of secular offerings by the ultra-orthodox communities.
Heather Munro graduated from Connecticut College in 2008 with a BA in Anthropology. Her undergraduate thesis, ‘Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence: The Shortcomings of the Violence Against Women Act’ received the Susan J. Rose ’69 Prize for research in Women’s and Gender Studies. She finished an MPhil with Distinction in Social Anthropology at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2014. Her master’s dissertation, Chasidic Women in Jerusalem: The Feminine in the Holy and the Mundane, received Distinction. She is currently a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Durham University, and is also a part of the Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society, and Politics at Durham. She has presented papers at the 2013 International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences Congress, the 2017 Oxford Women’s Leadership Symposium, the 2017 Royal Anthropological Institute’s Student Conference, and the 2017 Association for Israeli Studies Conference, which is currently under consideration for the AIS Kimmerling Prize for Best Graduate Paper.
Pafe, Rachel Elizabeth, The Chosen: Representations Of Dissident Jewish Messiahs In Contemporary Art
Religion, apart from ideas of spirituality, is rarely discussed in contemporary art, a space that has the potential to allow wider thinking of what religion is and could be in the realm of culture. I will examine a few unique Israeli artists who go against this trend by exploring the idea of the “heretical” or dissident Jewish messiah figure in their work. The dissident messiah figure can be seen as one that preaches not a specific set of rules, but rather one who illuminates the possibility of rejecting the strict organization of religion, politics and normative life, while still leaving room for faith. The paper will argue that contemporary art is an ideal place for this dissident messiah, because it creates the creative space to stretch the dimensions of what Jewish faith can be, what form it can take and how it can connect to other disciplines. The paper will look at artist Roee Rosen’s “Two Women and a Man” and duo SALA MANCA’s “The Messiah is a Polish Carpenter Named Maria”, two film-based artworks by Israeli artists that create fictional female messiah figures. The artists use these figures in a manner that is both comical and opens up questions about the potential for connections to how contemporary art can function a sphere to reflect on the terms, manners and desires of salvation. How can the creative space provided by contemporary art create new parameters for rethinking Judaism?
Rachel Pafe is an Exhibition Histories researcher, independent editor and writer based in Amsterdam. She completed a MRes in Exhibition Studies in 2015
at Central Saint Martins UAL and has since worked in a variety of research and writing contexts concerning the intersection of art and Judaism. Her work deals with the intersection of the contemporary art exhibition and religious structures, particularly through the lens of non-canonical Judaism and messianism.
Pascal, Julia (King’s College, London University), The Absence Of Complex Jewish Female Characters On The English Stage
As a playwright who has created complex Jewish women characters on the English stage, most particularly with Crossing Jerusalem, A Dead Woman On Holiday, St Joan and Theresa– all produced and published by Oberon Books- I wish to explore problems associated with the reduction of female Jewish experience to a set of clichéd constructs. These include mothers and housewives as dramatised by Michelene Wandor and Arnold Wesker or their appearance as sexual sirens or hysterics by Harold Pinter. Even feminist playwright Caryl Churchill, has represented Jewish women as clichés. Her characters are not domestic but, in Seven Jewish Children, she reverts to medieval English antisemitic tropes of Jews as child-killers. My paper will propose that the freedom to create nuanced theatre works on 21st century British Jewish concerns are censored at three levels. The first is by a predominantly left-wing theatre elite that conflates ‘Jewishness’ with right-wing Israeli policies. Most notable is The Royal Court, whose history of commissioning anti-Israel plays, from Perditionto Seven Jewish Children, reveals a political bias. The second is where politics and economics merge at the institutional level. The Arts Council favours ‘minorities’, most particularly ‘Black Arts’ which implicitly excludes (white?) Jewish artists. The third obstacle is this quango’s relegation of gender to the ghetto of ‘Diversity’ which categorises women as a minority. This is not to say that there is no production of interesting dramas exploring Jewish women’s lives but, where it does appear, it is, as a result of these hurdles, stuck out on the fringe. Marginalised, it receives scant press or industry attention and remains peripheral to the main cultural debate. I will argue that only a challenge to all these levels of censorship can provoke a rich dramatic legacy of the multi-layered experiences of Jewish women on the English stage.
Julia Pascal is a playwright and theatre director whose texts have primarily focused on Jewish history. Her plays are widely produced and are published by Oberon Books. Currently, she is developing As Happy As God In France, a new play about Hannah Arendt, Charlotte Salomon and Eva Daube. This explores their imaginary meeting as internees in Gurs in 1940. She was awarded her PhD from the University of York and is a Research Fellow at King’s College, London University.
Poulton, Emma (Durham University), Examining Jewish Identity And Antisemitism Among Jewish Supporters Of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
This paper offers some preliminary findings from 40 semi-structured interviews with Jewish supporters of Tottenhman Hotspur Football Club in an attempt to understand and explain their personal and social identities and their experiences of antisemitism within the context of football juxtaposed to wider society. Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League is internationally recognised as a ‘Jewish club’. Consequently, Tottenham’s fans have an historically complex relationship with both Judaism and antisemitism. This originates from Tottenham traditionally attracting Jewish supporters due to the club’s proximity to north London’s Jewish communities who settled there in early 1900s and second wave during the 1930s and 1940s as they fled persecution in Russia and Europe. Tottenham also has a history of Jewish ownership. This ‘Jewish identity’ has led to their fans being the target of antisemitic discourse by some opposition fans in songs, chants and social media. In their most noxious form, these mention Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust/Shoah, and are accompanied by hissing sounds to simulate the noise of the Nazi gas chambers. During the 1970s, many Tottenham supporters – both gentiles and Jews – began to respond by appropriating the pejorative word ‘Yid’ as a mark of in-group solidarity and camaraderie and chanting it back at their abusers. Since then, more and more Tottenham fans have embraced and use the taboo term and the sobriquet ‘Yid Army’ as a self-referent and ‘badge of honour’ in an apparent attempt to deflect the antisemitic abuse and help defuse its power as an insult through their own songs and chants. So while many people conceive ‘Yid’ to be an ethnic epithet and race hate word, it is a term that has taken on differing subcultural meanings in the context of English football. This is not without controversy. There have been various attempts by anti-racist campaigners and criminal justice system to censure Tottenham fans for their use of ‘Yid’ leading to much public debate about its acceptability. The interviews with Jewish Tottenham fans provide rich narrative detail about the social and cultural meanings that they attach to beingJewish and beinga Tottenham fan, their everyday interactions and routine practices, their individual subjectivities, their definitions and experiences of antisemitism, and views on the use of ‘Yid’ by Tottenham fans.
Emma Poulton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Durham University. Her research interests centre around football fan cultures, football-related violence, and in particular, Jewish identity and antisemitism within the context of football. Emma has published in a range of international peer-reviewed journals, including: Ethnic and Racial Studies;International Review for the Sociology of Sport; Sociology of Sport Journal; Sport in Society; Sociological Research Online; andMedia, Culture, Society. Her research on antisemitism and in English football has been recognised through invited Key Notes, including a conference organised by Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and also the Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung at the Technical University Berlin.
Reicher, Rosa (University of Heidelberg), Hellenism And ‘Bildung’: Gershom Scholem’s Contribution To The “Wissenschaft Des Judentums”
The German-Jewish philosopher Gershom Scholem [1897-1982] prized ‘Bildung’ as an integral part of German ‘Bürgertum’ and which soon elevated ‘Bildung’ to a noticeably Jewish value, as well. I will explore the role of Gershom Scholem as a German-Jewish intellectual in relation to the larger culture focussing on what German-Jewish intellectuals shared with their non-Jewish counterparts and in what ways they differed, as never fully integrated individuals and groups. The educational system of the German Jewish society around the turn of the century was aligned with the conveying of humanistic ideals in language, scientific, technical and literary contents. Hans Georg Gadamer regarded Scholem as a “pupil of a great historical school of German and romantic heritage,” and George L. Mosse described Scholem and his concept of ‘Bildung’ as self-cultivation in the sense of Goethe and Humboldt. But in contrast Scholem emerged as a famous researcher of the Kabbalah, and founder of the science of Jewish mysticism and academic study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He became the most important and valiant representative of Jewish Studies in the twentieth century’s. Scholem has recovered the gnostic and Kabbalistic trends of thought never absent from Judaism since Hellenistic age. He gave the first influential definition of the nature of early Jewish mysticism: “What was the central theme of these oldest of mystical doctrines within the framework of Judaism? No doubts are possible on this point: the earliest Jewish mysticism is throne mysticism… The throne world is to the Jewish mystic what the pleroma, the ‘fullness’, the bright share of divinity with its potencies, alones and dominions is to the Hellenistic and early Christian mystics of the period who appear in the history of religion under the name of Gnostics and Hermetica.” [Major Trends, 43-44] Scholems studies of Philo and Hellenism made it clear that Jewish mysticism was nourished by Hellenistic sources. Scholem‘s scholarship must regard as an extraordinary element of a Jewish ‘Bildung’ canon and to ‘Wissenschaft des Judentums’. He shifts the awareness of Hellenism in Jewish Mysticism as an integral element of Jewish scholarship. The examination of the paper goes consequently essentially by three main emphases: 1. Scholem’s oeuvre in the shade of the German-Jewish ‘Bildungsbürgertum’ and Scholastic; 2. theoretical reflection and dissociation of conceptualities to Hellenism, ‘Bildung’ and ‘Wissenschaft des Judentums’; 3. Scholem’s contributions, merits and critiques of ‘Wissenschaft des Judentums’ until today’s time.
