Jewishness: Expression, Identity, and Representation

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Simon J. Bronner
Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2008 - Social Science - 320 pages
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 Schl√∂r enquires how the objects taken by emigrants leaving Germany for Palestine after Hitler‚??s 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.

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Note on Transliteration xiii
The Cultural History of a Jewish Folk Symbol 29
Architecture and Legends 58

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About the author (2008)

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 is the author and editor of over twenty-five books, including theEncyclopedia of American Folklife (2006), Following Tradition: Folklore in the Discourse of American Culture (1998), and Manly Traditions: The Folk Roots of American Masculinities (2005). He edits the Material Worlds series for the University Press of Kentucky and has published in Jewish culturalstudies 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. He hasreceived the Mary Turpie Prize from the American Studies Association and the Wayland D. Hand Prize and Peter and Iona Opie Prize from the American Folklore Society for his scholarship and educational leadership.

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