Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. Ellen Badone
Livnot U'Lehibanot (To Build and to be Built), a three-month work-study program in Israel for North American Jews in their twenties. This study will focus on the Jewish message and methods of Livnot U'Lehibanot , in order to explore the impact and significance of the program for participants' Jewish identities. Similar programs offering youth travel to Israel are extremely popular within the organized Jewish community, and are perceived to promote Jewish identification and cultural continuity. Using categories of Israel, Jews and Judaism, I analyze Livnot 's message, presentation and goals in order to examine more closely the Jewish worldviews that participants learn about and in which they take part during the program. With attention to recent anthropological and post-colonial theory on the dynamics of cultural hybridity and ambivalence, this work also explores ways in which past-participants create diverse and hybrid Jewish identities and commitments for themselves, selectively making use of the information and experiences they acquire at Livnot . Is there any significance to ethnic experiences like Livnot , beyond the neat labels of essentialist, nostalgic, romantic searches for roots? Drawing on notions of resistance and agency, I suggest that Livnot offers participants knowledge and experience that empowers them to make informed Jewish decisions following the program. In this sense, Livnot provides participants with agency by enabling them to pick and choose from Jewish tradition, in order to fashion their own creative, personal Jewish identities.
Shapiro, Faydra L., "Building and being built: Constructing Jewish identities on an Israel experience program" (2000). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2391.