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Diaspora and Transnational Studies
Anne- Emanuelle Birn

Discuss anxieties and celebrations of diasporic existence as portrayed in Jewish stories You may use any story from the syllabus of this course or choose your own story the one we have not discussed in the classTraipak Apaipak DTS40401 November 2011The Jewish Diaspora is the oldest diaspora in the world It is interesting to understand how these people have preserved their traditions and customs even when they have no true homeland Their imagined community is the shared belief that Jews must speak the same language eat the same foods and follow the same customs But how do they preserve these fragile concepts when they have no geographical borders or real community to travel home to In this paper it is proposed that Jewish folklore is one of the most crucial ways Jews can preserve their imagined community as it celebrates and criticizes their diasporic existence for thousands of years The anxieties and celebrations of Jewish diasporic existence can be observed in the stories of The Lost Princess Tales of Hershel Ostropolar and The Queen of Sheba These tales reveal different anxieties felt within the Jewish population such as confusion of identity arising from being dislocated from a home the disadvantages of being a minority and fear of assimilation On the other hand these tales also celebrate Jewish existence by preserving eons of old customs and traditions epitomizing the strength of an individual against society and the divine promise that with perseverance Jews will ultimately be rewarded with a home The tale of The Lost Princess is an allegorical representation of the anxieties of being an outsider or minority in a society but also epitomizes the perseverance of mind soul and observance of Jewish teachings to overcome obstacles if the Jewish people are ever to be rewarded by god to a land that I will show thee Eckstein The journey the kings councilor takes to find the princess is long arduous and difficult He travels through wastelands and deserts ignores tables laden with delicate foods In order to rescue the
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