The prophets of ancient Israel were the first to think globally, to conceive of a God who transcends places and national borders and humanity as one. This interdisciplinary anthology explores the impact of current globalization processes on Jewish communities around the world. The volume examines how nationalized constructs of Jewish culture and identity continue to shape Jewish self-expressions and discourses in the 21st century. It looks at how the Arab-Israeli conflict has affected intercultural relations between Jews and other racialized groups in the diaspora, and how recent discourses such as post-colonialism and transnationalism could relate to global Jewish cultures.
The intention of the volume is to initiate a process of research on Jewish identity in the 21st century. This article analyzes the structures and trends of the establishment, growth and transformation of the Jewish presence in the Americas. After describing several fundamental characteristics of the general continental social environment and its internal differentiation, we critically discuss several theoretical approaches to a comparative evaluation of the Jewish experience. Conceptual formulations include globalization, diaspora studies, and transnationalism, with the aim of highlighting their achievements and drawbacks.
Selected sociohistorical aspects relevant to the development of Jewish immigration, settlement and community formation are analyzed. This is followed by an exploration of more recent patterns, which describe emerging configurations and challenges. The article focuses on the differences and commonalities between the North (United States and Canada) and the diverse Latin American experiences. Conceptual references involve rethinking the relationship between societies, communities, individuals, territories and sociopolitical spaces along the changing contours of dispersion.
Lessons from the past can help outline future paths. In Toronto's Jewish-majority neighborhoods, Jews could apply for public school principals in the first decades of the 20th century, while in Latin America Jewish otherness was embedded in the conception of the nation and in policies related to immigration and exile. Eisenstadt (20) defines the multiplication, pluralization and diversification of semantic-ideological and institutional connections between the main spheres of Jewish life that develop between community and society, between public and private spheres, as well as components of collective identities, such as crystallization of a new civilization constellation. Globalizing trends introjected into national spheres have combined with similar processes at a community level, which has generated competition between regulatory guidelines and interpretative schemes making it difficult to create a single collective frame of reference. Canadian Jews have been homogeneously closer to Israel, while Latin American Jewish communities can continue to develop their relationship at a crossroads of ideology and needs. They gave rise to different models of Jewish kehillot in the region, as replicas of original experiences abroad.
While in Latin America and Canada community was basis for building Jewish life, in United States it emerged as an entity whose centrality was recognized as an alternative resource to religious practices and a means to improve Jewish identity precisely when its relaxation was stated (Cohen 198).It could even be defined as an extraordinary literary boom of being Jewish in Americas, individual problem of collective belonging, existential questions derived from tension between efforts to privatize historical dimension of identity, diachronic density of Jewish subjectivity. However transformation of memory of Shoah into new identity paradigm was built in Jewish world not only as path traced by search for past but also as counter-reference to Jewish nation-state as part of vindication its universal meaning over its particular meaning. Several fields and paradigmatic patterns can be identified in places with strong collective Latin American Jewish presence where agency and structure interact in differentiated setting places actors. In words Elazar Cohen (198), Canadian Jews from beginning 20th century World War II behaved as Jewish communities largely segregated had done centuries; many ways they were exemplary multicultural community country imperfectly multicultural. Strong symbol subsequent circulation culture personified YIVO Institute for Jewish Research dedicated preservation study Jewish culture history Eastern Europe. Along chain “otherness” American Jewish social spaces recent immigrants can serve reminder American Jewry certain extent constantly being reconstituted therefore not completed integration processes. Although significantly marked United States seems bring Latin American North American experiences closer together sense reducing individual sphere construction Jewish life.