Framing Jewish Culture

Boundaries and Representations

Simon J. Bronner

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ISBN: 9781906764081

Publication: January 1, 2014

Series: Jewish Cultural Studies 4

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Modernity offers people choices about who they want to be and how they want to appear to others. The way in which Jews choose to frame their identity establishes the dynamic of their social relations with other Jews and non-Jews - a dynamic complicated by how non-Jews position the boundaries around what and who they define as Jewish. This book uncovers these processes, historically, as well as in contemporary behavior, and finds explanations for the various manifestations, in feeling and action, of 'being Jewish.' Boundaries and borders raise fundamental questions about the difference between Jews and non-Jews. At root, the question is how 'Jewish' is understood in social situations where people recognize or construct boundaries between their own identity and those of others. The question is important because this is by definition the point at which the lines of demarcation between Jews and non-Jews, and between different groupings of Jews, are negotiated. Collectively, the contributors to the book expand our understanding of the social dynamics of framing Jewish identity. The book opens with an introduction that locates the issues raised by the contributors in terms of the scholarly traditions from which they have evolved. Part I presents four essays dealing with the construction and maintenance of boundaries - two by scholars showing how boundaries come to be etched on an ethnic landscape and two by activists who question and adjust distinctions among neighbors. Part II focuses on expressive means of conveying identity and memory, while, in Part III, the discussion turns to museum exhibitions and festive performances as locations for the negotiation of identity in the public sphere. A lively discussion forum concludes the book with a consideration of the paradoxes of Jewish heritage revival in Poland, and the perception of that revival by Jews and non-Jews. *** ..".these essays help us understand the social dynamics of Jewish identity and how identity is constructed in modern life." -- AJL Reviews, February/March 2015 (Series: Jewish Cultural Studies - Vol. 4) [Subject: Jewish Studies, Cultural Studies]

Simon J. Bronner is Distinguished University Professor of American Studies and Folklore at the Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, where he was founding director of the campus’s Holocaust and Jewish Studies Center.

Note on Transliteration

Introduction: Framing Jewish Culture
  Simon J. Bronner

PART I: BOUNDARY CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE
1 Representing Jewish Culture: The Problem of Boundaries
  Jonathan Webber
2 Trickster’s Children: Genealogies of Jewishness in Anthropology
  Jonathan Boyarin
3 Selective Inclusion: Integration and Isolation of Jews in Medieval Civic Space
  Samuel D. Gruber
4 The Question of Hasidic Sectarianism
  Marcin Wodzinski

PART II: NARRATING AND VISUALIZING JEWISH RELATIONSHIPS
5 Framing Father--Son Relationships in Medieval Ashkenaz: Folk Narratives as Markers of Cultural Difference
  Magdalena Luszczynska
6 Sites of Collective Memory in Narratives of the Prague Ghetto
  Rella Kushelevsky
7 Wearing Many Hats: The Boundaries of Hair-Covering Practices by Orthodox Jewish Women in Amish Country
  Amy Milligan
8 Chronic Dissatisfaction: Negative Interfaith Romances and the Reassertion of Jewish Difference
  Holly Pearse

PART III: EXHIBITIONS AND PERFORMANCES OF JEWISH CULTURE
9 ‘The Night of the Orvietani’ and the Mediation of Jewish and Italian Identities
  Steve Siporin
10 Jewish Museums: Performing the Present through Narrating the Past
  David Clark
11 Framing Jewish Identity in the Museum of Moroccan Judaism
  Sophie Wagenhofer
12 The Framing of the Jew: Paradigms of Incorporation and Difference in the Jewish Heritage Revival in Poland
  Magdalena Waligorska

PART IV: HOW REAL IS THE EUROPEAN JEWISH REVIVAL?
13 Beyond Virtual Jewishness: Monuments to Jewish Experience in Eastern Europe
  Ruth Ellen Gruber
14 Unsettling Encounters: Missing Links of European Jewish Experience and Discourse
  Francesco Spagnolo
15 Virtual Transitioning into Real: Jewishness in Central Eastern Europe
  Annamaria Orla-Bukowska
16 Virtual, Virtuous, Vicarious, Vacuous? Toward a Vigilant Use of Labels
  Erica Lehrer
17 Response
  Ruth Ellen Gruber

Contributors

Index

Format: Paperback

Size: 240 x 170 x 25 mm

400 Pages

ISBN: 9781906764081

Publication: January 1, 2014

Series: Jewish Cultural Studies 4

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