Acculturation And Particularism In The Modern City

Overview

This dissertation takes a comparative approach to European Jewish history. By crossing the conceptual boundaries of history, architecture, and urban studies, it explores the dynamic relationship between synagogue building and Jewish identity-formation in Amsterdam, London, and Berlin in the second half of the nineteenth century. The Jews in these capitals lived in relatively close proximity to each other and experienced, in varying degrees, the rise of a Jewish middle class and increasing acculturation. Many ...
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More About This Book

Overview

This dissertation takes a comparative approach to European Jewish history. By crossing the conceptual boundaries of history, architecture, and urban studies, it explores the dynamic relationship between synagogue building and Jewish identity-formation in Amsterdam, London, and Berlin in the second half of the nineteenth century. The Jews in these capitals lived in relatively close proximity to each other and experienced, in varying degrees, the rise of a Jewish middle class and increasing acculturation. Many communities initiated spectacular building projects at this time, consciously tying monumental synagogues to the new public face of Judaism. Indeed, synagogues took on a new central role in mediating Jewishness in a modern society. Largely confined to the private domain in the early modern period, from the mid-nineteenth century onwards synagogues boldly announced the cultural sophistication, bourgeois affluence, and religious respectability of the Jewish population. Yet the communities in Holland, Great Britain, and Germany attached very different meanings and objectives to these religious structures due to the distinctive local and national context in which they were built. By looking closely at the debates over style, location, size, spatial lay-out, religious reform, and etiquette---all of which were closely related to Jewish self-representation and acculturation in predominantly Christian societies---we gain a more nuanced view of how Jews saw themselves and how they wanted to be seen by their contemporaries. The built environment, and synagogues in particular, thus proves a useful lens through which to gauge the complexities of Jewish life in Europe during this time. This work adds a comparative and a multi-disciplinary dimension to the field of Jewish Studies. Its approach prescribes a different way of studying Jews and consequently refines---and sometimes challenges---our knowledge of Jewish history, culture, and society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243526519
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/3/2011
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.59 (d)

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