ToC: Israel Studies 22.2 (2017)

Israel Studies 22.2 (2017)

Table of Contents

    Special Section: Religion And Ethnicity

Articles

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New Article: Gor Ziv, Teaching Jewish Holidays in Early Childhood Education in Israel

Gor Ziv, Haggith. “Teaching Jewish Holidays in Early Childhood Education in Israel: Critical Feminist Pedagogy Perspective.” Taboo 15.1 (2016): 119-34.

 

URL: http://search.proquest.com/openview/40522e5877f96e9463985043f68d6e85/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=28753

 

Abstract

Teaching Jewish holidays in secular kindergartens in Israel is a major part of the early childhood education curriculum and often revolves around myths of heroism. The telling of these stories frequently evokes strong nationalist feelings of identification with fighting as they describe survival wars and conflicts in which the heroes are mostly male fighters and Jewish victory over the enemy is celebrated. Thus the teaching of the holidays hidden agenda strengthens ceremonial, patriarchal and national ideas. This paper proposes a number of educational alternatives in accordance with critical feminist pedagogy and Jewish values of social justice. The article focuses on three major holidays: Hanukah, Purim and Passover. It shows in each one of them the conventional reading of the holiday which is the traditional way it is being taught in secular kindergartens, the holiday through a critical feminist pedagogy lens and application in early childhood classrooms.

 

 

 

New Article: Troen, Secular Judaism in Israel

Troen, Ilan. “Secular Judaism in Israel.” Society (early view; online first).

 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12115-016-9991-x
 
Abstract

Secularity among Israel’s Jews retains many elements associated with traditional Judaism. Comprising 80 % of Israel’s Jews, they define themselves as secular but nevertheless “do Judaism” by performing rituals and hold to traditional religious worldviews and values. Such behavior is comprehended in Eisenstadt’s “multiple modernities” as well as Berger’s multiple “altars” and “coexistence.” Such behavior may be explained in a new balance between the traditional triad of Peoplehood/Torah[The Law]/and the Land of Israel that has characterized Judaism through the ages and found expression by a Hebrew-speaking people who imported new and diverse modern concepts and sources of authority in the return to their homeland where they constructed a “Jewish” state of ambiguous meanings.

 

 

 

Thesis: Chyutin, Judaism, Contemporary Israeli Film, and the Cinematic Experience

Chyutin, Dan. A Hidden Light: Judaism, Contemporary Israeli Film, and the Cinematic Experience, PhD dissertation. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 2015.
 
URL: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/26366/
 
Abstract

Throughout its brief history, Israeli cinema largely ignored Jewish religious identity, aligning itself with Zionism’s rejection of Judaism as a marker of diasporic existence. Yet over the past two decades, as traditional Zionism slowly declined, and religion’s presence became more pronounced in the public sphere, Israeli filmmakers began to treat Judaism as a legitimate cinematic concern. The result has been a growth in the number of Israeli films dealing with the realities of devoutly religious Jews, amounting to a veritable “Judaic turn” in Israel’s cinematic landscape. As of now, this “turn” has received meager attention within Israeli film scholarship. The following, then, addresses this scholarly lack by offering an extensive investigation of contemporary Judaic-themed Israeli cinema.

This intervention pursues two interconnected lines of inquiry. The first seeks to analyze the corpus in question for what it says on the Judaic dimension of present-day Israeli society. In this context, this study argues that while a dialectic of secular vs. religious serves as the overall framework in which these films operate, it is habitually countermanded by gestures that bring these binary categories together into mutual recognition. Accordingly, what one finds in such filmic representations is a profound sense of ambivalence, which is indicative of a general equivocation within Israeli public discourse surrounding the rise in Israeli Judaism’s stature and its effects on a national ethos once so committed to secularism.

The second inquiry follows the lead of Judaic-themed Israeli cinema’s interest in Jewish mysticism, and extends it to a film-theoretical consideration of how Jewish mystical thought may help illuminate particular constituents of the cinematic experience. Here emphasis is placed on two related mystical elements to which certain Israeli films appeal—an enlightened vision that unravels form and a state of unity that ensues. The dissertation argues that these elements not only appear in the Israeli filmic context, but are also present in broader cinematic engagements, even when those are not necessarily organized through the theosophic coordinates of mysticism. Furthermore, it suggests that this cycle’s evocation of such elements is aimed to help its national audience transcend the ambivalences of Israel’s “Judaic imagination.”

