Jewishness: Expression, Identity, and Representation
This volume proposes that the idea of ‘Jewish’, or what people think of as ‘Jewishness’, is revealed in the expressions of culture. It helps to contemporarize and contextualize Jewish experience by considering the social expressions, identities, and representations that are labelled Jewish—not only what Jews, do but what is thought by and about Jews. This new approach opens up a broad and fertile field for new ideas on the meaning of ‘Jewish’.
The Jewish Cultural Studies series offers a contemporary view of Jewish culture around the globe. Multidisciplinary, multi-focused, and eclectic, it covers the cultural practices of secular Jews as well as of religious Jews of all persuasions, and from historical as well as contemporary perspectives. It also considers the range of institutions that represent and respond to Jewishness, including museums, the media, synagogues, and schools. More than a series on Jewish ideas, it uncovers ideas of being Jewish.
This volume proposes that the idea of 'Jewish', or what people think of as 'Jewishness', is revealed in expressions of culture and applied in constructions of identity and representation. In Part I, 'Expression', Elly Teman considers how the kabbalistic red string found at sites throughout Israel conveys a political and psychological response to terrorism. Sergey Kravtsov examines Jewish and non-Jewish narratives concerning a synagogue in eastern Europe. Miriam Isaacs looks at expressions of cultural continuity in DP camps in the aftermath of the Holocaust, and Jascha Nemtsov discusses how Jewish folk music was presented as high art in early twentieth-century Germany.
In Part II, 'Identity', Joachim Schlör enquires how the objects taken by emigrants leaving Germany for Palestine after Hitler¹s rise to power represented their identities. Hanna Kliger, Bea Hollander-Goldfein, and Emilie Passow examine how survivors' narratives become integrated into family identities. Olga Gershenson offers close readings of how the identities of Jews as enacted in post-perestroika films highlight conflicting Russian attitudes towards Jews. Ted Merwin considers commercial establishments as 'sacred spaces' for Jewish secular identities.
Part III, 'Representation', opens with stories collected in Israel by Ilana Rosen from Jews who lived in Carpatho-Russia, while Judith Lewin considers the characterization of the Jewish woman in French literature. Holly Pearse and Mikel Koven, respectively, decode the Jewishness of modern radio comedy and Hollywood film.
The idea of Jewishness is applied in the volume with provocative interpretations of Jewish experience, and fresh approaches to the understanding of Jewish cultural expressions.
Simon J. Bronner is Distinguished University Professor of American Studies and Folklore at the Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, where he is lead scholar of the campus's Holocaust and Jewish Studies Center. He has also taught at Harvard, Leiden, and Osaka universities. He is the author and editor of over thirty books, including Greater Harrisburg's Jewish Community (2011), Explaining Traditions: Folk Behaviour in Modern Culture (2011) and Encyclopedia of American Folklife (2006). He edits the Material Worlds series for the University Press of Kentucky and has published in Jewish cultural studies in the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish History, Yiddish, Markers, and Chuliyot: Journal of Yiddish Literature. As well as editing the Littman Library's Jewish Cultural Studies series, he leads the Jewish Folklore and Ethnology section of the American Folklore Society and is President of the Fellows of the American Folklore Society. He has received the Mary Turpie Prize from the American Studies Association and the Wayland D. Hand Prize and the Peter and Iona Opie Prize from the American Folklore Society for his scholarship and educational leadership.
Simon J. Bronner, Olga Gershenson, Bea Hollander-Goldfein, Miriam Isaacs, Hannah Kliger, Mikel J. Koven, Sergey R. Kravtsov, Judith Lewin, Ted Merwin, Jascha Nemtsov, Emilie S. Passow, Holly A. Pearse, Ilana Rosen, Joachim Schlör, Elly Teman
SIMON J. BRONNER
Introduction: The Chutzpah of Jewish Cultural Studies
SIMON J. BRONNER
Part I: Expression
1. The Red String: The Cultural History of a Jewish Folk Symbol
2. A Synagogue in Olyka: Architecture and Legends
SERGEY R. KRAVTSOV
3. Yiddish in the Aftermath: Speech Community and Cultural Continuity in Displaced Persons Camps
4. 'National Dignity' and 'Spiritual Reintegration': The Discovery and Presentation of Jewish Folk Music in Germany
Part II: Identity
5. 'Take Down Mezuzahs, Remove Name-Plates': The Emigration of Objects from Germany to Palestine
6. Holocaust Narratives and their Impact: Personal Identification and Communal Roles
HANNAH KLIGER, BEA HOLLANDER-GOLDFEIN and EMILIE PASSOW
7. Ambivalence, Identity, and Russian-Jewish Culture
8. The 'Deli' in American Culture
Part III: Representation
9. Hasidism versus Zionism in the Lore of Carpatho-Russian Jews between the Two World Wars
10. The Sublimity of the Jewish Type: Balzac’s Belle Juive as Virgin Magdalene
11. As Goyish as Lime Jell-O? Jack Benny and the American Construction of Jewishness
HOLLY A. PEARSE
12. Jewish Coding: Cultural Studies and Jewish–American Cinema
Notes on Contributors
'These essays often get to the heart of how Jewish cultural identity is still constructed today by Jews―religious and secular―and by non-Jews . . . Recommended.'
S. Ward, Choice