Video Chronicle

[Re]Thinking Jewish Heritage
18 March 2019


On March 18, 2019 presentation of the book by prof. Daniel Walkowitz "The Remembered and Forgotten Jewish World: Heritage Tourism in Europe and the United States" took place. 

In his book Daniel Walkowitz sets out analysis of meanings and implications of contemporary heritage tourism, bringing in perspectives of research, family history, and activism, which resonates with the views expressed by scholars at a 1999 conference celebrating the 26th anniversary of the publication of Irving Howe’s prize-winning opus, World of Our Fathers. They observed that the world of Yiddishkeit he chronicled has largely been displaced in heritage tourism by a Holocaust narrative. Touring heritage sites in the years after 2011 confirmed the continuing dominance of such a narrative that focused on sites of the Shoah and remnants of synagogues and cemeteries. The prewar life of the Jewish community, when discussed at all, highlighted the achievements of great men – rabbis, scholars, and philanthropists (and their wives); everyday quotidian experiences of the poor, the working class, shopkeepers and of their wives and children received little attention. Therefore, he conceptualizes how New Jewish History can offer the potential of a new paradigm for Jewish Heritage tourism, even as the Holocaust narrative remained dominant. 

The presentation began with introduction talk by Daniel Walkowitz and continued as a conversation with practitioners and researchers working in Lviv: Marla Raucher Osborn and Jay Osborn, who are former California professionals in law and engineering, now living in Lviv and working in the Rohatyn Jewish Heritage NGO and initiative. Together they discussed the meanings and implications of contemporary heritage tourism, bringing in perspectives of research, family history, and activism. 

Moderated by historian Sofia Dyak.

Daniel Walkowitz, professor emeritus at the Department of History and Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Labor and urban historian who for nearly two decades directed the Metropolitan Studies Program at the University and pioneered its Public History Program.