Diaspora

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
diaspora

Chief Rabbi of Diaspora Yeshiva

A diaspora (from Greek διασπορά, “scattering, dispersion”) is “the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland” or “people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location”, or “people settled far from their ancestral homelands”.

The word has definitively come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of people with common roots, particularly movements of an involuntary nature, such as the expulsion of Jews from the Middle East, the African Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the southern negroes to the northern US cities, the southern Chinese during the coolie slave trade, and Tibetans who fled their homeland with the Dalai Lama in 1959 to escape the invasion and occupation by China.

Recent scholarship has distinguished between different kinds of diaspora, based on primary causes such as imperialism, trade or labor migrations, or by the strength of social coherence within the diaspora community to its ties to ancestral lands. Diaspora communities often maintain strong political ties with their homeland. Typical of many diasporas are hopes of return and the resistance to full assimilation into the host country.

In this account however, we will be considering the Israelite diaspora from Egypt in the time of Moses, the Hebrew diaspora from Babylonia in the time of Daniel, the Jewish diaspora from Persian in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, and the latest diaspora of Jews from Europe and elsewhere back to the Israeli state. A lesser discussion will be included on the African diaspora to the Americas, and how the Hebrew scriptures have impacted their self-image and brokered their false claim to be the “true” Israelites.

To be continued…

—GT

 

 

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