Based on published primary and secondary materials and oral interviews with some eighty communal and organizational leaders, experts and scholars, this book provides a comparative account of the reconstruction of Jewish communal life in both Germany and in Austria (where 98% live in the capital, Vienna) after 1945. The author explains the process of reconstruction over the next six decades, and its results in each country. The monograph focuses on the variety of prevailing perceptions about topics such as: the state of Israel, one's relationship to the country of residence, the Jewish religion, the aftermath of the Holocaust, and the influx of post-soviet immigrants. Cohen-Weisz examines the changes in Jewish group identity and its impact on the development of communities. The study analyzes the similarities and differences in regard to the political, social, institutional and identity developments within the two countries, and their changing attitudes and relationships with surrounding societies. The study seeks to show the evolution of these two country's Jewish communities in diverse national political circumstances and varying post-war governmental policies.
Susanne Cohen-Weisz holds a BA from Bar Ilan University, an MA in International Relations and a PhD in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she also did post-doctoral research and served as lecturer. She is researching on Jewish communal developments in Europe, Jewish identity, best practices for strengthening Jewish identity in Europe, and policies and practices of conversions to Judaism and their recognition today. She published several articles on her research