Jewish Identity: The Challenge of Peoplehood Today
By: Ruth Shamir Popkin (author)Hardback
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Though the seemingly impossible dream of a sovereign Jewish state became a reality over sixty years ago, the question of Jewish identity remains as much an enigma as ever. That enigma is at the heart of Dr Ruth Shamir's book as it explores the history -- at times tragic, at times triumphant -- of the evolution of Jewish identity in the modern era. Dr Shamir skillfully guides the reader through a myriad of issues that are today at the centre of a passionate debate both in Israel itself as well as in the Diaspora, where half of the world's Jews still live. The debate -- and hence the main themes of the book -- revolves around such questions as: Are we a nation or just a religious sect?; How do Israelis and Jews around the world conceptualise their loyalties?; How acceptable is Jewish fundamentalism and how does Israel deal with the Moslem population within its borders?; How do Diaspora Jews view Israeli identity and how do Israelis define the identity of Diaspora Jews?; Above all, who is a Jew?
However difficult it may be to maintain the many complex and continually changing Jewish identities under the single roof of Judaism, Dr Shamir contends that we have no alternative -- neither for Israelis nor for the Jews of the Diaspora. But if that overarching identity is to be preserved, Jews must internalise the core ideas of multiculturalism to create a multifaceted Jewish identity that positively reflects the freedoms of today's world.
Dr. Ruth Shamir is a jurist in Israel and in the United States and is actively involved in both these countries in social and educational issues. She is a lecturer at the American-Jewish University and plays an active role in conferences organized by the Jewish Institute at the University of Nanking in China. Shamir has firsthand knowledge of the complexity of the evolving Jewish identity and its need for redefinition and renewal. She earned her PhD in cultural studies at the School of Arts and Humanities of Claremont Graduate University, California. Her doctoral thesis is the basis of this book. In Israel Dr. Shamir is a member of the Board of Governors of Beit Hatfutsot The Museum of the Jewish People (The Diaspora Museum) and of the international institutions of the museum. She is also a member of Tel Aviv Universitys Board of Trustees. Who Are We? is Dr. Shamirs third book.
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- ID: 9789652296719
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