Ruth takes part in a working seminar on Managing Jewish Built Heritage. She is also one of the organizers of the conference.
The Jewish Revival in Europe and North America: Between Lifestyle Judaism and Institutional Renaissance
I’ll be taking part in this conference, presenting a paper called: Jewish. Jewish? “Jewish” Jewish! on June 6.
I’ll be speaking on the role of civil society in preserving and managing Jewish heritage.
The conference is organized by the Tom Lantos Institute
I am scheduled to speak at the conference Invented Jewish Traditions. Jüdisches Erbe in Europa zwischen Erinnerung und Inszenierung organized by the Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden
Abstract of my talk:
Following the publication of my 2002 book “Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe,” the concepts of “virtually Jewish” and “virtual Judaism” have caught on, with both the public and the academic world, in far more (and more far-reaching) ways than I ever anticipated. I coined the terminology to describe an intense, visible, vivid Jewish presence in places where few Jews actually live today. In my paper I would focus on my thesis about “virtual” Jewry and invented traditions and present an overview about recent evolutions of the term, particularly in the field of Jewish heritage. I would reflect on how open Jewish or ‘Jewish-style’ expression—religious, cultural, pop-cultural, or otherwise—is becoming now part of the mainstream, but also how the proliferation of post-communist tropes such as nostalgic (or pseudo-nostalgic) Jewish-style cafes has served in some places to brand ‘Jewishness’ as a recognized and recognizable commercial commodity. Along these lines, I would describe interactions between tourism and the creation of Jewish spaces and I would speak about what I call the “new authenticities” and “real imaginerary spaces” that have been created (rather than recreated) as part of these phenomena. At the same time, however, I would also describe how Jews themselves are increasingly becoming stake-holders in the development of (sometimes) new definitions of “Jewish” as individuals and Jewish communities continue to claim their identities and determine the course of Jewish life and culture, as well as cultural products.