Gifts from Jerusalem Jews to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchs by Lily Arad
Identities, Otherness, and Belonging
Presentations of offerings to the emperor-king on anniversaries of his accession became an important imperial ritual in the court of Franz Joseph I. This book explores for the first time the identity constructions of Orthodox Jewish communities in Jerusalem as expressed in their gifts to the Austro-Hungarian Kaisers at the time of dramatic events. It reveals how the beautiful gifts, their dedications, and their narratives, were perceived by gift-givers and recipients as instruments capable of acting upon various social, cultural and political processes. Lily Arad describes in a captivating manner the historical narratives of the creation and presentation of these gifts. She analyzes the iconography of these gifts as having transformative effect on the self-identification of the Jewish communities and examines their reception by the Kaisers and in the Austrian and the Palestinian Jewish press. This groundbreaking book unveils Jewish cultural and political strategies aimed to create local Eretz-Israel identities, demonstrating distinct positive communal identification which at times expressed national sentiments and at the same time preserved European identification.
Year first published: 2022