Rosa Reicher is completing a PhD thesis on ‘Gershom Scholem as a ‘Bildungs’ theorist’ at University of Heidelberg, Institute of Education. She lectured in Ethic-Philosophical-Basis Studies, Department of Educational Science, University of Heidelberg on Holocaust Studies, memory culture and Jewish Education. Her main research areas are Jewish Philosophy, Jewish History, Hebrew Literature and Jewish Education. She is also interested in Jewish Youth movement, Italian-Jewish Renaissance and Irish-Jewish History. Her recent publication includes: book review on Ittai Joseph Tamari, „Das Volk der Bücher“, in: Jüdisches Leben in Bayern. Mitteilungsblatt der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde in Bayern, 29. Jahrgang / Nr. 124, April 2014., „Die Ikonographie der Haggadot. Ein kurzer Streifzug durch die jüdische Buchkunst“, in: Jüdisches Leben in Bayern. Mitteilungsblatt der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde in Bayern, 28. Jahrgang / Nr. 121, März 2013.
Reznick, Ohad (Ben-Gurion University), White Lie: Passing For Non-Jewish In Post-WWII American-Jewish Fiction
The term “racial passing” usually refers to African Americans passing for white; yet it has also been used (by Werner Sollors and others) to indicate Jews passing for non-Jew. Indeed, at least four American-Jewish passing novels were published in the 1940s by American Jews. Although the fiction of passing for non-Jew has received almost no critical attention, these texts shed light on the trope of passing and the representation of Jewish identity in post-WWII American fiction. As Elaine Ginsberg has influentially argued, African-American narratives of passing for white, subvert the idea of “a ‘true self.'” However, post-WWII American-Jewish passing fiction often depicts passing as a sham and the Jewish passer, who passes due to the feeling that he/she is different from white Americans, as living a lie. Exploring two American-Jewish passing novels, Jo Sinclair’s Wasteland (1946) and Merle Miller’s That Winter (1948), I will show that these texts reinforce the notion of essentialized identity. Although both novels reject the idea of Jews as a race, reflecting 1940s’ anthropologists’ and sociologists’ replacement of “race” with “ethnicity” regarding European groups, they conclude that Jewish identity remains bound up with the idea of a racial self. Passing results in emotional suffering for the passer because it violates the connection with other Jews and their collective past. Analyzing selected passages from Wasteland and That Winter, I will show that these texts essentialize Jewish identity by depicting passing as an act of escapism from the passer’s personal problems. Both books return the passer to the Jewish community in the end, suggesting that passing is an episode engendered by psychological issues which are resolved when the protagonist acknowledges the inviolability of Jewish identity.
Ohad Reznick is a PhD student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, at the department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics. His dissertation is about passing for non-Jewish in Post-WWII and Multicultural American Fiction.
Ronel, Yoav (Ben Gurion University), Berdichevsky Melancholic Revival
The literary oeuvre of author and thinker Micha Yosef Berdichevsky (1957-1921), a prominent figure in the modern Hebrew literature revival period, lies at the intersection of the literary and the historical. Berdichevsky’s contemporary and biographical fiction is composed of quotations from the Jewish bible, Hagada, Halacha, Hassidic stories and Jewish history, alongside influences from European culture and myth. His literary fiction can be defined through his historical and literary concept of “Tolada” (genealogy and rebirth). This is an historiosophical structure in which, as Zipora Kagan defines it, the “anthology is an ontology”. The collection of texts, tropes and narratives, all belonging to the past, are brought into a new light within the new anthological fiction. This fiction thus undermines the difference and limits between literature and history, collection and the work of art, the biographical and the mythical. Through collection and quotation, Berdichevsky the “lyrical chronicler” composes a “living text”, situated in the potential space found between literature and history. My proposal is to examine the possibilities that Berdichevsky’s thought and literature offers through a reading of “Beseter Ra’am”, his exemplary anthological novel. I will also present other stories which touch upon these issues, like “Ba’Emek” and “Ahavat Neurim”. There, I will show that Berdichevsky’s “living text” also contains a melancholic aspect. The Jewish literary, cultural and national revival allows for the future to open up only while negating and “killing” the past, and then bringing it back to life in a new form. This apparition carries within it melancholic traces. The space of “Tolada”, as presented in Berdichevsky’s literature, is also a “small space, deep in the ground”.
Yoav Ronel is at the final stages of his postgraduate studies at the department of Hebrew Literature at Ben Gurion University, under the guidance of Dr. Hannah Soker Schwager. His dissertation is titled “Love, Melancholy and Despair: Will and Disaster through Berdichevsky’s oeuvre to Miriam”. Yoav is also a lecturer at the department of history and theory at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design (2011-today), where he teaches theoretical courses on subjects such as love, desire, the disaster and critical thinking. He has two publications in peer reviewed journals, including an essay on Zelda’s poetry written with Tafat Hacohen Bick (Ben Gurion University), that appears in Dibur Literary Journal, and another forthcoming, peer reviewed publication in Bar Ilan University “ Maase Sipur ” essay book.
Roth, Zoë (Durham University), Critical Race Studies, Jewish Literature, And The Limits Of Theory
Critical race theory (CRT) emerged from US legal studies to identify the structural racism of American institutions like the legal system. Some of its main components include a critique of liberal color-blind policies, the foregrounding of personal narratives of racial oppression (“speaking one’s truth”), and debating commonalities of oppression (essentialism/anti-essentialism). A range of disciplines, from political science to women’s studies, have drawn on it to account for the intersection of racial injustice with other social determinants like gender, sexuality, and class (e.g. Crenshaw). The debates opened up by CRT have helped shape the “turn” towards the construction of race and ethnicity in Jewish studies (Brodkin, Boyarin, Heschel), even though Jewish studies scholars have not adopted CRT methods on a large scale. What happens when CRT is separated from its legal studies framework and elements are adopted by different fields, such as Jewish literary and visual studies? Does it still offer a productive tool, or could the narratives it produces in other fields reinforce the asymmetrical relations of power CRT sets out to dismantle? Drawing on Edward Said’s notion of “travelling theory,” which critiques the political ramifications of theories employed outside their original context, this paper will explore the pitfalls and advantages of using CRT as a methodological tool for Jewish literary studies. Scholarship on race in Jewish literary and visual culture has largely focused on the way literature and art represents Jewish difference. But in doing so, it enacts a different kind of “color-blindness” by appealing to pre-given racial categories. By contrast, my paper explores the aesthetic and narrative processes that underpin the recognition of social and political identities. It argues that an understanding of narrative as a literary and aesthetic rather than a legal practice might provide an alternative to both deterministic and color-blind approaches to race.
Zoë Roth is Assistant Professor of French at Durham University. Her research focuses largely on two things: bodies and Jews. She has been awarded grants and fellowships by the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute, the Harry Ransom Center (UT Texas at Austin), the British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust. She has articles published and forthcoming in such journals as Word & Image and the Journal of Modern Literature on Jewish literature and visual culture, the Holocaust, and aesthetic form.
