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«Tel Aviv University The Lester & Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities The Shirley & Leslie Porter School of Cultural Studies Arthur Ruppin and the ...»

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Tel Aviv University

The Lester & Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities

The Shirley & Leslie Porter School of Cultural Studies

Arthur Ruppin and the Production of the Modern Hebrew Culture



Etan Bloom


(1st December, 2008)

This work was carried out under the supervision of

Prof. Itamar Even-Zohar

Prof. Sander Gilman ‫אוניברסיטת תל-אביב‬ ‫הפקולטה למדעי הרוח ע"ש לסטר וסאלי אנטי‬ ‫בית הספר למדעי התרבות ע"ש שירלי ולסלי פורטר‬ ‫ארתור רופי וייצור התרבות העברית המודרנית‬ ‫חיבור לש קבלת התואר "דוקטור לפילוסופיה"‬ ‫מאת‬ ‫אית בלו‬ ‫הוגש לסנאט של אוניברסיטת תל-אביב‬ ‫)1 בדצמבר 8002(‬ ‫עבודה זו נעשתה בהדרכת‬ ‫פרופ' איתמר אב -זהר‬ ‫פרופ' סנדר גילמ‬ For my beloved Sharon and Lili Acknowledgments I would like to acknowledge and thank those people who helped me write this work.

My thanks first go to Prof. Itamar Even-Zohar, who has been my mentor ever since I began my studies at the University of Tel Aviv. I am indebted to him not only for inspiring, amazing and amusing me with his vast knowledge and wisdom, but also for demonstrating to me the practice of intellectual integrity.

Similarly, my deep appreciation goes to Prof. Sander L. Gilman for providing me a new vivid critical perspective of Jewish history and identity and for his invaluable advice and support throughout all the stages of my research. I thank him for the many fertile insights along the crossroads of my journey.

My thanks go wholeheartedly to the most inspiring Dr. Magdalena Drexl, for her hospitality, constructive criticism, and for her resurrecting transcription of Ruppin’s German handwriting.

I would also like to thank my linguistic editor, Mrs. Aliza El-Dror, for her kindness, as well as for her extremely thorough and professional work. I deeply appreciated the time she spent reviewing and uplifting my English.

Ever since I started my research work, Mr. Menashe Ida and Dr. Yuval Amit were always there to lend a helpful ear to my long experimental speeches and to offer their highly valuable comments. Special thanks go to these dear friends.

Those who have helped me over the years in bringing my research to fruition are too numerous to mention, although I also would like to acknowledge Prof. Yehuda Nini for his wise hints and encouragements, Prof. John Milfull for his valuable comments and friendly correspondence, and Dr. Snait B. Gissis for her constant support and encouragement.

I would like to thank the Unit of Culture Research faculty and staff for the most pleasant and fruitful years of learning and study, and in particular to Prof. Gideon Toury and Prof. Rakefet Sela-Sheffy for their guidance and nurture, as well as the most efficient secretaries of the unit, Ms. Lea Goldman and Ms. Revital Zipori who made the whole bureaucratic process as smooth as possible.

I sincerely appreciate all the help I received from members of the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Humanities and the School of Cultural Studies. I could not have pursued my research without the Tel Aviv University Presidential Scholarship.

I am obliged to Prof. Dan Diner for the unforgettable stay at the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture, as well as to the most hospitable University of Leipzig and to the IQN-Program of DAAD, for enabling me to study and research for almost three years in Leipzig, Berlin, Bochum and Amsterdam. I wish to thank Dr.

Stephan Wendehorst (Deputy to the Director) for his most kind help, as well as the SDI faculty, staff and guest scholars, among them Dr. Karina Pfützner, Ms. Marion Hammer, Ms. Grit N. Scheffer, Dr. Veronika Lipphardt, Dr. Miriam Ruerup, Dr.

Tobias Brinkmann, Dr. Omry Kaplan-Feuereisen, Dr. Omar Kamil, Prof. Yechiam Weitz, Mr. Kelvin Crombie and Prof. Todd M. Endelman.

