Itamar Haritan

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Cornell U.

Grant number

Gr. 10511

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Haritan, Itamar (Cornell U.) "Stateless Ancestors: Alternative Genealogical Imaginations in Israeli Society"

My project examines how two different groups of Israeli Jews seek new ways to connect to their ancestors in a context where those ancestors are stigmatized as ‘diasporic’: The first are members of the Lubliner Association, a ‘hometown association’ that organizes descendants of Jewish immigrants from the Polish town of Lublin to commemorate its decimated Jewish community; the second are Israeli practitioners of Family Constellations (FC), an alternative therapeutic-spiritual modality focusing on addressing present-day impacts of ancestral relations. Despite their different temporal orientations, both Lubliner Association members and FC practitioners blur the boundaries between ancestors and descendants, thereby destabilizing the statist teleological progression from ‘stateless ancestors’ to self-determining, modern descendants. For example, whereas some Lubliner Association members want the organization’s focus to be strictly commemorative, others participate to maintain relationships with ancestors that go beyond commemorative framings. Similarly, FC practitioners are divided about whether the sessions are intended to help participants become more self-determining, or whether they facilitate relationships with ancestors outside of the workshops as well. My project explores what affordances and limitations each of their genealogical projects offers for managing these tensions and contributes to theorizing the relationship between nation-states and genealogical kinship in Israeli society and beyond.