The Israeli Diaspora in Berlin

Back to Being Jewish?

in Israel Studies Review
Author:
Larissa Remennick Bar-Ilan University lararem@gmail.com

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Abstract

In this ethnographic essay, I reflect on the origins and present condition of the new (post-2010) Israeli diaspora in Berlin. Based on 10 months of participant observation, I map out the main sub-streams of this emigration; elicit the economic, professional, and political reasons for leaving Israel; and explore these émigrés’ initial encounter with German society. My observations suggest that many Israeli residents of Berlin (mostly secular) rediscover their Jewishness along diasporic lines and forge ties with the local religious and community organizations. Being a small minority in the German-speaking milieu, Israelis invest in building their own Hebrew-based community networks, including media outlets and cultural and educational institutions. Lastly, I explore these émigrés’ ties with Israel and conclude that many Israelis in Berlin are sojourners rather than immigrants and that Berlin is but one phase in their life journey.

Contributor Notes

LARISSA REMENNICK is a Professor and Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Bar-Ilan University. Her research interests focus on transnational migration and ethnic diasporas, migration, and integration experiences of Russian-speaking Jews in Israel and in the West. Her publications include Russian Jews on Three Continents: Identity, Integration, and Conflict (2007), the edited collection Russian Israelis: Social Mobility, Politics and Culture (2012), and over 80 journal articles and book chapters. E-mail: lararem@gmail.com

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