We remain intellectual creatures of our physical habitats. The Internet has changed our ability to comprehend the places of others, knitting us all ever closer together. But there is still a filter, and it is us.
Sholem Aleichem’s writing articulated the difference between being away from aplace and being no place.
There has been a renewed interest in the role that place plays in Jewish life. It follows a general Western rethinking of identity from one in which identity is situated in a set of mental contents to a more holistic approach that takes our physical presence in the world more fully into account.
David Stoleru Recently, I chanced upon a very interesting program about the power of consciousness. A Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto, photographed the molecular structure of water in a bottle. He established the experiment with the water a few times, each time writing a few different words on the bottle: “I love you,” “I hate you,”
Rachel Gross Space and Place in Jewish Studies by Barbara E. Mann (Rutgers University Press, 2012, 192 pp, $25.95) Too often, Jewish theologians have focused on the significance of time in Judaism, denigrating the import of Jewish conceptions of space. In his powerful monograph, The Sabbath, for instance, Abraham Joshua Heschel declared, “Holiness in space,
Gaston Bachelard (1994). The Poetics of Space: The classic look at how we experience intimate places,( Boston, M.A., Beacon Press) Keith Basso (1996). Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache (Mexico, University of New Mexico Press) Denise Birdwell-Pheasant and Donna Lawrence-Zuniga, Eds., (1999). HouseLife: Space, place and family in Europe, (Oxford,
1. How are we, as individuals and Jews, influenced by the places in
which we live?
2. How is our culture transformed by experiences of migration, or by a sense of rootedness or homelessness?
3. How are our communities shaped by where they are situated? And how has history influenced the meanings and patterns embedded in place?
4. How has Jewish culture — for example, our art, food, and literature — been influenced by our neighbors’ religious practices?
Marion Kahnemann I live in Dresden, a midsize city in Eastern Germany. While I have a difficult relationship with this place, that difficulty has a significant impact on me and my art. The city’s history is full of ruptures — fascism, the firebombing in World War II, capitalism — and the narratives they have created.
Hadassa Goldvicht I grew up in Jerusalem, in a reality where everything was experienced as sacred. A few days after I was born,, after the Sabbath’s kiddush, my father placed a drop of wine in my mouth, and he did so every week until I could hold the cup myself. His gesture, one of hundreds,