Sade, Tehila(Ben-Gurion University), From A Site Of Memory To A Site Of Struggle? Reclaiming Poland’s Jewish Memory Through Contemporary Art
In this paper I discuss aspects of commemoration and counter-commemoration through contemporary artworks that address the Jewish past of Poland, and examine the ways by which these artworks, through challenging the historical memory, stimulate a rethinking of national identity, collective memory and narratives. These issues will be discussed through two artistic projects: (a) Greeting from Jerusalem Avenue by Polish artist Joanna Rajkowska, which consists of an artificial, 15-meter- high palm tree, mounted on one of Warsaw’s main thoroughfares – Jerusalem Avenue and (b) And Europe Will Be Stunned – a video trilogy that tells of an imagined Jewish resettlement in Poland, produced by Israeli-born artist Yael Bartana. Despite lacking visual or formal resemblances, one can notice the links between the two artworks, as they both – through addressing the absent Jew of Poland – resonant in shared consciousness towards global issues such as displacement, Otherness, solidarity, homeland and nationality. Not only do both artworks undermine and subvert official or traditional forms of [Jewish/Holocaust] commemoration in Poland, they also offer alternative, counter-modes of memory work, through which the memory of Poland’s Jews become both a ‛site’ of struggle fighting over [its/the historical] memory and a central element in construction of new communal narratives in Poland, which transcend the historical realities of the Jewish-Polish past. Both projects further illuminate the ways by which contemporary art elaborates forms of memory, identity politics and production of historical knowledge, revealing a shift from deconstruction of past narratives to developing or imagining political and ideological alternatives.
Tehila Sade is a PhD student in the Department of Arts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Tehila holds a BA in Humanities and Social Sciences from The Open University of Israel and an MA in Visual Art from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Her PhD research titled ‟Tesknie za Toba, Zydzie! (I Miss You, Jew!): Reclaiming Poland’s Jewish Past and Memory through Contemporary Art”, analyse a distinct body of artworks which address Poland’s Jewish past, emerged in the 21st century, and explore the ways in which these works stimulate rethinking of national identity, national narratives and collective memory in Poland today.
Sağ, Mustafa Kaan (Kadir Has University), Evangelicalism, Millennialism And The Church Of Scotland Jewish Mission In The Ottoman Capital Istanbul
Evangelicalism is a Protestant movement which emerged in Britain in the 18th Century. During the Victorian age it became the most typical form of Protestantism in Britain by influencing British domestic and colonial life, thought and policy. It emphasized the Bible as authoritative; eternal salvation as possible only by “spiritual rebirth”, involving personal trust in Christ; and personal devotion such as Bible reading, prayer, and zeal for evangelism and missions. The missionary movement of the 19th century and the creation of missionary societies were a direct result of Evangelicalism. In the Victorian age, evangelicals in Great Britain had established a formidable network of nonsectarian “voluntary societies” to promote their causes. These societies endeavored to promote evangelism, found Sunday schools, distribute Bibles and religious tracts, establish schools and colleges, and bring the gospel to various needy groups worldwide. Some of these societies and church organizations focused on the Jews, following the view that they should be restored to Palestine and converted to Christianity before the millennium. To this end they established missionary stations in various cities with a dense population of Jews, including the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul. The foremost organizations which established Jewish mission centres in Istanbul were the Church of Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland and the London Jews Society. These stations consisted of purpose-built buildings with medical, evangelical and educational functions among which the school buildings came into prominence. The construction projects of these three stations were conducted by a Scottish builder, Nicholson Burness, who lived most of his life in Istanbul. In this work, British missionary organizations focusing on converting the Ottoman Jews will be introduced by putting forward the activities of the Church of Scotland and its missionary station in Hasköy district regarding its architectural contribution to the Istanbul’s urban texture.
Mustafa Kaan Sağ is currently employed at Kadir Has University Art and Design Faculty as a full-time faculty member. Sağ completed his undergraduate studies at Istanbul Technical University Department of Architecture in 2008. In 2011 he graduated from I.T.U. History of Architecture Programme with the master thesis entitled ‘Ancient Waterfront Palaces’. In the meantime he worked at I.T.U. Faculty of Architecture as a research assistant from 2010 to 2017, in which year he graduated from the History of Architecture Programme with the PhD thesis ‘British Missionary Schools and a Scottish Builder in the Ottoman Capital Istanbul: Nicholson Burness’. Since 2011 he studies on Victorian monuments and British construction activities in Ottoman frontiers, particularly in Istanbul.
Sandman, Israel M. (University College London), Why did non-authors rewrite existing medieval Jewish works?
Rewriting – as opposed to critiquing or refuting – implies a basic affirmation of the original work. At the same time, rewriting – rather than leaving the work as it was – implies minor dissatisfaction with the work in its received form.In the past, I discussed rewriting that was necessary, due to lack of satisfactory alternatives: a scholar was confronted with multiple versions, and tried therefrom to determine what is best; a scholar blunted offensive or dangerous statements; a scholar corrected perceived errors; etc.Now I shall analyse rewriting that was voluntary: the received text could have been left as it was, yet a scholar rewrote it in order to advance an agenda. Working inductively, viz. seeing what larger pattern emerges from the details, I shall make plain some of these agendas, including the following. Pedagogy: ‘Version 4’ of Isaac Israeli’s Yesod Olam combines ‘necessary’ and ‘voluntary’ rewriting. Confronted by Versions 1 and 2, the originator of Version 4 was compelled to mediate between and synthesize the two. However, he did not stop there. In addition, he carried out substantial rewording, changing from both Versions 1 and 2. This innovative rewording is characterized by simplicity, concision, reminding the reader of details discussed previously, and cross-referencing. Adding all this together, it seems that the agenda here was pedagogical: to make the work more accessible, while maintaining the content. Linguistic ideology: The ‘Byzantine Family’ of Abraham bar Ḥayya’s (or: Ḥiyya’s) work on the calendar employs entire phrases to avoid using the term ‘clime’.Differing historical sensibility: In a list of comparative dating systems, ‘Version 2’ of Yesod Olam adds the Persian era, not in other versions.Felicity: In all cases, rewriting evidences a quest to ‘say it better’, e.g. to use clearer terms, cut out extra verbiage, and replace disjunctive wording with conjunctive wording.
Dr Israel M. Sandman is a Senior Research Associate at University College London’s Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies. He researches Hebrew manuscripts and medieval Jewish thought. He teaches pre-modern Jewish thought and comparative Jewish, Christian, and Islamic medieval thought.
Sanzenbacher, Carolyn Robinson (University of Southampton), Jews, Judaism, Race, And Transnational Protestant Conversionary Theory During The Hitler Years
In October 1925 seeds were planted for a Protestant conversionary theory of Jewish racial identity that would develop into an international framework for world expansion of Jewish evangelization during the Hitler years. By 1927 the unanimous agreement of 175 representatives from 104 Protestant organizations in 25 countries had given rise to a series of conference findings on relations between a perceived universal Jewish problem, increasing Jewish racial consciousness, and the societal need for Jewish conversion, as well as a mandate for the creation of an international body to centralize ecumenical Protestant evangelization of Jews. The International Committee on the Christian Approach to the Jews (ICCAJ), which was born from this initiative and whose theoretical base was grounded in the claims of those findings, would go on to develop widely promulgated views on the Jewish problem, the deterioration of Judaism, and the rise of a dangerous ‘renaissance of Jewishness’ in which cultural, racial, and national elements were predominant rather than the religious. By the eve of Hitler’s rise, with divisions in Britain, Continental Europe, and North America, ICCAJ was the principal rallying body for Protestant world expansion of Jewish missions as well as the self-proclaimed organization for cultivating ‘right’ Christian attitudes toward Jews in western society. Although the widely networked international Protestant body claimed to be diametrically opposed to all doctrines and solutions of racism, it was by 1932 openly categorizing Jews as a race with society-troubling attributes, and publicly propagating Judaism as a vehicle of racial advancement. Using extensive and previously unearthed archival documentation, this study reconstructs and analyzes the ideas, beliefs and perceptions about Jews that informed this international effort from 1927 to its orchestration of the World Council of Churches founding statement on Jews, antisemitism, and Jewish conversion in 1948. More specifically, this paper examines the contexts and contours of developing conversionary ideas about Judaism as a breeder of racial consciousness, racial pride, and other racial ‘peculiarities’ that provoked non-Jews to antisemitic backlash.
Dr. Carolyn Sanzenbacher is Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/Non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton, and adjunct Assistant Professor of Holocaust Studies at Greensboro College. She holds PhD, MA, and BA degrees in history, philosophy, and liberal arts, with research focus on Christian teachings, policies, and attitudes in the history of antisemitism. She is currently completing a book length manuscript on the role of the Jewish Question in ecumenical Protestant aspirations for world expansion of Jewish evangelization in the years immediately before, during, and after the Holocaust. The monograph examines the network of international bodies that constituted the Protestant ecumenical movement of the early twentieth century, the streams of thought on antisemitism that flowed through its networking channels, and formal organizational protests against antisemitism between 1933 and 1945. Her work has received support from the Roger Schwirck Award for Excellence in Philosophy, the Josephine Hege Phi Beta Kappa Award, the University of Southampton Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship and Faculty of Humanities Archival Studentship. She is a working member of the International Network for Interreligious Research and Education founded at Duke University Kenan Institute of Ethics in 2017.
