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Tours That BindDiaspora, Pilgrimage, and Israeli Birthright Tourism$
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Shaul Kelner

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814748169

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814748169.001.0001

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Consuming Place

Consuming Place

(p.82) 4 Consuming Place
Tours That Bind

Shaul Kelner

NYU Press

This chapter examines how the acts of ascribing meaning to Israel end up mapping culture onto place and place onto culture. It considers how structural elements of tourism, including sight-marker transformations, semiotics of difference, and themed environments all contribute to the territorialization of Jewishness in Israel and to the creation of a consumption-based form of diasporic engagement with the ethnic homeland. In other words, tours create an environment for expressing and developing an identification with the Jewish homeland and with Jewish culture through consumer acts such as purchasing souvenirs, eating foods, viewing films, visiting museums, and shooting photographs. This is clearly not the set of behaviors prescribed by rabbinic tradition as the preferred mode of Jewish ethno-religious practice. As such, it raises a host of normative questions that devotees of tradition may wish to ponder.

Keywords:   semiotic, Jewish diaspora, Jewishness, ethnic homeland, Israel, culture, place, tourism, consumption

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