Acting Jewish: Between Identity and Attire


A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

The proposed lecture series investigates the complex nature of what it means to act or appear Jewish and for whom this appearance is important. Examples are drawn from a wide range of performative settings: on stage, on screen, in daily life. Under which conditions do certain elements of fashion and attire appear as “Jewish”? How do Jews consciously showcase or hide their identity by way of ‘acting’ and dressing in certain ways? And how were these elements conceptualised in the wider discourse: as ‘natural’- self-expressions of an ethnical identity, as attire communicating a social role, or ‘prejudiced’ – as a ’costume’ hiding the wearer’s true identity?

This season’s speakers will be:


Thursday, 5th December 2019, 6.30 pm

Prof Henry Bial – Jewish on Demand: Representation and Difference in the Streaming Era


Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 6.30 pm

Prof Kerry Wallach – ‘Coming out’ as Jewish in Weimar Germany


Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 6.30 pm

Ms Adi Heyman – The Big Cover Up: Modest Fashion


Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 6.30 pm

Mr Paul Herzberg – Acting Jewish: Perception and Reality


Thursday, 21st May 2020, 6.30 pm

Ms Svenja Bethke – How to dress in Eretz Israel? Clothing, Fashion and Nation Building, 1880s – 1948


Lectures will be held at the German Historical Institute London, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ and begin at 6.30pm.

Admission is free but places are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute, London (email or phone 020 7882 5690).

Underground: Holborn, Russell Square; Bus: 1, 7, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 59, 68, 91, 98, 134, 168, 171, 188, 242, 243, 521, X68

For more information on the this season’s lecture series please refer to the leaflet here.