§4.1 Jewish Heritage in the Ukrainian Lifeworld / Movement 1

Part 4:  Jewish Heritage in the Ukrainian Lifeworld

It is a mistake to approach Jewish heritage in eastern Galicia as if it were somehow out of time and place––as if it were self-contained and self-referential, floating in some exclusively Jewish universe of the imagination.  On the contrary, it is essential to see it within its contemporary context, to discern how the Jewish is embedded and operating in a world of Ukrainian meanings and values that themselves cohere into what we call everyday life.  To read Jewish heritage well is not merely to ask “What Jewish actualities still exist?” but to ask “What are the Jewish actualities with which ordinary Ukrainians are living?”  The photographs in this section take a personal and intersubjective approach to these questions.  They answer by way of unscripted portraits of people in western Ukrainian towns and cities.  Some of the subjects are Jews, and many are not.  Some are participants in interviews––sections of which are available in the accompanying videos––and some are strangers.  Each in its own way, these pictures attempt to relate the human presence of the people who live with, around, and in the midst of eastern Galicia’s Jewish heritage.  To approach Jewish heritage as an aspect of their lives––to meet Ukrainians in a way that is both candid and probing, discerning and without pre-judgments––is to seek out future meanings of the multicultural past.