Special Issue "Jewish Secular Culture"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 January 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Kitty Millet
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Jewish Studies, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA
Interests: Holocaust Literatures; Diasporic Narratives; testimonio in Latin American Jewish Narratives; Haskalah Jewish Experience; Secular Jewish Studies; Modern Jewish Thought; Comparative Jewish Literatures from Antiquity to Modernity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue of Religions seeks varied and diverse analyses of “Jewish secular culture” in two primary arenas, theoretical examinations of the concepts and principles of Jewish secularism, and, material analyses of Jewish secular culture that extend the field beyond traditional historical accounts. Thus new modes of thinking about the topic in relation to Jewish intermediality, analyses that explore the topic synchronically and diachronically, that consider specific signifiers within Jewish material culture are especially welcome. I am also interested in essays that probe Sabbatean recuperations of secular culture in order to reimagine a Jewish aesthetics. The submission period for this issue ends January 25, 2019. Questions regarding potential essays can be directed to Professor Kitty Millet ([email protected]).

Prof. Dr. Kitty Millet
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Sound of the Unsayable: Jewish Secular Culture in Arnold Schönberg and Aharon Appelfeld
Religions 2019, 10(5), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10050334 - 19 May 2019
Abstract
This article examines the use of central elements of the Jewish religious repertoire and transcendental realm, such as prophecy or revelation, within the aesthetic secular realm of musical avant-garde and modern Hebrew literature. By focusing on two case studies, I attempt to shed [...] Read more.
This article examines the use of central elements of the Jewish religious repertoire and transcendental realm, such as prophecy or revelation, within the aesthetic secular realm of musical avant-garde and modern Hebrew literature. By focusing on two case studies, I attempt to shed new light on the question of Jewish secular culture. Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951), an Austrian Jewish composer, was born into an assimilated Viennese family and converted to Protestantism before returning to Judaism in the 1930s while escaping to the United States. Aharon Appelfeld (1932–2018), an Israeli Jewish writer, was born in Czernowitz to assimilated German-speaking parents, survived the Holocaust and emigrated to Israel in 1946. My claim is that in their works both composer and author testify to traumatic experiences that avoid verbal representation by: (1) subverting and transgressing conventional aesthetic means and (2) alluding to sacred tropes and theological concepts. In exploring Schoenberg’s opera Moses und Aron and Appelfeld’s Journey into Winter among others, this article shows how the transcendent sphere returns within the musical and poetic avant-garde (musical prose, 12-tone composition, prose poem, non-semantic or semiotic fiction) as a “sound” of old traditions that can only be heard through the voices of a new Jewish culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jewish Secular Culture)
Open AccessArticle
Secular Jewish Identity and Public Religious Participation within Australian Secular Multiculturalism
Religions 2019, 10(2), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020069 - 22 Jan 2019
Abstract
Many Australian Jews label their Jewish identity as secular. However, public representations of Jewish culture within Australian multiculturalism frequently highlight the religious practices of Judaism as markers of Jewish cultural authenticity. This study explores how secular Jews sometimes perform and reference Jewish religious [...] Read more.
Many Australian Jews label their Jewish identity as secular. However, public representations of Jewish culture within Australian multiculturalism frequently highlight the religious practices of Judaism as markers of Jewish cultural authenticity. This study explores how secular Jews sometimes perform and reference Jewish religious practice when participating in communal events, and when identifying as Jewish to non-Jews in social interactions and in interactions with the state. Ethnographic participant observation and semi-structured in-depth interviews with nine self-identified secular Jews living in Queensland, Australia, were employed to gather data. These self-identified secular Jews within the community incorporate little religiosity in their private lives, yet in public they often identify with religious practice, and use a religious framework when describing and representing Jewishness to outsiders. This suggests that public Jewishness within Queensland multiculturalism might be considered a performative identity, where acts and statements of religious behavior construct and signify Jewish group cultural distinctiveness in mainstream society. These secular Jews, it is suggested, may participate in this performativity in order to partake in the social capital of communal religious institutions, and to maintain a space for Jewish identity in multicultural secular society, so that their individual cultural interpretations of Jewishness might be realised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jewish Secular Culture)
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Open AccessArticle
A Place of Pretense and Escapism: The Coffeehouse in Early 20th Century Budapest Jewish Literature
Religions 2018, 9(10), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100320 - 18 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
In Budapest, going to the coffeehouiennese Café and Fin-De-Siecle Cultuse was the quintessential urban habit. The coffeehouse, a Judaized urban space, although devoid of any religious overtones, was Jewish in that most of the owners and significant majority of the intellectual clientele were [...] Read more.
In Budapest, going to the coffeehouiennese Café and Fin-De-Siecle Cultuse was the quintessential urban habit. The coffeehouse, a Judaized urban space, although devoid of any religious overtones, was Jewish in that most of the owners and significant majority of the intellectual clientele were Jewish—secular and non-affiliated—but Jewish. The writers’ Jewishness was not a confessed faith or identity, but a lens on the experience of life that stemmed from their origins, whether they were affiliated with a Jewish institution or not, and whether they identified as Jews or not. The coffeehouse enabled Jews to create and participate in the culture that replaced traditional ethnic and religious affiliations. The new secular urban Jew needed a place to express and practice this new identity, and going to the coffeehouse was an important part of that identity. Hungarian Jewish literature centered in Budapest contains a significant amount of material on the coffeehouse. Literature provided a non-constrained and unfiltered venue for the secular Jewish urban intellectuals to voice freely and directly their opinions on Jewish life at the time. In the article I examine what the Jewish writers of the early 20th century wrote about Budapest’s coffeehouses and how their experience of them is connected to their being Jewish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jewish Secular Culture)
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