Authentic Sights on Authentic Narratives on Taglit
Publication Date: December 2001
Publisher(s): Association for Jewish Studies
Author(s): Shaul Kelner
Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive
Keywords: American Jews; Israel experience
Coverage: United States
Tourism is commonly dismissed as shallow, frivolous and inauthentic. Participants in Taglit generally felt they had an authentic and profound Jewish experience on the program. To explore how this could have happened in the face of expert predictions to the contrary, a constructivist notion of authenticity is adopted. Analysis of ethnographic data from the evaluation of Taglit reveals that tourists' perceptions of an authentic Jewish experience were rooted in perceptions of Jewish authenticity in both Israel and themselves. In both cases, these perceptions emerged through a process of a selective integration of disparate elements into coherent but simplified narratives.