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Worlds Apart? The Many Jewish Viennas

Worlds Apart? The Many Jewish Viennas

The synagogue on Seitenstettengasse is well-guarded, and not just by the Austrian police. Built into an apartment block, it is almost entirely hidden from view. Visitors’ peaceful intentions are tested in lengthy interrogations by two plainclothes security guards, former members of the Israeli army. Though they smile, the process is far from reassuring. Still, their […]

“We don’t live in a ghetto”

“We don’t live in a ghetto”

I didn’t even notice when Oskar Deutsch, the interim President of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (IKG, Vienna’s Jewish Community) walked into the waiting room; I looked up and he was suddenly there, shaking my hand and offering me a cup of coffee. Easygoing and disarming, with a slightly awkward smile, Deutsch’s overwhelming earnestness makes him seem […]

Beating Holiday Stress To the Punsch

It is a scientifically proven fact that people who spend too much time in shopping malls in November and December start to exhibit signs of psychosis, particularly when additionally exposed to Christmas carols.  But, tu felix Austria, don’t despair, Christkindlmärkte (Christmas markets) are the perfect counterweight to the hectic modern holiday season, bringing old-fashioned cosiness […]

Outrage and Action: the Youth

Outrage and Action: the Youth

The Austrian Student Union’s “Education Action Day” (Bildungsaktionstag) had been planned weeks in advance. When 18 Oct came, hundreds gathered outside the Ministry of Science on Minoritenplatz to demand more funding for Austria’s ailing universities, while plenary sessions at the Universities of Salzburg and Graz highlighted the issue ahead of Finance Minister Maria Fekter’s budget […]

Academia’s Glass Ceiling Cracking

Academia’s Glass Ceiling Cracking

Only a little more than a year ago, not a single woman held a Rector’s chair at an Austrian university.  Now there are four. First, molecular biologist Sonja Hammerschmid became Rector of the Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien in June 2010. She was followed by materials engineer Sabine Seidler at the Technische Universität (TU) in March 2011. […]

Generation Praktikum Heads into the Real World

There was a time not long ago, when students left university for a solid entry-level job, launching a career that, in Austria, often lasted for life. No longer. Today’s students are part of “Generation Praktikum” – the graduates whose careers start with a string of internships, working full time for a token wage or nothing […]

Honoured Dead

Vienna loves a beautiful corpse – eine schöne Leiche – so the saying goes, but at the funeral of Otto von Habsburg, the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary on July 16, it was difficult to tell who or what that corpse actually was. Granted, Otto’s black-and-gold draped coffin stood in the middle of the five-hour-long […]

Aliens at Large

Every year students at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna hold a conference on a pressing political issue. This year the DA Student Initiative theme was migration. It was an impressive group of panelists, all or nearly all professionals at some of the many international organisations headquartered in Vienna, and all had essentially the same thing […]

Celebrating Equal Pay

When my then-boyfriend called me a feminist six years ago, I have to say I cringed.  Subsequent efforts by friends to equate my belief that women deserve the same opportunities, the same pay, and the same rights as men with the loaded term “feminism,” continued to leave me uncomfortable and unconvinced. Why should something that […]

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