Jewish Folk Dance As A Means Of Creating A New Israeli Culture

1717 Words May 19th, 2015 7 Pages
Jewish national identity was colonized when Jewish people were forced out of ancient Israel and dispersed to various different nations. Anti-Semitism was one of the principle means for this colonization because it made it dangerous for Jewish people to express their own national identity in the European nations they dispersed to. As a result, certain traditions, like Jewish folk dance, which were not codified, were lost. Jewish folk dance also disappeared because folk traditions are strongly connected to the land in which they originated and the majority of Jews left Israel. Furthermore, because of the third commandant of the Torah, Jews were not allowed to depict images of their dance. Consequently, their traditional dance was lost forever. However, when the Jews returned to Israel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they found it important to recreate traditions like folk dance to reassert their fractured nationhood after so many years of diaspora. Thus, Israeli folk dance was a means of creating a new Israeli culture.
Israeli folk dance was created by using elements from other dance cultures with themes and music of modern Israel. In this paper, I will argue that while anti-Semitism resulted in the colonization of Jewish national identity, women re-created Israeli folk dance as a means to establish a new Jewish identity, as well as an identity for themselves. By focusing on Romania and Yemen, we will identify the vestiges of colonialism in Israeli folk dance, and…
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