Sawczynski, Piotr (Jagiellonian University), Sacred Official Language? Philosophical Inquiry Into The Nature Of Hebrew
In my paper I would like to critically analyze the discussion on the nature of the Hebrew language that Franz Rosenzweig and Gershom Scholem had in the 1920s. The debate was provoked by Neue Sprachbewegung – the Zionist movement inspired by the linguistic work of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, whose aim was to “renew” Hebrew so that it might serve as the official language of the future State of Israel and a means of daily communication among its citizens. I argue that although Rosenzweig and Scholem discussed quite a specific problem – the profane use of a sacred language – their dispute touches the fundamental question of the attitude that Judaism has towards the processes of modernization and secularization. Taking into account that their debate proved inspiring for a number of contemporary thinkers (to mention at least Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben), it might also be read as a dialogue with modern humanities and a philosophical reflection on language as such. The aim of my paper is to propose exactly such a reading: compare and contrast Rosenzweig’s and Scholem’s views on Neue Sprachbewegung; show how these views reflect their ideas of Hebrew, and treat these ideas as original – although controversial – philosophies of language.
Piotr Sawczynski is a doctoral candidate at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, and a Nippon Foundation Junior Research Fellow at the Universities of Chicago and Nottingham. He specializes in political theory and contemporary Jewish philosophy. He is preparing a doctoral thesis on the Jewish roots of political subjectivity in the works of Walter Benjamin and Giorgio Agamben.
Schaffer, Gavin (University of Birmingham), The Postwar British-Jewish Community And The Fear Of Decline
In a climate of secularisation and assimilation, amid broader social concerns about population decline, leaders and scholars of Britain’s Jewish community invested considerable thought and time in strategies to preserve and develop the community in the postwar period. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, British-Jewry, previously something of a backwater of European Jewish life, suddenly became the centre point, and pressures to protect and nurture its development grew as a result. Complicated by the desire to support the State of Israel (which had its own designs on Jewish Britons as migrants) and challenged by the end of significant Jewish immigration, leaders of British Jewry embarked on an extensive programme of education and advocacy in an attempt to stem what it perceived as a tide of intermarriage and secularism. This paper will give consideration to these community endeavours and their impacts, attempting in the process to draw conclusions about the meanings of Jewishness in postwar Europe, and the evolving nature of diasporic Jewish subjectivities more broadly.
Gavin Schaffer is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of two monographs, ‘Racial Science and British Society’ and ‘The Vision of a Nation: Making Multiculturalism on British Television’, as well as numerous articles and chapters. He is presently working on a contemporary history of British Jews.
Schreier, Joshua (Vassar College), Beyond Jewish History’s ‘Imperial Turn’: Jewish As A Colonial Category
A number of English-language studies over the past decade have vaunted the significant if late-arriving “imperial turn,” in Jewish history. Notably, newer works have usefully critiqued elements of colonial citizenship, notably in French North Africa, while also bringing formerly marginal areas and groups into center stage. But certain inherited narratives, and notably that of emancipation and assimilation, continue to shield the field from some of postcolonialism’s more relevant contributions.
This paper will focus on treatments of France’s 1870 Crémieux decree, which naturalized all the Jews of Algeria besides several small communities in Saharan oases. While this has more recently been critiqued for its “uneven” or “incomplete” naturalization, the decree has generally been viewed in a favorable light by historians of the Jews. Yet the decree illustrates not only the tight conceptual link between Jewish emancipation and French republicanism, but that between Algerian Jewish emancipation and the racist colonial order. The timing of the decree, just weeks after the formation of what would soon be called the Third Republic, highlighted the new government’s inclusiveness against the policies of the Second Empire. With references to the First French Republic, the decree also endowed the Third Republic with emancipatory laurels by freeing Algeria’s Jews from their own ancien régime—a role now filled by Islam. A sharper “imperial turn” reveals one of the “holy grails” of Jewish historiography, emancipation and citizenship, as fundamental to colonial exclusion and oppression. The much vaunted Crémieux decree made Muslims into privileged foils against which French republican “emancipation” was defined; living representations of the traditional, intolerant, and thus anti-republican. A more radical postcolonial critique of the Crémieux decree exposes part of a larger process whereby the Republic defined itself against Muslims, helping lay the ideological groundwork for later years’ exclusionary politics.
Joshua Schreier is Professor of History at Vassar College. His work explores how colonial policies and social dynamics created new, and eventually oppositional, Jewish and Muslim subjectivities. He has written on the role of Jewish merchants in pre- and early-colonial Algeria, as well as how Jews adapted to or resisted French colonial policies. He has also written about inter-communal violence in the last days of French colonial rule in North Africa. He is the author of ‘Arabs of the Jewish Faith:’ The Civilizing Mission in Colonial Algeria (Rutgers, 2010), and The Merchants of Oran: A Jewish Port at the Dawn of Empire (Stanford, 2017). His articles have appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History, The International Journal of Middle East Studies, French Historical Studies, the Journal of North African Studies, and Archives Juives.
Schiller, Kay (Durham University), ‘The Fastest Jew In Germany’ (A. Flechtheim): The Eventful Life Of Alex Natan (1906-1971)
The subject of this paper is an ‘existential outsider’ (H. Mayer). In exploring the eventful life of the gay Jewish-German athlete Alex Natan, this paper has a primarily biographical focus. It will discuss Natan’s athletic career as an elite 100m runner who made the German national team but missed out on the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics; his activities as a sport journalist and left-wing human rights activist in the late 1920s and early 1930s; his exile and work for Claud Cockburn’s antifascist The Week, including his active involvement in the resistance against the Nazi regime in 1933/34; his life as a Jewish refugee in the UK which included a prolonged period of internment during World War II; and his post-war career as an international journalist, writer and schoolmaster at a boys’ independent school in the Midlands. In the process the paper will identify the building blocks Natan’s life and thought offer for an alternative history of German sport in the 20th century. This alternative history will emphasize the proximity of modern athletic and avant-garde artistic practices during the Weimar Republic, the fluidity of notions of the male athletic body vis-à-vis the hegemonic (para-)military and ‘racially pure’ body and the role of civic bourgeois individualism and internationalism in times of national and political collectivism.
Kay Schiller is a professor of modern European cultural history at the University of Durham. He has published widely on the history of sports, especially the history of the Olympics and FIFA World Cups, and on German-Jewish intellectual and cultural history. For details see https://www.dur.ac.uk/history/staff/profiles/?id=1564.
Schneidenbach, Esther, The shaping of the Jews of ancient Rome: secluded, multicultural or cross-culturally influenced? A closer look at the archaeological and epigraphical material
The paper explores the burial places and epigraphic evidence of the Jews in Rome around the 3rdto 5thc. CE.
Six Jewish catacombs and around 600 Jewish inscriptions are the only archaeological evidence of the Jews in ancient Rome. They are arguably the main basis for an historical analysis of Jewish life in Rome. The epitaphs are particularly revealing because of the information they contain about influences on and identity formation of the Jewish community. In this paper the burial practice of the Jews, the languages used in the epitaphs, as well as the naming practices will be examined. It will be asked what impact the environment and cultural connections have had on the Jews in Rome. Are there particularities to the Jewish community of Rome compared to other Jewish communities, and if so, what might have influenced these? This approach enables the discussion of a number of important questions concerning possible influence factors on the formation and expression of group identities, as well as on the ways to express these and their intended audiences. The lecture will show that the Jewish community of Rome – comprised of several congregations – can only be understood by looking at it as a heterogeneous body influenced over centuries by migration and its particular surrounding.
Esther Schneidenbach is an independent researcher based in Newcastle, UK. She is writing her PhD thesis on the Jewish congregations of Rome in antiquity at the LMU Munich under the supervision of Professor Martin Zimmermann, Professor Franz-Alto Bauer, and Professor Erich Gruen (Berkeley). She has published two articles: “Die jüdische Bevölkerung im antiken Rom” (Frankfurt a.M. 2014), and “Die jüdischen Gemeinden Roms und ihre synagogalen Ämtertitel als Kohärenzmarker” (Munich 2015). Her magister dissertation on the Jewish Monteverde Catacomb has won an award from Tübingen University. She was awarded research scholarships for Berkeley and the OCHJS in Oxford. See also: http://www.grk-prestige-im-altertum.uni-muenchen.de/stipendiaten/schneidenbach.
