Jewish Migration, Nation, Culture and Religion in the Modern Times
Sessions will address global issues examined from a national Jewish perspective. Beginning in the 19th century, the world’s Jews underwent a great upheaval. Unusual demographic growth, deep processes of modernization in general and secularization in particular, tensions between emancipation and modern antisemitism, many social rifts and diverse creativity in the areas of literature and research, made it clear that there was no longer only one way to be Jewish, either as an individual or as a group.
The historical consequences of these processes were mass migration from Eastern Europe to America and Western Europe and the growth of a modern national movement within which Zionism was prominent in the twentieth-century, and directed immigration to Palestine.
A session on immigration and culture will examine the interplay between the masses' search for a new home and a new future and the nostalgic look back at the old world and tradition. In her lecture on “Exile at Home,” Tamar Hess will present this through a literary study of the work of Devora Baron; Kenneth Moss will present the politics and thought of Polish Jews in the 1930s in a lecture on “Post-Diasporism”; and Bat-Zion Eraqi Klorman will discuss the tensions between religion and secular nationalism in her lecture on the Jews from Yemen who immigrated to Israel.
In a session on nationality and religion various questions will be examined from the perspective of the encounter between Zionism and religion (the efforts at solidarity by Zionism in the Diaspora and the Jews in Eretz Israel in the years between World War II and the establishment of the State of Israel; the Bible as the focus of a new kind of encounter between Zionism and religion and how the Diaspora and the Nation were represented in Jewish historiography.