The Israeli diaspora in Berlin: Back to being Jewish?

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In this ethnographic essay, I reflect on the origins and present condition of the new (post-2010) Israeli diaspora in Berlin. Based on 10 months of participant observation, I map out the main sub-streams of this emigration; elicit the economic, professional, and political reasons for leaving Israel; and explore these émigrés' initial encounter with German society. My observations suggest that many Israeli residents of Berlin (mostly secular) rediscover their Jewishness along diasporic lines and forge ties with the local religious and community organizations. Being a small minority in the German-speaking milieu, Israelis invest in building their own Hebrew-based community networks, including media outlets and cultural and educational institutions. Lastly, I explore these émigrés' ties with Israel and conclude that many Israelis in Berlin are sojourners rather than immigrants and that Berlin is but one phase in their life journey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-109
Number of pages22
JournalIsrael Studies Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Association for Israel Studies.


  • Berlin
  • Community institutions
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Israeli diaspora
  • Jewish identity
  • Sojourners


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