Seton-Rogers, Cynthia (The University of Texas at Dallas), The Crown’s Unlikely Assets: Sephardic Jews In The Courts Of Tudor England
During the Period of Expulsion for the Jews of England, beginning in 1290 with Edward I’s edict expelling all non-Baptized Jews and ending in 1656 when Cromwell repealed this edict, England was supposed to be a country without Jews. There were, however, some “New Christians” who came to England following the expulsions of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497 while continuing to practice their Jewish faith in secret. Despite living in a nation that officially did not recognize their right to be there, these crypto-Jews served the English Crown in many capacities. Many of these men retained their Spanish and Portuguese connections, which placed them in a unique position of being able to serve as intermediaries and obtain valuable information. This paper will examine some of the contributions made by these Sephardic Jews and the ways in which they helped to shape British history.
Mrs. Seton-Rogers is a PhD candidate at The University of Texas at Dallas. Her degree concentration, The History of Ideas, is an interdisciplinary program in the humanities that interweaves history, literature, and philosophy. She spent five years as a research and teaching assistant with Drs. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, David Patterson, and Nils Roemer. Currently she is working as the Events and Marketing Manager for The Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at UT Dallas. Her fields of research interest are Early Modern European history, anti-Semitism, and the representation of the Holocaust in Literature.
Sicher, Efraim (Ben-Gurion University), Jewish “Bad Girls”: Subversion, Transgression, And Gender In Contemporary British Jewish Women’s Writing
The rebellion against the restrictive gender roles and behavioral rules of the Jewish home figures prominently in the work of contemporary Jewish women writers in the UK. I will argue that the subversive representation of transgressive behavior demonstrates tensions between, on the one hand, loyalty to the Jewish home and the imperative of communal or tribal continuity and, on the other, the pull of ideologies and agendas which encourage women to be independent in a society that affords them freedom to do what they want. I will focus on the rebellious daughter in particular as a way of exemplifying the self-liberation of some (but not all) Jewish women who break away from the Jewish family but do not always find resolution to their yearning for fulfilment (though this is surely never an either/or situation). Examples from prose fiction, memoir, and film by women, both from within and on the margins of the Jewish community, play out the Jewish daughter’s rebellion against the expectations and values of the Jewish family, as well as the restrictions of a religious or secular bourgeois home. After a brief survey of Jewish “Bad Girls,” I will focus on three contemporary fiction by Jewish women who subvert the Jewish “marriage plot”: Disobedience, by Naomi Alderman, which gives a dual perspective on breaking from tradition; the fiction of Charlotte Mendelson which shows what happens when a Jewish family member breaks the sexual or gender rules; and Sandra Goldbacher’s movie, The Governess, a fantasy of a North-West London Jewish writer who imagines herself back in time, before assimilation made Jews less visible, as a Jane Eyre figure passing as a Christian who tests her identity as a woman and as a Jewess.
Efraim Sicher is professor of English and comparative literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He has published widely on modern Jewish culture and British Jewish writing. He is the author (with Linda Weinhouse) of Under Postcolonial Eyes: Figuring the “jew” in Cotemporary British Writing (Nebraska University Press, 2013) and editor of Race Color Identity: Discourses about the “Jew” in the Early Twenty- First Century (Berghahn Books, 2013). His most recent book is The Jew’s Daughter: A Cultural history of a Conversion Narrative (Lexington Books, 2017).
Sidiropoulou, Maria (University of Thessaloniki), The Shaping Of Modern Jewish Identity In The Greek Context
The fact that the Jews in Greece today live in a western secularized society, combined with their strong tendency toward assimilation, has brought the relationship between modern Jew(s) and secularization into the spotlight of sociological research. There is no doubt, that the personal identity and personality of a social subject is not at all unstable, since self-consciousness and self-referential intention are reversing and completely altering its components, because the individual is self-determined and hetero-determined. This paper examines the self-determination of the Greek Jewry, which is carried out on the basis of the ethno-religious dipole, of a cultural reference, and of the national component, as they call themselves: “Greek Jews” and underline that: “Here we grew up, here we were born…”. More specifically, the religious identity of the Greek Jewry, although referring to the acceptance of the Judaic religion and presented theoretically as their basic coherent element, however, has acquired another meaning in practice, more cultural. In other words, the Jewish identity holds an inherent alliance of ethnic and religious elements of empowerment, such as the direct Jewish and indirect, Sephardic, diasporic origin, also it includes the observance of the Jewish feasts as the mechanism of interconnection and preservation of their traditional identity and at the end, the personal, selective and personalized observance of the sacred day of the Sabbath. More specifically, particular focus is given to the following sub-themes: Greek Jewry: A Self-Referencing, Observing in the Synagogue, Counting the Religious Faith: Religious Streams, Greek Language as the Mean of Daily Expression, From Being to Just Feeling Jew: The value of tradition and religious personalization. This paper is presented as a part of an ongoing Ph.D. research based on qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches, which include participant observation and interviews with Greek Jewry.
Maria Ch. Sidiropoulou (1990) is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Ethics and Sociology and a Research Associate at the Social Research Centre for Religion and Culture in A.U.TH. (Greece). Her main publications include: Religion and Identity in the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki (M.Th.), Thessaloniki: A.U.TH., 2015, pp. 150, (In Greek) / “Negotiating a Diasporic Identity: The Jews in Thessaloniki”, Social Studies, 9/3 (2015), pp. 25-34 / “Jewish Cultural Heritage: A Comparative Analysis between Greece and India”, The SSEASR Journal, (2015), pp. 119-132 / “Negotiating Female Identity in the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki: Between Tradition and Modernity”, European Society of Women in Theological Research, 24 (2016), pp. 189-201.
Silberberg, Sue (University of Melbourne), Jewish Networks And The Shaping Of Melbourne.
Current scholarship on the Empire and settler cities largely considers those Britons engaged in processes of colonisation as a culturally homogenous group, but this view negates the cultural complexity of the British themselves. From the First Fleet Jews have been a part of the settlement experience in Australia; while in Melbourne from the first forays of the Port Phillip Association, Jewish settlers and investors have been attached to this new city. As neither soldiers, missionaries, civil servants and rarely squatters, Jews are not apparent at the forefront of the Australian colonial experience, and are generally invisible within this discourse. Although only ever a small minority within the wider population, as early and active participants in the colonial process they brought their own trans-colonial and trans-national networks, which overlapped and diverged from those of their counterparts. These networks assisted both in the economic and political development of the colonies and of the burgeoning Jewish community itself. Through a detailed prosopographical study
supported by the technology of the University of Melbourne’s Online Heritage Resource Manager (OHRM), these connections are now beginning to emerge with a new clarity. Utilising the analytical techniques available through the OHRM, and explored through specific case studies, this paper will examine the trans-national connections and networks which Melbourne’s Jewish community brought to the settler experience.
Dr Sue Silberberg is a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, where she leads a research project on the Australian Jewish community. This research explores the reciprocity of connections and networks which were used by the Jewish community in the formation of new settler societies, and for the establishment of Jewish communities within Australia. With degrees in Architectural Conservation and Museum Studies she had had a previous career as a research historian, museum curator and museum director, specialising in historic buildings. She has also previously held senior government positions within the Arts in Australia and was the Director for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
Skinazi, Karen (Birmingham University), Love In A Headcovering
Following on her critically acclaimed début, Fill the Void, filmmaker Rama Burshtein presented audiences with yet another marriage plot in her 2016 romantic comedy, Through the Wall. The latter film tells the story of a woman who, past the typical age for marriage in Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox Jewish society, decides to take an active role in her fate by planning a wedding, with the expectation that when the time comes, God will provide her with a groom. Criticized for being anti-feminist (a term the filmmaker happily embraced) as it positions marriage as a woman’s most important achievement, the film nonetheless offers a surprising picture of an empowered woman. And her empowerment comes through—and not despite—her attachment to the principles of her conservative faith. Thus the film challenges the “dichotimization of subordination and subversion [that] equates agency with resistance,” as Orit Avishai writes in her sociological study of Orthodox Jewish women “doing” religion. Interestingly, Burshtein’s films have a clear cultural-religious analog in contemporary Muslim literature. A number of books recently written by Muslim women chronicle the romantic foibles and successes of devout Muslim women determined to find, as the title of one such memoir calls it, Love in a Headscarf. Often humorous and always devoid of sex (one, in fact, is called No Sex in the City), and consistently foregrounding strong female characters, these memoirs and novels draw on a range of mainstream cultural texts from the novels of Jane Austen to Helen Gurley’s Sex and the Single Girlto participate in the genre dubiously labeled “chick lit.” Their heroines are versions of Carrie Bradshaw—who also cover their hair and pray five times a day and are looking for a man (and it is always a man) who has a beard and attends the mosque.In this talk, I will examine the emerging genre of the religious popular romance genre by Orthodox Jewish and Muslim women, who, in varying ways, use their texts to universalize and humanize; to claim agency for religious women; and, often, to suggest the superiority of a faith-based life. We might also consider a further consequence of this shared cultural domain: that it acts as a site in which interfaith relationships might be fostered.