I am thankful for the multifarious assistance of the following colleagues and friends:

Ms. Astrid Gottwald, Mr. Herzl Schubert, Mr. Jörg Eckhardt, Dr. Benjamin Baader, Dr. Uwe Hossfeld, Dr. Amnon Raz-Karkotzkin, Dr. Ari Barell, Prof. Raphael Falk, Dr. Denis Sweeney, Dr. Yitzhak Laor, Mr. Yosef El-Dror, Dr. Eran Rolnik, Dr. Ofer Nur, Dr. Boaz Neumann, Dr. Dafna Hirsch, Mr. Haggai Ravid, Mr. Doron Ashkenazi, Prof. Luisa Passerini, Prof. Mitchell B. Hart, Prof. Derek Penslar, Prof. Richard Whatmore, Prof. Todd Presner, Prof. Ruth Pierson, Prof. Steven E. Aschheim, and Ms. Chantal Osterreicher.

I am perpetually grateful to my father, Yehuda (Leon) Bloom, who was always the first reader and linguistic editor of each draft, and to my mother Alegria, for her immense love and support. Finally, I want to warmly acknowledge my sister, Limor, and my beloved brothers, Gadi, Ilan, and Gilad.

Etan Bloom, September 2009 i

–  –  –

2.1 The Culture space of Ruppin’s Childhood and Youth

2.2 The Relationship of “The Father” to his father

2.3 The Fear of becoming a Greedy Jew

2.4 The Janus-Faced Message of the German Repertoire

2.5 Auto-Stereotyping and Self-Differentiation

–  –  –

Summary (Heb.) v

1. Introduction This research is a study of Arthur Ruppin (1876-1943) as a cultural agent and his activities in Palestine from 1908 to 1942. It describes and analyzes the perceptions of the leading officials and agents of the Palestine Office,1 directed by Ruppin, and their impact on the culture planning of the Modern Hebrew social field.

1. The first part concentrates on the aspirations, ideas and images of the heads of the office with regard to the imagined Jewish or Hebrew culture in Palestine.

2. The second part deals with questions regarding the practical ways in which these perceptions were transferred2 to the Jewish community of Palestine (known as the New Yishuv).3 The research framework combines cultural and historical research as it analyzes how theoretical or


products come into practice in the social field, using the particular historical case of the transference of Zionism from Europe (mainly Germany and Russia) to Palestine, and thus showing the transfer of components from European culture to the renewed Hebrew culture.

Arthur Ruppin, one of the dominant characters in these processes, will serve as the axis and lens that enable us to present and analyze them.

The Palestine Office was established in Jaffa in 1908 by Ruppin as the representative of the WZO in Palestine. Over the decade, the PO (which would be replaced in 1918 by several institutions including the Jewish Agency) was the central agency for Zionist settlement activities in Palestine, forming the core of the administrative institutions and activities of the New Yishuv.

On the concept of transfer see: (Even-Zohar 1997, 373-381).

A Modern-Hebrew concept designating most of the Jewish community in Palestine from the Second Aliya period (1903-1914) until 1948 and the establishment of Israel (the word Yishuv is used for settlement (as verb and noun), as well as for the people of the settlement.)

1.1 The Conceptual Framework

–  –  –

In a variety of disciplines (sociology, anthropology, semiotics, and culture research), the stock of options available to a group for managing its social life has often been termed repertoire (Swidler 1986; Even-Zohar 1978, 1990), while the context in which such repertoires were functional is termed system or field (any system or field theory, from Marx to Bourdieu, from Jakobson to Even-Zohar).

The concept of repertoire emphasizes, as Swidler puts it, that:

“Culture influences action not by providing the ultimate values toward which action is oriented, but by shaping a repertoire or ‘tool kit’ of habits, skills, and styles from which people construct ‘strategies of action’” (Swidler 1986, 273).

Even-Zohar explained this concept in different terms, as:

“The aggregate of rules and materials which govern both the making and handling, or production and consumption, of any given product. […] If we view culture as a framework, a sphere, which makes it possible to organize social life, then the repertoire in culture, or of culture, is where the necessary items for that framework are stored” (Even-Zohar 1997, 15-34; 2000).

