Moisis Caimis, a Zionist pioneer and community leader hailing from Corfu, contributed through his journalistic activities to the making of Greek Jewry. Initially working as correspondent of the Trieste-based Italian-Jewish newspaper Il Corriere Israelitico (1885-1898), Caimis published his own Greek language periodicals for the Jews of Greece—Israilitis Chronografos (Corfu, 1899-1901) and Israilitiki Epitheorisis (Athens, 1912-1916). By focusing on the life and work of Moisis Caimis, who was raised in the bilingual Greco-Italian environment of Corfu before moving to Athens in the early twentieth century, this article provides a novel supra-local perspective to the study of Greek Jewry, which emphasizes the importance of Jewish publishing on the Ionian islands for the formation of Jewish identity in Greece. A historical analysis of Caimis’ texts shows how local concepts of patriotism evolved from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century and how the author gradually created a narrative of Greco-Jewish cultural synergy.

issue 20 / December 2021 by Joana Bürger

We are currently witnessing the demise of Arab-Jewish culture – a tradition that started more than fifteen hundred years ago is vanishing before our eyes. Until the twentieth century, the great majority of the Jews under the rule of Islam used Arabic as their language but after the establishment of the State of Israel, Arabic has been gradually disappearing as a language mastered by Jews. They have been deliberately excluded from Arabism to the point that we can now assume an unspoken agreement between Zionism and Arab nationalism to carry out a total cleansing of Arab-Jewish culture. The present article focuses on Iraqi-Jewish authors who immigrated to Israel during the 1950s and examines their insistence on continuing their Arabic literary tradition, despite the reluctance of the two clashing national movements to keep Arab-Jewish culture and identity alive. These attempts failed and gradually most of them stopped writing in Arabic—only few of them successfully shifted to writing in Hebrew, generally adopting the Zionist master narrative.

issue 19 / June 2021 by Reuven Snir

“Poor Jews! You Get Blamed for Everything!”

Hope and Despair in a Galician Yiddish Newspaper during the Revolutions of 1848–49*

The revolutions that swept through Europe in 1848–49 aroused great excitement amidst many Jews in the Habsburg Empire and led to changes (albeit ephemeral) in the Jews’ status and rights. Motivated by the revolutions and the opportunity they offered, one Galician maskil, Avraham Menachem Mendel Mohr, founded a weekly Yiddish newspaper in Lemberg, the Tsaytung , in which he encouraged his readers to welcome this new age and adapt to it. In particular, he discussed extensively relations between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors, expressing his hope that a new era had dawned in Christian-Jewish relations and advising his readers on how to improve themselves within this context. Yet Mohr remained aware that the deep-rooted animosity towards the Jews would be difficult to dispel. Indeed, the editions of the Tsaytung reveal that as the revolutionary fervor faded he became increasingly pessimistic regarding the likelihood of changing Christian attitudes towards the Jews.

issue 17 / September 2020 by Rebecca Wolpe

This paper explores the relations between Ottoman maskilim (Jewish enlighteners) and their Austro-Hungarian counterparts during the second half of the nineteenth century. I shall illustrate this issue by means of a case study of the relationship between an Ottoman maskil, Judah Nehama of Salonica, and his Austro-Hungarian counterpart, Chaim David Lippe, who was born in Galicia but lived in Vienna.
Based on the conceptualizations proposed by scholars such as Matthias Lehmann and Yaron Tsur, the paper analyzes the emergence, during the second half of the nineteenth century, of a “pan-Jewish” maskilic space. This space facilitated the strengthening of the “integrative pole” over the “reluctant pole” in the relations between Jews from “East” and “West,” thereby also weakening the “internal Orientalism” that was prevalent in the Jewish world of the time. Thus the paper highlights the contribution of the Haskalah movement to consolidating the affinities between Jews from across the Diaspora during this period.

issue 17 / September 2020 by Tamir Karkason