This book presents original studies of how a cultural concept of Jewishness and a coherent Jewish history came to make sense in the experiences of people entangled in different historical situations. Instead of searching for the inconsistencies, discontinuities, or ruptures of dominant grand historical narratives of Jewish cultural history, this book unfolds situations and events, where Jewishness and a coherent Jewish history became useful, meaningful, and acted upon as a site of causal explanations. Inspired by classical American pragmatism and more recent French pragmatism, we present a new perspective on Jewish cultural history in which the experiences, problems, and actions of people are at the center of reconstructions of historical causalities and projections of future horizons. The book shows how boundaries between Jewish and non-Jewish are not a priori given but are instead repeatedly experienced in a variety of situations and then acted upon as matters of facts. In different ways and on different scales, these studies show how people's experiences of Jewishness perpetually probe, test, and shape the boundaries between what is Jewish and non-Jewish, and that these boundaries shape the spatiotemporal linkages that we call history.

chapter 2|27 pages

En Route to Palestine

Jewish Mobility and Zionist Emergence

chapter 3|19 pages

The Death of the Renegade

On Jewish Experience in the Twentieth Century

chapter 4|23 pages

Tropical Territorialism

Displaced Persons, Colonialism, and the Freeland League in Suriname (1946–1948)

chapter 5|24 pages

Autoethnographic Cosmopolitanism

Jewish Travel Writers Among Their Coreligionists

chapter 6|23 pages

The Presence of Past Struggles

The Jews and the Boundaries of Enlightenment

chapter 7|21 pages

“It Is Hellas and Israel to Which Europe Owes Its Culture”

Georg Brandes and His Athens vs. Jerusalem Reinterpretations

chapter 8|24 pages

From Jewish Separateness to Jewish and Non-Jewish Entanglement

A Shift to a “New Jewish History”?

chapter 9|24 pages

To Walk in the Footsteps of Your Ancestors

Roots Tourism in Yiddishland