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See detailWhen a Kippah Represents All Jews: Navigating Shifting Signs from Talmud Torah to School in Luxembourg
Badder, Anastasia UL

Scientific Conference (2021, December 20)

Across the contexts of the lives of Luxembourg's Liberal Talmud Torah students, secularism and mobility are highly valued and understood to be key characteristics of modern living. Talmud Torah students ... [more ▼]

Across the contexts of the lives of Luxembourg's Liberal Talmud Torah students, secularism and mobility are highly valued and understood to be key characteristics of modern living. Talmud Torah students feel they easily meet these criteria – they are multilingual, they currently lead and anticipate highly mobile lives, they see themselves as cosmopolitan and their approach to Jewish life as flexible, and, equally importantly, they look, dress, and comport themselves "like everyone else", all of which are understood to facilitate movement (in the sense of movement across geographic, economic, social, and religious/secular spheres) and belonging in the modern world. The students directly contrast their ways of being with those of more observant Jews. Identifiable by their rootedness, linguistic stringency, and, especially, their ways of dressing (e.g. wearing a kippah in public), the embodied practices and visibility of observant Jews are perceived to be impediments to participation and success in the secular realm. For Talmud Torah students, the public kippah in particular indexes a religious individual and a "backwards" and undesirable life. However, when Jewishness appears in their school classrooms, it is usually visually represented by orthodox-presenting men – often a man in a white shirt and black kippah. In the school classroom, these men and their kippot are framed as representing all Jews, understood as a homogenous group of adherents to the religion Judaism. For many Talmud Torah students, their first encounter with this new meaning of the kippah, visualization and associated conceptualization of Jewishness is jarring – they suddenly find themselves on the 'wrong' side of the religious/secular divide and grouped together with those from whom they could not feel more distant. Based on 31 months of ethnographic fieldwork with Luxembourg's Liberal Jewish community, this paper will explore how the kippah is remediated from the Talmud Torah to the school classroom, how students grapple with this uncomfortable process, and some of its implications. [less ▲]

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See detail"You want to undress us to press your case": Negotiating claims to religious truth in a secularizing state
Badder, Anastasia UL

Scientific Conference (2021, November 17)

For decades, Luxembourg funded its recognized religious communities; recently, with a goal of greater secularization, the state made major changes (and cuts) to its funding scheme. This move revived ... [more ▼]

For decades, Luxembourg funded its recognized religious communities; recently, with a goal of greater secularization, the state made major changes (and cuts) to its funding scheme. This move revived simmering tensions in the Jewish community, comprised of one Orthodox and one Liberal synagogue and represented to the state by a single Orthodox-led administrative body (la communauté israélite du Luxembourg, or CIL). Emboldened by growing membership and fearing a loss of their already-precarious autonomy and financial support, the Liberal congregation has begun pushing for representation on the CIL, which the Orthodox congregation in turn resists. In the process, Orthodox leadership is forced to reflect on their own practices and values in sometimes uncomfortable ways. As they jostle for control of the CIL, each side makes claims to truth, authenticity, and authority based on drastically different ethics and visions of the future for Luxembourg and its Jewish community. In board meetings, general assemblies, and conversations, old conflicts around the 'right' kind of Jewish life and current and future shape and needs of the Jewish community are rearticulated as the two congregations debate who can and should be the state's interlocutor. Based on 31 months of fieldwork, this paper explores how a reorganization of state administrative control reignited an old struggle within Luxembourg's Jewish community and how two congregations with different histories, ethical projects, and anticipated futures fight to define Jewishness, community, and a good Jewish life and to maintain (or gain) the right to represent Judaism to the Luxembourgish state. [less ▲]

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See detailLearning How to Be Modern: An Ethnography of the Religious Education of L/liberal Jewish Talmud Torah Students in Luxembourg
Badder, Anastasia UL

Doctoral thesis (2021)

