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Changing Colors of Money

Tips, Commissions, and Ritual in Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Jackie Feldman

The movement of money in Christian pilgrimage is a profound mirror of cultural classifications. By examining tips, commissions, and souvenir purchases in Holy Land pilgrimages, I show how the transfer of monies activates a series of multiple, complex relationships between Jewish guides, Palestinian drivers, and Christian pilgrims. I identify the 'colors'—or moral values—of salaries, tips, and commissions that change hands as 'white', 'black', or 'gray' monies and correlate these colors with particular discourses and degrees of transparency. I then illustrate how prayer, rituals, and the citation of scripture may 'bleach' these monies, transforming tips into 'love offerings' and souvenir purchases into aids to spiritual development or charity to local communities, while fostering relationships and conveying messages across religious and cultural lines. Far from being a universal 'acid' that taints human relationships, pilgrimage monies demonstrate how, through the exchange of goods, people are able to create and maintain spiritual values.

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Yvonne Friedman and Shulamit Furstenberg-Levi

Holy Land pilgrimage, has received little scholarly attention. Whereas scholars such as Erik Cohen (1985) have studied the contemporary guide and his or her roles, less attention has been paid to whether this figure also played an important role in

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Jackie Feldman

2010 ). In the case of pilgrimage sites, distance in space makes particular ways of knowing and of exercising power relevant. Maurice Halbwachs’ (1992 [1941]) chose Holy Land pilgrimage as a prototype for the sacralization of space and the social