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Jewish Space Reloaded

An Introduction

Eszter B. Gantner and Jay (Koby) Oppenheim

In 1996 the historian Diana Pinto published her often since quoted and discussed article on ‘A New Jewish Identity for Post-1989 Europe’. She was one of the first Jewish intellectuals to reflect on the fall of the Iron Curtain and the resulting political changes and their possible consequences for Jewish communities in Europe. In her article, she introduced the term ‘Jewish space’ that motivates the focus of this issue, as well as the term ‘voluntarily Jewish’, which describes the construction of identity free of external prescription. Pinto situates Jewish space in the context of the Erinnerungspolitik European democracies engaged in during the 1980s, when Holocaust memorialisation began to assume an institutional form through the establishment of Jewish museums, research institutes and exhibitions.

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Jewish Space and the Beschneidungsdebatte in Germany

Multiculturalism, Ritual and Cultural Reproduction

Jay (Koby) Oppenheim

The concept of Jewish space, initially conceived by Diana Pinto as a unique European development, marked a critical shift in relations between Jews and non-Jews, the latter embracing a Jewish past as constitutive of their countries' own. The hoped-for European multiculturalism failed to blossom and Jewish space, in Pinto's assessment, has not born the fruit of its potential. To investigate the shortfall of Jewish space, this article examines the 2012 debate on ritual male circumcision in Germany (Beschneidungsdebatte) that drew contemporary Jewish practice into the public eye. Pinto's formulation is premised on a multicultural society that actively works to blunt intolerance, a condition whose fulfilment in contemporary Europe remains incomplete and uneven. Moreover, this attempt to extend the integration of history into memory was stymied by its lack of a living subject. While Jews constitute a long-standing minority population with a unique history in Germany, their success in establishing a shared Jewish space is tied to the broader project of tolerance and integration facing immigrant and minority groups in Western Europe.

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Of Other Cinematic Spaces

Urban Zionism in Early Hebrew Cinema

Hizky Shoham

The Zionist ethos is commonly described as pro-rural and anti-urban, with the imagined Zionist space perceived as being rural and the Zionist drama as a reflection of the life of the pioneers in Palestine. Recent studies of early Hebrew cinema shared this view. This article analyzes two Jewish films from inter-war Palestine, Vayehi Bimey (In the Days of Yore) (1932, Tel Aviv) and Zot Hi Ha'aretz (This Is the Land) (1935, Tel Aviv), to suggest a more complex view of the Zionist ethos and spatial imagery in the context of the relationship between the urban and the rural. A thematic and formal analysis of the films shows their sources of Soviet influence and reveals the presentation of the city as a nationalist space.

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Jonathan Magonet

-understanding with its correlate, the creation of an ever more vibrant Jewish space; 4) and finally (for better or for worse), the transformation of Israel into a fully responsible international actor, accountable for its deeds with respect to the central criteria of

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Jewish Dating or Niche-making?

A Topographical Representation of Youth Culture

Alina Gromova

In this article I am approaching the topic of Jewish dating among the young Russian-speaking Jews who live in Berlin. Using the analytical concept of space and applying grounded theory, I am presenting data I collected in 2010 using the methods of ethnographic interviews and participant observation. The article is organised around three main questions. Firstly, I am interested in the motivation of my interviewees, who are generally children of inter-ethnic and inter-religious couples, to find a solely Jewish partner. Secondly, I am asking for existing strategies applied within a relatively small Jewish community of around thirty to fifty thousand in Berlin in order to find a Jewish partner. Thirdly, I am looking for the concrete spaces and places used or constructed for the purpose of finding a Jewish girlfriend or boyfriend. Beside these empirical results, I am introducing the theoretical idea of Jewish niches, which is discussed against the background of 'Jewish space' as promulgated by Diana Pinto.

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Eszter B. Gantner

The persecution, flight and murder of European Jews in the first half of the twentieth century and the profound social and political transformations that decisively affected European cities in the final decade of the 20th century have radically altered urban 'Jewish landscapes'. New stakeholders and institutions emerged with their own networks, goals and interests, and have constructed, staged and marketed 'Jewish culture' anew. The resultant Jewish spaces are being constituted in an urban space located at the intersection of ethnic representation, collective memory, and drawing on an imagined material culture, which includes architectural, physical and digital spaces (e.g. synagogues, Jewish quarters). This Europe-wide process is closely related to the delicate politics of memory and to discourses on the authenticity of cities. This article analyses how the image of 'Jewishness' plays an increasingly important role in the marketing of historical authenticity that cities and their tourism affiliates are undertaking.

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Irit Dekel

Is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a Jewish space? How are Jews presented there? What are the points of interest about Jews in the memorial from the perspective of the foundation that runs it as well as from various visitors' perspectives? This article focuses on interaction and performance at the memorial, an understudied topic in comparison to what the memorial presents in its installation and the debates that preceded its realisation. I argue that the memorial's form and location create interpretation strategies that are based on the dialectics of representation and non-representation, emotional experience versus knowledge about the Holocaust. This is differently manifested in the action of various groups visiting the memorial. Interpretation strategies rest on Jews being a category of memory. In substantiating this claim, I focus on the experience of German visitors, compared to that of Jewish visitors and claim that whereas Jews' experience of the site is directly linked to sharing intimate knowledge about the Holocaust, Germans tend to talk about the site metaphorically and in emotional terms, confirming the memorial's own ontology.

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The Merchant ON Venice [Boulevard, Los Angeles], Chicago, 2007

Universalizing Shakespeare’s Play after the Holocaust

Michael Shapiro

: Theatrical Representations of Jewish Space’, Jewish Historical Studies 46 (2014), 32–33; on Nussbaum, see Michael Shapiro, ‘Two Merchants: The Glow of the Roaring Twenties and the Shadow of 9/11’, in Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Suiting the Action to the

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Intimidation, reassurance, and invisibility

Israeli security agents in the Old City of Jerusalem

Erella Grassiani and Lior Volinz

military occupation at large. Security agents’ performances are further aimed at maintaining the spatial segregation between the diminishing Palestinian space and the growing Israeli-Jewish space in the Old City. In an interview, a Palestinian resident from