Nathan P. Devir has just published New Children of Israel: Emerging Jewish Communities in an Era of Globalization (Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2017).
In the last century, the tragic events of the Holocaust and the subsequent founding
of the state of Israel brought about tremendous changes for Jewish communities all
over the world. This book explores what may be the next watershed moment for the Jews:
of millions of people from developing nations who self-define as Jewish
but who have no historical ties with established centers of Jewish life. These emerging
groups are expanding notions of what it means to be Jewish.
This comparative ethnographic study, the first of its kind, presents in-depth analyses of the backgrounds, motivations, and sociohistorical contexts of emerging Jewish communities in Cameroon, Ghana, India, and other postcolonial locales. It investigates the ramifications of these new movements for the larger Judeo-Christian world, particularly with regard to issues of multiculturalism, immigration, race relations, and messianic expectations concerning the prophecy of Isaiah 11:12, according to which God will “assemble the dispersed of Israel, and gather together the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
Nathan P. Devir is assistant professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Utah, where he also serves as director of the Middle East Center and the Religious Studies Program.