- VOLUME 10
- MY LIBRARY
The last decades of the twentieth century saw a digital revolution that provided new public forums for the expression and presentation of Jewish culture. Popular culture is a global phenomenon, transcending national boundaries and distinctions between religious and secular. Yet contrary trends often emerged in Israeli popular culture compared to Jewish popular culture in the United States. As with film and movies, the United States predominates in the production of popular culture, although Israel has often picked up and created new trends. Thus, Israeli popular culture often expresses a form of cosmopolitanism, an openness to global trends. This is reflected in a number of the categories, such as advertisements.
Within popular culture frameworks outside of Israel, Jews seemed to have become more comfortable representing themselves in public, incorporating fragments of religious culture, and transforming them into symbols and signs of secular Jewish identities. Simultaneously, Jews have used popular culture to erase visible Jewish identities and to signal Jewishness as either subterranean or superficial. A relationship has developed between the virtual space of the Internet and the virtual space of the Diaspora.
Popular culture has become accepted as forms of art, rather than being disdained as was characteristic of earlier eras. Its influence pervades other genres, so that comics, fashions, and even food serve as references and models. Yet driving popular culture is mass consumption, industrial processes that encourage Jews to identify as Jews through consuming products.
On the World Wide Web, religious and secular forms of Jewishness both coexist and engage in dialogue. This dialogic culture, short-lived and accessible, invites comparison with the orality of Jewish tradition. On blogs, travel Web sites, J-Date, and political action sites, individuals are linked and encouraged to interact in virtual space. Web sites also facilitate learning, consumption, and acquisition of information.
Given the diversity of popular culture, we have limited our selections to the topics of cartoons and comics, travel, and food.