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9 A Response from New York Return of the Repressed? JONATHAN BOYARIN The quote from Robert Paine that opens the introduction to this volume suggests a fundamental irony. Paine says that "the people themselves ... have been deterritorialized through the millennia." He means that they have continued to exist despite the loss of their national homeland. Yet it is ironic that the process of de-diasporization-"the predicament of homecoming ," as an earlier set of essays in Israeli ethnography has it (Deshen and Shokeid 1974)-represents simultaneously an attempt to take up an interrupted continuity with ancient Israel, and a break with traditional diaspora Judaism. The process of ingathering, conceived as a return to a shared and collectively possessed land, is not only the fulfillment of a lack. It also involves shedding of habits of thinking, daily practices, and strategies for interaction with non-Jews that have been developed over the course of centuries. All of these-the collection of the Jews of the world to the Jewish State of Israel; the identification of contemporary Israelis with ancient Israelites; the "modernizing" rejection of traditional Jewish religious and cultural frameworks -represent tendencies, not exhaustive or totalizing dictates. Each signals a key area of difference and struggle over the realization of Jewish identity at the end of the twentieth century. Paine goes on to write that "they [the Jews] have restored themselves to the primordial territory." This language contains the suggestion-no doubt inadvertent but all the more effective for that-either that Israeli Jews are here acting as the agents and representatives of Jews the world over, or that those Jews who have not so restored themselves are in effect no longer counted. The suggestion is belied, of course, by the millions of Jews who 217 9 A Response from New York Return of the Repressed? JONATHAN BOYARIN The quote from Robert Paine that opens the introduction to this volume suggests a fundamental irony. Paine says that "the people themselves ... have been deterritorialized through the millennia." He means that they have continued to exist despite the loss of their national homeland. Yet it is ironic that the process of de-diasporization-"the predicament of homecoming ," as an earlier set of essays in Israeli ethnography has it (Deshen and Shokeid 1974)-represents simultaneously an attempt to take up an interrupted continuity with ancient Israel, and a break with traditional diaspora Judaism. The process of ingathering, conceived as a return to a shared and collectively possessed land, is not only the fulfillment of a lack. It also involves shedding of habits of thinking, daily practices, and strategies for interaction with non-Jews that have been developed over the course of centuries. All of these-the collection of the Jews of the world to the Jewish State of Israel; the identification of contemporary Israelis with ancient Israelites; the "modernizing" rejection of traditional Jewish religious and cultural frameworks -represent tendencies, not exhaustive or totalizing dictates. Each signals a key area of difference and struggle over the realization of Jewish identity at the end of the twentieth century. Paine goes on to write that "they [the Jews] have restored themselves to the primordial territory." This language contains the suggestion-no doubt inadvertent but all the more effective for that-either that Israeli Jews are here acting as the agents and representatives of Jews the world over, or that those Jews who have not so restored themselves are in effect no longer counted. The suggestion is belied, of course, by the millions of Jews who 217 218 Jonathan Boyarin choose not to migrate to Israel, and perhaps even more sharply by the hundreds of thousands of Israeli emigres overseas (Shokeid 1988). Such language, by which a usually careful and incisive observer such as Paine suggests that the Zionist notion of "the reversal of exile" has already been suggested, effectively complements the "suture" by which contemporary Israelis are seen as the direct inheritors of the ancient Israelites and their kingdoms. Groups promoting sharply contrasting ideologies have all joined in the attempt to use the ancient Israelites as an ideal model for the transformation of diaspora Jews into rooted Israelis. For the romantic agrarian socialists of the Second Aliyah, contemporary Bedouins were a model to be emulated; thus we have photographs of young Russian Jewish immigrants riding horses and wearing flowing robes. For the Temple Mount Faithful who are today still seeking ways to hasten the replacement of the Dome of the Rock with the Third Temple, and for their...

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