9. Resisting the Silence: The Emergence of the Danish Jewish Congregational Magazine and its Reorientation of Communal Authority
Maja G. Zuckerman [+]
Previous studies of Danish Jews have mainly focused on the social and cultural struggles between the East European immigrants, who arrived in Denmark from 1904, and the established Jewish community in the early decades of the 20th century. However, I argue that a much more fundamental conflict was taking place within the community in the years preceding WW1, namely a struggle over the very definition of what Jewishness and what the Jewish community could and should entail, as seen in other European Jewish communities. The struggle was influenced by the appearance and the integration of a large group of Jewish immigrants but it was also a struggle that preceded their arrival and went beyond their presence. More precisely, it was a modern repetition of the old struggle over whether Jews belonged intrinsically to a global collective that spanned the emerging nation states, or, as the 19th century emancipatory dictum went, belonged as any other citizen to their respective nation-states with their Jewish faith as a private asset at the side. I look at this community struggle not via an analysis of the official channels and loci of politics per se - such as leadership, organisation or representation - but through unfolding and analysing how authoritative versions of Danish Jewishness were challenged through a medium, namely, the journal Jødisk Tidsskrift, which aspired to reconfigure the very foundation upon which this Jewishness was rooted. As I show in this analysis, through the mediation of the journal, that is, through the content of the articles, the design and format, as well as its distribution pattern, the Danish Jews began to be relocated within, and more closely tied to, a world Jewry and to an allegedly Jewish peoplehood. The journal challenged the Danish Jewish authorities and also attempted to reconfigure the very position from which these authorities could and should speak from in the future.