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Two Arabs, A Berber, and A JewEntangled Lives in Morocco$
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Lawrence Rosen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226317342

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226317519.001.0001

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A Nation among Nations: Shimon Benizri

A Nation among Nations: Shimon Benizri

(p.247) A Nation among Nations: Shimon Benizri
Two Arabs, A Berber, and A Jew

Lawrence Rosen

University of Chicago Press

Shimon Benizri is an Arab Jew – a conjunction that to Westerners may seem a contradiction in terms but for him is a unity of enduring value. Raised in the Middle Atlas Mountains and fluent in Berber he, along with his wife, lived comfortably enmeshed in a Muslim world through most of their lives. Moroccan Jews accounted for a quarter of all Jews in the Middle East in 1948 and Shimon’s life and ideas trace the ways in which his ancient Jewish community interacted with the Muslims and shared with them many rituals, saints, and everyday experiences. Following the eventual move of Shimon and his family to the city and ultimately to Israel the entire history of the Jews in North Africa becomes condensed in one life, and with it a sense of what both Muslim and Jew feel they have lost as the community that was once so vital to this Arab society has, physically if not psychologically, all but departed.

Keywords:   Arab Jews, rural markets, interfaith relations, Muslim-Jewish relations

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