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The Tribe Versus the City-State: An Architectural Conundrum for the Jewish Project

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“The Tribe versus the City-State” challenges the convention that suggests that the latter is preferable to the former. Throughout millennia the Jews struggled with tribalism, initially by building the First Temple as a means to coalesce tribal differences. Nonetheless, tribalism was used as a rationale to castigate Jews because it reinforced their being discrete from other, more homogenized populations. Over time, the City-State replaced tribalism because of its purported value as a melting pot that further coalesced differences into a more manageable whole. For the Jews however, the City-State exacerbated anti-Semitism in late Nineteenth Century Eastern European pogroms culminating in the Twentieth Century's holocaust. This paper addresses the architectural manifestations of these very different ways of aggregating populations. The Illinois Holocaust Museum project is presented as an example of building for the Jewish project in the context of temporality.


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