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Open access

Living and Surviving Communism in Albania

Enriketa Papa-Pandelejmoni

Shannon Woodcock, Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania, Tirana: HammerOnPress, 2016, 238 pp, $22 (paperback), ISBN 1910849030

Margo Rejmer, Mud Sweeter Than Honey: Voices of Communist Albania, translated by Zosia Krasodomska-Jones and Antonia Lloyd-Jones, London: MacLehose Press, 2021, 320 pp, £18.99 (hardback), ISBN 978-1529411461

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Looking at Zionism from New and Challenging Perspectives

Avi Shilon

David Ohana, Jacqueline Kahanoff: The Levantine [In Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Carmel Publishing House, 2022), 350 pp. Hardback, $25.00.

Shaul Magid, Meir Kahane: The Public Life and Political Thought on an American Jewish Radical (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021), 296 pp. Hardback, $35.00.

Johannes Becke, The Land beyond the Border: State Formation and Territorial Expansion in Syria, Morocco, and Israel (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2021), 286 pp. Paperback, $31.95.

Open access

Mourning at New Year's Day (Nowruz)

Cultural Practice against Ideology

Reinhold L. Loeffler and Erika Friedl

Abstract

As Persian Muslims, Iranians observe Old Persian rituals in the solar calendar, such as the spring equinox, as well as Islamic rituals in the lunar calendar, such as mourning the martyr's death of Imam Huseyn. In 2006, the dates coincided, causing distress as people tried to combine the demands of a joyful, life-affirming tradition with that of a religious ideology that allowed no compromise. Living in a tribal village at that time, we recorded people's reactions and their solutions to the problem of doing right by both the demands of their tradition and those of a government-enforced ideology of martyrdom that moved the affair from the cultural and practical plane to the political and ideological plane.

Open access

‘Pilgrimage of the Poor’

Religious, Social and Political Dimensions of a Moroccan Local Pilgrimage

Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Abstract

Pilgrimage destinations other than the Ka'aba in Mecca are a contested subject amongst Muslims. For the Moroccan ‘poor’, who are unable to perform the Meccan pilgrimage, a local pilgrimage known as the Hajj al-Miskin or the ‘Pilgrimage of the Poor’ is performed as an alternative spiritual journey. In this article, I discuss this pilgrimage at two sites in Morocco. Approaching Islam as a lived religion, I discuss how Moroccans navigate between religious considerations and the realities of everyday life. I argue that the Pilgrimage of the Poor plays a key role in the lives of the pilgrims at both the individual and community level. The debate about the Pilgrimage of the Poor reveals how different groups of Muslims negotiate their positions with respect to different interpretations of the global discursive tradition of Islam, applying these interpretations within their local context.

Open access

Polish-Jewish Female Writers and the Women's Emancipation Movements in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Zuzanna Kołodziejska-Smagała

Abstract

Between 1880 and 1914, a small group of Jewish female authors writing in Polish approached the vital-at-the-time woman question from different angles. Although they incorporated discussions of women's sexuality, for these Polish supporters of women's emancipation, access to education remained the focal point. This article explores the writings of seven Jewish women authors in the historical context of the emerging women's emancipation movements in the Polish lands, demonstrating that their educational aspirations were not always identical to those expressed by Polish emancipationists. By examining the involvement of Polish-Jewish women writers in Polish women's organizations, the article complicates the picture of the Polish suffrage movement and highlights the interconnectedness of Polish and Jewish social history.

Open access

The Politics of Islamic Death Rituals in the COVID-19 Era

The Case of Egypt

Nadeem Ahmed Moonakal and Matthew Ryan Sparks

Abstract

Throughout the Islamic world, the era of COVID-19 has witnessed controversial changes to highly ritualised traditional Islamic funeral rites. To combat the pandemic in Egypt, the government and Al-Azhar implemented restrictions surrounding group prayer and burial which many Egyptians viewed as impinging on their religious duties as well as on their ability to mourn. Utilising participant observation, interviews, and deductive research, this article explores the social and anthropological ramifications involved in the modification of traditional Islamic burial rituals in the era of COVID-19 and the negotiations involved amongst different actors, looking specifically at cases in Egypt.

Open access

Reinventing a Traditional Ritual

Commemorating Karbala's Youngest Martyr in Iran

Atefeh Seyed Mousavi

Abstract

This article explores recent ritual developments in the Iranian religious culture honouring Ali-Asqar (d. 680 CE), the infant son of Imam Husayn. In 2003, a new ritual, the Husayni Infancy Conference, was introduced. The ritual is the only public Muharram assembly dedicated to women and their infants. Based on observation and interviews, I identify ritual transformations, terms of institutionalisation, and the staging of rituals and their structure, and I also examine the objectives behind the Conference from the perspectives of the organisers and participants. I argue that the organisers seek to promote new interpretations of the significance of the Battle of Karbala. This objective is shared by some participants whereas many continue to seek out traditional reasons to commemorate the Battle, such as receiving God's blessings. Attending large ritual gatherings also offers opportunities for socialising and empowerment.

Open access

Reports

Publications

Rose Wellman and Max Klimburg

Marjo Buitelaar, Manja Stephan-Emmrich and Viola Thimm (eds), Muslim Women's Pilgrimage to Mecca and Beyond: Reconfiguring Gender, Religion, and Mobility (London: Routledge, 2021), 213 pp.

Erika Friedl, Religion and Daily Life in the Mountains of Iran: Theology, Saints, People (London: I.B. Tauris, 2021), xix + 178 pp.

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To Be a Teacher, a Wife and Mother, and a Zionist Culture Creator in the Pre-State Era

Tali Tadmor-Shimony and Nirit Raichel

Abstract

Following earlier studies on progressive education, nation-building, and women teachers’ history, this article examines the lives of four women during the period of the Yishuv who cultivated professional identities while also raising families. All four strove to educate students according to their own pedagogical visions despite a lack of appropriate educational means. The four women teachers faced the challenge and created educational tools based on artistic tendencies, such as dancing, composing poems, and writing prose and poetry. By doing so, they formed a basis for a new Hebrew heritage. Their artistic activities served as a source of innovative pedagogy and received public approval for their contributions to the nation-building enterprise. Professional status empowered them to create a model for career-minded women whose society presented them with a choice between motherhood and professional fulfillment.

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Book Reviews

Dov Waxman, Eitan Bar-Yosef, Adi Sherzer, Abraham Silberstein, and Csaba Nikolenyi

Nir Kedar, David Ben-Gurion and the Foundation of Israeli Democracy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021), 253 pp. Paperback, $35.00.

Naphtaly Shem-Tov, Israeli Theatre: Mizrahi Jews and Self-Representation (London: Routledge, 2021), 202 pp. Hardback, $128.00.

Mira Sucharov, Borders and Belonging: A Memoir (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 183 pp. Paperback, $44.99.

Lori Allen, A History of False Hope: Investigative Commissions in Palestine (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020), 432 pp. Paperback, $30.00.

Yael S. Aronoff, Ilan Peleg, and Saliba Sarsar, eds. Continuity and Change in Political Culture: Israel and Beyond. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020), 257 pp. Hardcover, $105.00.