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After the Rescue
 
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After the Rescue
Jewish Identity and Community in Contemporary Denmark
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
 
18 Jul 2003
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£97.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9780312239459
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

In October of 1943, the Danish resistance rescued almost all of the Jews in Copenhagen from roundups by the occupying Nazis. In the years since, Jews have become deeply engaged in a Danish culture that presents very few barriers of antisemitism or prejudice. This book explores the questions that such inclusion raises for the Danish Jews, and what their answers can tell us about the meaning of religion, ethnicity and community in modern society.
Social scientists have long argued that modernity poses challenges for traditional ethnic communities, by breaking down the networks of locality, kinship, religion and occupation that have held such communities together. For the Danish Jews, inclusion into the larger society has led to increasing fragmentation, as the community has split into a bewildering array of religious, social, and political factions. Yet it remains one of Scandinavia's most vital religious organizations, and Jewishness remains central to self-understanding for thousands of its members. How this has happened - how the Jewish world has maintained its significance while losing any sense of coherence or unity - suggests a new understanding of the meaning of ethnic community in contemporary society.


Description

In October of 1943, the Danish resistance rescued almost all of the Jews in Copenhagen from roundups by the occupying Nazis. In the years since, Jews have become deeply engaged in a Danish culture that presents very few barriers of antisemitism or prejudice. This book explores the questions that such inclusion raises for the Danish Jews, and what their answers can tell us about the meaning of religion, ethnicity and community in modern society.
Social scientists have long argued that modernity poses challenges for traditional ethnic communities, by breaking down the networks of locality, kinship, religion and occupation that have held such communities together. For the Danish Jews, inclusion into the larger society has led to increasing fragmentation, as the community has split into a bewildering array of religious, social, and political factions. Yet it remains one of Scandinavia's most vital religious organizations, and Jewishness remains central to self-understanding for thousands of its members. How this has happened - how the Jewish world has maintained its significance while losing any sense of coherence or unity - suggests a new understanding of the meaning of ethnic community in contemporary society.


Reviews

'[C]omprehensive, nuanced, and beautifully written. Buckser skillfully weaves data from historical sources with rich ethnography and succeeds in depicting [the Jewish community of Denmark] sensitively and as objectively as is humanly possible. In doing so he provides valuable guidance for how to conduct research when challenged by enormous scale and social complexity, conditions common to late modern urban society'. - Leonard Plotnicov, Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, and Editor of Ethnology


Contents

Introduction: Ethnicity and Culture in Late Modernity
The Community in Time and Space
The Religious World: Faith and Ritual Practice in Jewish Copenhagen
The Communal World: Jewish Subgroups in Copenhagen
The Social World: The Life and Politics of the Formal Jewish Community
The Larger World: Relations with the Jewish Community Outside of Denmark
The Danish World: Jews in the Danish Mind
The World of the Past: Danish Jewish History and the Rescue of 1943
Conclusion: Jewishness and the Meaning of Community in Contemporary Denmark


Authors

ANDREW BUCKSER is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Purdue University. He is the author of a number of works on religion and culture in northern Europe, including Communities of Faith: Sectarianism, Identity, and Social Change on a Danish Island (1996). Dr. Buckser received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993, and he has conducted extensive fieldwork in Western Jutland and Copenhagen.