This dissertation is an ethnography of children and young people growing up Jewish in Luxembourg. It focuses on the students of a Talmud Torah class in a Liberal synagogue that, in recent years, has drawn ... [more ▼]

This dissertation is an ethnography of children and young people growing up Jewish in Luxembourg. It focuses on the students of a Talmud Torah class in a Liberal synagogue that, in recent years, has drawn increasing numbers of highly mobile, multilingual families from around the world. As these students learn how to be Jewish and carry on Jewish tradition, they simultaneously explore what it means to be modern and to be modern Jews. This process pushes them to confront a series of ambiguities and apparent paradoxes across the contexts of their everyday lives – in Talmud Torah, at home, and at school. Based on 31 months of fieldwork, this dissertation reveals the nuanced semiotic ideologies and competing visions of modernity that become visible through the lens of the students' Talmud Torah learning, including learning to read Hebrew, engaging with religious texts, and participating in ritual performance, and their school experiences. The students grapple with, navigate, and position themselves in relation to these different 'projects of modernity' as they work to make sense of and bring together the aims of Jewish continuity and liberal modernity and all that these entail. By exploring these processes, this dissertation aims to participate in the anthropological conversation about 'modernities' and 'the modern' as a project that is both embracing of the liberal, the secular, and inclusivity and can be powerfully normative, constraining, and exclusionary, and to encourage us as anthropologists and teachers to think about how we might leave open the possibility for nuance and alternative attachments, desires, goals, mobilities, and ways of being in the classroom and beyond. [less ▲]

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See detailLiving and Learning in Times of Corona
Badder, Anastasia UL; Zhang, Yimin UL; Olmo, Mara et al

in The Ends of Humanities (2021)

Detailed reference viewed: 250 (53 UL)
See detail(In)visibility: Negotiating Difference in Luxembourgish Schools
Badder, Anastasia UL

Scientific Conference (2019)

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See detailNegotiating the past, present, and future: The Luxembourgish Jewish Museum Project as a Process of Contested memory and imagined futures
Badder, Anastasia UL; Bronec, Jakub UL

Scientific Conference (2019)

There is currently a project underway to establish a Jewish museum in Luxembourg in a restored synagogue just outside the main city center. As this project unfolds, it provides a clear view into the ... [more ▼]

There is currently a project underway to establish a Jewish museum in Luxembourg in a restored synagogue just outside the main city center. As this project unfolds, it provides a clear view into the contestations and negotiations over meaning, representation, Jewishness, and the past, present, and future visions of community that arise in the development of a museum. Ongoing debates over which objects will be included in the museum, how they will be defined, how they will link to other sites of Jewish heritage around the city (through tours, performances, reference, etc.), as well as a hesitancy by many to donate family objects all point to issues around the construction of collective memory, communal cultural heritage, and multiple narratives of the past and how these are erased in the process of producing heritage as a series of museum objects. These debates also highlight concerns about how the contemporary community – which is multilingual, multinational, and multi-denominational – will be represented; in other words, who will be included in representations of the community and how will the contemporary community be defined, if at all? Finally, ongoing discussions around what will be emphasized or downplayed indicate the contested nature, not only of the past, but also of collective visions of the future as constituted through representations of heritage. In particular, negotiations over how to represent the Holocaust reflect a desire by some to fit the museum into developing narratives of cosmopolitanism, interfaith, and intercultural relations and a drive by others to represent family narratives and engage in a project ‘against forgetting’ in order to ensure a particular kind of future. And so, using this project as a case study, I seek to draw attention to the ways in which the construction of a heritage regime is at once a negotiation over narratives of the past, shared present identities, and collective visions of the future and the discourses and social processes at work within these debates. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 146 (18 UL)
See detail“He never told me he was Jewish!” : Navigating Borders in Luxembourg edit
Badder, Anastasia UL

Scientific Conference (2018)

Detailed reference viewed: 28 (0 UL)