 

 

 

New Book: Levy, Israeli Theatre (in Hebrew)

Levy, Shimon. Israeli Theatre. Time, Space, Plot. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2016 (in Hebrew).

 
Israeli Theatre
 

In the absence of a well-established tradition of drama, the new Hebrew theatre in Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century, is caught in a fruitful and fascinating bind. Processes of secularization and liberalization among world Jewry and pre-State Israel fostered openness towards the theatre. This relatively new art in Jewish tradition was also seen as entertainment, but in its early years it was primarily employed as an educational and ideological tool in the service of Zionist national needs in the struggle for the creation of a Hebrew culture. The dramatic nature of this change in the status of Jews and Israel not only summoned a revived reading of Jewish history, but also its staging, pun intended, on the Hebrew stage, in the Land of Israel, and of course – the Hebrew language.

This book addresses issues and topics of Israeli drama and theatre from a social-artistic perspective. The prologue treats the development of a Jewish-Hebrew-Israeli theatre against the backdrop of secularization of the Jewish community from the early 19th century to its flourish in contemporary Israel. The basic conditions for theatre in general and Israeli theatre in particular are discussed in a chapter on space in Israeli drama. Theatrical props are discussed in a chapter which examines the idiosyncrasy of local drama through one of the elements of its space design. The Hebrew Bible and Judaism are addressed in a chapter on secular sanctity, characteristic to our stage. Another component of Israeli identity, its attitude toward Arabs, wars and the protracted conflict, is discussed in a chapter entitled “captive in fiction.” A discussion of three giants in Israeli drama – Nissim Aloni, Joshua Sobol and Hanoch Levin – is structured by the meta-theatrical intentionalism of each of them. the Acco Festival, an annual event since 1980, is discussed as a key component in the Israeli theatrical scene. The book concludes with a eulogy for the Hebrew radio drama, a celebrated genre in its heyday until it was marginalized by television, but its significant contribution to Israeli drama nevertheless remains.

 

SHIMON LEVY is a Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Tel Aviv University, where he taught for many years, and was chair of the Department of Theatre Arts. His main areas of research are Hebrew-Israeli theatre and drama, the works of Samuel Beckett, and theories of chaos in relation to theatre. He has published dozens of articles, and hundreds of essays on theatre in Hebrew, English, and German, as well as about ten books. He has translated over 100 plays for the stage, and continues to be active as a director in Israel and abroad.

 

 

 

New Article: Lahav, What Do Secular-Believer Women in Israel Believe in?

Lahav, Hagar. “What Do Secular-Believer Women in Israel Believe in?” Journal of Contemporary Religion 31.1 (2016): 17-34.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537903.2016.1109866

 

Extract

Secular-believers, who constitute about 25% of Israeli Jews, are self-identified secular people who believe in some kind of divinity. Based on in-depth interviews with secular-believer women, this study aims to reveal their theological assumptions and claims. It examines metaphors and images participants used to relate to the divine as well as the theological categories they emphasized. The study uncovers the pluralistic nature of secular-believers’ beliefs and the common tendency to address faith-related content in a positive light.

 

 

 

ToC: Israel Studies Review 30.2 (2015)

Israel Studies Review 30.2 (2015)

Editors’ Note

Editors’ Note
pp. v-vi(2)

 

Articles

Does Israel Have a Navel? Anthony Smith and Zionism
pp. 28-49(22)
Author: Berent, Moshe

 

Book Reviews

Book Reviews
pp. 130-155(26)

Lecture: Calderon, From Secular Judaism to Jewish Renewal in Israel

Thurs., November 19th
PUBLIC LECTURE
From Secular Judaism to Jewish Renewal in Israel – A Personal Story and Public Point of View
Ruth Calderon
Talmudic Scholar, Founder of ALMA Home for Hebrew Culture, Former Member of Knesset (2013-2015), Shalom Hartman Faculty Member
 
5:30 PM Reception, 6 PM Lecture
Warren Room, 295 Boalt Hall