In this book, Israeli anthropologist Andre Levy returns to his birthplace in Casablanca to provide a deeply nuanced and compelling study of the relationships between Moroccan Jews and Muslims there. Ranging over a century of history-from the Jewish Enlightenment and the impending colonialism of the late nineteenth century to today's modern Arab state-Levy paints a rich portrait of two communities pressed together, of the tremendous mobility that has characterized the past century, and of the paradoxes that complicate the cultural identities of the present. Levy visits a host of sites and historical figures to assemble a compelling history of social change, while seamlessly interweaving his study with personal accounts of his returns to his homeland. Central to this story is the massive migration of Jews out of Morocco. Levy traces the institutional and social changes such migrations cause for those who choose to stay, introducing the concept of "contraction" to depict the way Jews deal with the ramifications of their demographic dwindling.
Turning his attention outward from Morocco, he goes on to explore the greater complexities of the Jewish diaspora and the essential paradox at the heart of his adventure-leaving Israel to return home.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 431 g
Dimensions: 231 x 152 x 18 mm
A work that unites memory, nostalgia and social science. It is a combination of a search for roots, memoir and anthropological field study of the dwindling Moroccan Jewish community in Casablanca. . . . For readers who treasure a traditional folkloric Judeo-Arabic "Arabian Nights" form of storytelling, this book is a delight.
--Aaron Howard "Jewish Herald-Voice ""