Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pilgrimage in a Tourist Age: The Case of Birthright Israel: Monday, Nov. 17 at 5:00 pm

Since 1999, hundreds of thousands of young American Jews have visited Israel on an all-expense-paid 10-day pilgrimage-tour known as Birthright Israel. The most elaborate of the state-supported homeland tours that are cropping up all over the world, this half-billion-dollar venture seeks to deepen the ties binding the Jewish Diaspora to Israel. But unlike Jewish pilgrimages of millennia past, Birthright Israel adopts and adapts the practices of modern mass tourism. What happens when a state looks to tourism to create a new pilgrimage ritual for the 21st century?

Next Monday, in conjunction with my seminar on Pilgrimage and the Jewish Studies program, we are hosting a lecture by Shaul Kelner from Vanderbilt University on "Pilgrimage in a Tourist Age: The Case of Birthright Israel."

The lecture will take place Monday, Nov. 17 at 5:00 pm in Parker Reed Room, Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center and will be followed by a dinner/discussion. If you would like to attend (open to all and free of charge), please RSVP by today, 12 November, to David Freidenreich, email: