“Since , O Mazda from the beginning, Thou didst create soul and body, mental power and knowledge , and since Thou didst bestow to mankind the power to act , speak and guide , you wished that everyone should chose their own faith and path freely.”

Zaratostra - Yasna 31, Verse 11

One who always thinks of his own safety and profit, how can he love the joy-bringing Mother Earth? The righteous man that follows Asha's Law shall dwell in regions radiant with Thy Sun, the abode where wise ones dwell.”

Zaratostra Yasna, Verse 2

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Abstract for the Symposium by Dr Dvir Abramovich

Aussie Sabras: The Israeli migrant community in Melbourne

While the state of Israel was established to allow Jews to end their perennial narrative of wandering and persecution in the Diaspora, since its founding in 1948 more than one million Israelis have chosen to go abroad and settle there.  Given that Israel was built on the pillars of immigration, Israeli emigrants encompass within their midst a complex and variegated array of identities, as well as multivalent links to social groups within and outside Israel. The latest figures from the Israeli Interior Ministry report that there are about 20,000 Israelis living in Australia and it is this group that forms the centre of this presentation.
 It is lamentable that there are almost no local studies of the Israeli emigrant population, perhaps owing to the thorny and controversial nature surrounding the subject matter of Israelis leaving their homeland. As such, a broad spectrum of themes and issues associated with this community has not been scrutinized by the academic community.

The focus of this paper will be to examine the small sized, highly westernized Israeli migrant population in Melbourne, which at present constitutes the largest community of Israelis in Australia. Analysed and dissected will be issues such as: reasons for emigration, models of economic adaptation, the relationship between the Israeli community and the local Jewish community, the durable connections to the country of origins, patterns of communal organization and ethnic and religious identity. Based on ethnographic materials, the paper weaves together theories from the extensive field of migration and Diaspora studies.

Dr. Dvir Abramovich is the Jan Randa Senior Lecturer in Hebrew & Jewish studies and Director of The University of Melbourne Centre for Jewish History and Culture. He was president of the Australian Association of Jewish Studies for 5 years and editor of the Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, the only peer-reviewed journal in Australia devoted to the field of Judaic studies for eight years. A regular contributor to national media, he is co- editor of the book Testifying to the Holocaust (2008) and author of the book Back to the FutureIsraeli Litearture of the 1980s and 1990s published in 2010.

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