The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times

By Reeva Spector Simon; Michael Menachem Laskier et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
10
Beliefs and, Customs

ISSACHAR BEN-AMI

The study of the daily life of the Jewish communities scattered throughout the Muslim world requires a thorough examination of the intricate web of customs and beliefs embedded in the lives of the Jews of those countries for hundreds and even thousands of years. Such a study is difficult, though, as it depends on global as well as regional factors. The period of existence for a Jewish community in a certain region, its exposure to the various local cultures, the competition with its gentile neighbors, as well as its relations with other centers of Judaism—including the Land of Israel— all play a dominant role in shaping the image of a Jewish community in a particular region.

After considering such obvious superficial contrasts as clothing, culinary habits, language, and physical appearance, the question remains of how to judge the uniformity or diversity of the popular customs and ways of life of the Middle Eastern and North African Jewish communities.

A society's ideological and religious system establishes and sets the pattern for most of its customs and beliefs, which then are influenced by changes in the ideological and social basis of the society. These rules apply to society in general, but the prolonged existence of the various Jewish communities in the Diaspora—in essence, as a threatened minority group—has led to the development of characteristics specific to the Jewish people. Environmental and other factors have had a direct influence on the life, customs, and beliefs of each community, causing an apparent blurring of the general criteria that characterize the Jews in the Diaspora, whose yearly and life cycles are based on rules, ideals, principles, and concepts that began as

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The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Contributors xiii
  • Part 1 - Themes 1
  • Chapter 1 3
  • Chapter 2 - Europe in the Middle East 19
  • Chapter 3 - Economic Lire 29
  • Chapter 4 - Community Leadership and Structure 49
  • Chapter 5 - Religfion: Rabbinic Tradition and the Response to Modernity 65
  • Chapter 6 - Intellectual Lire 85
  • Chapter 7 - Jewish Languages Enter the Modern Era 113
  • Chapter 8 - Education 142
  • Chapter 9 - Zionism 165
  • Chapter 10 - Beliefs And, Customs 180
  • Chapter 11 - Material Culture 205
  • Chapter 12 - Music 224
  • Chapter 13 - The World, or Women 235
  • Part 2 - Country-By-Country Survey 275
  • Chapter 14 - Ottoman Turkey 277
  • Chapter 15 - The Ottoman Balkans 292
  • Chapter 16 - Turkey 303
  • Chapter 17 - Syria and Lebanon 316
  • Chapter 18 - Erets Israel/Palestine, 1800–1948 335
  • Chapter 19 - Iraq 347
  • Chapter 20 - Iran and Afghanistan 367
  • Chapter 21 - Yemen 389
  • Chapter 22 - Egypt and the Sudan 409
  • Chapter 23 - Libya 431
  • Chapter 24 - Tunisia 444
  • Chapter 25 - Algeria 458
  • Chapter 26 - Morocco 471
  • Appendix - Middle East and North African Jewry Cd 505
  • Index 529
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