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Adjunct Professor



Office: Alumni Building 401B

Phone: (919) 914-2563

Visiting Israel Institute Professor – Fall 2023

Areas of interest:  pilgrimage, tourism, anthropology of religion, Holocaust memory, collective memory, Jewish-Christian relations, ethnographic writing, heritagization and comparative study of museums.


I was born and raised in an Orthodox Jewish environment in New York City, and after completing my BA at City Collège of New York, moved to Jerusalem, where I studied and obtained degrees from Hebrew University in Jewish Thought (MA) and Religious Studies (PhD). I have always been interested in the effects that short-term travel experiences – like pilgrimage and some forms of tourism – have in shaping peoples’ identities. Within three years of my arrival in Israel, I found myself working as a (Jewish-Israeli) licensed tour guide for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. My work as a guide and my studies at the university influenced each other: I shared insights from my studies on Second Temple Period Judaism and the New Testament with ‘my’ European and American pilgrims, while my pilgrims’ motivations and concerns (and a dollop of Victor Turner) generated new questions that I posed to Second Temple historical texts. My work for a Palestinian travel agency and with Palestinian bus drivers provided a unique position within the prevalent Israeli-Palestinian power relations and sensitized me to the issues facing Palestinians and Israelis living apart/together in Jerusalem – and how religious and political issues are presented to visitors. I’ve published a book and several articles on the topic.

After completing my MA thesis and traveling to the town where my father was raised, Ungvar (then Czechoslovakia, today Ukraine), and switched my focus to a contemporary pilgrimage of memory – Israeli youth voyages to Holocaust sites in Poland. Although I first thought I was witnessing the birth of a new and perhaps lasting rite of mourning for the destruction of European Jewry, I soon found that Israeli nationalism was a far more relevant prism for understanding these pilgrimages. The trips to Poland and other forms of Holocaust memory have been a major focus of my research and teaching since then, including comparisons with other voyages of identity, European commemoration of Holocaust and genocide, presentations of the Holocaust in museums, and most recently, the impact of digital and social media on Holocaust memory..

My current research project is in cooperation with the University of Tubingen, funded by the German Association for Scholarly Research (DFG): “From the Era of the Witness to Digital Remembrance: New Media, Holocaust Sites and Changing Memory Practices“. This project examines how structures of authority, place memory, and  social solidarities change as a result of widespread digital technologies and social media. It includes study of virtual reality tours of Holocaust sites, Holocaust witness interactive ‘holograms’, selfies in Auschwitz, diffusion of Holocaust messages and memes on social media, and the challenges that these forms present to caretakers of memory.



At UNC Chapel Hill, I am teaching a course Israel, Palestine, Holy Land: Tourism Imaginaries and Practices in Fall 2023.

My permanent position is as a full professor of anthropology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, where I hold the Yaakov and Poriah Avnon Chair in Holocaust Studies and head the Esther and Sidney Rabb Center for Holocaust Studies.

At Ben Gurion University of the Negev, I have taught courses on memory and commemoration of Holocaust and Genocide, anthropology of museums, anthropology of tourism, pilgrimage, tradition and heritage, anthropology of religion, as well as introductory classes in anthropology and anthropological theory.

I have served as visiting professor at University of Pennsylvania, University of Antwerp, Ludwig Uhlands University, Tübingen, CNRS/Université Aix-Marseilles,  and University of California, Berkeley.




Above the Death-pits, beneath the Flag: Youth Voyages to Holocaust Poland and the Performance of Israeli National Identity (Berghahn, 2008).

A Jewish Guide in the Holy Land: How Christian Pilgrims Made Me Israeli (University of Indiana, 2016).



Feldman J, Musih N. 2023. Selfies in Auschwitz: Popular and contested representations in a digital generation. Memory Studies. doi:10.1177/17506980221101111

Elazar Ben-Lulu C & Feldman, J.C 2022. Reforming the Israeli-Arab Conflict? Inter-Religious Hospitality in Jaffa and its Discontents”, Social Compass, 69: 3-21

Feldman, J.  and Musih, N.  2021. “Israeli Memory of the Shoah in a Digital Age: Is it Still “Collective”? (with Norma Musih), Die Zukunft der Erinnerung: Perspektiven des Gedenkens an Nationalsozialismus und Shoah, (The Future of Remembrance: Perspectives of Memory of National Socialism and the Shoah), Christian Wiese and Stefan Vogt, eds., Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 177-192.

