Topic: Heebsters in Historical ContextThe Heebster phenomenon tends to exist in an ahistorical domain. That is, much of the power of these events, activities, and artistic productions comes from a promoted perception that they are new and unprecedented.
Yet the attraction of the "new" itself presents an important historical phenomenon that goes hand in hand with ideas of modernity, adaptation, radicalism, and cultural cycles.
What similar kinds of phenomena have arisen over the past centuries? How have these cultural effusions been covered in the scholarly literature? On what grounds can we compare the Heebster phenomenon with earlier situations? Can we determine certain conditions under which similar "Heebster phenomena" can occur? We hope only to begin the conversation with a few thoughts.
• Many claim to be “radical Jews”; on what basis is the claim – political, social, religious, artistic…?
• At what point does the “radical” become “mainstream”? Does it always get incorporated?
• Has there been a flight from politics into aesthetics and commodity fetishism?
o Rushkoff • Reinventing rituals, liturgy, new rituals, etc.
o Renewal, Ecokosher, simachat bat, havurah,
• Is there something particular about American Jewishness that creates this fringe?
• What conditions spur on a fringe such as the current one we are witnessing?
• Compare and contrast Heebster radicalism with
• How is Heebster culture evoking past incarnations of “RJC”?
o Rejection of 60s racialism, but adoption and lionization of Labor Jews, etc.
o I.e. who do Heebster Jews see as their predecessors? (W.Benjamin, Bundists, Scholem quotes in Zorn, Jewish Labor…)