Shaul's blog posts

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Reshaping the World Through Vision, Activism, Ideas and Initiative (Not Demography)

Wexner Foundation Blog, May 22, 2014 I have now seen several rounds of brouhaha over Jewish population surveys: 1990, 2001, and now Pew 2013. One would think that the conversation would advance each decade. This is social science after all; time marches on and we build our knowledge cumulatively, on the shoulders of giants as…

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Media, ,

Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education

Historical Perspectives on Diaspora Homeland Tourism: ‘Israel Experience’ Education in the 1950s and 1960s

2013. In Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education 7(2): 99–113. Homeland tourism is a powerful medium of diasporic education. Yet efforts to understand the enterprise are hampered by neglect of the field’s history. This article contributes to the historiography of diaspora homeland tourism by examining the emergence American Jewish educational tours of Israel in the 1950s and…

Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Articles, Research, , , , , , ,


Review of Spirited Commitment: The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation

Review of Roderick MacLeod and Eric John Abrahamson’s Spirited Commitment: The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation. (McGill–Queens University Press, 2010.)  2013. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 12:2. Pp. 360-1 From the review: “Commissioned by the SSBFF on its fiftieth anniversary, this institutional history follows the Montreal-based foundation from its establishment in 1952 to its…

Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Research, Reviews, ,

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Religious Ambivalence in Jewish American Philanthropy

2013. In this chapter, I consider Jewish philanthropic federations, and their ambivalent relationship to Jewish religion from the 19th century to the present. I attempt to show that much of this ambivalence stems from the fact that these philanthropic institutions understand themselves not only to be agents of voluntary action for the public good but…

Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Articles, Chapters, Research, , , , , ,

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In Its Own Image: Independent Philanthropy and the Cultivation of Young Jewish Leadership

2011. This study examines Jewish American leadership development initiatives from the 1970s to the present day, focusing on the programs’ roots in the changing landscape of Jewish philanthropy and a shift in agenda-setting power from communally governed Jewish charitable federations to independent family foundations. Shaul Kelner 2011. “In Its Own Image: Independent Philanthropy and the…

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Articles, Chapters, Research, , , , ,

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The Bureaucratization of Ritual Innovation: The Festive Cycle of the American Soviet Jewry Movement

2011. Jewish Cultural Studies 3:360-391. Since the 1960s, social movements have been key forces in the development of new religious rituals that are reshaping American Judaism. This article examines how the American movement to free Soviet Jews systematized and even bureaucratized the process of ritual innovation as it developed an annual calendar of activities pegged…

Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Articles, Research, , , ,


Constructing Jewish Belonging through Mass Tourism: Self-Narration in Israel Experience Programs

2011. An exploration of how identity narratives are constructed on  Birthright Israel. Shaul Kelner. 2011. “Constructing Jewish Belonging through Mass Tourism: Self-Narration in Israel Experience Programs.” Chapter 9 in Harvey E. Goldberg, Steven M. Cohen and Ezra Kopelowitz, eds. Dynamic Belonging: Contemporary Jewish Collective Identities. New York: Berghahn Books. Pp. 171-187.

Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Articles, Chapters, Research, , , ,

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A Lexicon in Flux

Sh’ma February 2010, Issue no. 666: Do-it Yourself Judaism This new creative enterprise that has been variously referred to as start-ups, emergents, and the innovation ecosystem is now being called DIY, Do-It-Yourself, a term with roots in the subculture of punk music. Drawing on the lexicon of punk rock offers an important counterbalance to a…

Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Media, , ,

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Beyond the Field Trip: Teaching Tourism through Tours

2009. Teaching Sociology 37(2):136-150. With George Sanders. A course in the sociology of tourism offers an opportunity to examine a world-transforming force that is penetrating more and more aspects of social life. It also offers an opportunity to create a learning environment that uses the object of study as the medium of study. This article…

Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Articles, Research, , , ,


Ritualized Protest and Redemptive Politics: Cultural Consequences of the American Mobilization to Free Soviet Jewry

2008. Jewish Social Studies 14(3): 1-37. The significance of the worldwide movement to free Soviet Jewry cannot be measured solely by its success in achieving its goals vis-à-vis Soviet Jews. It was also influential in shaping American Jewish political culture during the years it was active. During the 1960s and 1970s, and to a lesser…

Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Articles, Research, , , ,