Feldman, Jackie. A Jewish Guide in the Holy Land. How Christian Pilgrims Made Me Israeli. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016.
For many Evangelical Christians, a trip to the Holy Land is an integral part of practicing their faith. Arriving in groups, most of these pilgrims are guided by Jewish Israeli tour guides. For more than three decades, Jackie Feldman—born into an Orthodox Jewish family in New York, now an Israeli citizen, scholar, and licensed guide—has been leading tours, interpreting Biblical landscapes, and fielding questions about religion and current politics. In this book, he draws on pilgrimage and tourism studies, his own experiences, and interviews with other guides, Palestinian drivers and travel agents, and Christian pastors to examine the complex interactions through which guides and tourists “co-produce” the Bible Land. He uncovers the implicit politics of travel brochures and religious souvenirs. Feldman asks what it means when Jewish-Israeli guides get caught up in their own performances or participate in Christian rituals, and reflects on how his interactions with Christian tourists have changed his understanding of himself and his views of religion.
Table of Contents
1. How Guiding Christians Made Me Israeli
2. Guided Holy Land Pilgrimage—Sharing the Road
3. Opening Their Eyes: Performance of a Shared Protestant-Israeli Bible Land
4. Christianizing the Conflict: Bethlehem and the Separation Wall
5. The Goods of Pilgrimage: Tips, Souvenirs, and the Moralities of Exchange
6. The Seductions of Guiding Christians
7. Conclusions: Pilgrimage, Performance, and the Suspension of Disbelief
JACKIE FELDMAN a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is author of Above the Death Pits, Beneath the Flag: Youth Voyages to Poland and the Performance of Israeli National Identity. He has been a licensed tour guide in Jerusalem for over three decades.
In the present accountability-oriented policy environment, funding and replication of educational and public health programs are contingent upon evidence-based evaluations and demonstrable outcomes. In many cases, resource constraints preclude the delivery of interventions to all potential beneficiaries. It is possible, however, for program reach to be extended through consideration of the effects of the program on secondary groups in the social networks of the targeted population. Using a single case of a targeted educational program, this dissertation examines methodological issues in the explicit identification and measurement of such effects, referred to here as “ripple effects” and defined as the dissemination of indirect outcomes of a program through the social network ties of targeted individuals. Specifically, the study assesses the impact of the Taglit-Birthright Israel travel program for Jewish young adults on connections to Israel among parents of participants.
This three-paper dissertation utilizes a mixed-method approach, drawing on semistructured interviews as well as pre- and post-trip surveys of parents conducted between November 2013 and May 2014. The first paper describes the theoretical social network framework within which ripple effects operate and recommends methods to incorporate the measurement of ripple effects in program evaluation. The second paper utilizes a framework of emerging adulthood and focuses on the process of persuasion through which emerging adults influence the views of their parents. This paper concludes that changes in the parent attitudes appear to result from the persuasive efforts of their children. The last paper shows that, for Jewish parents, the primary impact of Taglit is on increased interest in visits to Israel and reduced concern about the safety of Israel travel. The effect of the program was most pronounced for parents who had never been to Israel themselves.
Policy implications of this research include findings specific to Taglit as well as to other programmatic interventions in education and public health. Evidence of ripple effects on secondary groups can lead to the design of programs to maximize and capture those effects. By ignoring these indirect effects, the actual effects of programs might be underestimated.