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Modern Jewish history is urban. In the wake of massive migratory movements and social transformations since the late 19th century, cities became the prime sites for the emergence and reconfiguration of modern Jewish identities and cultures. They served as hubs in transnational diasporic networks and as pivots of local Jewish communities. The unique framework of the modern metropolis facilitated an unprecedented diversification of Jewish cultural practices and expressions. Drawing from a rich variety of sources, Tales of Three Cities limns the complex reciprocities between cities and Jews and identifies paradigmatic elements of modern urban Jewish experiences. Investigating the encounters between established communities and Jewish immigrants arriving in late-Victorian London, the strategies to come to terms with the fluctuating and fragmented landscape of the modern city experienced by Berlin Jews during the Weimar Republic and the ambiguities of exile experienced by Jewish refugees in Paris during the waning years of peace, this innovative study calls for an integrated approach to Jewish history. Tobias Metzler convincingly shows that Jewish urban experiences can serve as a magnifying glass to assess both the complexities of modern cities and the ambiguities of modernity more generally.
About the Author: Tobias Metzler studied history, political science, Judaic Studies and German philology at Berlin, Yale and Jerusalem. In 2008, he completed his doctorate at the University of Southampton. He is fellow of the Parkes Institute of Jewish/ non-Jewish relations at Southampton and since 2012 lecturer of British and American Studies at Thammasat University in Bangkok.