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Leo Baeck Institute London Lecture Series 2019-20

Leo Baeck Institute London Lecture Series 2019-20Acting Jewish: Between Identity and Attire

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

The 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?

 

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

Henry Bial

Classic Jewish film and television, from The Jazz Singer to Seinfeld, was shaped by the economic need to reach the broadest possible audience, leading to creative strategies that minimized or downplayed the difference between Jews and the rest of society. As Netflix and other streaming services have made more specialized entertainment commercially viable, new ways of acting Jewish on screen have emerged that highlight the quirkier and more contested aspects of Jewish identity.

Kerry Wallach

In the 1920s and early 1930s – as today – Jews in Germany were concerned about growing anti-Semitism, and many took precautions to conceal their Jewishness by dressing and behaving in certain ‘assimilated’ ways. Yet there were still occasions when it was beneficial to be openly Jewish. This lecture explores the tensions that came with being visible as a Jew – an identity play that often involved appearing simultaneously non-Jewish and Jewish. Drawing on a wide range of images and films, this presentation explores controversial aspects of German Jewish visibility and invisibility, as well…

Adi Heyman

What started out as religious niche has matured into a 250 billion-dollar industry largely pioneered by a group of diverse women embracing unique identities on social media. Fashion stylist turned blogger, Adi Heyman’s inspiration behind launching a Jewish fashion and lifestyle blog in 2010 stemmed from her personal and professional experience as an Orthodox Jew working in the fashion industry.

Paul Herzberg

Paul Herzberg is an actor and writer. His most recent appearances as an actor were as John Vorster in Antony Sher’s ID at the Almeida; Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at The Arcola, at the RSC as Vincentio in The Taming of The Shrew; in 2017 Shimon Peres in the award-winning play, Oslo. Recent television includes Daniel Borgoraz in the award-winning serial The Honourable Woman. His screenplay Almost Heaven won the Nashville International Best Feature Award, and his stage play, The Dead Wait, was shortlisted for The Verity Bargate Award, nominated in three categories for the MEN theatre…

Svenja Bethke

The identities of many Eastern European and German Jews who immigrated to Eretz Israel between the 1880s and the foundation of the Israeli state in 1948 oscillated between their roots and identification with the new Zionist project. This lecture explores how immigrants expressed social, cultural and political belonging through clothing and, focusing on gender and visual materials, offers fresh perspectives on how clothing became fashion, or ‘anti-fashion’, and to what extent a consensual mode of dress emerged. It also explores how clothing habits of Arab people and changing Ottoman and…