The Israeli Diaspora in Berlin: Back to Being Jewish?

In this lecture, I reflect on the origins and present condition of the new (post-2010) Israeli diaspora in Berlin. Based on 10 months of participant observation, I map out the main sub-streams of this emigration, elicit the economic, professional, and political reasons for leaving Israel, and explore these émigrés’ initial encounter with German society. My observations suggest that many Israeli residents of Berlin (mostly secular) rediscover their Jewishness along diasporic lines and forge ties with the local religious and community organizations. Being a small minority in the German-speaking milieu, Israelis invest in building their own Hebrew-based community networks, cultural and educational institutions. Lastly, I explore these émigrés’ ties with Israel and conclude that many are sojourners rather than immigrants and that Berlin is but one phase in their life journey.

Bio:

Larissa Remnick is Professor of Sociology and Chair of Sociology & Anthropology Department at Bar-Ilan University. Her research focuses on immigration and migrant integration; cross-cultural relations; family, gender and health challenges that immigration entails. She has published five books and about 100 articles and book chapters, specifically on the issues of Russian-Jewish migrationsand global diaspora.