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Cambridge Interfaith Programme


Constructing feelings of community through language practices in Jewish Europe

Speaker: Dr Anastasia Badder

Rescheduled from February 2023, due to industrial action. And again due to other local circumstance.

At the heart of this talk is the question of what makes a Jewish community a community in the face of diverse and divergent backgrounds, ritual practices and observances, ways of reading Torah, and modes of belonging. What can and do they claim to share, if not practice and belief? How do they work to maintain ‘community feeling’ in the face of demographic, ritual, and political change?

As Jewish communities across Europe grapple with worries about assimilation, concerns about disappearance, debates over nostalgia and memorialization, and fears about rising antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiments, this talk zooms in on one community that is deliberately seeking new ways to cultivate unity and constitute themselves as a community. Based on preliminary ethnographic fieldwork, this talk explores how a Jewish community in Luxembourg engages French as a means to community, ‘integration’, and distinction as they and the context in which they are situated undergo rapid changes.

About the speaker

Anastasia Badder is a Research Associate affiliated with the Cambridge Interfaith Programme and based in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. She recently completed a postdoctoral post at the University of Luxembourg. Her work ethnographically explores contemporary Jewish lives and languages in Europe.

Part of the Inter-Religious Relations seminar series.

Please note: This seminar will take place in Seminar Room 7 (First Floor, Faculty of Divinity) rather than the Lightfoot Room.

Further reading (optional)

For those interested to engage with this topic in further detail, please see:

  • Kiwitt, Marc. 2014. “The problem of Judeo-French: between language and cultural dynamics.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 226: 25-56.
  • Nahon, Peter. 2020. « La singularisation linguistique des Juifs en Provence et en Gascogne : deux cas parallèles ou opposés ? », La linguistique 56 (1): 87-113.
  • Hillewaert, Sarah and Chantal Tetreault. 2021. “Introduction: Communities reimagining sharedness in belief and practice.” Religion and Society 12: 129-136.
Tuesday, 13 June, 2023 - 14:15
Event location: 
Seminar Room 7, Faculty of Divinity

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