One of the main understandings that underlie the concept of repertoire is that the “tool kit” or “aggregate of rules” that regulate culture do not evolve by themselves, i.e.

through “natural causes,” but rather that social “nature” or “reality” are products of the repertoire’s history. The concept of repertoire must be taken into consideration – in one form or another – in any historical analysis since the repertoire constitutes our perceptions and sense of “history”; the past being determined by the current dominant repertoire which is directed towards the future. The concept of repertoire thus provides us with the inter-dimensional insight for understanding the connections between past, present, and future.

This insight leads us to recognize that the social world is constructed by social agents through cognitive structures that may be applied to all “things” of or in the world and

in particular to social structures.4 As Bourdieu puts it:

“These structuring structures are historically constituted forms and therefore arbitrary in the Saussurian sense, conventional, ‘ex instituto’ [by an arbitrary institution] as Leibniz said, which means that we can trace their social genesis” (Bourdieu 1999, 67).5 The conceptual framework described above gave birth to Even-Zohar’s concept of culture planning (i.e., the initiation of a culture plan and its operation, reevaluation and revision with regard to the changing needs of the social field. See: Even-Zohar 1994). Effective culture planning has taken place when a dominant group manages to impose its repertoire on the social field and generates a social cohesiveness that regulates the various personal and institutional interactions.

The ability of a group to impose its repertoire is dependent on its ability to gain control over what Bourdieu calls statist capital (capital étatique) (Bourdieu 1999, 57), i.e., its ability to centralize and organize the different bodies and institutions that are responsible for the distribution of symbolic capital (the education system, the press, the artistic field, etc.) and material capital (private capital, national banks, public foundations, etc.).

By succeeding in imposing its repertoire, the group can be referred to as the dominant group and its repertoire becomes the dominant repertoire. Since the identity of the group is connected to a specific repertoire – “one indivisible repertoire for one group”6 – the concept of dominant repertoire is more or less the habitus of that group, Cassirer called these principles of vision and division “symbolic forms” and Durkheim “forms of classification” these are so many ways of saying the same thing in more or less separate theoretical traditions (Bourdieu 1999, 67).

Bourdieu expressed this idea also with regard to what he called “ritual practice”: “To bring order is to bring division … the limit produces difference and the different things ‘by an arbitrary institution’, as Leibniz put it, translating the ‘ex instituto’ of the Scholastics. This magical act presupposes and produces collective belief, that is, ignorance of its own arbitrariness” (Bourdieu 1990, 210).

“In various current research traditions, the connection between repertoires and groups has been conceived of as an inherent relation, meaning that a certain identifiable repertoire is conceived of as built into the very ‘nature’ of a certain identifiable group. Such a view, even if not always formulated in such explicit terms, characterizes not only the earlier stages of anthropology but even later parts of which evolved when a certain repertoire succeeded in materializing itself in a specific group.

Thus the conceptual framework of this research deals with the history of the formative stages of the Modern Hebrew repertoire as well as with the habitus it generated for both groupal and individual practices. In other words, the history of the ways in which the repertoire became available to the dominant group, and how it succeeded eventually in generating a particular pattern of behavior, i.e., a particular habitus.

“The habitus is a set of dispositions which incline agents to act and react in certain ways. The dispositions generate practices, perceptions and attitudes which are ‘regular’ without being consciously co-ordinated or governed by any ‘rule’” (Bourdieu 1993, 12).

The specific distinction drawn between the concepts of repertoire and habitus in this research underlines the fact that the history of the habitus is the history of the memory, this being understood not only as something abstract, ideological or symbolic but also as a memory which shapes and regulates the body. As Talal Asad puts it: “The concept of habitus invites us to analyze the body as an assemblage of embodied aptitudes, not as a medium of symbolic meanings” (Asad, 1993, 75).

1.1.2 Cultural Identity

The concept of cultural identity that this research employs is based on Sander L.

Gilman’s theory concerning individual identity formation via his relationship with his reference group, i.e. that group in society that defines him; that creates his reality for him (Gilman 1986, 2). The reference group in Gilman’s definition is equivalent to the concept of the dominant group and is only one example of the correlation between Gilman’s conceptual framework and the conceptual framework described above.

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