Jews in Slovakia After 1989. A Community Between the Future and the Past


SALNER, Peter: Jews in Slovakia After 1989 (A Community Between the Future
and the Past). Etnologické štúdie 32. Bratislava, Veda  2018. 144 s. ISBN 978-80-224-1624-5. 
 

The book deals with the Jewish community after 1989. Introductory chapters (Introduction, Research, Literature) should serve for initial information. The most relevant chapters are the following ones: the first one, entitled „The Community“, provides an account of the Central Union of the Jewish Religious Communities – ÚZŽNO foundation, and its relations with separate religious communities. It also defines the basic facts, current activities, and two important institutions of the Jewish community, namely the Holocaust Documentation Center and the Jewish Community Museum, which is housed in  the Bratislava synagogue.

The second chapter called „Holidays“ is dedicated to two historical holidays (Passover and Hanukkah) that are compared with the Holocaust commemoration events. The author analyzes both their common and different features, their transformation in the course of time, but he questions also their significance for contemporary members of the Jewish community.
In the chapter entitled „Symbols“, the author provides an analysis of the seemingly disconnected phenomena represented by synagogue, coffe house, Jewish humor or the Chatam Sofer Memorial.
In the concluding chapter, the author resumes that complex contemporary processes are characteristic of three, apparently, simple concepts: simplification, individualization and selective approach to the traditional religious and festive phenomena, in particular. In practice, this means a transfer from collective activities to individual ones; from public to private events and in the end, from a complex approach to a selective one. When analyzing the current situation and speculating about possible future trends selectiveness emerges as the most dominant factor.

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