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

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Columbia University Press, 2003 - History - 549 pages
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Despite considerable research on the Jewish diaspora in the Middle East and North Africa since 1800, there has until now been no comprehensive synthesis that illuminates both the differences and commonalities in Jewish experience across a range of countries and cultures. This lacuna in both Jewish and Middle Eastern studies is due partly to the fact that in general histories of the region, Jews have been omitted from the standard narrative. As part of the religious and ethnic mosaic that was traditional Islamic society, Jews were but one among numerous minorities and so have lacked a systematic treatment.

Addressing this important oversight, this volume documents the variety and diversity of Jewish life in the region over the last two hundred years. It explains the changes that affected the communities under Islamic rule during its "golden age" and describes the processes of modernization that enabled the Jews to play a pivotal role in their respective countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The first half of the book is thematic, covering topics ranging from languages to economic life and from religion and music to the world of women. The second half is a country-by-country survey that covers Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, the Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.

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About the author (2003)

Reeva Spector Simon is associate director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University and author of Iraq Between the Two World Wars. Michael Menachem Laskier teaches at the newly created Department of Middle East History at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and is the author of eight books, including Israel and the Arab World: Israeli-Maghrebi Common Interests,Encounters, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (forthcoming). Sara Reguer is chair of Judaic studies at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

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