New Article: Singh, Gender, Displacement, and the Challenges of “Homecoming” for Indian Jews in Dimona, 1950s-60s

Singh, Maina Chawla. “‘Where Have You Brought us, Sir?’: Gender, Displacement, and the Challenges of ‘Homecoming’ for Indian Jews in Dimona, 1950s-60s.” Shofar 32.1 (2013): 1-26.

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v032/32.1.singh.html

Abstract

Hundreds of Jews who migrated from India to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s were settled in Israeli development towns. Ironically, many Indian Jews had left bustling urban centers like Bombay, only to be dropped off in dry, dusty, underdeveloped towns in the Negev desert. This article explores the postmigration experience of first-generation Indian Jewish women migrants settled in the town of Dimona, Israel. Drawing upon extensive ethnographic research and personal narratives, this paper analyzes the ramifications of this migration on the social, economic, linguistic, and cultural identities of these women. Highlighting the challenges faced by them as wives, mothers, and members of a labor force, the article underscores the gendered nature of this experience and its impact on the postaliya lives of these Indian Jewish migrants. The article argues that while Indian Jewish communities have successfully created supportive and associational networks across many development towns, Israeli towns like Dimona, which remain largely frozen in time, have also adversely affected the prospects of the second generation born to these Indian Jewish women who made aliya in the 1960s.

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