Dr Karen E. H. Skinazi is a scholar of North American and women’s multiethnic literature. Her monograph, Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture, is forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in 2018.
Srougo, Shai (University of Haifa), New Perspectives On The Concept Of Port-Jews In Greek Thessaloniki: Status, Power, And Economic Influence At The Start Of Hellenization Of The Waterfront (1922–1925)
The economic history of the port-Jews in Greek Thessaloniki between 1922 and 1925 is the topic of my presentation and the variegated picture that will be offered demands a re-examination: (1) Within the economic-conceptual framework (port-Jews); (2) In the communal historiography of Hellenization (i.e. the economic exclusion of Jews). In the presentation, and in contrast to the prevailing model of the Sephardic Jewish elite in different port cities, I will show that the Thessalonikian port-Jews were much more than great merchants. The Thessalonikian Jewish maritime community comprised wealthy people, middle-class members, and laborers, and their economic activity was varied: international commerce, shipping, blue collar occupations (transport, loading and unloading), white collar professions (clerks, registrars, accountants), technical support, leasing of land and property, provision of goods and services to the port administration, and more. The discussion will focus on the years 1922–1925. During these years Hellenization of the waterfront took place, that is, the pre-industrial-Ottoman agenda was replaced by a capitalistic-Greek agenda. The paper will examine the meaning of this change for the Thessalonikian Jewish maritime community. How did the port-Jews defend their economic interests? What were the factors and circumstances that enabled their continued integration into maritime economy?
Shao Srougo’s studies are about the social history of Sephardic Jews from the middle and the lower classes who lived in different parts of the Mediterranean region during the 19th– 20thcenturies. The industrialization and secularization-both of which were integral elements of the colonialist endeavor- that were exported from the West to developing areas- changed the daily routine of Jewish bourgeoisies , workers, craftsmen and marginal people, and Srougo present, from the bottom up, the struggle for the continuation of their presence and influence in different public arenas in Thessaloniki, Fes, Casablanca and Haifa.
Steiner, Benjamin (Brandeis University, From America To Australia: The Global Spread Of The Ketubah Of The British Chief Rabbinate
In 1870, an Act of Parliament formally recognized a union of London-area synagogues, with Chief Rabbi Nathan Adler at its helm. Adler defended Orthodox custom, but the laity soon clamored for moderate liturgical reforms, including an English translation to the ketubah. The Chief Rabbi reluctantly complied, though his ‘translation’ hardly corresponded with the Aramaic original. As a commercial document, the traditional ketubah measures the worth of the bride; Adler omitted all associated monetary references and replaced them with more ‘proper’ Victorian prose. Whatever his intentions, Adler’s abstract soon became the standard at weddings in the English-speaking world, publicized by an occurrence several months after its creation. In January 1881, Leopold de Rothschild, of banking fortune fame, wed Marie Perugia in the Central Synagogue in West London. The momentous affair garnered global fanfare. Attendees included the Prince of Wales—his first Jewish wedding—and the flower of British aristocracy. Thus, many guests could not understand the customary Hebrew and Aramaic Jewish service. The wedding officiants translated the entire ceremony and showcased Adler’s abstract by reciting it for all those in attendance. This had transnational implications. In the coming days, the momentous nuptial became common knowledge in Jewish households from New York to Australia. How much newspapers—some of which printed the abstract—informed its proliferation cannot be known, but the potent symbolism of the event leaves no doubt that other couples would demand that the abstract be pronounced at their weddings. Here was testimony that Jews had penetrated the highest social strata. The Rothschild wedding had turned Adler’s abstract into a deliberate symbol of the modern era. And as its ubiquitous use endured deep into the 20th century, it became the public face of the ketubah for generations of Jews and non-Jews who knew not the contents of the original Aramaic.
Benjamin Steiner is a third year PhD student in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department at Brandeis University. His research interests include American Jewish denominationalism in the 1950s, with emphasis on the history of the Conservative Movement. His published scholarship has also probed the translation of the ketubah as a window into the processes of Jewish acculturation. His first article, “That Judaism Might Yet Live: Pastoral Care and the Making of the Post-Holocaust Conservative Rabbinate,” won the 2016 Henry L. Feingold Graduate Student Essay Prize from the American Jewish Historical Society and appeared in American Jewish History in April 2017.
Stoetzler, Marcel (Bangor University), The Place Of Antisemitism In Horkheimer And Adorno’s Critique Of Modern Capitalism And Human Civilization In Dialectic Of Enlightenment
Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment – first published just over seventy years ago – contains a critique of capitalist society as the extreme point in the development of a human civilization that expands our productive and intellectual possibilities while it also constrains our capacity to make use of them. Antisemitism is one of the focal points through which Horkheimer and Adorno make this argument. The presentation will briefly outline the different strands of the argument of the chapter ‘Elements of Antisemitism: Limits of Enlightenment’ (the fifth chapter of Dialectic of Enlightenment), one of the pioneering texts of the critical study of race and racism, and demonstrate how they relate to the overall argument of the book that intertwines critiques of contemporary capitalist society (in both its fascist and liberal forms) and of human civilization in a quasi-anthropological sense. The presentation will conclude by pointing to aspects of Dialectic of Enlightenment that have contemporary resonance, including questions of race, gender, culture, labour and truth.
Marcel Stoetzler is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Bangor University, UK. He works on social and political theory, intellectual history and historical sociology. His publications include Beginning classical social theory (Manchester University Press, 2017), the edited volume Antisemitism and the Constitution of Sociology (University of Nebraska Press, 2014) and The State, the Nation and the Jews. Liberalism and the Antisemitism Dispute in Bismarck’s Germany (University of Nebraska Press, 2008). Journals his work has been published in include Sociological Inquiry, European Journal of Social Theory, Nations and Nationalism and the European Review of History, as well as weblogs such as openDemocracy and History & Policy. He is an editorial board member of Patterns of Prejudice and a fellow at the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester.
Szendroi, Kriszta Eszter(University College London)
Loss Of Case And Gender: Substantial And Rapid Language Change In The Yiddish Grammar Of The Stamford Hill Hasidic Community
The UK’s largest Haredi community (ca. 40,000 people) lives in Stamford Hill, London. Survey data claim that over 75% of adults and children of this community are ‘fluent’ in Yiddish, and over 50% use it as ‘the main language at home’ (Holman & Holman 2002). The linguistic characteristics of the Yiddish spoken by the Stamford Hill Hasidim are largely unknown. The sole scholarly work on the topic, Mitchell’s (2006) sociolinguistic study, observes that they speak a Central Yiddish variety, marked by levelling in the case and gender system, but offers no further linguistic description. Similar observations have been made about other Hasidic communities world-wide (Krogh 2012, Masor & Sadock 2015). We conducted a study of case and gender marking in the nominal domain with Yiddish speakers from the Stamford Hill Hasidic community (Belk et al in prep). We collected both written and elicited spoken data. We found that SHH Yiddish completely lacks case and gender marking. I will also discuss data from pre-War spoken dialects including data from pre-War Hasidic speakers to show that this level of loss of case and gender marking sets apart contemporary Hasidic Yiddish from other Yiddish dialects. I will also discuss the repercussions of the loss of case and gender for the grammar as a whole, and explore the complex set of factors that have contributed for such a substantial and rapid change including multilingualism, lack of educational or other institutional support for Yiddish and a broken link with the standard written language.
Kriszta Eszter Szendroiis Senior Lecturer in Linguisitcs and Psycholinguistics at University College London. She is working with both secular and ultra-orthodox (Hassidic) native speakers of Yiddish living in London on the syntax of pre-WW2 Central Yiddish and current-day Haredi Yiddish spoken in the Stamford Hill Community in London. The research targets various areas of Yiddish syntax, including basic word order, determiner doubling, the syntax and prosody of focus, deaccenting and the acquisition of Yiddish by children in the community.