Bear, L. SC, Feldman, J C., Avieli, N. C 2020. “UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Shared Shrines or Contested Sanctuaries? The Case of the Buddhist Temples of Luang Prabang, Laos”, Journal of Heritage Tourism,

Feldman, J. 2020. “How Can You  Know the Bible and Not Believe in our Lord? Guiding Pilgrims across the Jewish-Christian  Divide, Religions 11(6), 294-308.

Thiemeyer, ThomasC, Feldman, J. C and Tanja SeiderC. 2018, Erinnerungspraxis zwischen Gestern und Morgen: Wie wir uns heute an NS-Zeit und Shoah etinnern (Memory Praxis between Yesterday and Tomorrow: How we Remember the Period of National Socialism and the Shoah Today), Tubingen: Tubingen Vereinigung für Volkskunde, e. V.

Feldman, J. 2019. “Christian Holy Land Pilgrimage as an Interreligious Encounter”, in Interreligious relations and the negotiation of ritual boundaries: Explorations in Inter-rituality, Interreligious Studies in Theory and Practice, Marianne Moyaert, ed., Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave, pp. 111-131.

Feldman, J. 2018. “Mediation as a Practice of Identity – Jewish-Israeli Immigrant Guides in the Christian Holy Land”, in Tour Guides as Cultural Mediators: Performance and Positioning”, special issue for Ethnologica Europaea, 48(2): 41-54.

Feldman, JC. and Skinner, J.c. 2018. “Tour Guides as Cultural Mediators: Performance and Positioning”, edited special issue. Ethnologica Europea 48(2).

Feldman, J. 2017. “Key Figures of Mobility: The Pilgrim”, Social Anthroplogy, 25(1): 69-82.Feldman, JC and D. YoungC. 2014. “Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands”. Special issue, Religion and Society 5.

Feldman, J. PI and A. Peleikis SI. 2014.“Performing the Hyphen: Engaging German-Jewishness at the Jewish Museum, Berlin”. 2014. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 23(2) (with Anja Peleikis), pp. 43-59.

Feldman, J.” 2014. “Introduction: Contested Narratives of Storied Places – The Holy Lands”, Religion and Society, 5: 106-127.

Feldman, J. 2013. “How Christian Pilgrims Made me Israeli”, in Ethnographic Encounters in Israel, Fran Markowitz, ed., Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, Bloomington, pp. 23-39.

Feldman, J. 2011.”Abraham the Settler, Jesus the Refugee: Contemporary Conflict and Christianity on the Road to Bethlehem*, History and Memory, 23(1): 62-96.

Feldman, J. 2010.”Nationalizing Personal Trauma, Personalizing National Redemption: Performing Testimony at Auschwitz-Birkenau”, in Remembering Violence: Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission, Nicolas Argenti & Katharina Schramm, eds., Berghahn Press, 2010, pp. 103-128.

Ron, A.C and Feldman, J. C, 2009. “From Spots to Themed Sites – The Evolution of the Protestant Holy Land”, Journal of Heritage Tourism,4(3): 201 — 216.

Feldman, J. 2007. “Constructing a Shared Bible Land: Jewish-Israeli Guiding Performances for Protestant Pilgrims”, American Ethnologist 34(2): 349-372.

Feldman, J. 2007.”Between Yad Vashem and Mount Herzl: Changing Inscriptions of Sacrifice on Jerusalem’s ‘Mountain of Memory'”, Anthropological Quarterly, 80(4): 1145-1172.

Feldman, J.  2006. “’A City that Makes All Israel Friends’: Normative Communitas and the Struggle for Religious Legitimacy in Pilgrimages to the Second Temple”, in Marcel Poorthuis and Joshua Schwartz, eds., A Holy People: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Religious and Communal Identity, Leiden: Brill, pp. 109-126.

Feldman, J. 2002. “Marking the Boundaries of the Enclave: Defining the Israeli Collective through the Poland ‘Experience’”, Israel Studies, 7(2): 84-114.

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