In my latest "Ruthless Cosmopolitan" column for JTA I write about "allosemitism" -- the concept that Jews are the perpetual "other". I describe this year's Yiddish Summer Weimar festival and also a summer exhibit at the Jewish Museum in Munich on "that certain Jewish something" that makes things and/or people Jewish.
DOES A "CERTAIN JEWISH SOMETHING" REALLY SET JEWS APART?
By Ruth Ellen Gruber
WEIMAR, Germany (JTA) -- I learned a new word this summer -- "allosemitism." Coined by a Polish-Jewish literary critic named Artur Sandauer, the term describes a concept with which I am quite familiar -- the idea of Jews as the perpetual "other."
Allosemitism can embrace both positive and negative feelings toward Jews -- everything, as the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman put it, "from love and respect to outright condemnation and genocidal hatred."
As the author of National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe, I have roamed thousands of miles around Europe's historic Jewish heartland, bringing Jewish heritage to light for on-site explorers and armchair travelers alike. On this blog I will post photographs, links and personal experiences related to Jewish heritage sites and travel, particularly in the countries of east-central Europe.
Aside from clearly marked quotations, links and pictures, all material on this blog is copyright ⓒ Ruth Ellen Gruber
I'm an American writer, photographer, and public speaker long based in Europe. I've chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues for more than 20 years. My latest books are "National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe," published in 2007, and "Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere)," published in 2008.
I also am working on "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe," an exploration of the American West in the European imagination for which I won a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH summer stipend grant.