Jewish Maghrib Jukebox

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Jewish Morocco Books, Resources and Music

A number of new, important books have been published recently that deserve the attention of anybody interested in Jewish Morocco.

The first is Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa, an edited volume put together by two top scholars - Emily Gottreich at Berkeley and Daniel Schroeter at Minnesota. Of particular interest is Abdellah Larhmaid’s Jewish Identity and Landownership in the Sous Region of Morocco, Aomar Boum’s Southern Moroccan Jewry between the Colonial Manufacture of Knowledge and the Postcolonial Historiographical Silence, Susan Miller’s Making Tangier Modern: Ethnicity and Urban Development, 1880-1930 and Stacy Holden’s Muslim and Jewish Interaction in Moroccan Meat Markets, 1873-1912.
The volume also contains valuable chapters on Algeria and Tunisia. Hadj Miliani’s Crosscurrents: Trajectories of Algerian Jewish Artists and Men of Culture since the End of the Nineteenth Century will provide readers of this blog with familiar names of Algerian musicians from the first half of the 20th century and is a welcome scholarly addition to this field although it also feels very much like the beginning of research rather than the culmination of efforts. Jewish Culture and Society North Africa will also serve as a welcome companion to the volume The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times edited by Reeva Spector Simon, Michael Laskier and Sara Reguer.

Brill recently released The Martyrdom of a Moroccan Jewish Saint by Sharon Vance, a contributor to Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa. I have not had a chance to read this yet but I have included a description of the book below: 

Tomb of Sol Hatchuel, Fez Jewish Cemetery, 2008 (c)

This work gathers texts that tell the story of the martyrdom of Sol Hatchuel, a young Jewish girl from Tangier, who was executed in Fez in 1834. It discusses narratives in Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Spanish, French and Spanish written in the first century after her death, placing them in historical and literary historical context and showing how authors in each language interpreted her martyrdom. The book also includes a historical analysis of the event itself in the context of Moroccan and Moroccan Jewish history in the 19th Century.

The Douglas E. Goldman Jewish Genealogy Center at Beit Hatefusot in Tel Aviv recently received a donation from the Raphael and Georgette Cohen Collection of Family Trees of a searchable database of 22,000+ individual names, organized in family trees, of Jewish families from Meknes, Morocco. The link has been included below.


I also want to draw your attention to Jonathan Ward’s excellent new four CD set Opika Pende: Africa at 78 RPM. Ward of Excavated Shellac fame (the excellent 78 rpm blog he runs) has incorporated a number of rare tracks by Jewish North African artists on the first CD including Sassi, Cheikh Zouzou, Cheikh Elafrit, Messaoud Habib and Zohra El Fassia. The CD set is now available for pre-order.

To access a complete list of Jewish Morocco books, click here.

To purchase Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa, click here.

To purchase The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times, click here.

To purchase The Martyrdom of a Moroccan Jewish Saint, click here.

To access the Meknes database, click here.

To pre-order Opika Pende: Africa at 78 RPM, click here, and make sure to check out Excavated Shellac.