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Beyond Exoticism and Syncretism: Situating Moroccan Jewish Pilgrimage in Jewish Studies

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Publication Date: January 2005

Publisher(s): Association for Jewish Studies; Association for Jewish Studies

Author(s): Oren Kosansky; Oren Kosansky

Series: AJS Perspectives: The Newsletter of the Association for Jewish Studies, Spring 2005, pp.14-16.

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Mizrahi Jews; Religion; Culture; Judaic Studies

Type: Report


The author calls into question the two dominant trends in the study of Moroccan Jewish saint veneration: exoticism (stressing the differences between these practices and Ashkenazi practices) and syncretism (stressing the similarity of these practices with the surorunding Muslim culture). The author questions syncretism by noting that these pilgrimages and hagiographic practices of saint veneration are thoroughly integrated into halachic (Jewish legal) and Torah-specific practice. He questions exoticism by noting similarities between Moroccan and European Chasidic practices.