Thursday, October 25, 2007

Diaspora, Exile, etc

Attended a lecture by Gershom Gorenberg on Messianism on the 23rd, and attended an Israel-Palestine religious dialogue last night. Learned a lot about the Temple Mount, have a lot to say, but not much time to say it.

So I'll just throw a question out to blog-land, regarding discussions of "home" and "homeland." Several speakers have referred to the Jews as a misplaced and scattered nation of refugees hoping Israel will be their place to come home to.

The question is this:

What's the difference between diaspora and exile? Is there a difference? How are they related? Does exile become diaspora?

We've been painted as "wanderers," but doesn't that contrast the notion that "home," "family," and "community" are also central to Jewish identity?

Can it be both?


Kelly said...

I think that exile becomes diaspora when you are 1) no longer trying to go back from where you cam from, 2) move a little further away from the identity of victim hood. Exile implies that you were kicked out of somewhere, in a diaspora you may have been exiled, but you also may have chosen to leave and feel secure in 1) building a new home elsewhere and 2) simultaneously being able to maintain your identity. As a Jew who is proud to be living in Diaspora (you get to have connections everywhere!) I reject the idea that we are misplaced because not all the Jews live in Israel.

But, in my mind, and I see people lining up with pitchforks and torches, the desperate need for a nation state in order to achieve self-validation is so 19th and 20th century that its getting old-fashioned. People die and kill every minute for these artificial national borders. I think it's time to move beyond the obsession of nationhood=security and self-determination. Yes we have a homeland, but who says you always have to move back home?

Adva Ahava said...

I like the diaspora too. I'm glad there are Jews worldwide, and I do not see it as a misplacement or displacement. I appreciate that we're multi-national and multi-ethnic and learning from each other.