“Israeli Berlin: Jewish Culture in the German Capital, Then and Now”
West Bloomfield Lecture Series: Israel in the World
Every year, hundreds of Israelis migrate to Berlin, provoking heated reactions from Israeli critics who see moving to Germany, of all places, as an act of desertion. The intensity of the debate surrounding Israelis in Berlin today conceals the fact that Jewish migration to the German capital is not new. Roughly a century ago, Berlin emerged as a major metropolis and a magnet for Hebrew- and Yiddish-speaking writers from Eastern Europe who, like Israelis today, came in search of economic and artistic opportunity. This talk will explore the development of Israeli culture in Berlin through the lens of the past. How can the history of Hebrew and Yiddish culture in Weimar Berlin illuminate the current phenomenon of Israeli “diasporization”? What might this phenomenon tell us about Israeli identity today?