The eleven articles in this issue of European Judaism reflect the social and religious culture of Moroccan Jews set against an ever changing backdrop of persecution and conflict, interaction and cohabitation. Ranging from Berber Jews to forced converts, scholars, courtiers and artisans, Moroccan Jews were constantly under threat. Despite this unstable situation, they produced literary and religious works in Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Spanish as well as creating distinctive life-cycle customs, songs and a highly skilled material culture. While the Jewish community of Morocco is today considerably reduced, Moroccan immigrants in Israel, France and the Americas keep the memory and identity of Jewish Morocco alive.
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Hilloulot as a Case Study
Is it possible to bring together Jews of Moroccan origin wherever they may live and convince them to keep in touch with Morocco? This is not merely a question of visiting the country for tourism but, above all, of convincing Moroccan Jews to serve as promoters of Moroccan diplomacy. To achieve this aim, it was imperative to make brave decisions, which is indeed what King Hassan II has done. To give more consistency and significance to the ties of loyalty, the Moroccan state is taking remarkable measures, organising hilloulot (Hb. ‘pilgrimages’), moments of intense spiritual experience evoking a long Jewish presence in Morocco spanning two thousand years.
An Interview with Aharon Barak
This article is based on an interview conducted in July 2018 with Aharon Barak. In it, Barak reflects on the peace negotiations with Egypt at Camp David during 13 days in September 1978. While expressing great appreciation for the American negotiating team, first and foremost for President Jimmy Carter, for bringing the talks to a successful close, Barak considers negotiating with Carter as the toughest experience of his life. According to Barak, who had just completed his role as legal advisor to the government (1975–1978) and was appointed to the Supreme Court, the key people in the Israeli delegation were Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan, and Ezer Weizman, while the key players in the Egyptian delegation were Anwar Sadat and Osama El-Baz. The negotiations went through ups and downs and had reached the brink of collapse until the Americans proposed that Carter negotiate directly with El-Baz and Barak. In the article’s conclusion, some important insights are deduced from this interview for future, successful negotiations.
Jeffrey B. Griswold
This article complicates scholarship on Macbeth that understands political attachment in terms of an autonomous subject and attributes Macbeth’s demise to an over-susceptibility to natural or supernatural forces. By putting early modern accounts of the humoral constitution of the night air in conversation with modern theories of apostrophe, I argue that the Macbeths’ experiences of night theorise political action as inseparable from the nonhuman forces in the play. Shakespeare reworks his source material to explore the borders of the human, imagining a more complex relationship between treasonous violence and the darkness that enshrouds Scotland.
Landscapes of Displacement
Miles Kenney-Lazar and Noboru Ishikawa
This article reviews a wide body of literature on the emergence and expansion of agro-industrial, monoculture plantations across Southeast Asia through the lens of megaprojects. Following the characterization of megaprojects as displacement, we define mega-plantations as plantation development that rapidly and radically transforms landscapes in ways that displace and replace preexisting human and nonhuman communities. Mega-plantations require the application of large amounts of capital and political power and the transnational organization of labor, capital, and material. They emerged in Southeast Asia under European colonialism in the nineteenth century and have expanded again since the 1980s at an unprecedented scale and scope to feed global appetites for agro-industrial commodities such as palm oil and rubber. While they have been contested by customary land users, smallholders, civil society organizations, and even government regulators, their displacement and transformation of Southeast Asia’s rural landscapes will likely endure for quite some time.
History, Memories and Identities
Canada’s Moroccan Jewish community is the third largest diaspora in the world after Israel and France. This article introduces Sephardi Voices, a project to collect, preserve and archive audio-visually the life stories of Jews displaced from Arab/Islamic lands and in the process sketches an overview of the resettlement of one Sephardi migration community, the Moroccan to Montreal. Featuring scholars like Joseph Levy, Yolande Cohen and Jean-Claude Lasry, the integration experience of Moroccan Jews into the anglophone Ashkenazi community and the francophone Québécois society is presented, along with their efforts to build a French-Sephardi institutional structure to preserve their heritage. The article highlights the role of oral history and the aesthetics of remembrance as important vehicles to depict how memories are imparted and identities formed. Today, the Moroccan Jews of Montreal are transnationals and proud to add Canadian to their identity chain of Jewish, Sephardi, Moroccan and French.
The Case of Neo-Pentecostal Exorcism in Brazil
Seeking to uproot evil from people’s life, neo-Pentecostal exorcists in Brazil separate between internal and external bodily surfaces and then ‘close’ the victim’s entire body to protect against further malignant intrusion. Based on fieldwork in Brazil and the analysis of expulsion videos online, I demonstrate that exorcists self-consciously use topological imaginaries of connectedness and disjunction to generate a reality in which demons and humans occupy mutually exclusive ontological domains. I argue that the moral transformation that these rituals encourage is thus contingent on the successful disentanglement of bodily surfaces, which distinguishes inside from outside and humans from demons. I use the term ‘moral topology’ to analyze this process and call for further cross-cultural attention to the ethnographic vitality of topological imaginaries in the making of cosmological boundaries.
Orientations and Reorientations
Norman A. Stillman
Until the mid twentieth century, Moroccan Jewry constituted the largest non-Ashkenazi Jewish community and had more than double the population of any other Jewish community in the Islamic world. Under the influence of the Alliance Israélite Universelle school network, French colonialism, the experience of World War II and the innate tensions between Zionism and Arab nationalism, the Jews of Morocco underwent a variety of transformations and ultimately the dissolution of the community as a result of the mass exodus to Israel, France and North America.
Doar Ha-Yom and the 1929 Western Wall Crisis
This article looks at how a group of radical Revisionist journalists who assumed effective control of the newspaper Doar Ha-Yom in July 1929 attempted to fuse politics and sensationalism against the background of the Western Wall affair that, in late August of that year, evolved into the violent incidents collectively known as the 1929 riots (or massacres). Examination of the paper during the month preceding the riots shows clearly that its editors made a systematic attempt to inflame the Jewish population of Mandate Palestine. These sensationalist editing techniques, reminiscent of the pamphleteer style, were employed not only to sell more copies of the paper, as had been the case before the Revisionists took control, but also to advance Revisionist political goals. The article examines the model that the Revisionists used to shape their incendiary strategy, the provocative process itself, and the question of the editors’ responsibility for the 1929 riots.
This article offers a reflexive and phenomenological response to some of the challenges of the recent ontological turn. It argues, first, that a focus on embodiment is crucial in understanding the formation of ontological assumptions, and, second, that researchers have an ethical responsibility to practice an ‘ontological reflexivity’ that goes beyond the conceptual reflexivity of much recent ontological work. It conceives the anthropological domain as a place of ‘intra-actment’ and maintains that to avoid ontological closure, researchers must contextualize their ontological assumptions by reflexively sensitizing themselves to how these assumptions are shaped by both embodied experience and the contexts in which they are articulated and performed. This article seeks to enact this through an auto-ethnographic exploration of the author’s own embodied experience as it relates to demonic manifestations and the divine.