Tal, Alex (University of Haifa), Between The Collective And The Individual – Reflections On Automated Keeping Of Mitzvoth
Modern society has made great strides for making life easy, or at least easier. True, complex modern life introduces an almost uncountable number of obligations. Yet, it has also taken a lot of friction and toil from making them. Organized community and state developed automated ways of fulfilling many of these obligations. Most of us have our taxes deducted from our salaries automatically even before the money reaches our pockets. We can even have a standing order in our bank for our preferred philanthropic endeavors. In Halakha, obligations are called Mitzvoth, and in large part, the burden of mitzvoth rests on the frail shoulders of the individual. Yet, here too, halakhic system developed ways of adhering to it automatically, without individualistic thinking or meaning. A case in point that will be discussed in this paper is the Talmudic discourse about who should make ‘eruv tavshilin’, the ritual that makes possible cooking from Yom Tov that falls on a Friday to Shabbat (bBesa 16 a). A priory, secular obligation systems are concerned mostly with the end-product – taxes are to be paid. Conversely, religious systems require thought and meaning from the believer; it is God who imposes on her the burden. Yet, a highly developed and complex system such as Rabbinic Halakha cannot rely solely on these in every step of its execution. In this paper I will examine how far Halakhic system is willing and able to travel the path of automated adherence to its obligations, from Talmudic sages to medieval scholars. Implication to modern Halakhic thought will also be discussed.
Alex Tal Teaches at the faculty for humanities in the Technion – Israel institute of technology and at the University of Haifa . He specializes in Talmudic literature, mainly the editorial and philological aspects of the Babylonian Talmud and its relation to the Jerusalem Talmud. Dr. Tal is currently working on a critical edition of tractate Besa (Bavli).
Tzoreff, Roni (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Ghosts And Shadows: Jacqueline Nicholls’s Visualizing The Women Who Haunt The Talmud
This paper deals with issues of Talmudic literature, contemporary art and gender, and aims to challenge the widely accepted separation between art and religion. The aesthetic act will not be read here as breaching the boundaries of religion or undermining it, but rather as using the religious law and canonical text to refine the religious space and alter the gendered relations of power within it. In the paper I will discuss the artwork Ghosts and Shadows: The Women Who Haunt the Talmud, by the British Jewish-Orthodox artist Jacqueline Nicholls (b. 1971), from 2012, which relates to the marginal place of the women in the Talmudic texts. In the work, composed of ten parts Nicholls follows the typical layout of a Gemara page as it appears in the Vilna edition but converts the traditional page from the text to textile – she embroiders the layout in white thread upon a semi-sheer white fabric and adds white-colored visual elements which symbolized the stories concerning the feminine figures. The purpose of the paper is to explore the ways in which Nicholls’ aesthetic choices, and in particular her choice to use “feminine” artistic technique, respond to text produced by men within a masculine tradition of writing, tradition that diminish the power of the feminine figures within it. Ghosts and Shadows will be used to demonstrate how new expressions to the feminine mode, a mode that accepted only minimal representation so far, enable to flex the dynamic of the religious space and fit it into varied ways of experiences.
Roni Tzoreff is a doctoral candidate in the department of Arts in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, under the supervision of Dr. Ronit Milano and Dr. Sara Offenberg. She received scholarships for outstanding students from Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Student and from J. R. Elyachar Center. Her research focuses on the representation of feminine experiences in the religious space in the contemporary art, from gender, aesthetic and Jewish thought perspectives. In 2017 she published an article in Muza, about the representation of Niddah in contemporary art, and her article: “She Writes in White Ink: On Aesthetic, Religious and Gender Perceptions in the Work of Jacqueline Nicholls” was lately accepted to Ars Judaica Journal.
Vater, Roman (Cambridge University), Fighting For A Civic Nation: The “I Am An Israeli” Organization As A Post-Zionist/Post-“Canaanite” Phenomenon
The paper will explore the struggle of the “I am an Israeli” organization for the recognition of the Israeli nation by the state and law authorities of Israel. Created in the late 1990s by the only surviving founding member of the “Canaanite” movement Uzzi Ornan, the organization uses various legal and advocacy techniques to make headways into the Israeli public with its modernising vision of a cohesive, secular, national, non-Jewish society. It opposes in particular Israel’s citizenship legislation, which discriminates between a jus soli and a jus sanguinis nationality, the latter determined by an ethno-religious origin. In its struggle for a “state of all its citizens”, “I am an Israeli” is undoubtedly a reflection of the presence of post-Zionism in Israeli public life. At the same time some of its core principles are derived directly from the “Canaanite” ideology. The movement thus articulates an Israeli non-sectarian nationhood which is both in keeping with the tenets of classical nationalism as well as with the tenets of post-national post-Zionism. My purpose will be to investigate the sources of these two constitutive elements of “I am an Israeli” and the ways they function together. I will see to what extent Ornan has departed from “orthodox” “Canaanism” on the one hand and to what extent post-Zionist in itself is “Canaanite” on the other. I shall compare the movement’s struggle with similar struggles in Israeli history and try to judge what the prospects for an Israeli nationhood are in the 21st century.
Roman Vater holds a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Manchester (2015). He is currently a Leverhulme Trust early career fellow at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, and previously held an Israel Institute post-doctoral fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.
Vieira, Carla (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), H. Lindo’s History Of The Jews Of Spain And Portugal (London, 1848)And The Myth Of The Iberian Jew
“An impartial history of the Jews of Spain and Portugal has long been a desideratum. It is a link uniting the Hebrews of the present day with the Israelites of antiquity” – the first sentences of the preface of Lindo’s History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal (London, 1849) immediately clarify the author’s agenda: tracing a direct linkage between the Medieval Iberian Jewry and the Western Sephardim, which was not broken by the forced conversion to the Catholicism after 1492/1496. Elias Ḥayyim Lindo (1783-1865) was a leader of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ congregation of London and a proficuous writer and translator. Born on the island of St. Thomas, he belonged to a remarkable Sephardi family who moved from Portugal to England in the 17th century. His History of the Jews is, therefore, also a reflection on his own ancestry and identity. This paper will analyse Lindo’s work, especially focusing the way how (forced) conversion, Crypto-Judaism and Diaspora are represented as incidents of the long history of the Iberian Jewry, contemplating the New Christian as another character of this narrative line. This question will be approached through the confrontation with other contemporary works that address the “Marrano” problematic, in particular those written by Sephardi authors. Such reflection will be held in line with the historiographic debate around the question of the Western Sephardim’s identity and its rootedness in a constructed memory of their Iberian background.
Carla Vieira is a researcher at the CHAM, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (FCSH/NOVA) and at the Cátedra de Estudos Sefarditas Alberto Benveniste, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa. Currently, she is developing the postdoctoral project “Nation between Empires. New Christians and Portuguese Jewish in the Anglo-Portuguese relations (first half of the 18th century),” supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia. Her work includes the articles: “Observing the skies of Lisbon. Isaac de Sequeira Samuda, an estrangeirado in the Royal Society” (Notes & Records. The Royal Society of the History of Science, 68(2), 2014) and “Abraham Before Abraham.
Wechsler, Yoav (Bar-Ilan University), Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh: The Idea Of Universal Religion
Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh (1823-1900) served as rabbi of the city of Livorno for about 50 years. As part of nineteenth century discussions, Benamozegh presented his idea of universal religion. Benamozegh spread the idea of universal religion in two ways, one for Jews and the other for the rest of humanity. For Jews, he wrote a commentary on the Bible. For others, he wrote the book Israel et L’Humanité. In his commentary on the Bible, אם†למקרא†, Benamozegh presents the תורה†שבעל†פה†as preceding the written Torah, as a primordial Torah with universal elements that form the basis of a universal religion. Israel et L’Humanité, which was written in French to be understood by all, was edited by one of Benamozegh’s students, Aimé Pallie, and translated into English and Hebrew. In it, Benamozegh analyzes theological concepts and their ramifications for the Jewish people and the other nations as expressed in the Bible and describes a future ideal relationship between Jews and non-Jews, in which Judaism is not only a national religion, but is a universal religion for all the nations of the world. I will show that the universal religion expressed in Israel et L’Humanité claims that revelation is an ongoing process based on an equal divine truth for all humanity and requiring the observance of the laws of the Torah from all people to approach God. In this article, I will show that Israel et L’Humanité presents Benamozegh as a philosopher attempting to join the philosophic discourse of his time dealing with the relationship between religion and state and the role of religion in human affairs. In its worldview, the Jewish people keep the Torah now, but in the future, all humanity will believe in God and observe the Torah’s commandments. God’s choice of the people of Israel as His special nation will only hold true until the redemption. However, the picture of Benamozegh that emerges from his Hebrew writings is that of a traditional rabbi who sees the Jewish people as God’s special nation forever, even after the redemption. There, Benamozegh seeks to attract the Jewish people to his idea of universal religion in a way that does not contradict tradition, as he claimed in his article “Tzari Gilad.”
