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Jewish Revival Inside Out

Remaking Jewishness in a Transnational Age

Edited by Daniel Monterescu and Rachel Werczberger

Jewish Studies, Anthropology

Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology

Published: December 2022
ISBN: 9780814349175
Pages: 256 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 12 b&w illus.
Published: December 2022
ISBN: 9780814349182
Pages: 256 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 12 b&w illus.
Published: December 2022
ISBN: 9780814349496

Against the gloomy forecast of "The Vanishing Diaspora", the end of the second millennium saw the global emergence of a dazzling array of Jewish cultural initiatives, institutional modalities, and individual practices. These "Jewish Revival" and "Jewish Renewal" projects are led by Jewish NGOs and philanthropic organizations, the Orthodox Teshuva (return to the fold) movement and its well-known emissary Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidism, and alternative cultural initiatives that promote what can be termed "lifestyle Judaism." This range between institutionalized revival movements and ephemeral event-driven projects circumscribes a diverse space of creative agency, which calls for a bottom-up empirical analysis of cultural creativity and the re-invention of Jewish tradition worldwide. Indeed, the trope of a "Jewish Renaissance" has become both a descriptive category of an increasingly popular and scholarly discourse across the globe, and a prescriptive model for social action. This volume explores the global transformations of contemporary Jewishness, which give renewed meaning to identity, tradition, and politics in our post secular world.

Daniel Monterescu is professor of urban anthropology and food studies at the Central European University, Vienna. He is the author of Jaffa Shared and Shattered: Contrived Coexistence in Israel/Palestine (finalist of the 2016 Association for Jewish Studies Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards), coauthor of Twilight Nationalism: Politics of Existence at Life's Edge and coeditor of Food and settler Colonialism.

Rachel Werczberger is a senior lecturer of anthropology of religion in Hadassah Academic College. She is the author of Jews in the Age of Authenticity: Jewish Spiritual Renewal in Israel. She is also the co-winner of the International Society for the Sociological Study of Religion 2019 best article award.

Contributors Include:
Asher Biemann, Jonathan Boyarin, Lucine Endelstein, Zvi Gitelman, Ruth Ellen Gruber, Shlomo Guzmen-Carmeli, Nissim Leon, Shaul Magid, Daniel Monterescu, Michael Paley, Cara Rock-Singer, Hannah Tzuberi, Rachel Werczberger, Sara Zorandy, Geneviève Zubrzycki

In the light of the radical focus on Central European Jewish identity with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, where a Jewish president was falsely accused of being at the helm of a Nazi state, a comprehensive study of how Jewish identity has been transformed in our global world was needed; the present volume with its reach from Israel to Germany to (indeed) Ukraine, more than fulfills the bill. This is an important addition to our understanding of the debates about the intersection of religious, ethic, and political images of the Jew in the modern world.

– Sander Gilman, coauthor of Cosmopolitanisms and the Jew

A bold and global approach to today’s complex Jewish experiences. Looking beyond the two demographic centers of Jewish life, it includes foci on Europe, where communal continuity was devastated, and Asian-inspired hybrid spiritualities emerging in North America or encountered by young Israelis traveling eastward. Recommended for those willing to rethink assumptions about the contemporary meaning of the adjective ‘Jewish.’

– Harvey Goldberg, emeritus professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The rhizome of ethoses and practices of Jewishness unraveled in Jewish Revival Inside Out transcends cultural and national boundaries to suggest an evergreen dynamic of thriving Jewish identities in a post-Holocaust era. The mélange of embodiments of Jewish affiliations and associations vibrantly depicted in the book testifies to the diasporic decentralization of all manner of Jewishly inspired living among various circles and communities. The authors of this volume, while addressing different manifestations of this move, daringly and originally argue that through reclaiming and remaking Jewishness, an excitingly budding cultural turn emerges. It heralds new ways of surviving a self-contradictory, yet hybridized world, compounding secularization, fundamentalism, globalization, and nationalism.

– Haim Hazan, professor emeritus of social anthropology, Tel Aviv University

What a feast this is, drawn from an eclectic and refreshingly global menu of contemporary cultural performances of Jewish revival. For those who take pleasure in accounts of Jewish innovations, both enduring and ephemeral, here are the inside stories, thoughtfully parsed, with an abundance of judicious, yet still juicy detail.

– Vanessa Ochs, professor of religious studies, University of Virginia