The Saints' Impresarios

The Saints' Impresarios

Dreamers, Healers, and Holy Men in Israel's Urban Periphery

eBook - 2010
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Academic Studies Press
The astonishing revival of saint worship in contemporary Israel was ignited by Moroccan Jews, who had immigrated to the new country in the 1950s and 1960s. The Saints' Impresarios charts the vicissitudes of four new domestic shrines, each established by Moroccan-born men and women in a peripheral development town, following an exciting revelation involving a saintly figure. Each of the case studies discussing the life stories of the “saint impresarios” elaborates on a distinctive theme: dreams as psychocultural triggers for revelation; family and community responses to the initiative; female saint impresarios as healers; and the alleviation of life crises through the saint’s idiom. The initiatives are evaluated against the historical background of Jews in Morocco and the sociopolitical and cultural changes in present-day Israeli society. The original Hebrew edition garnered the coveted Bahat Prize (Haifa University Press) for best academic book in 2006. For readers interested in Israel and Jewish Studies, folk religion and mysticism, cultural and psychological anthropology, and Moroccan Jews.

Book News
In this translation of Shoshvine ha-kedoshim, which began as a lecture series at the University of Rochester, Bilu (anthropology and psychology, Hebrew U., Jerusalem) examines the mystical cult of saints practiced by Moroccan (Mizhari) Jews who migrated to Israel in the 1970s and 1980s. To put modest pilgrimage sites for four tsaddiqim (holy men) in historical context, the author interviewed the sites' impresarios--some of them also healers --in fieldwork conducted in the 1980s and early 2000s. In psycho-cultural terms, he frames their attachment to a patron saint as a way to cope with challenges at different life stages. A glossary and photographs would have been appreciated. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Boston : Academic Studies Press, 2010
ISBN: 9781618110213
Characteristics: 1 online resource (iv, 354 pages)
Additional Contributors: Watzman, Haim


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