Yoav Wechsler was awarded a PhD in 2017 from Bar Ilan University for a thesis on Jewish Thoughts. Starting from 2017 has been a Postdoc at Bear Sheva University. He is the author of DAAT 84, Bar Ilan, Article about Hrav Benamozegh and the universal religious
Westeinde, Jessica van ‘t (University of Tübingen), The City Scape And Scattered Sacred Space: Diversification Of Jewish Group Identity In Roman Dura-Europos
The urban topography of Roman Dura Europos (165 CE-256 CE) with its relative high density of sacred spaces scattered across the city scape tantalises the imagination of a vivid cross-cultural and interreligious interaction between the groups that inhabited these spaces. Dura Europos therefore presents an excellent case study to investigate how the city scape facilitated diversity between Jewish groups within one city. The archaeological record of Dura Europos is vast but messy, and the early-twentieth-century excavators had to rely on nineteenth-century categorical scholarship to label their finds. As such, the edifices have too soon been marked “Jewish synagogue” or “Christian church”. A reassessment of the records is therefore in order. In this paper I will elucidate how we may identify various Jewish groups acting in the Jewish edifice, and how some might be linked with the edifice labelled as ‘Christian’. The development of these edifices from what was domestic space, into grand houses, and subsequently organised into spaces for collective ritual purposes, require a detailed study into the nature of these consecutive stages. The location of the Jewish edifice within the city scape and the vicinity of and possible interlinking with other sacred spaces in the same neighbourhood invite questions relating to social position, language, culture, hospitality (specifically related to travel and trade), and interaction. Could one detect a pattern of occupancy in this quarter? How do the wallpaintings and inscriptions reflect urban influences; how do they testify of conceptions of self-representation and self-identification of their commissioners as affected by the urban space in which they found themselves? A comparative study of the wallpaintings and inscriptions with the urban spatial language (city planning, housing, trade routes, urban vs rural) will offer refreshed insights into the Jewihs groups entangled in a complex composition of a multicultural and multireligious Dura Europos.
Jessica van ‘t Westeinde obtained her PhD from Durham University. She won fellowships at Aarhus University, the University of Tübingen, and was recipient of an Isaiah Berlin Scholarship. After having held a postdoctoral position at the Institute of Classical Archaeology in Kiel, she is currently an Excellence Junior Researcher at the Department of Ancient History, University of Tübingen, where she prepares a major grant application for her project “Jewish sacred spaces in Roman cities”. In addition, she holds a part-time postdoctoral position in Ancient History at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
Williams, Amy (Nottingham Trent University), Rethinking The Narrative Of The Kindertransports Through Memorials
This paper will argue that British Kindertransport memorials convey the British national narrative of the transports as they speak about national unity. The British narrative focuses on arrival rather than the diasporic element of moving from one place to another and journeys beyond British shores to other host nations. It is a celebratory narrative that ends positively because, although the Kinder suffered hardships along the way, they eventually become valued members of British society. This narrative places emphasis on rescue, for it is the journey itself and the arrival that are emphasised rather than what the Kinder lost; rarely does it include reflection on social or political neglect, stressing acts of unity, of charity, of care, and of compassion. British memorials to the Kindertransports pick up on this positive narrative, omitting the more negative aspects. This paper will also argue that when British memorials are placed in relation to other memorials to the transports found in other host nations, we are invited to rethink the British narrative because the memorials are placed within a different context, a wider context of rescue and adaptation to a new way of life. Therefore, the transnational narrative places the transports within a wider network which introduces the perspectives of the perpetrator nation, the transit nations, and the countries of flight as well as the different host nations perspectives. As the paper will highlight, the memorials by Frank Meisler represent a group of memorials that pinpoint the locations of departure, transfer, and arrival. If we consider Mr. Meisler’s memorial outside Liverpool Street in a standalone context we are presented with the British national narrative yet if we recontextualise this narrative and place it within the network of his other sculptures the British national narrative appears in a more critical context.
Amy William’s research focuses on memories of the Kindertransports in national and international perspectives. On a recent placement at The National Holocaust Centre, UK in Nottinghamshire, I was involved in the development of two exhibitions ‘Rethinking and Re-evaluating the Narratives of the Kindertransports: Testimony, Artefacts and Identity’ and ‘Legacies of the Holocaust’.
Wołk, Marcin(Nicolaus Copernicus University), Between The Languages, Among The Nations, Amidst The Spaces: Modern Jewish Literature In Non-Jewish Languages
Jewish literature, understood broadly as the textual expression of Jewish experience, is a multilingual phenomenon. For centuries it has been composed and read in many countries and in various languages – at first in Hebrew and Aramaic, then also in Greek and Arabic, Ladino and Yiddish, later, along with growing cultural assimilation of the Diaspora, in many European languages, and after the Holocaust, mostly in non-Jewish languages (with the exception of Israel and, partly, USA). The paper briefly presents the sources of multilingualism of Jewish culture and characterises modern Jewish literature written in the languages other than Hebrew or Yiddish with reference to the writers’ attitudes to their ethnic, cultural and geographical origins, to the languages in which they write, and to the spaces they live (or lived) in. Contemporary Diaspora literature is trans-linguistic and de-territorialised, dispersed among various national literatures, created in the languages of other, dominant cultures, but still on their peripheries. As a “minor” and “vagabond” literature it is characterised by a heightened linguistic consciousness and sensitivity to the problems of ethnic and cultural identity and otherness. In case of Euro-American Jewish authors the writer’s origins often play an exceptionally significant role in constructing their identity. This pertains not only to origins defined as a genealogical, ethnic and cultural background but also understood as a strong sense of connection with the place one comes from (which often coexists with the feeling of being “out of place”, characteristic of minorities’ representatives). In the paper, I discuss these issues by analysing selected texts of Polish-, French- and American-Jewish authors (Hanna Krall, Artur Sandauer, Patrick Modiano, Cynthia Ozick).
Marcin Wołk, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Languages, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland, and the head of the Laboratory for Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at this university. Main research area: contemporary Polish-Jewish writers (Kazimierz Brandys, Ida Fink, Hanna Krall, Stanisław Lem, Artur Sandauer, Julian Stryjkowski). A member of the European Association for Holocaust Studies and the Polish Comparative Literature Association. The editor of special issue of the journal Archiwum Emigracji devoted to the modern Jewish diaspora literature (https://www.bu.umk.pl/Archiwum_Emigracji/gazeta/arch18st.html). For other publications – see: https://umk.academia.edu/MarcinWolk. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yalonetzky, Romina (Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Perú), Transnationalism, Secularization And The Smaller Jewish Latin-American Communities: The Case Of Jewish Lima (Peru)
The smaller Jewish communities in Latin America have been commonly overlooked by academic research. With a population of 5,000 or less, these communities could be understood as “minorities within a minority” since they are under-represented even among the emerging fields of Latin-American Jewish Studies and Ethnic and Religious Studies in Latin-America. As a result, it is hard to comparatively analyze the experience of Jewish Latin-Americans from smaller communities to that of other minorities in the region and of larger Jewish communities worldwide. Similarly, Peruvian immigrant minorities have been seldom included on academic debates on social differentiation in Peru. When indeed some of these minorities have been studied, they have been approached from an essentialist and diasporic point of view. That is to say, those pioneer efforts usually make a point of a) alleged exceptional traits containing an “essence” of Italian-ness, Arab-ness, Jewish-ness, Chinese-ness or Japanese-ness and so forth, and b) the presumed isolation of such groups from mainstream society. Hence, Peruvian-ness is rarely discussed as part of these and other multicultural expressions of national identity. The paper addresses the challenges and opportunities of studying small Jewish Latin-American communities, based on the abovementioned debates. It describes the ambivalence of a small Latin-American Jewish community, which resides on the fact that, on the one hand, Judaism has not integrated into Peruvian culture while, on the other, Limeño Jews as a group experienced collective upward mobility ultimately becoming a “First World minority” (Klein, 2012). The insertion of Jews and other immigrant minorities into Lima’s upper middle class is discussed as an unnoticed by-product of larger processes: the reconfiguration of social classes in Peru; the vindication of transnational and post-national forms of belonging; and changes in the Catholic Church and within Judaism as reactions to the process of secularization and a changing religious map in Latin-America.
Romina Yalonetzky holds a PhD in Sociology from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (2016). Her doctoral dissertation analyzed the intersection between Peruvian-ness and Jewishness in contemporary Lima. Dr Yalonetzky is the author of a chapter from an edited book on religion in Peru (2016), an article on the state of the art of Jewish Studies in Peru (2017) and a book chapter on Jewish Lima (forthcoming). Dr Yalonetzky was awarded an International Doctoral Scholarship from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture in New York and Golda Meir Fund and Rothberg Family scholarships at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.